Apollo Grill opened in Bethlehem in 1998.
THe Lehigh Valley had no idea what’d hit it. With almost 40 appetizers, half portions, drizzled sauces, and seafood cocktails served in martini glasses, The Apollo, as we called it, brought something new to Rust Belt PA. It brought this thing called cuisine to Bethlehem.
I was lucky enough to work at the Apollo a month after it opened. My tenure as Garde Manger was cut short by a near fatal skiing accident. But I remember vividly, when plate of salmon carapccio which I had composed according to the instructions of the sous chef came under scrutiny of the Executive Chef.
“This looks like something served on a cruise ship!”
I had never been on a cruise ship, so I said, “Uh, thanks chef.”
I think, subsequently, he called me a dolt and made me clean stuff.
I arrived in Athens mid day and headed straight to Piraeus to organize the next move. I had done my partying in Paros, and wanted history and beaches.
And I wanted an overnight ferry. Crete was the destination.
I booked a ticket and realized I had about 5 hours to kill.
But I knew what I was gonna do.
I was going bouzouki shopping.
I have a dream, to one day have a room in my house, full of strings instruments. I digital studio with guitars hannging all over the walls. The Parker Fly? Great for serious solos. The Martin cutaway acoustic/electric? For composing. The BC rich? For shredding. The Gibson? For power chords. The Fender? For relaxing and jamming out something bluesy. The Martin Backpacker? For, uh, backpacking. The Ibanez Seven string with an excessively long strap? For re-living high school.
I’m a bit of a ways off, but I would like that room to have some weird shit in it too. Mandolins and Ukuleles and the bouzouki, is the first addition.
I didn’t want to lug around a big one, and the good ones were really expensive. Apparently the large eight string ones aren’t the traditional style, but the new style, and I think they’re ugly anyway.
Shopping around, I found the perfect one. It was little, six strings and carved out of a single piece of wood. It was way too expensive.
Oh well. It’s everywhere you want to be.
Bouzouki in hand, I headed back to the port. I got a few beers and some free wireless, caught upon some email and called my mom. Before I knew it, it was time to get on the boat.
I was real excited when I got my little cabin. I had a porthole! I got another beer and walked all around the boat. I explored deck after deck and bar after bar. It was a big boat and full of people, but everyone seemed to be Greek. And people were sleeping everywhere. I stepped over a dog taking a piss on the floor in the airline seat section and went outside.
The night air on the boat was fresh despite the plume of purple exhaust from the engine.
I decided to get some dinner, realizing I had not eaten all day.
I should’ve heed the Chef’s words. I should’ve eaten beforehand.
The best looking item was something chickeny with a slice of plasticy cheese and mashed goo too smooth to actually be potato. I called the cook a dolt and told him to clean stuff.
Well, not really
The Cretan wine was cheap as hell and curled up in the bottom bunk and fell into darkness.