Vassilis Souvlaki Greek Taverna on Kingsway, Burnaby

For the good three quarter of this year, my work life had been consumed with what is called Project “ONE”. It was an important cornerstone for a series of ambitious projects that will put in place the world’s largest system that will manage and distribute “fares”. You probably have no idea how archaic existing aviation systems are — many of which are still done on mainframes with green-screen monitors. This is because aviation systems are one of the early adopters of computers and it had been that way for generations. So the so-called Project “ONE” goal is to move systems out of mainframes to an open system — sounds easy but it’s not.

The eight months of hard work were filled with daily voice, web and video conferences because the various teams are located in many parts of the world with the project managed centrally in Vancouver. There were quite a bit travel when face-time is required especially when it comes to plannings. Anyway, this blog entry is dedicated to the “boys and girls” who had so successfully rolled out a swanky new system which is getting rave reviews from airlines all over the world.

To the team members of Project “ONE” — this blog entry is for you.

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We had a little celebration for the successful execution of the project by having a lunch at Vassilis. Timing was bad such that we had been given directive that cost cutting is to strictly enforced because of the expected downturn in the aviation industry viz the meltdown of the financial sector in the US. Going to an Asian place is out of the questions because the white blokes would end up eating nothing. So, we eventually settled for Greek. It narrowed down to either Minoas or Vasssilis.

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We eventually decided on the Vassilis Souvloaki Greek Taverna. Vassilis is located on 6558 Kingsway in Burnaby. That is at the almost eastern end of Kingsway. Parking is plentiful in front of the building and you will not miss it along Kingsway.

Question for you all … does anyone of you know why the Greeks like blue and white so much? I mean, I know the colors on their flag is blue and white but why blue? Just about EVERY Greek restaurant I know paints their restaurant blue and white.

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Inside, it is really spacious with many sections and rooms. This is because this restaurant used to be a mansion of sorts eons before Kingsway became commercialized. All over the place … there are these little plants hanging all over the place. Geez … I was thinking how much time they had to spend watering them. Despite this, the interior were very bright because they installed sky lights (?) that allows natural sunlight into the dining rooms.

We went on a Friday afternoon. I expected lots of people but no, it was just half full the whole time we were there.

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Most of us took a lot of time figuring out what to order. Other than Souvlaki, many of us knows next to nothing about Greek cuisine. You know, hardly anyone ordered drinks at all.

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Surprisingly, they have a really tiny 2-page menu only. It makes the selection easier. I was not very sure but the menus we were given were perhaps just their lunch menu.

Most people will just order the most expensive item because the project is paying! I had planned for $40-$50 per person but according to the menu, $30 will cover it quite nicely.

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We got a couple of their Hot Appetizer Platter. It has spanakopita, kalamari, artichokes, “fektethes” and tzatziki. This one is $29 each which I thought was quite expensive and the most expensive item on the menu. It was great but I would think that this should not have costs that much.

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The above is tzatziki, I think. I said “I think” because this one looked prettier than the blob I normally had with Souvlaki in the food court. How does one normally eat this? I use it like a spread on items like bread, the spanakopita and such. I sometimes apply it on top of the rice too.

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The bread was just so-so but it was served warm. At first glance, the bread looked dry, don’t you think?

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I ordered the Paidakia which is described as “charbroiled loin of lamb chops marinated with fresh herbs and spices, served with Greek salad, rice pilaf and potatoes”. It was quite good. I wished the lamb chops have more meat because about 1/3 of them are bones. Although I am not much of a salad person, I must say I really enjoyed the Greek salad on the side. $16 for the dish above.

I did not go around taking pictures of the team members’ plates because it was quite impossible to move around.

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I think the one above is called Saganaki, pan fried cheese ($9). I wanted to share with you the rusted through plate they served this in and that for some strange reason we all accepted that it was kind of great it was served on this.

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  1. Blue and white. I read somewhere that the flag colours have something to do with the blue skies and the white houses. As in, the blue evokes the blue sky of Greece (which is such a gorgeous blue, as seen in lots of pictures) and the houses are often white, standing out against the backdrop of that gorgeous blue sky.

  2. Oh, JS beat me to it! Haha. Yes. I was going to say the same thing. Do a google image search of Santorini, for example (a Greek island), and you’ll see. That blue sky is really something else.

  3. The blue and white represents the blue sea with the white waves on the flag. Blue and white are classic greek colors because that is what a lot of the scenery looks like (see above: sky, houses, sea, etc).
    Tzatziki is used as a spread on bread or as a dressing on souvlaki or gyro. Try it with french fries, it is amazing!
    BTW, the meatballs are keftethes not fektethes.

  4. Ah yes…the end of engagement celebration. Congrats on the deployment Ben! But finding a restaurant that will make everybody happy is difficult, isn’t it? I’ve since come to the conclusion that when I’m the guy with the meal funding, I get to decide where the team goes. 😛 The last two times, we went to Tropika and everbody really enjoyed themselves (and all for ~$40pp). So I’ve decided for all future team celebratory meals, no more standard chain restaurants – ethnic places all the way!!

  5. I love Vassilis! One of my high school friends got engaged there…

    Their lamb chops are so yummy, but I agree, I wished that there was a couple more or something, since there’s so much bone.

    The beau likes their roast lamb. We’ve never been there for lunch though!

  6. Good place, reliable menu. Been there for many years now.

    Next time you enter a Greek restaurant, shoot a “yassou !” (hello) to the Greek owner. If he/she brings you the food, say “efharisto” (thank you in Greek). They’ll beam right up happily with an immediate “parakalo” (you’re welcome). After that you’ve made an indelible impression on them and they’ll always remember you fondly.

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