Archive for the ‘Athens’ Category

Warehouse

October 21, 2018

I vised Warehouse last year. Service terrible, coffee awful.

I passed Taf on my way to an autonomous farmers market in Exarchia Square. I looked forward to a coffee on my return but sadly closed.

As Warehouse was nearby I decided to revisit.

Warehouse is more of a wine bar serving coffee than a coffee shop. In the cellar a couple of hundred different wines, wine by the bottle or glass, plus food.

Water was brought as soon as I found a table.  This is the norm in top coffee shops in Athens.

Curious, did they serve craft beer? Yes a choice of three, I chose one from northern Greece, one I had tried at Little Tree a few days earlier, the other from US I wasn’t interested in.

It is one of life’s ironies more likely to get a craft beer in a Greek coffee shop than a failing English pub.

What I had was excellent, reminiscent of Punk IPA.

What I did not like, strongly flavoured savories to accompany.

I then decided on a cappuccino. A choice of Ethiopian or Guatemalan. I chose the Guatemalan.

It was far better than what I had on my last visit. But not as good as the best coffee shops in Athens have to offer.

Service had improved since my last visit, but still not great.

I was there all afternoon until it got dark, chatting to a pleasant young English couple. Then,  and there is a first for everything, asked to vacate the table as booked.

We then walked in the direction of The Acropolis, through Monastiraki to Plaka.

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Autonomous farmers market Exarchia Square

October 21, 2018

Autonomous farmers market held in Exarchia Square in Athens.

An informal market of local producers in the heart of the anarchist district of Athens.

Goats cheese, nuts, fruit and vegetables, honey, peanut butter, olive oil, wine, soap.

First and third Sunday of the month.

I bought excellent goats cheese, peanut butter and pistachio nuts.

Exarchia is a dangerous are of Athens. be wary.

I was informed faircoin in use on the market. I saw no evidence of this.

There was food, free food, but by the time I had looked around, all gone

I learnt of another market every day bar Sunday, in a squatted building, no prices, pay what you wish.

I then climbed a nearby hill.

On the way there, I passed Taf, which I thought I would visit later. Sadly closed.

Warehouse nearby, which I paid a visit.

Damaging impact of AirBnB on Athens

October 19, 2018

In Greece, it is a very Greek thing to do to sit and chat, and that is what I was doing all afternoon and evening whilst eating and having a beer or two whilst sat outside Little Tree, a bohemian bookshop cum coffee shop, a stone’s throw below The Acropolis.

We were talking about the destruction of Greece by the EU and turning Greece into a debtor’s prison, the money that flowed into Greece and straight back out to bail out French and German banks, the destruction of Greece to set an example to other vassal states that may think to challenge Greece.

The talk turned to AirBnB, money laundering, dirty Russian and Turkish and Chinese money being laundered to buy up whole neighbourhoods on the cheap, people being kicked out of their apartments, rents then being forced up.

Anther problem which is prevalent in Barcelona and Amsterdam, neighborhoods being turned into ghettos by bad tourists, apartments blocks, strangers wandering through.

The people I was conversing with had direct experiences, of drunk tourists, noise, threats of violence.

Lack of planning, tax avoidance, no insurance, local taxes not paid.

— to be continued —-

 

Lunch and at Little Tree

October 19, 2018

Little Tree is a lovely little bookshop cum coffee shop.

Having been wandering around The Acropolis late morning and early afternoon, I decided I needed something to eat.

Little Tree  is behind Acropolis Museum. As nearby, I thought have something to eat, then a coffee at The Underdog, then visit the Ancient Agora.

Nothing though eve goes to plan. The Acropolis was crowded, a cruise ship or maybe more than one. The streets clogged, named word with tour guides.

I thought a short stay at Little Tree. Rather than a short stop, I was thee until evening.

Service appalling, though not true of food or drink.

Water brought to my table and a simple menu.

A long wait until me order taken. Maybe not table service,, maybe I have to go and order.

Eventually I am asked but does not understanding what I am asking. Anther long wait. An even longer wait before food is served.

It was good, toasted bread used for a sandwich.

By now, my afternoon ruined or at least what I had planned.

Craft beer? I am brought back the menu. But my question not answered. Eventually I learn, microbreweries on the Greek islands.

I order red beer. Red beer. It was not red, and had no added ingredients to make red.

I order another.

Then I decide on yogurt and a cappuccino. I double check, the coffee is Taf.

