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Regular readers of my column know my favorite food is Italian food, as most of my reviews seem to land us at an Italian restaurant of some sort. But this week I decided to expand my horizon by attending the Greek Food Festival.

This was a great opportunity to try new foods while helping a great cause at the same time. The festival is held at the St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church (5300 El Camino Road). It offers a variety of famous Greek cuisine, pastries, beverages, live music, dancing, the sale of cultural and religious items, church tours, and a very nice kids’ area.

In conjunction with the festival they sponsor a 26.2 mile Torch Relay run to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project, which receives 100 percent of the money raised from the run.

I started out by going to the tent that was serving Greek dinners and got the Lamb with Rice Pilaf and a side of Lasagna. This was a very tasty start to my night. As I walked around the festival there were many food items I was unfamiliar with and did not know what they were. So, I reached out and texted a friend of Greek dissent.

Soon I had a text telling me what items I had to try.

My source said go to the Taverna booth and start with the Lamb Chops, which is exactly what I did. They were grilling the marinated lamb chops right there. The aroma was fantastic and the lamb chops were even better.

Honestly, I wanted to order more, but I was here to try many different foods so it was on to what was next on the list. At the same booth I ordered the Greek Sausage with Peppers and it was as good as the lamb chops. They served the sausage on pita bread.

My source was 2 for 2 on recommendations so far. His final suggestion for main food was something called Saganaki, and his exact words were, “It’s a flaming grilled cheese.”

Unfortunately I was getting full and had desserts to try. I had to pass but I saw one someone else ordered and will be going to a Greek restaurant soon to try one. It looked and smelled amazing.

The last item on my recommendation list was something called Loukoumathes. It wasn’t hard to find this booth as it was the one with the longest line, and soon I found out why. A loukoumathes is a little yeast risen dough puff that is deep fried to a golden brown then drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon or powdered sugar.

They were absolutely amazing and very similar to Zeppoles, which is fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon sugar as well. Zeppoles are one of my favorite Italian desserts and now I have a favorite Greek dessert, too.

It’s always nice to learn about other cultures and get to try new things. With Las Vegas being such a melting pot of people it’s nice to get out and attend the various food festivals we have around town to experience the many different cultures and traditions.

If you missed the Greek Food Festival this year be sure to circle the dates on your calendar for 2014. I will be back for sure. I give Greek Food Festival a rating of 3.75 Forks out of 4.

Marco D’Angelo is the senior handicapper at He co-hosts FIRST PREVIEW every Thursday at 10 a.m. on ESPN 1100 AM/98.9 FM. Follow him on twitter: @MarcoInVegas. Contact him at [email protected].

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