Winter means a return to hardy leafy greens that can stand up to frost in the garden as well as bold culinary treatment in the kitchen.

Just as real estate professionals have their mantra, “location, location, location,” when describing the properties that are valued most, restaurateurs have their own dictum for success: “staff, staff, staff.” Without a committed, hardworking staff, even the best of fine establishments will falter. And it’s no secret that dissatisfied or dishonest employees, prima donnas, and incompetent managers can and do wreak havoc in both the back and front of the house.

Too many wine buyers approach the buying process without a concrete plan in place. Buying decisions are often made on a whim, driven by supplier, score, or perhaps sommelier ego. To make the buying process more objective, I created a concept that I call “list mapping.”

Despite an interest of specialty cocktails in restaurants, there are probably a few lonely bottles of timeless aperitifs on your backbar that haven’t been touched in months. That’s a shame, because Lillet, Pernod, Punt e Mes, Cynar, and fino Sherry are perfect before-dinner drinks, filled with classic flavors that inspire the taste buds for the meal ahead.

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Last night at the top Manhattan Greek restaurant Milos, I met elegantly spoken businessman George Spiliadis, whose father owns that restaurant and its branches in Montreal, Las Vegas, and soon London. From an early age George was curious about wine, and decided to import Greek wines

February 2015 -Sky Ranch Foundation and Sky Ranch for Boys has awarded a $25,000 grant to support Voices for Children of North Central Florida, Inc. which raises money to help meet the needs of children who are involved in the dependency court system, children who have allegedly been abused, abandoned or neglected.