Greek Food and Mediterranean Cuisine:

Windmills in Chios, an Island in the Eastern Mediterranean

When we hear the word Mediterranean, we think of sunshine, beaches, relaxation and delicious food. The Mediterranean, however, is a big sea surrounded by many cultures from Spanish, to French, to Moroccan. When we reach the eastern Mediterranean Sea, we find Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, Cypriot, Syrian and Egyptian cuisine, to name a few, and since most of these cultures were part of the Ottoman Empire and the Byzantine Empire before that one will find many dishes, such as Baklava, Dolmas, Baba Ghanoush, and Hummus, that are shared by many places and have slight regional differences from recipe. Greek food is a local variant of “Mediterranean cuisine,” and Jake and Telly’s Greek Taverna brings our family’s traditional recipes to you. Come to Old Colorado City on the West Side of Colorado Springs and enjoy Jake’s special brand of Greek hospitality in the shadow of Pike’s Peak! OPA!

Some Greek regional variants in Mediterranean cuisine:

Souvlaki and Kebabs:

Meat on a stick that has been grilled over an open fire is a staple of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Black Sea cuisine from time immemorial and Jake and Telly’s continues this ancient tradition. Souvlaki (σουβλάκι) literally translates into English as “skewer,” though around Athens the dish is sometimes referred to as kalamaki (καλαμάκι), which means small stick or reed. Each culture has its own marinade, and in Greece, the most common meat used is pork.

Jake, our Chef and owner, has created a delicious pork souvlaki and a succulent lamb kebab made with locally sourced pork and world famous Colorado lamb. He chose to use the two different words because Jake and Telly’s souvlaki only contains meat and the kebab also has onion and bell-pepper on the skewer with the lamb. Giving them different names makes the kitchen’s processes smoother.

Grilled meat on a stick is central to Greek and eastern Mediterranean cuisine.

Whether you call it souvlaki, kalamaki, or kebab, Jake and Telly’s brings the Greek variant of this Mediterranean dish to Old Colorado City.

Hummus, a staple of Mediterranean cuisine, is made with Garbanzo beans also known as chickpeas

Chick-peas (or Garbanzo beans) are the central ingredient in our house-made hummus.

Hummus:

Hummus presents us with one of the more interesting variants in Eastern Mediterranean cuisine. Made with chick-peas (which are also called garbanzo beans) and garlic, this smooth paste is a staple of Middle Eastern and Greek food. But not all Greek restaurants serve hummus, and this confuses people when they come to a Greek restaurant and ask for hummus and are told “we don’t serve that here.” The reasoning for this is that hummus is not part of the traditional cuisines in some regions. While Greece is a small nation, there were Greek populations throughout the Ottoman Empire. In Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Istanbul, the Greek population often served hummus. In Athens, Thessalonica, and throughout central Greece, however, this Middle Eastern staple was not part of the cuisine. 

Here at Jake and Telly’s, you can be guaranteed that we serve hummus here. Our hummus is made from scratch in our kitchens and part of several of our popular appetizers.

Falafel:

Falafel, like hummus, is a vegetarian dish made with garbanzo beans and is a common vegetarian dish throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. Jake and Telly’s serves fantastic house-made falafel in a sandwich and as an appetizer. They are fantastic with our tzatziki sauce!

Baklava:

If you think about Greek desserts, baklava is one of the first things to spring to mind. It is a Mediterranean staple, and one of our most popular desserts. If you are looking for debate, ask someone from Greece, Turkey, or Lebanon which culture “invented” baklava. You’ll get a different answer from each person. If you ask someone from Syria, Iraq, or somewhere else, they may tell you that it is a part of Middle Eastern cuisine and originated there instead! Baklava’s history is interesting, but the most important thing you need to know at Jake and Telly’s Greek Taverna is that it’s delicious! We make our Baklava from scratch in our kitchens, prepare it according to Yia-Yia’s Greek recipe, and serve it with Greek hospitality. For something different, Jake sometimes makes a cheesecake with a baklava crust. Ask your server if baklava cheesecake is available today.
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Jake and Telly’s house made Falafel

Jake and Telly’s house made Falafel brings the eastern Mediterranean to Colorado Springs.

Jake and Telly’s house-made baklava and Greek Coffee is a Greek example of an eastern Mediterranean staple

Jake and Tellys Baklava is the star of our dessert menu.

