It sounds like the start of one of the mildly racist jokes your grandpa told you about the war, but really it’s just a description of a lovely afternoon in Thessaloniki. Upon finding out that the hostel had one-euro white wine and a barbecue, I realized that I could either take a bath in wine or I could do something more productive and make a delicious meal from local products. So after my wine bath, my new European brethren and I walked down to the local fish market off of Aristotelous Square, Thessaloniki’s scenic waterfront area. We had been warned that the freshest catch of the morning would be long gone by 4pm, and had expected to find just the mangled remains of some dubious octopus parts and maybe some lukewarm trout, but we ended up walking out of there with five clean, ice cold, beautiful fish and some fresh local lemons for only 15 euros.
After firing up the grill and throwing together some garlic bread, we went Bobby Flay on that fish; we filled it with sliced lemons, local olive oil, and some spices, wrapped it in foil, and barbecued the shit out of it. Never have I enjoyed cooking for myself so much. Made entirely with products from Thessaloniki, the food was made even better by the raw fish smell we had to endure in the market and the stray cats we had to battle in order to eat it. Watching the sunset and drinking homemade wine from our vantage point near the ancient city walls of the old town was an experience unique to Thessaloniki, and one I won’t soon forget. And neither will the cats, who feasted on fish heads and guts that night.