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GARDNER'S MARKETS NEW FOOD AND WINE PROGRAM DIRECTOR IS SUSIE FRANCO.
After one year in wine sales, handling multimillion dollar portfolios for Southern Wines & Spirits, Susie Franco is back at Gardner's Markets as Wine and Food Program Director. "We'll do wine tastings as often as we can to incorporate wines into every aspect of the foods we prepare and sell. For instance, when people walk in to pick up crab cake I want them to be able to pick the right wine. I also will put an emphasis on coordinating wines with cheeses," said Franco who has a strong background as a trained chef -- she graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Franco will be working hand in hand with Gardner's Market wine buyers, Ed Furlong and Maurice Adams, in all of Gardner's Markets locations: Coconut Grove, 3117 Bird Ave; South Miami, 7301 SW 57th Ave., Red Road; Pinecrest, 8287 SW 124th St.; or Ocean Reef Club, 26 Dockside Lane.

WINE WEDNESDAYS AT MUNDO
Beginning May 19, 2004, a new wine tasting series: Wine Wednesdays, co-hosted by Barry Alberts, will be held every other Wednesday, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Norman Van Aken's Mundo New World Café. The cost: $10. For information on upcoming tastings call 305 793-3120. Mundo is located at 325 San Lorenzo Avenue in the Village of Merrick Park, Coral Gables. 305 442-6787.

SUN IS RISING OVER SOL KITCHEN WITH CHEF RYAN BROWN
Ryan Brown has been named Chef at Sol Kitchen, a Delray Beach restaurant specializing in Floridian Cuisine with a Latin accent. A Boca Raton native and a graduate of the Palm Beach Culinary Institute, Brown honed his skills at a variety of upscale area restaurants, including Prezzo, Carson's and The Addison before joining the staff at 32 East in Delray Beach in l998. Mentored at 32 East by chef/partner Nick Morfogen and chef Wayne Alcaide, Brown will contribute to Sol Kitchen's vast Floridian, Tex-Mex and Latino menu with innovative creations. Menu highlights include "Dos Equis" steamed clams with Texas toast and chipotle mayo; Fundita of chorizo and queso fresco with warm tortillas; Loaded fish taco with shredded cabbage, tomato and lime; palomilla steak with mojo smothered onions, cubano rice and beans; and desserts such as Cuban "espresso" flan, and "Garcia grinder" (two double Chocolate chip cookies filled with cherry Garcia ice cream). Sol Kitchen is open for lunch Tuesday to Saturday from 11:30 am - 2:30 pm; for dinner Sunday to Thursday from 5:00 - 10:30 p.m. and Friday - Saturday till 11:30 p.m. For information and reservations call 561-921-0201 or visit www.solkitchenrestaurant.com.

SOS "TASTE OF THE NATION" 2004 IN FORT LAUDERDALE RAISED $ 150,000 TO FIGHT HUNGER.
With the Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center transformed into a pulsating tropical setting for a grand, food and wine extravaganza, the 1,000 party goers at the Ft. Lauderdale/South Palm Beach SOS "Taste of the Nation" gala sipped champagne and spirits, dined on the specialties of 50 of the area's top chefs, tasted a superb selection of wines, and raised over $150,000 through donations, ticket prices and auctions. The proceeds will be donated to Share Our Strength which supports local agencies involved in hunger relief and other humanitarian service such as Sun-Sentinel Children's Fund, a fund of the McCormick Tribune Foundation, Florence Fuller Child Development Centers and Daily Bread Food Bank. For information on future Share Our Strength hunger-related events, visit www.tasteofthenation.org/fortlauderdale

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