Monday, November 7, 2011

What More Could You Ask For?

Killer views. Low prices. Tasty food. That’s Spiro’s Gyros in Coronado, CA.

After a grueling morning of people- and ocean-watching, we wanted to catch a quick lunch, and my pre-expedition Google search sent us to Spiro’s (far left in the photo). As described at coronado.patch. com:
“Located at the Coronado Ferry Landing, Spiro's Gyros is known for both its tasty Greek food and terrific views of San Diego Bay and the downtown San Diego skyline. Locals and tourists alike enjoy people-watching while enjoying a meal on the outside patio. Portions are large and offer a great value for scenic bayside dining.”

After ordering (more on that later) we were lucky and comman-deered a table on the patio that was right next to the Lucite wind barrier. From there, we could sit back and savor the San Diego skyline with its cluster of tall buildings. In this photo, you can see the ferry to Coronado returning to home port along East Harbor Drive. The mild warm breeze made this a perfect day for sailing enthusiasts or

for setting up your lawn chair and getting some sun.

You don’t have a lawn chair? Just sit on the ground like this couple.

Later we learned that most Sunday afternoons you can find free music at the Coronado Ferry Landing and many San Diegans drive over to spend the afternoon. The couple we learned this from live in La Mesa and for them Sundays on Coronado are a regular mini-vacation. I could really get into Southern California living.

But our primary purpose was lunch. Spiro’s is an informal order-at-the-counter place where, after your order has been taken, you find a seat either on the front sun-drenched patio, the roofed indoor dining area (left), or—as did we—on the umbrella-covered open-air patio.

The menu included your standard quasi-fast food Greek restaurant offerings. Sandwiches, which contain onion, tomato, and tzatziki sauce, were: lamb and beef or chicken gyro; falafel—with garbanzos, hummus, and lettuce in pita bread; Loukaniko Sausage—Greek sausage sandwich in pita bread; Chicken Souvlaki—broiled marinated chicken in pita bread; Beef Souvlaki—broiled marinated beef in pita bread; Lamb Souvlaki—broiled marinated lamb in pita bread; and Shrimp Souvlaki—charbroiled shrimp in pita bread.

Platters, which come with salad, pita bread, and rice or fries, included: lamb and beef or chicken gyro, chicken souvlaki, beef souvlaki, lamb souvlaki, shrimp souvlaki, Spanakopita (spinach and Feta cheese in filo pastry), Pastitsio (baked noodles with ground sirloin in cream sauce), Mousaka (eggplant in sauce with Parmesean cheese, and falafel.

And then there are such disparate items as fish tacos, pulled pork, whole tilapia, Corfu chicken, and stuffed bell peppers.

Lucky for me, there was a picture of the falafel gyro posted above the order counter and I could see that these were the mini-patty falafel. On to Plan B, the lamb and beef gyro with a side of Greek salad.

For Chuck, it was the lamb and beef gyro platter (photo below)—a veritable Mt. Denali of food that contained a huge portion of shaved gyro meat, two pitas cut into quarters, an almost equally huge portion of fries (Did you think he’d chose the rice?), and a large Greek salad.
The nicely seasoned meat had a light garlic flavor and was juicy—unlike that found in many “gyro shops,” where it has dried from all that rotating on the rotisserie spear. The pitas were—well, I know of no way to describe them other than “puffier” than most, but nice and light. The fries appeared to be twice-fried—always a bonus. And the Greek salad was a mix of romaine, red onion, and tomato bathed in an emulsified feta cheese dressing.

I don’t know if our impressions were colored by the beautiful setting, but we both agreed that these were the best gyros we had eaten since we last ate at the Hot Spot in Doylestown, PA and rate Spiro’s as 4.0 Addie eats.

And as for those signs saying
“DON’T Feed the Pigeons.”

I guess the pigeons haven’t learned to read.

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