Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 21, 2024

Last Friday night, we had the privilege of attending the fourth annual Greek Night in the Charles Commons Ballroom, held by the JHU Hellenic Students Association. The event was a feast for the eyes and stomachs, and attendees — ourselves included! — enjoyed their fill of delicious Greek dishes while watching (and participating in) traditional Greek songs and dances.

Being the food lovers we are, we made a beeline to the buffet table upon arriving. From the moment we approached the buffet we were treated like family. We were offered every single dish on the table from Tiropita (cheese pie) to Pastitsio (delicious lasagna with a layer of bechamel) to Rizogalo (decadently sweet rice pudding). The meal was sponsored by an array of local Greek restaurants including: Samos, The Double T Diners (Maryland diner chain), Timbuktu, Acropolis, Valentino’s and Ikaros. We piled a mountain of authentic cuisine onto our plates and quickly found seats at a festively decorated table. Normally, we are completely enamored by the food before our eyes, but on this night we had prime seats overlooking the dance floor with which we shared our attention between Greek forkfuls.

The St. Nicholas Hellenic Golden Coins, a local dance group from Baltimore’s Greektown directed by Maria Kaimakis, performed traditional Greek dances to songs sung by Maria Pearce and other singers of Apollonia Band. We watched the young women dance in circles, linked arm in arm and wearing skirts that clanged with every step. Pretty soon, members of the Hellenic Students Association joined in with some lucky audience members and paper napkins were flying around everybody, a Greek tradition similar to confetti. The smiles on their faces were contagious and, in no time, we were both clapping to the catchy music and yelling “Opa!”

Despite being slightly distracted by the amazing performances, we were able to scrape our plates clean in no time. After our second (and third, shhhh) helpings, we determined our favorites: the meatballs, Pastitsio and Galaktoboureko. The meatballs were small bites of intense flavor. The Pastitsio, a Greek lasagna with bechamel sauce, left us craving even more. The delicious, yet rich, creamy sauce held the pasta and meat together very well, creating a perfect texture in this dish. And finally, the Galaktoboureko, a custard pie, was a Baklava-like dessert but less flaky and more custardy. It was the perfect ending to our huge meal. Although there is no trace of Greek in either of our bloodlines, we were convinced after the third helping of food that we were and always have been Alex Barberopolis and Georgina Ruppos.

Senior George Petrocheilos, President of the Hellenic Students Association (HSA), organized this event — and we are glad he did.

“As president of the group I am glad to see that it is actually becoming a Hopkins tradition,” Petrocheilos wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “This is my last event as president of the JHU HSA and within the next weeks we will be having elections for a new leader for our organizations. I was one of the initial founders of Greek Night at Hopkins, so this is big deal for me.”

By the end of the night, members of the JHU HSA didn’t have a hard time dragging us out onto the dance floor even though we had no idea what we were doing. Our dance partners were gracious — no one pointed out our clumsiness — and by the end we were almost doing the dance correctly! As we struggled to be as adept at the Greek dances as everyone around us, we couldn’t help thinking about My Big Fat Greek Wedding. We agreed, without a doubt, with Gus Portokalos: There are two kinds of people — Greeks, and everyone else who wishes they were Greek. Between the dancing and the food (we took home tons of leftovers, and even stopped at Spring Fair’s Gyro truck the next day), it couldn’t be truer.

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