Yogurt with fruit and nuts excellent, with added Greek honey. In a ceramic pot. Far alrger portion than I except. On leaving, I ask be put in a takeaway cup.

I have yet to see anyone actually buy a book.

little girl say in a  corner reading a book.

Little Tree a coop. Whether an open coop I do not know. I suggest they use faircoin, but maybe start with a few leaflets, host a talk.

Sunday I will visit a market in … where they use faircoin. The information centre I visited will not be open util after Sunday.

In Greece, it is a very Greek thing to sit and chat, and that is what I we were doing all afternoon and evening.

EU destruction of Greece, the damaging impact of AirnBnB on Athens. Dirty money laundered  to buy whole neighborhoods, areas being turned into tourist ghettos, bad tourists.

On leaving, walking along the street below The Acropolis, a  lovely little food shop.

Green olive oil? I am shown , a beautiful green colour, first of the new crop, only just a arrived in store.  I mention faircoin.

— to be continued —-

Moussaka at Restaurant Plaka

October 16, 2018

Excellent moussaka at Restaurant Plaka in the heart of Plaka.

For starters vegetable soup.

Red wine to accompany the moussaka.

The best moussaka I have ever had.

I never look at the menu. I go to the kitchen and ask what they have.

I thought it would be too cold to sit outside, but no, pleasantly cool. But by eleven turning cold and cold walking through Plaka half past eleven.

Open air theatre had a film starting 22-15. Maybe tomorrow.

Standart guide to Athens coffee culture a travesty

August 20, 2018

Standart is not easy to find, and even those who stock it have difficulty in obtaining.

I was therefore pleased to find the latest edition in Pelicano on a recent trip to Brighton. They have only recently started to stock. They also stock Drift.

I started with the review of coffee culture in Athens. I was going to offer to write this, and regret I did not, as the reveiew of Athens coffee culture is a travesty, and does a disservice to Athens. But then what to expect from two days in Athens? It is as much what is missing as what is written.

I often spend a few days in Athens,  last year exploring the coffee culture.

As I was reading, I had just heard at lunchtime stomach churning claim by EU describing their intervention in Greece as a success a cause for Greeks to celebrate. Nothing could be further from the truth, Greece was destroyed to serve as  a warning to other vassal states, the money pumped into Greece, was to bail out German banks, it flowed in and back out.

Taf is not for coffee tasting, it is a coffee shop people enjoying the coffee. There is not an extensive choice of coffee, though yes a fair choice.

Mr Bean, I was recommended by Taf, it is across the road.

Other than in passing, Tailor Made not featured. Excellent coffee, good place for people watching, amazing cold brew tower.

The Underdog when I visited last year, four world champion baristas, and I am pleased to learn have won again. I though saw more awards on display at TAF.

Kaya I was not impressed by, the coffee undrinkable. Passing trade, not people relaxing to enjoy a  coffee.

Even less by Warehouse where coffee not good and service terrible. Not a good place for sitting outside, not unless enjoy breathing in traffic fumes. More a trendy bar serving coffee than a coffee shop. I did not try the wine.

No mention of Just Made 33, excellent coffee, excellent food, excellent cakes. Conveniently located. just off Ermou, a  few minutes walk from Syntagma.

No mention of Little Tree Books and Coffee, a bookshop cum coffee shop, only a few minutes walk behind the Acropolis Museum.

No mention of Duo Goulies & Duo Mpoukies, excellent coffee and food.

Taresso is also worthy of a visit.

Cannot visit Athens  without visiting The Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, Agora, Temple of Zeus, National Gardens,  and of course wander through Plaka.

To eat, Plaka Restaurant in the heart of Plaka, and for a view to die for rooftop restaurant at Athens Gate.

Two ice cream parlours worth a visit, Davinci in Monastiraki and Coco’s in Plaka, of the two I refer  Coco’s.

No, it is not a hike to the Hill of the Muses, well worth the climb with stunning views over Athens.

A stroll past The Acropolis and along Dionysiou Areopagitou then a choice, Hill of the Muses, straight on, visit a church then a long valley which is pleasant to walk  along one side and return along the other side, or follow around The Acropolis and right along Apostolou Pavlou which at weekends lined with stalls and musicians. It also leads a back way into Agora of Athens.

More of course than a day, or even two days,

I look forward to Drift bringing out an Athens edition.

 

Imagine a beach free of litter

June 12, 2018

Imagine, just quickly,
A beach free of litter,
A sea, clean and sparkly alive,
Let’s make it happen
Yes we can do it
We must if we’re going to survive.

