Spring is Salad Time in Alaska

First Primroses of 2008Friday felt like the first true day of spring. The sun was shining, and I could almost feel trees and plants waking from their winter slumber.

Oh sure, there’s still snow on the ground, trees are bare, and temperatures are still in the low 30s at night. But days are gloriously long, 13 hours of daylight and rising, and the sun’s warmth is finally breaking through. I grabbed a knife and bag and unsuccessfully went hunting for the year’s first dandelions. Although they weren’t up yet, I did see tiny red leaves of garden sorrel poking through the dirt. Primroses and leopard’s bane are up and growing rapidly.

I wore boots and a wool coat for shopping. After the first stop, I dumped my coat in the car and basked in being able to walk around unencumbered. I saw women in sleeveless tops and men in shorts. The thermometer may say it’s cold, but Alaskans respond to the first signs of sunny spring weather with outbursts of irrational exuberance.

The grocery store’s produce aisle was stacked high with reasonably priced melons, reflecting South America’s seasonal bounty. I couldn’t resist a cut of juicy red watermelon, and decided to make Watermelon, Feta, and Arugula Salad and pretend the snow was long gone.

The salad is one of my favorite dishes at Kuzina, a restaurant near the Ancient Agora archeological site in downtown Athens. Kuzina has an interesting menu, a very competent chef, and specializes in creative Greek cuisine.

We were last at Kuzina in September. My brother Bill and sister-in-law Tommie had come to visit us in Greece; we met them in Athens before going to the island. It was great fun to show them around the city, and see it fresh through new eyes. The day we went to Kuzina, the four of us had spent the morning walking through Athens’ fascinating streets.

One of my favorite things about Athens is the wonderful graffiti art painted on walls of abandoned and inhabited buildings alike. Here are some examples of the street art we saw on that sunny September day with Bill and Tommie:

Athens Graffiti Art - PatriarchAthens Graffiti Art - JokerAthens Graffiti Art Owl Cat XX

By lunchtime, we were ready for something cool and refreshing, so headed over to Kuzina and ordered watermelon salads. It was the perfect lunch for a perfect day.

Be sure to check out the recipes mentioned in this post:


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