Happy 12th wedding anniversary to us! We decided to try dinner and a movie, our first real date night since we arrived back in January. We wanted to keep it simple — a restaurant near our house followed by a movie at The Mall. Casa Del Toro was only a 15 minute walk, so we wouldn’t have to attempt driving or parking in Halandri on a Saturday night. We opted for a late dinner — late by our standards, at least — so we could put Violet to bed before we left. Turns out 8:30 is “Early Bird Special” time in Greece. We had made a reservation, but that probably wasn’t necessary. The restaurant didn’t start filling up until 9 or 9:30. Still, we had a nice, quiet table by the window, and the food was fantastic. We started with two appetizers, the crab cakes and the beef rolls, which were both outstanding. I haven’t had a steak since we got here, so when this arrived at the table, I just about fainted.
Eight glorious ounces of fillet petit, cooked to medium rare perfection. The first bite: pure ecstasy. Get in mah belly, steak!
The server also brought this interesting array of salts. From left to right they are Himalayan salt, smoked salt, and sea salt. I tried a smattering of them all, but I think my favorite was the first.
We shared a carafe of scrumptious Sangria, and at the end of our meal we were offered a honey cinnamon aperitif free of charge. James didn’t care for that last one, but I thought it was pretty good. Strong, but good.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as service. In our experience, the Greeks tend to operate on their own, shall we say, more relaxed schedule. The food arrived promptly, but it took us a little bit to track our server down for the check. We had just enough time to walk home, grab the car, and head over to The Mall for the 10:30 showing of The Magnificent Seven remake. It was the only movie we could agree on because James loves the original and I loves Chris Pratt. Swoon.
Some interesting observations about our Greek movie theater-going experience:
- You couldn’t buy tickets at a machine like in most US theaters, so we got stuck in a long line. I presume one could order tickets online ahead of time, but I’ll have to figure that one out next time.
- Seating is assigned. Which turned out to work in our favor. We thought the show was sold out when we finally made it to the ticket counter. Turns out there were just a few seats left in the front row. Sold! And while the front row was less than ideal, it beat having to fruitlessly find two seats together in a sold-out theater in the US. Many times ushers have to not-so-kindly ask that people move over to fill empty seats back home…we Americans and our insistence on personal space! In this instance, I like the Greek way better.
- The prices were less than I expected, only 7.50 Euros a ticket, and the seats were modern, stadium-style.
- The concession stand was very much the same, though with fewer candy options and the pricing wasn’t as outrageous. They had your standard M&Ms and Malted Milk balls, but they also had one of my favorites, Twix. James complained that the soda sizes were too small. I think he prefers the cups you can barely get your hand around. Sheesh.
- I had been told that movies are typically subtitled in Greek. So as long as you could ignore the words scrolling at the bottom, the movie was essentially the same as it is in the US. What I didn’t anticipate was that any English subtitles would instead be subtitled in Greek. There was one subplot with a Native American dude speaking…some Native Americanese…to Denzel Washington, and I have no idea what was going on there.
By the time our 2+ hour movie was over, I was completely beat. We had a nice night, but it’s hard for us to stay up that late with children who know no mercy in the early morning. Or a toddler who still wakes in the night — when we made it home at 1 AM, our baby sitter was consoling a crying Violet, who had just woken up about 20 minutes before we got home. So I got to end our “romantic” evening by hastily changing into a nursing top and getting the baby back to sleep. Happy anniversary, ha!