Archive for the ‘restaurants’ 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!

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.”

Christina Boutari featured in The Tasting Panel

November 15, 2011

“Maybe some of us have trouble pronouncing Moschofilero,” writes Merideth May (veteran wine writer and editor at The Tasting Panel, “but taste this wine under the Boutari label and be witness to a dry blanc de gris at only 11% alcohol that is fresh, crisply textured, and possesses fragrances of orange blossomes and citrus spice. In fact, the 2010 vintage is superb.”

Click here to read Meridith’s profile of Christina in the current issue of the magazine.

Meridith conducted the interview at Petros in Manhattan Beach: click here to read our review of the restaurant.

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!

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…

Greek wine not just for Greek Restaurants

December 2, 2010

Above: The seared scallops paired gorgeously with Boutari Santorini at Naha, one of Chicago’s top destinations for fine dining.

Looking back over a year of tasting a lot of Greek wines and dining in a lot of Greek restaurants (and the many restaurants I experience for my work in Italian wines and beyond), it has occurred to me that the status of Greek wines in the U.S. is similar to that of Italian wines about 20 years ago. Beyond the myriad Greek restaurants in the country and the many Greek gastronomic communities, you typically don’t expect to find Greek wines in non-Hellenic contexts.

But more and more, I’ve been seeing Greek wines pop up on wine lists where you’d least expect it — or at least, you wouldn’t have expected it, even just a few years ago. Recently, I found Greek wines on lists authored by some of the country’s top sommeliers, like Aldo Sohm’s list at Le Bernardin in New York, and Francesco Grosso’s list at Marea, French- and Italian-themed, respectively, high-profile dining destinations.

Above: The cuisine at Naha is pan-Mediterranean and the sommelier and staff have found a number of excellent ways to “apply” Greek wines — in traditional and non-conventional pairings.

One of the more thrilling restaurants I got to try this year was Naha in Chicago, where the restaurant’s pan-Mediterranean menu and farm-to-table approach is complemented by Boutari’s Moschofilero, Santorini, and Naoussa.

Ultimately, it comes down to a very simple set of precepts: wines with balanced alcohol, flavors, and freshness will always win out as the top “food friendly wines,” especially where Mediterranean cuisine is served. After all, as much as you may like big, fat, highly alcoholic, concentrated, fruit-forward Napa Valley Cabernet, there are only so many charred steaks a human being can humanly eat in one year! 😉

500 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60654-7188
(312) 321-6242

Highly recommended…

—Jeremy Parzen (blog master)

Barba Yianni (Chicago): some of the best Greek food I had this year

October 26, 2010

Above: The salad sampler at Barba Yianni in Chicago was one of the best I’ve had this year (Melitzanosalata, Taramosalata, Skordalia).

Sometimes the simplest and most pure things in life are the best. That was certainly the case when I had the good fortune to dine at Barba Yianni, an unassuming family-friendly Greek restaurant in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago earlier this year.

Above: The traditional roast seabass was fantastic and I loved the way it was garnished and dressed. Again, the simplest things in life are often the best, aren’t they?

Since I started working on the Boutari Social Media Project in April of this year, I’ve had the great fortune to eat at some of the best Greek restaurants in the U.S. (Chicago, New York, Houston, San Diego) and many of them take a fascinating haute cuisine approach to traditional Greek cuisine.

Above: There’s nothing like a perfectly roasted chicken. Again, simplicity and a perfect balance in seasoning made this dish stand out among the many Greek meals I’ve had since I began working on this project.

But one of the meals that continues to stick out in my mind (and those of you who follow my blog, Do Bianchi, know that I get to eat out in some of the world’s coolest restaurants thanks to my work) was the meal I had in April at Barba Yianni — a humble, warm taverna where I wasn’t expecting to have one of the best meals of 2010.

And it turns out I’m not alone: after he saw a Tweet about how much I liked my meal, my good friend Anthony, one of the biggest gourmets (not in size but in taste and experience) I know, wrote me to tell me how much he enjoyed his meal here when he was in town guitar shopping (Anthony is also one of the world’s top jazz guitar players!). He travels all over the world and let me tell you: this man knows good food.

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best…

—Jeremy Parzen

Barba Yianni Grecian Taverna
Chicago, IL 60625-2026
(773) 878-6400

Highly recommended

%d bloggers like this: