No breaking news from Crete. Yes, we enjoy thriller stories, cliffhangers or stories whose beginnings hold more surprises than the end ( if told by Tarantino), but lately we seem to be chasing cheap thrills and drama. Instead ,today I would like to present you with a story lacking drama, but filled with innocence. While in Crete, I’ve met a young Romanian who works there and who offered me ten minutes from his life. Check out my conversation with Florin Fotache, student from Iasi, in the new episode from Out of the kitchen.
Patsiris is closed on Monday, starting with 1922. The current owner rented the place six years ago and works together with his family in the small tavern near the entry to Kokkini Hani. They all have blond hair like German people, they speak English with a pleasant accent and they cook very well. I’ve eaten there three times, while I’ve tried the food at other taverns. I’ve eaten well everywhere, including at the hotel (a thing of wonder considering the high rate of failed experiences with hotel food), but nothing compares to Patsiris. Sea-tasting fish, perfectly fried calamari, fried pork sautéed with onion, bell pepper, wine and olive oil, meaty anchovies, sharp cheese and a brilliant tzatziki. One can tell it’s not the best of times, that there are few tourists and that “The economy is booming”- not, but one can also tell that people make the most of what they have. And there’s your answer to the question “Why is it so difficult, if not almost impossible, to find a Patsiris in the Romanian tourism?”. If you haven’t guessed it already, there it is: we have too much of everything, and that dilutes both our common sense and our imagination. My theory is validated by my experience on the Romanian seaside over the past two years and also by my experience during each drive I take from Bucharest to Cluj, either through Prahova Valley, or through the Olt Valley. And no, I don’t have any expectations. I’ll stop myself short of stating the obvious and I’ll report back when I have better news. Good news is when the bad food and the poor service are the exception, not the rule.