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Greek Coffee:

Greek Coffee Turkish Coffee, or Arabic Coffee: What do you call it? Well, at Jake and Telly’s we call it Greek coffee! Coffee was introduced to the Ottoman Empire and the first coffee shop, or kafenio (καφενείο) in the Greek, was opened in 1457. Greek coffee and Turkish coffee are, essentially, the same thing, while Arabic coffee is infused with cardamom and the Armenian variant includes cardamom and orange blossom water. All types are prepared the same way; one boils finely ground coffee, sugar and water in a pot called a briki (μπρίκι) until the coffee is brewed and a thick natural foam called crema forms on top. Coffee prepared this way is central to Mediterranean culture, and the Greek kafenios were simply the place to be in the villages.

If you visit Greece and find yourself in a kafenio, there are three ways to prepare Greek Coffee:

    1. Sketos (σκέτος) is for the hard core coffee drinker. It is prepared with one spoonful of coffee, one demitasse of water and nothing else. It is a thick, rich coffee that will really get your eyes open.
    2. Metrios (μέτριος) is Jake and Telly’s default recipe and the most common way to prepare a Greek coffee. It is prepared with one spoonful of coffee, one spoonful of granulated sugar, and one demitasse of water. This is not as bitter as sketos, but might not be as good for your teeth.
    3. Glykos (γλυκός) will make your dental hygienist unhappy with you. This is an extra sweet variant of Greek coffee and is prepared with one spoonful of coffee, two spoonfuls of sugar, and one demitasse of water.
    4. Vary glykos (βαρύ γλυκός) is the sweetest variant of Greek coffee and gives us a sugar high even thinking about it. This variant of Greek coffee is made with three spoonfuls of sugar, one spoonful of coffee, and one demitasse of water.

Greek coffee and our house-made Baklava is a fantastic way to finish off any meal at Jake and Telly’s. The nutty baklava will dance sweetly across your taste buds and balance perfectly with the coffee and give you the energy to dance the night away. Come, join us on the patio and enjoy a relaxing evening in Old Colorado City.

Souvlaki and Kebabs:

Meat on a stick that has been grilled over an open fire is a staple of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Black Sea cuisine from time immemorial and Jake and Telly’s continues this ancient tradition. Souvlaki (σουβλάκι) literally translates into English as “skewer,” though around Athens the dish is sometimes referred to as kalamaki (καλαμάκι), which means small stick or reed. Each culture has its own marinade, and in Greece, the most common meat used is pork.

Jake, our Chef and owner, has created a delicious pork souvlaki and a succulent lamb kebab made with locally sourced pork and world famous Colorado lamb. He chose to use the two different words because Jake and Telly’s souvlaki only contains meat and the kebab also has onion and bell-pepper on the skewer with the lamb. Giving them different names makes the kitchen’s processes smoother.

Grilled meat on a stick is central to Greek and eastern Mediterranean cuisine.

Whether you call it souvlaki, kalamaki, or kebab, Jake and Telly’s brings the Greek variant of this Mediterranean dish to Old Colorado City.

Whether you call it stuffed eggplant, Melitzaná Yemistá, or Imam Bayildi, you’ll love Jake and Telly’s version of this eastern Mediterranean staple

Our stuffed eggplant (μελιτζάνα γεμιστά) is a roasted eggplant stuffed with tomatoes, feta cheese, honey, sautéed spinach, and our house made basil tomato sauce.

Stuffed Eggplant (Μελιτζάνα Γεμιστά)

Throughout the eastern Mediterranean, stuffed eggplant is a common dish in Greek, Turkish, and Egyptian cuisine. Eggplant is roasted, stuffed with tomatoes, onions, and seasoned with a delicate blend of herbs and spices. An apocryphal story about this dish is that once, a priest was given some very expensive olive oil and his wife made this dish. The priest enjoyed the dish so much that he asked that it be prepared every night for the rest of the week. Not long after this splurge, the priest asked about the olive oil. When his wife explained that it was already gone and why, the priest fainted. Jake has a fantastic version of this dish served over pasta. Once you’ll try Jake’s version, you’ll know why the priest fainted.

Greek food is Mediterranean cuisine with a twist:

Greek food is a particular regional variant of Mediterranean cuisine, and you will find incredible similarities throughout the region. But Greek cooking is unique to itself, containing a spirit that belongs only to Greece. Jake and Telly’s brings you the Topakas family’s take on the spirit of Greek cuisine.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the nuances of Greek and Mediterranean foods. We also hope that you explore our menus and join us at Jake and Telly’s soon.

OPA!

Photo of Jake offering his Dolmadakia, vegetarian stuffed Grape leaves
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