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Radio Show Host, Travel Expert, Stephanie Abrams' Travel Blog

Ah,Diners! A Great Part of a Great Roadtrip!

Decades ago, a Greek immigrant came to America and opened a diner. There are places called “Diner” all across American and some or great and others are quite average but if you live in the northeast of the US down the coastline to the Middle-Atlantic states, or grew up in that region, you have been spoiled by diners owned by Greeks! Newcomers from Greece, seeing their countrymen doing nicely owning and operating diners, jumped into that business sector. Apparently, early on, the owner of a Greek diner created a daily list of specials and special soups. If, like me, you love pea soup, then you need to find a Greek diner on Thursdays as that’s the day pea soup is the ’special’ soup on the menu and the ONLY day of the week you’re going to find it on the menu! When I lived in NY and NJ, Thursday night was “Diner Night” at our house because I needed to get my weekly dose of pea soup!

For the traveler, you’ve left your favorite restaurants behind at home, wherever in the world home is, and you may be yearning for food types you miss,  the joy of stopping at a diner is that you can get something to please every member in your party with a diversity of items that include a variety of ethnic styles. You’ll find full meals, hot and cold, sandwiches, burgers, soups, salads, breakfast all day and, in many cases, through the night at 24-hour diner locations. Literally, it’s like being at home where you can get exactly what you want only it’s better since you don’t have to make and you don’t have to clear up afterwards!

When you enter the diner, you can count on a refrigerated case filled with huge, gorgeous, tempting pastries and cakes that will probably make you decide on the spot to have a salad so you’ll have room for some of those dessert items! That’s what happened to us when we stopped  at the I-84 Diner in on Interstate 84 on my way back from two events that I’ll share with you soon. So I ordered something not on the menu but clearly able to be put together and that was a Greek salad with grilled chicken on top. My husband ordered a Cobb salad. The salads were delivered in creative dinnerware  that reminded me of a theater in Albany, NY called The Egg. Have a look:

Another thing you’ll generally find in a Greek diner, generally not advertised or marketed as a “Greek”diner but just as a “Diner,” is that if you were with another person, if you each ordered a side salad or a cup or soup, you could order one meal and split and both of you will be quite satisfied as food is generally more plentiful than any one person needs, especially if you’re planning to order dessert which is something two can easily split as well!

This is Tony, the owner of the I-84 Diner in Fishkill, NY, a warm, friendly, hospitable and jovial fellow who, like most owners of diners, is hands-on and there to make diners feel like they are with members of their family. I asked to meet him and he sat down next to me in our book as I did my best to convince him to open a diner in Berkshire County in Western Massachusetts! He asked me, “Where were you 40 years ago?” The I-84 Diner just celebrated its 40th birthday on November 10, 2017, just yesterday, and you can see that Tony has reinvested in keeping the I-84 Diner on the cutting edge! And let me tell you that the chicken in my marvelous Greek salad was succulent and deliciously spiced! Yum!

But Tony, please get your friends and relatives together and come to the Berkshires! We need you! And special thanks for the yummy dessert you sent our way. . . and the recipe for it that I’ve posted below! Thanks for sharing!

Custard Pastry

GALACTOBOUREKO

1 quart milk                      8 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar                    1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup cream of wheat            3/4 lb. fila dough (by in market refrigerated case)

4 TBSP. butter                             1 cup butter

In deep saucepan, heat milk with sugar. Add cream of wheat and butter. Simmer, uncovered, until thickened, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Remove from heat, and set saucepan in cold water to cool mixture slightly. Beat egg yolks until light, and combine with milk mixture, blending thoroughly. Add vanilla flavoring.

Grease an 11″ x 14″ baking pan with melted butter. Arrange half the fila in a pan, brushing each with melted butter.

Pour custard mixture, and top with remaining fila, brushing each with melted butter.

Fold edges to retain mixture.

Brush with melted butter.

With sharp knife, cut through top layers of fila in lengthwise strips, about 2 inches wide.

Bake in over pre-heated to 350 degrees until lightly browned and pastry shakes loose from pan, about 45 minutes.

If pastry browns too quickly, place brown paper over pan and continue baking until done.

Pour syrup (see instructions below) over warm pastry and let stand 15 minutes before cutting into diamond-shaped/pie-shaped servings.

Makes 45 servings.

To make Syrup:

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

Juice from one lemon

Combine ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until a medium-thick syrup is formed. Cool before pouring over warm pastry.

YUM! Try not to eat all 45 servings!!

Enjoy!

--Gotta Fly Now!sm
Your Personal Travel Expert
Nationally syndiated radio show host
Stephanie Abrams

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