Dinner at Aristos & A Christmas Story

I have mentioned several times about the March of Dimes. At their recent Signature Chefs Dinner & Auction, my parents bid for a wonderful dinner and play item, which after intense bidding on my fathers’ part, he won. 🙂 We were all very excited for him until he realized he would be out of town for the great event… details, details. So, the ones who benefited were me, my hubby, my brother and my sister in law. Fantastic! A pre- celebration of my hubby’s birthday.

The evening started out with a fantastic, mouth watering, savory meal at Aristo’s. A cozy, authentic greek restaurant located on 224 South 1300 East. Little did we know, that on Thursday evenings, there is a live band. We were privledged to hear the sounds of Greece and a bazookee player as the star of the show. But this was only the beginning…. literally.

As part of the evenings events, we were seated, and Aristo himself came to meet us, welcomed us to his restuarant and selected his favorite menu items to share. Most of them I couldn’t pronounce, but I was excited to taste and savor the bold and rich flavors. The service was unmatched, friendly and fast, serving the 5 courses without much time in between. Here are some of the things we ate…

For starters; Dolmathes, which are lamb, beef and rice seasoned with mint, onions, tomatoes wrapped in grape leaves. Keftethes, lamb and beef, seasoned with mint and garlic, kneaded with breadcrumbs (meatballs). Tzatzaki, which is by far the most wonderful dipping sauce. Greek yogurt, cucumbers, and garlic. Light and aromatic, tasty for dipping the meatballs and wraps in. My favorite of all was a wedge of goat cheese, sauted in olive oil and drizzled with lemon. I couldn’t get enough of that one. And finally for starters, there was a great spicy red pepper and feta puree called Kafteri, served with pita breads.

Then a beautiful greek salad with feta, calamata olives, green pepper, cucumber, tomato, romaine lettuce, topped with olive oil and their very own house red wine vinegar….. need I say anymore for that course.

Our main course dishes were a variety of Aristo’s favorites… Mousaka, eggplant, potato, lamb beef topped with bechemel sauce and fresh ground cinnamon. The flavors were bold, and sweet, savory and hearty. Like the best version of my shepherds pie. Then Latholemono, which is grilled halibut (always fresh fish) with a lemon, olive oil, dill and fresh minced onion sauce served over rice and roasted vegetables. Then Imam Baldi, stuffed eggplant with onions, served with tomatoes and feta. Yummy. Kotopoulo Yemisto, a chicken cutlet, breaded stuffed with spinach and feta served over rice with a mushroom and scallion sauce. I feel like a food editor…

Dessert was just as incredible as all previous courses… Aristo’s mothers’ special recipe for rice pudding & custard stufffed puff pastry with a lemon sauce. Sorry mom, but this rice pudding was the best I’ve ever had. And the custard stuffed pastry melted in your mouth. A perfect end to a perfect meal. Oh, yeah and for drinks we had virgin margheritas and strawberry daqueris.

Then we went on to Pioneer Theatre to see The Christmas Story. Phenomenal cast, funny lines that you can relate to, and a great way to celebrate the season. I had forgotten how much I like this story. My favorite part is when Ralphie gets soap in his mouth, and the mom tastes it after she sends him to his room. Cute. For a cast that only had 4 adults in it, and the rest were children, so great. These kids are talented. I’ve actually seen someone who has a leggy lamp just like the one in the play and puts it in their window at Christmastime. If you are ever along 2200 West and about 8300 South, in West Jordan, Utah, look to the east side of the road and your face will smile. It’s usually lit up at night for all to see. 🙂

I have now come to the end of my story… it was a great evening. I was able to spend time with my hubby to celebrate his birthday, and love the company of my brother and his sweet wife. I have been blessed with great in-laws. Merry Christmas & Happy Baking!