Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Pappas publicist

July 10

“This is Georgea,” said Jennifer Neugeboren. She pronounced it "geor-GEE-uh."
Jennifer's a newbie publicist at Baltz & Co., having been there for three months, and Georgea is their intern, a recent graduate of the French Culinary Institute.
I asked Georgea what ethnicity her name was.
“What’s your last name?” I love Greek last names. The longer the better, perhaps because my own last name is so short, lacking even a silent 'e'.
Not long, but interesting nonetheless.
“What a great restaurant family name,” I said, because of course the Pappases are a near legendary family of restaurateurs in Houston — owners of Pappas Restaurants Inc., which includes perhaps the greatest list of restaurant names in the history of the planet: Pappadeaux, Pappasito’s Cantina, Pappas Seafood House, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Pappas Bar B-Q, Pappas Burger, Pappas Grill & Steakhouse, and Yia Yia Mary’s Pappas Greek Kitchen.
“That’s my family!” said Georgea. Hurray!
Georgea is in fact the daughter of Christopher Pappas, who, apart from being a principal in his own company, is the CEO of Luby’s. In a small modification of Greek tradition, all of Mr. Pappas’s children, men and women, have Christopher as their middle name. This often caused confusion on the first day of school, when teachers expected Georgea to be a burly Greek lad, which she is not. Not even close.
We were at Elizabeth, a two-month old restaurant in Nolita, where the consulting chef is Doug Psaltis (Greek) and the executive chef is John Iconomou (French — just kidding; he’s Greek, too). Both chefs are veterans of Country, owned by Armenian chef-operator Geoffrey Zakarian.
I’m sure Turks are nonetheless welcome at Elizabeth.

What we ate (we drank a 2007 New Harbor Sauvignon Blanc from the New Zealand region of Marlborough):

Sweet corn with poached egg, chorizo and almonds
Beef tartare with horseradish crème, capers and quail egg
Grilled squid with garlic cream and spicy pepper salad
Sweet pea risotto with Parmesan, pea shoots and mint
Grilled salmon with meyer lemon, roe and potato pearls
Organic chicken with couscous, dried fruit and green olives
Warm berry crumble

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