Archive for the ‘Our recommendations’ category

@Avli_Restaurant we can’t wait to eat there! Thanks @DrinkGreekWine!

January 31, 2012

Ever since the folks @DrinkGreekWine mentioned that they enjoyed some Naoussa (Xinomavro) at Avli Estiatorio in Winnetka (Chicago), we’ve been dying to get there!

Avli Estiatorio
566 Chestnut St
Winnetka, IL 60093-2228
(847) 446-9300

We grabbed these photos from their Facebook. Definitely on our next trip to Chicago! Looks AWESOME!

We can’t wait to try @StellasRichmond

January 3, 2012

From the department of “so much great food, so little time”…

We can’t wait to try Stellas in Richmond Virginia.

Simply Stella

By Tanya Cauthen
Richmond Magazine

Richmond culinary legend is far from retired.

To anyone who has met her, she is simply Stella. During her 40-plus years in Richmond, Stella Dikos has become a culinary icon, whether she was at The Village, Joe’s Inn, the eponymously named Stella’s, or her daughter and son-in-law’s restaurants — Sidewalk Cafè and 3 Monkeys, to name a few.

Born in German-occupied Greece in 1942, Stella was 4 when her mother died, and her father was a hard-working tailor. “He pushed me; he expected so much of me. I think that’s why I work so hard,” she says, before adding, “We weren’t rich.”

When presented with a marriage proposal by Stavros Dikos — a young man from a neighboring village who had gone to America to create his future — Stella saw new possibilities for her life. She came to the United States on May 10, 1962, joining Stavros at his restaurant, The Village. Stella learned the business by doing a little bit of everything and realized she had found her calling. “I discovered I loved people and they loved me,” she says, beaming. She and her husband worked hard and started a family — they had a daughter, Katrina, and a son, Demietri.

The Dikoses sold The Village in 1980 and helped expand Joe’s Inn, owned and run by Stella’s brother, Nick Kafantaris. Eventually it was time for something new, so in 1983 they opened Stella’s on Harrison Street. In 1995, the Dikoses closed Stella’s. “It was time,” Stella says. She focused on her family and young grandchild.

But within two years, Stella’s was reborn at a new Main Street location — as a partnership between Stella and her daughter. The restaurant had a nice run until 2005, when, in a seemingly sudden move, Stella’s closed again. “My husband was ailing,” Stella explains. “I needed to take care of him.”

Of course, Stella hasn’t stopped cooking. She can still be found most mornings prepping food at 3 Monkeys, which is owned by Katrina and Stella’s son-in-law Johnny Giavos. “I need to feed people,” Stella says, smiling. “It’s what makes me happy.”

Goumenissa, scenes from the village (a personal favorite)

December 6, 2011

Una faccia, una razzaOne face, one race… The Greeks love that Italian saying (which refers to the two nations’s shared Mediterranean kinship).

Some people call me a Zelig: I have one of those faces and no matter what Mediterranean country I visit, I generally fit in. And such was the case in Greece.

But when we visited the small and wonderful village of Goumenissa in Northern Greece, the villagers could pick me out as a foreigner from a mile away.

And they couldn’t understand why an American, with a camera, was so fascinated by their town.

My money was no good there: when I photographed the fish monger, he prepared a package of fish for me; at the bakery, the baker wouldn’t let me pay for her breads…

Sometimes, when life becomes to hectic and I feel overwhelmed by the rhythms of modern living, I think about and long for Goumenissa, mon amour

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Btw, I still have one more post in my series of posts on Goumenissa… stay tuned!

The best gyros and souvlaki in Athens, Greece? Thanasis!

September 22, 2011

It was @LivingInGreece who first suggested that I visit Thanasis in the Monastiraki district of Athens. But upon further investigation, I discovered that nearly everyone agrees: Thanasis does the best gyros and souvlaki in the city. Here’s what I ate:

Mitropoleos 69, Athens 10555, Greece
+30 21 0324 4705

Highly recommended.

A great U.S.-based resource for Greek music

August 4, 2011

One of the greatest things about social media is that it seamlessly connects people with similar interests. A recent #FollowFriday over on Twitter led us to discover a wonderful U.S.-based resource for Greek music import CDs, in Greek Town, Chicago, IL.

From Dimotika to Kritika to Laika, you’ll find at and the disks ship from Chicago, so no international shipping charges. Perfect, no?

It was thanks to the amazing and wonderful Maria A. Karamitsos, a Greek writer based in Chicago, who included us in her #ff. We highly recommend her Twitter feed as a great resource to discover and explore Greek culture in the U.S. and Europe. “I love Greece,” she wrote yesterday on Twitter, because it’s a magical & beautiful place w/ a rich history & beautiful people.”

Thanks again, Maria!

“New Greek cuisine” at Koukoumavlos in Fira, Santorini

June 27, 2011

Marina Boutari treated us to a seat one of Santorini’s most coveted tables at Koukoumavlos in Fira, where we sampled some contemporary Greek cuisine crafted by the deft hand of chef and owner Nikos Pouliasis.

Highlights for me were the yoghurt mousse and red mullet caviar topped with mint gel (above)…

And this fava bean “flan,” topped with fried seaweed, toasted almonds, and a fruit reduction.

Φηρά, Fira, Thira – Fira 84700, Greece
+30 2286 023807

The wine list features a broad selection of Santorini and Greek wines at reasonable prices, as well as a hand-picked short list of international blockbusters, including the 2005 Silex by Dageneau.

Highly recommended.

Where Greece meets California cuisine delicious sparks fly!

December 17, 2010

This week, the Boutari Social Media Project blogmaster finally made it to Petros in Manhattan Beach, California, where owner Petros Benekos has crafted an irresistible pairing of “Hellenic and California cuisines.”

His fresh fruit salads, like the cantaloupe salad above, are sourced from his own garden at his ranch in Los Olivos, California. When in season, you’ll find figs and peaches (from what my server told me, it would be worth the trip back for either!). The ingredients were fresh and delicious but the thing that took it over the top was the drizzling of Greek honey, sourced especially by Petros for his restaurants (he has one in Los Olivos now, too).

According to my server, the bees responsible for this ambrosia feed on lavender flowers. “I could drink that stuff,” she exhorted, rolling her eyes in feigned delight. Waiter, waiter: I’ll have what she’s having!

I loved the Horiatiki flatbread with avocado to give it classic California touch…

You can imagine how much gyro I’ve eaten this year! While I’m still going to award my “best gyro of the year” to the Houston Greek Festival (where the Greek mama’s touch and love just gave it that extra special something), I can’t conceal that I INHALED Petros’ excellent interpretation of this classic Hellenic-American favorite. I don’t know how he does it, but it was light and devoid of the greasiness that weighs down so much of the gyro served in this country. Fast food can be so good when it’s prepared with some thought and care. I loved it.

I regret that I didn’t order it but the nice ladies sitting next to me allowed me to photograph their lamb tacos with sweet potato fries. How fun is that?

It’s not too much of a stretch to picture Tracie P and me sipping some Moschfilero by the sea in the very near future. 😉

—Jeremy Parzen (blogmaster)

451 Manhattan Beach Blvd #b110
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310) 545-4100

Highly recommended…

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