These words were written on the window of an ethical fashion shop in Brighton, The Fair Shop, on the road leading down to the seafront from Brighton Station.

On the seafront, disgusting fish n chip shops serving their disgusting fish n chips on polystyrene plates or in polystyrene burger-style boxes.

Iydea in North Laine, which for more than a decade has led the way on recycling, a fruit juice served with a plastic straw.

Salty Fig a bar overlooking Fig Tree Bay serving overpriced drinks in plastic.

Plastic served overlooking the sea finds its way into the sea.

Walk in a supermarket, plastic surrounds everything, podded peas in a plastic box, potatoes and bananas in plastic bags, a coconut with shell hacked off shrink-wrapped in plastic.

As always it is the indie coffee shops leading the way, serving takeaway coffee in compostable cups, KeepCup or similar reusable cups on sale, a discount if used.

We must eliminate the takeaway coffee culture, encourage relax in an indie coffee shop with speciality coffee served in glass or ceramic.

Water is a human right.

The coffee shops in Athens bring without asking ice cold water to the table or failing that water from which to help oneself.

A Drop In the Ocean, from March to October 2018, plastic bottle tops are to be collected from Brighton seafront to illustrate the amount of plastic finding its way into our oceans.

Plastic bottle tops are among the top five most deadly ocean trash items. Marine mammals, birds and fish see plastic bottle caps as food, which can lead to ingestion and potentially fatal consequences.

Plastic bottle tops float and take a long time to degrade. They are small enough to be swallowed whole by birds and animals. Every bottle top collected is a bottle top that won’t be eaten by a turtle, swallowed by a seabird, or settle as microplastic particles inside a mussel.

 

The Underdog team

February 10, 2018

New season starts at The Underdog. 

The Underdog, one of my favourite coffee shops in Athens.

Wonderful atmosphere, fantastic coffee, people who know their coffee.

Saturday and Sunday, a pedestrian street running past The Acropolis is turned into a  street market, The Underdog is just off this street.

Now four world champion baristas. Manos Mamatis, Coffee in Good Spirits World Championship No 2 2017.

  • 2008 Tasos Delichristos
  • 2015 George Koustoumparais
  • 2016 Michalis Dimitratopolos
  • 2017 Manos Mamatis second place

Not bad for one coffee shop.

I had the honour and privilege of being served by Manos Mamatis. I learnt a lot from our conversations.

Like Taylor Made, ultra trendy. I later learnt same designer.

Avoid Sunday if wish to relax, very busy and the noise on entering deafening.

Multi level, a roastery below, serving area, various brew methods, railway sleepers as table. Standart and Drift available to browse, though not on sale.

The Underdog supply coffee to other coffee shops, but as with Square Mile in London,  exact high standards if you wish to use their coffee.

At the weekend from Acropoli Metro Station, stroll along Dionysiou Areopagitou, it runs between the Museum and The Acropolis. Do not visit The Acropolis at weekends, too crowded. Then turn around to the right along Apostolou Pavlou. At weekends lined with stalls and musicians. It also leads a back way into Agora of Athens. Past a few cafes and bars, then more stalls. Eventually a Metro station reached. Backtrack to the bars and restaurants, and take a turning to the right for The Underdog. Easily missed as a fairly nondescript building on the outside.

Favorite Coffee Shops in Athens

December 15, 2017

The Life Lab do an excellent job of capturing the atmosphere of coffee culture in Athens through three coffee shops, The Underdog, Barreldier and Little Tree Books and Coffee.

They must have been following in my footsteps.

My only disappointment with their excellent little film was that it was not longer and featured more of the Athens coffee scene.

Music:  Put your money on me by Arcade Fire.

Little Tree; a film of their own

December 14, 2017

9BlueRoses

It was by chance that I’ve found Little Tree last January.  After a walk around the Acropolis, we were looking for a comfortable place to seat. As soon as we got in, I was struck by the fact that this place was not only warm but also calm. Of course you could hear the music playing at the background but people seemed to be so relaxed reading their books or having a chat without having to make so much noise. I thought that maybe we shouldn’t be making noise after all, as this seemed to be- and should remain-a little quiet sacred place: something like a study room in a library.

In the following months, I learnt more about it and I fell under its charm: not only because of its unique setting -under a little tree, behind the acropolis museum-, but also because of its special offerings sweets and…

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