Archive for the ‘friends of Boutari’ category

Roozbeh Farahanipour: freedom fighter fan of Boutari

November 6, 2010

One of the most interesting things about the 2010-2011 Boutari Social Media Project has been the wide range of fascinating people we’ve met (virtually) along the way. Many of them have been Greek or Greek nationals living in the U.S. But the broad appeal of Greek cuisine and Greek wine also attracts wine lovers and restaurateurs from across the globe.

No lover of Greek wine and fan of Boutari has fascinated us more than Roozbeh Farahanipour (right), an Iranian nationalist, freedom fighter, internationally acclaimed author and activist, and owner of a wonderful neighborhood-oriented and family-friendly Greek restaurant in the Westwood-UCLA district of Los Angeles, Delphi Restaurant.

“I’m fan of Boutari, specifically the Naoussa Grande Reserve,” writes Roozbeh, “but the most popular wines at Delphi are the Kretikos red and white. Santorini also has fans, too. And we regularly serve the Naoussa, Nemea, and Moschofilero.”

You can read more about Roozbeh and what he has done for his cause on the Wiki and look for him on Facebook and Twitter, too.

The Best Greek Wine List in New York? In the U.S.? The world?

October 20, 2010

In our humble opinion, there is no better Greek wine list in the U.S. than the one curated by this man, Kamal Kouiri, at one of New York City’s premier Greek restaurants, Molyvos in Midtown.

We’ve been to a lot of Greek restaurants this year: never before have we seen a Greek wine list with such breadth, balance, and passion.

At 25 pages, replete with verticals for the red and white wines of Greece, Kouiri’s list is a veritable encyclopedia of Greek wines.

Where many sommeliers use their lists merely to catalog their wines, the thirty-something Kouiri uses his for his patrons’ education as well. Here’s a paragraph lifted from his “intro to Greek wine”:

Wine has been an important part of Greek culture for over 4,000 years as the numerous archeological discoveries throughout Greece indicate. The ancient Greeks knew the nutritional value of wine well, as it became an inseparable part of their daily regimen. They loved to organize intellectual gatherings called symposia where they would eat and talk about philosophical subjects while drinking wine. Our ancestors also realized the important influence of the local ecosystem on the characteristics of wine. In recent years, the Greek wine industry has undergone tremendous improvements with serious investments in modern wine making technology. The new generation of native winemakers is being trained in the best wine schools around the world. What makes Greek wine so unique are the more than 300 indigenous grape varieties grown there, some of which have been cultivated since ancient times. Many of the world’s best wine critics agree that the distinct flavors come from these native grape varieties. Many well-known international grape varieties are also used in Greek wine making. This extensive variety of grapes together with the moderate Greek climate, plentiful sunshine, low average rainfall and soils of moderate fertility combine to provide an excellent environment for the production of high quality wines. The beauty about this land is that it provides distinctive geological cites, like Makedonia, Thraki, Thessaly, Epirus and Peloponnese in the main land, Kephalonia & Corfu in the Ionian sea, Santorini, Crete, Paros, Samos, Rhodes and Limnos in the Aegean Sea.

You can download a PDF version of the list by visiting the restaurant’s website here. Be sure to peruse the glossary at the end.

871 7th Ave # 4
New York, NY 10019-3923
(212) 582-7500

Highly recommended.


October 8, 2010

Here are some scenes from the TRULY AMAZING Greek Festival going on right now in Houston, Texas.

Now in its 44th year, the Greek festival is run entirely by volunteers from the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Houston. In many cases, families have been volunteering for three and four generations!

All of the recipes are decided upon by committees of volunteers (each headed by a chairperson) and although many Greek restaurateurs participate in the event, there is no advertising whatsoever. The super family-friendly event is an entirely homegrown and organically conceived festival that promotes Greek culture and cuisine. All the proceeds go back in to the community’s beloved Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

And the food… aaaaaa… the food… the FOOD IS DELICIOUS!

A touch of Basil in Naperville (Chicago)

August 24, 2010

The Boutari Social Media Project recently caught up with one of the nicest and most talented dudes in the Greek restaurant industry, the inimitable Jimmy Petsas (left, with his beautiful wife Taryn) owner of Basil’s Greek Dining in Naperville, Illinois.

Jimmy’s family hails from Tripoli (in the Peloponnese, central Greece, and even though he grew up on the North Shore of Chicago, he spent his summers as a kid every year in his family’s homeland, where he learned to speak Greek and where he mastered authentic Greek cuisine. Here are some highlights from his menu.

The thirty-something Jimmy has worked in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years. “I’ve always loved the pace of the business and the customer contact. There’s a certain energy that the restaurant industry gives you,” said Jimmy.

One of the things that sets Basil’s apart, said Jimmy, is presentation. “We’re very proud of our plate presentation at the restaurant,” he told us. See exhibit’s A and B, above and below….

