Normally, open flames in the dining room is a bad thing. But at My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, it's a nightly affair. Staff have grown adept at carefully lighting batches of kefalograviera cheese at tablesides to create one of the cuisine's most memorable dishes: saganaki. This flaming appetizer sets the gooey, flavorful stage for a parade of traditional Greek dishes. Chefs shave off tender cuts of beef and lamb into gyros while tossing spaghetti in garlic, feta, and mizitrha. Even pizzas come topped with feta and gyro meat, making every bite taste like a Grecian feast.
WineTasting.org and its founder, wine expert and PBS television host Mark Phillips, enlighten budding oenophiles on the intricacies of wine tasting through a variety of media, including online classes, events, Phillips' book Swallow This, and his TV show. His sundry lessons teach devotees valuable vino insights, such as how to get wine to the right temperature, the differences between glass types, and when it's OK to drop ice cubes into glasses of white. Phillips approaches each lecture with a comedic, unpretentious attitude, ensuring that patrons can easily bolster their knowledge of the subject without having to bribe wine-bar waiters.
WineStyles’ inspiration for its wine-tasting parties began, of all places, at a backyard barbecue. Some friends at the barbecue found themselves with too many bottles of wine. As an experiment, they decided to taste the wines blindly, so as not to be influenced by price or packaging. This impromptu tasting became the template for WineStyles, a boutique designed to help you choose a wine simply by taste. That is, wines here aren’t categorized by varietal or region, but instead by one of eight taste profiles: crisp, silky, rich, and bubbly for whites; fruity, mellow, bold, and nectar for reds. However, patrons interested in knowing more about their selected bottle can still do so—each bottle comes with a description of its characteristics and suggested food pairings.
Those looking to learn even more about wines can attend one of WineStyles’ weekly tastings or discovery classes. During these events, certified specialists explore everything from the history of different varietals to current trends in wine drinking, such as which wine goes best with texting. Different levels of wine-club membership give participants two to three bottles a month (each selected by a Masters Wine Panel), invitations to private tastings, and discounts toward additional purchases.