Corpus Christi food festivals are going through

Just a selection of what you will find at the Jewish Food Festival from November 14th to 15th. The Greek Food Festival takes place from November 6th to 8th. Both are drive-through events. Courtesy photos

By Jane Kathleen Gregorio

Two cultural food traditions continue this fall, despite the fact that many annual celebrations in Corpus Christi have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year, the 57th annual Greek Food Festival and the 35th annual Jewish Food Festival each offer their culinary delights via drive-through pick-up: more food, less festival.

The Greek Food Festival, hosted by the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas, will take place in the neighboring Nueces Brewing Co. parking lot from November 6th to 8th. The Jewish Food Festival, hosted by the Beth Israel Congregation, will be held from November 14-15 in the synagogue parking lot at 4402 Saratoga Blvd.

GREEK FESTIVAL

From Water Street, enter the Nueces Brewing Co. parking lot at 401 S. Water St. Hours of operation are Friday, November 6th, 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Saturday, November 7th, 12pm to 10pm; and Sunday, November 8th, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Customers place their orders for food and pastries at the checkout, then head up the hill to purchase food and drinks, including bottled wine (white, pink, red, Moscato, and Mavrodaphne) as well as 32-ounce cans of St. Nicholas beer, a Greek-style lager made especially for the festival by Nueces Brewing Co. Water and tea are also available.

Traditional Greek plates come with a choice of chicken or pork souvlaki (shish kabob), a tiropita (hot cheese puff made from filo pastry filled with feta and ricotta), dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with meat and rice), rice pilaf, and flatbread. (No substitutions or adjustments.) Gyros with tzatziki sauce and pastitsio (baked macaroni with meat and bechamel sauce) are also available.

Greek baked goods include koulouria (semi-sweet shortbread biscuits, baked golden brown), baklava (pecans and spices that are baked in layers of filo and topped with honey syrup), kourambiethes (rich butter biscuit with chopped roasted almonds and powdered sugar), melomakarona (spiced biscuit and rolled in nuts) and amigdalota (almond biscuits). For more information about the Greek Food Festival, please visit us online or call 361-883-0950

JEWISH FOOD FESTIVAL

The opening times for the Jewish Food Festival are Saturday, November 14th, 5pm to 9pm and Sunday, November 15th, 11am to 2pm. Now, in its 35th year, the popular tradition has almost been canceled this year, according to event coordinator Marcus Lozano.

“It’s a very intense event that takes months of planning and takes at least three months to create a shopping list,” Lozano said. “We have decided that our community needs this, and every year our community has a good time cooking in the kitchen and connecting to collectively receive the course and our grocer’s permission. We needed something to look forward to. “

In order to comply with health and safety protocols with the least amount of contact, this year’s festival will turn the parking lot into a drive-through.

When customers arrive at the start of the transit, they will be given a menu checklist. As they fill out their order and move forward in the line, they can fold down the windows and listen to a klezmer band playing traditional Jewish music.

When the customer drives to a carport near the temple entrance, a server takes the checklist, rushes to fulfill the order, and brings the food to the vehicle while the customer pays with their credit card.

“Our inspiration was the Chick-fil-A drive-through,” Lozano said.

The popular community festival includes a menu of the best Jewish delicacies with traditional favorites like a succulent brisket dinner with a ball and green beans. Other products include hearty cabbage rolls, matzah ball soup, New York-style corned beef sandwiches with potato salad, minced liver, and kosher dill pickles from Brooklyn Terminal Market.

The candy store includes a variety of Jewish desserts such as kugelach, black and white cookies, almond bread, New York cheesecake, matzoh treats, and homemade challah.

A brunch with bagel and lox plates and blintzes is only available on Sundays.

“Other changes to the menu are that we also have ready-made meals that you can put in the oven that are ready in 20 to 30 minutes,” Lozano said. “The food on offer that day will be amazing.”

For more information about the Jewish Food Festival, please visit the Facebook page or call 361-857-8181.

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