Virtual every night in Greece was date night. We’d left the “kids”* at home for this very reason, we were enjoying some very well deserved Monsieur et Madame time. We were so looking forward to it that Mr French had taken me on a little shopping excursion to ERES before our departure. So there I was, hiking through brush and brumble, sweat drip drip dropping from the nape of my neck to the small of my back, streaming down to my exclusively silk clad bottom. Très chic, non? Its one of those moments when you see yourself in a ridiculous NYer cartoon of your life.
Inappropriate wardrobe choices aside, dining on a schooner at sunset, in a remote harbour with the sapphire blue water lapping at your feet, its hard to imagine more romantic.
Before leaving Santorini Mr French had a little chat with Joy, the owner of Dimitri’s, asking for some restaurant recommendations in Mykonos. Chez Kiki’s she said without hesitation. Arriving at the Grace Hotel Mykonos our first order of business was to find Kiki. We went to the receptionist and asked her to make reservations for that evening.
“Ah,” said the receptionist, “I see you’re serious about good food.”
I nodded emphatically, my silly grin probably making me look a bit slow.
“Well, they don’t take reservations, and they only serve lunch, and you’ll need a car to get there. Its on a wild beach on the north side of the island. A bit difficult to find, you know, they don’t have a sign, you just have to follow your nose.”
The place was sounding more and more attractive. The next day, while I was up stairs at the pool, Mr French ran into a car rental guy in the lobby and immediately arranged to have a car brought to us Tuesday morning. Tuesday, everything worked like a dream, or like we were on a perfect holiday in Greece, and by 10am we were off, planning to visit the island a bit before hunting down our lunch.
The island’s main town reminded my of a Nevada ghost town. There was an itinerant artisan with reeds tied to his, advertising his availability for restring rattan chairs. The square was deserted, except for 4 local men sitting in a café slurping back Greek coffee. Sausages dried in a cage outside the butcher shop. A lone priest guarded the monastery, his indigo robes flapping on the laundry line behind him as he chatted away to some Israeli tourists.
“Uh, yes, you went to Jerusalem?” assumed the Israeli.
“Pfft.” he waved the comment aside, “Eiliat (an Israeli resort town). I went to Eilat. The fish, they were amazing!!!”
We headed back to the car where I nearly knocked myself unconscious with the car trunk. Classic me. Then off to the “wild” beach the receptionist had mentioned. On Mykonos, a wild beach is a beach with out parasols, lounge chairs, a bar or Europop blasting out over the loudspeakers. We pulled up and were astounded with the Caribbean blue waters. Walking down the trail I spotted a preoccupied looking man sitting on a stoop. Kiki! We found him before the bbq had even started burning for the day. I was thrilled.
We hit the sand and Mr French spent the next 20 minutes putting together a shade producing lean-to for me before heading out to sea for a glorious swim. I loved the swim, but as soon as the clock struck one I was anxious to head up to the restaurant, but feeling I should just be savouring the moment. I lasted 1/2 an hour before Mr French burst out laughing at my angst and got up to shake out his towel.
The area in front of Kiki’s is just a patch of dirt with a wall to one side, a church to the other and a aqua marine sea below. There were already people waiting for a table, sitting patiently in a row of chairs. I ordered Mr Fremch take a seat and stood at the door waiting for Kiki to acknowledge our presence.
As the large man lumbered to the door a Greek woman cut in front of me, trying to secure a place before the rest of us. I’ve lived in Paris long enough to make it clear I had been there first. Kiki would have none of it telling me to get in line behind the man in the chair (my very own Mr French) and letting Mme the Greek know she’d be after me.
So what was all the fuss and was it really worth the trek? Chez Kiki is on a large stone paved terrace that hangs above the sea. The branches of a tree create shade for the entire space and there are two windows, each framing a still life of the Greek kitchen beyond. One of the six boys who are constantly buzzing by, serving the 40 or so places, stops by the table asking what you’d like to drink and advising you to go into the kitchen to order your salad.
It is cool and dark in the kitchen, a traditional looking Greek woman stands behind a large refrigerated counter with about a dozen salads, each more original (and delicious) than the next. We negotiate which four we’ll try and she asks about the grill. I’d seen shiny large eggplants being brought to the grill and insisted we try one, while Mr French opted for octopus.
Everything was perfect; the view, the crowd, and especially the food, slow grilled over glowing embers, the eggplant dressed in a finely chopped parsley salad before being brought to our table. Dessert? We opted for swim in the pristine waters below, kissing and splashing in the lapping waves.
* I think we need a new word in the English language to describe the modern phenomenon of adult children who have left the nest but still require regular maintenance.