Even something like the classic Greek Village Salad at Basil’s has that “special flair” that Jimmy looks for.

The name Basil (vasilikos in Greek) was inspired by the herb that “you find in every Greek home,” said Jimmy. “It’s the secret ingredient of Greek cuisine.”

When in Naperville, be sure to try Basil’s housemade Gyros and tell Jimmy that we sent you.

Basil’s currently features 5 Boutari wines by the glass.

Basils Greek Dining
4000 Fox Valley Center Drive
Aurora, IL 60504
(630) 692-1300

The Gulf Coast: where there are Greeks, there is Greek wine

August 12, 2010

Above: Bakkhus Taverna is family-owned Greek restaurant in Kemah, Texas, on the Gulf Coast. In Kemah, you’ll find great Greek food, super friendly people, and great Greek wine. That’s the father of owner Demetrios Kouloumoundras, “Papa Nick” and Chef José Figueroa.

Where there is seafront property, there are Greeks. And where there are Greeks, there is great food and great wine.

Owner Demetrios Kouloumoundras is a second-generation Greek who constructed a little corner of his home country in this Galveston Bay resort town just over two years ago.

Above: Bakkhus Taverna is no cookie-cutter tourist trap. It’s a genuine Greek taverna, owned and run by a Greek family. Here, Greek cuisine (like the Saganaki above) is queen. The bounty of the Gulf of Mexico provides the freshest fish and shellfish daily.

When you visit Bakkhus Taverna, you will find fresh ingredients and traditional Greek cooking, friendly faces, and live Greek music and belly dancing.

Above: Classic gyros is o-so tasty after a day of walking up and down the Kemah 1950s-era boardwalk.

Check out the Bakkhus Taverna Facebook for updates, special offers, and events, like the August 25 2nd Anniversary Bash. Sound like a blast!

Bakkhus Taverna
605 6th Street
Kemah, TX 77565-3089
(281) 538-1800

Exceedingly friendly staff, family-friendly menu and atmosphere, traditional Greek appetizers (moderately priced) and classic Greek entrées (grilled and sautéed fish and shellfish, lamb, etc.), excellent by-the-glass wine program including a number of Greek wines. And don’t miss the playful specialty cocktail menu!

Highly recommended (Kemah is a great place to spend a summer day with the family, with something for everyone).

Greek wine in Detroit, a dispatch from a hometown son

June 24, 2010

This just in via our Facebook page:

Back in my hometown of Detroit and decided to head to Greektown for my brother’s b-day celebration. A wonderful night with my family and we had some great Greek food (hard to find in Reno). The Platos Platter was great and we topped off the night with a very nice bottle of Boutari Moschofilero. Perfect for a warm summery night. Thanks Boutari!

—Andy Pasternak, Reno, NV

Andy and his lovely wife JoAnn are adventurous food and wine lovers based in Reno, Nevada (and they’re some of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet). Thank YOU, Andy! 🙂

Greek wine in San Diego: the amazing Yanni’s Bistro in Poway

June 23, 2010

Let’s face it: while “America’s Finest City” is known for its beautiful beaches, its great nightlife scene, and the natives’ love of surfing, sport fishing, and other extreme sports, San Diego is not exactly what you would call a renowned fine-dining destination. That’s just one of the reasons that Boutari webmaster Jeremy Parzen (a native San Diegan) was all-the-more surprised to find a hidden gem of a restaurant, Yanni’s Bistro in Poway, an inviting and family-friendly eatery tucked away in an otherwise anonymous Southern California strip mall. Owner Yanni Pihas is the consummate restaurateur, a natural when it comes to warm hospitality… and great food.

Yanni does all the Greek classics and he does them exceedingly well. He also has a smattering of Italian dishes on his menu. But his seafood… aaaaa… his seafood… The mussels in saffron were so fresh and tasty. Yanni makes the most of San Diego’s “fruits of the sea.”

When asked one of the classics of Greek cuisine on his menu not to be missed, Yanni produced a steaming plate of grilled loukaniko (loo-KAHN-ee-koh), the quintessential Greek sausage. Simply delicious…

The pièce de résistance of our meal there was “Cappellini Tourkolimano”: shrimp, tomato, feta, garlic, and basil. The freshness of the seafood combined with Yanni’s deft hand (perfectly al dente cappellini) delivered a truly world-class dining experience.

A natural-born host and consummate restaurateur, Yanni is also an avid wine collector and his wine list includes some fantastic Italian and Californian selections. The affordable pricing extends even to older bottlings of collectible red wines like Xinomavro and Nebbiolo (from Italy).

Yanni’s Bistro and Cellar
12205 Scripps Poway Parkway
Poway, CA 92064
(858) 527-0011

Chapeau bas, Yanni! Looking for the next time we get to dine in your fine establishment!

Look for Yanni’s Facebook fan page, too.

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