Archive for the ‘people’ category

Gov. Mike Dukakis tastes Boutari Vinsanto

March 13, 2012

One of our favorite Greek restaurateurs in the U.S., Iranian-born freedom fighter Roozbeh Farahanipour, just sent us these photos of Greek-American politician Mike Dukakis who visited Roozbeh’s restaurant Delphi Greek in Los Angeles with a group of U.C.L.A. students.

Roozbeh is one of Boutari’s biggest fans and his wine list and restaurant are a veritable temple to Boutari.

At the end of the meal, reports Roozbeh, the group shared a bottle of Boutari Vinsanto — to everyone’s delight!

“A Greek Thanksgiving?” by @CalGreekGirl

November 18, 2011

We just loved this post by Greek-American Mary Platis (seated to the far left), who lives in San Diego, California.

From the beginning, attending school in America as a Greek girl was very strange. In kindergarten, we learned about the Native-Americans and pilgrims. We all acted in a play with funny pilgrim hats and Native-American vests that we had made in class. Can you imagine a Greek girl as a pilgrim? Well, in many ways I guess I was one. My mother and father made the big pilgrimage from Greece; was that the same thing? In my house we learned about the Germans and all the devastation they caused the Greeks during WWII. Was this the same thing? As a kindergartner, I couldn’t figure out where pilgrims fit into our story or where they fit into my heritage.

What confused me the most was this special meal we were suppose to have on Thanksgiving Day – turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, corn..CORN! Then came the feast. We all gathered around the lunch tables in class and ate this funny meal that the parents helped prepare. Where was my mom? And what was this food? Can you imagine what I might have been thinking as a five-year old? This was far from what we had in my Greek home. We ate a big fat leg of lamb, spanakopita, moussaka, and baklava! Where did I fit in here? I didn’t.

Click here to read the rest of her wonderful post and find how she “discovered” Thanksgiving…

Christina Boutari at Delphi Greek in Los Angeles

October 13, 2011

Above, from left, Kevin Castro and Amber Hanley (Southern Wine & Spirits), Christina Boutari, and Roozbeh Farahanipour, owner Delphi Greek, Los Angeles.

Last week, Christina Boutari visited Delphi Greek, one of the most popular Greek restaurants in Los Angeles and home to one of Boutari’s biggest fans, the inimitable Roozbeh Farahnipour.

Roozbeh has compiled one of the greatest collections of Boutari wines in the U.S., including many older vintages of Naoussa and rare and hard-to-find bottlings.

Roozbeh loves Boutari wines so much that he has created what he calls the “Temple of Boutari,” a page of his website devoted exclusively to Boutari wines:

The food at Delphi is great and there’s a lot more to Roozbeh than meets the eye: look for a special profile of Roozbeh in coming weeks!

Christina Boutari visits Houston Greek Festival next Thurs.! @GreekFest_HouTX

September 27, 2011

Christina Boutari will be in Houston a week from Thurs. (October 6), pouring wine at the Boutari table at the Original Greek Festival of Houston, now in its 45th year.

Christina will also be appearing at the Montrose Whole Foods (701 Waugh Drive) from 3-5 p.m. that day, where she’ll be signing bottles and talking about Greek wine today and her family’s legacy as the winemakers who started it all when they shipped that first bottle of Xinomavro from Naoussa back in the late nineteenth century.

The Original Greek Festival of Houston is one of the largest continuously operating heritage festivals in the U.S. today. (Click here for our coverage of last year’s festival.)

It is run entirely by volunteers from the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral and all the food is strictly homemade. No vendors or fast food restaurateurs here! Only the real deal. Many of the recipes have been handed down by church members from generation to generation.

Born in Thessaloniki in northern Greece, not far from the Naoussa winery founded by her great grandfather, Christina Boutari studied organizational psychology at the London School of Economics before joining the family business. Greek wine “is versatile and intriguing, and has huge potential in the U.S.,” says Christina, who serves as the company’s exports manager for the Americas and Australia. Her favorite wine by Boutari? She doesn’t skip a beat in answering: “Moschofilero. I love to serve it with traditional Greek pasta tossed with seasonal vegetables like zucchini, tomatoes, and eggplant. But when I pair it with Asian cuisine, the results are equally amazing.” In her free time, Christina occasionally performs as a dancer in Athens, where she follows the contemporary and improvisational dance scene.

Greek Easter at one of our favorite restaurants

April 20, 2011

Above: David Schneider, owner and executive chef at one of the best Greek restaurants in the U.S., Taxim, in Chicago.

This just in from one of our favorite Greek restaurants in the U.S., Taxim:

In celebration of Greek Easter we will be roasting whole lambs over an open fire this Sunday, April 24th. The lamb will be served with traditional fixings over 5 courses which will include tsoureki bread, magiritsa soup, kokoretsi skewers, xortopites, the whole lamb roast with potatoes and bulgur, and a dessert of manouri cheese and candied mandarin oranges. The 5-course meal will be $75 per person. It commences at 5pm with the tradition of cracking red eggs!

For reservations or more informa tion please call 773-252-1558.

Thank you and Kalo Pasxa!

Click here for our most recent post on Taxim and what we ate there!

Best Greek restaurant 2010

December 8, 2010

Above: There are many great Greek restaurants in the U.S. today, but Chicago restaurateur David Schneider (above) is arguably the category’s most vibrant young proponent.

It’s a tough call. I’ve been to so many amazing Greek restaurants in the U.S. this year, including Michael Psilakis’ Kefi on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (and I have yet to check out Petros in Manhattan Beach, California, where I’ll be dining early next week).

But looking back on a year of eating fantastic Greek food, from the homey family-run Greek eateries to the fast-food gyros joints, from the fine dining white-table-cloth venues to the hour-long waits for a table at the bustling seafood restaurants in Astoria, Queens, my number-one pick for best Greek restaurant in the U.S. is David Schneider’s Taxim in Chicago.

Taxim is named for Taksim Square, the center of the Greek district of Istanbul. For anyone even vaguely familiar with the underlying sociopolitical tension, the significance of the provocative metaphor will be immediately apparent. There’s a reason David didn’t name his place “Athens,” “Santorini,” or “Delphi”: he’s trying to take classic great cuisine into a new realm of culinary awareness and he succeeds gloriously.

The aromas and flavors of his kitchen are precise and balanced, pure and judiciously measured. And his wine list, while not biblical in length, offers a well-thought-out selection, including a wonderful however brief flight of rosé wines (something you don’t see in many Greek restaurants in the U.S.).

As much as I enjoyed my meal there (and talking to David about new trends in Greek cuisine today), the thing that impressed me the most was the level of attention to the restaurant’s décor and the venue’s glamor. As much as I loved Kefi in New York this year, I missed the high design and chic feel of Psilakis’ Anthos (and the ambiance of his first white-table-cloth in the City, Oneira; remember that place?).

As I’ve noted before here, Greek food and Greek wine in this country find themselves in a situation similar to that of Italian food and wine 20 years ago: I’m thrilled to see a young and vibrant restaurateur like David taking the category to the next level — with flying colors…

—Jeremy Parzen (blog master)

1558 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 252-1558

Highly recommended

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.

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