Virtual Gourmet

November 26,  2006                                                       NEWSLETTER

                                                                      "Libby's Luau" ad (1950)  by Laffety

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In This Issue

Mr. Ripert Goes to the Ritz by John Mariani


NEW YORK CORNER: Gilt Revisited by John Mariani



by John Mariani

     u;790The last time I visited Grand Cayman two decades ago all I remember were dozens of banks and billions of beach gnats. It was a scuba diver’s paradise, but aside from turtle watching, there was nothing to see or do.   And of course, this being the Caribbean, the food was inedible, as it still so often is in the Caribbean.

     So the arrival of the illustrious Eric Ripert, chef-partner of the best seafood restaurant in the world, NYC’s Le Bernardin, to create and oversee two restaurants at the brand new Ritz-Carlton on Grand Cayman (above) came as a major surprise to me. The only other famous chef to dip his toe in the Caribbean waters has been Jean-Georges Vongerichten, whose attempt at fine dining at the Ocean Club on Paradise Island is an embarrassment.  Ripert’s commitment gives me reason to think that finally—outside the French island of St. Bart’s—one can really eat well and do so at a first-rate, very lavish resort with all the usual Ritz-Carlton amenities, including dinner at sunset on the beach (below).
                                                                                                                                     Photo: Galina Stepanoff-Dargery.wwwwwfdf
144-acre, 365-room Ritz-Carlton resort bestrides the beautiful, white, powdery Seven Mile Beach, stretching from the Caribbean to the North Sound.  There is a Greg Norman-designed golf course, a tennis center, the first La Prairie Spa in the Caribbean, and a family program called Ambassadors of the Environment by Jean-Michel Cousteau family program, wherein students are introduced to the fragile  wonders of the environment through skin-dving excursions focusing on biodiversity. A ten-minute boat ride takes visitors to Stingray City, a snorkeling site where you may actually swim and feed the (nicely benign) stingrays in three feet of water. The area also has a secluded spot that is home to 16,000 sea turtles up to 600 pounds in weight.
     Al this activity can build up a mighty appetite, which can be sated with enormous pleasure at  the resort's two main restaurants, Blue by Eric Ripert ededand the steakhouse named
7 Prime Cuts & SunsetsBlue is a shadowy, shimmering dining room overlooking the aquamarine sea,  and on my recent visit I found the food amazingly good and pretty close in menu and style to what I love about Le Bernardin—fine, clean flavors based on the best seafood available. Ripert (left) almost quit when told he had to use approved seafood flown in at great expense by Fed-Ex, which is standard issue in the Caribbean, where dependence on local stocks is full of frustration.  eweAs much as possible at Blue, Ripert tries to bring in a very high percentage of product from contracted local fishermen. To prove his point, Ripert took me back to his kitchen where an impressive 50-pound tuna had just been brought in from local waters.
     The results of such commitment show in Ripert’s signature yellowfin tuna with foe gras on a toasted baguette and in his tropically-inflected dishes like pan-roasted swordfish with fragrant shrimp-fried basmati rice in a coconut curry broth.  Fat baked snapper is served with a sour-spicy broth, sweet potato, plantains, and avocado, while striped bass is cooked in white wine with cockles, served with potatoes suffused with whipped cream and a splash of lime and lemon oil.  Every night there is a section of simple grilled species like wahoo, swordfish, and bluefin tuna, and you may choose a sauce from several to go with any of them. The $120 tasting menu is the way to go.

            The restaurant is open  Tuesday through Saturday for dinner only.

Sad to say, the casual poolside restaurant Periwinkle was in need of a lot of fine tuning when I visited, the menu dull and predictable and its execution perfunctory, although Ripert swore to me it will be up to snuff ASAP. But the steakhouse  here is terrific: 32rf2Despite its goofy name, 7 Prime Cuts & Sunsets (left), which Ripert does not oversee,  is a large, very handsome and very spacious room opening
onto the pool. It has tiled floors, striped wallpapers, and polished wooden tables. (The napery could be better and the wineglasses thinner.)
     The quality of the food overall was first-rate, and I daresay I know of no steakhouse in the region, outside of Bern's in Tampa, that could match 7 Prime for the quality of its beef and other ingredients.  Here you can start off with a conch and crabcake with chipotle aïoli, or some bluefin tuna tartare with a soy-lime emulsion. There was flamed amberjack one evening that was pristinely fresh and fine, while the pistachio-crusted Colorado rack of lamb was one of the finest I've ever enjoyed.  So, too, a rosemary-rubbed 12-ounce New York cut steak was excellent and went beautifully with both wasabi-mashed Yukon Gold potatoes and a bottle of Concha y Toro Don Melchior.  Desserts included luscious profiteroles, crème brûlée, chocolate lava cake, and one of my childhood favorites, peppermint and marshmallow ice cream.
      The restaurant is open daily from 7 A.M. on. Appetizer prices range from CI$8-CI$14, and main courses CI$23-CI$39.

      Grand Cayman itself is quickly being cramped up with new hotels and condos, but Seven Mile Beach is still pristine and as yet uncrowded, ahd the Ritz-Carlton has one of the best, unsullied prospects.  You can still watch the turtles, swim with stingrays, and go deep sea fishing.  And you can still haul your funny money to the banks and get treated like an Arab prince. I’m not sure what happened to the gnats.

by John Mariani
 Early on in the new James Bond flick, "Casino Royale," 007's boss, M, played by Judi Dench, excoriates her newly appointed "00" number for botching a job by saying, "Any thug can kill people." Alas, Ian Fleming's suave British agent, who had more to do with advancing connoisseurship and style than any fictional character in history, is indeed a thug in this new movie, a lout who seems as ill-fitted to wear the Brioni designer suits tailored for him as to drive a brand new Aston Martin, which he destroys within thirty seconds of getting behind the wheel; his Aston is even configured to be driven American style, even though he's in the Bahamas, where they drive on the  British side of the road.
     Several movie critics have commented that the actor playing Bond--Daniel Craig (above)--comes closest to Ian Fleming's original conception of Bond, yet nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, it was Fleming who believed Sean Connery (below, right, in "From Russia with Love") was perfect for the the role of 007, debuting in 1962 in "Dr. No" and establishing the iconography of a man who was fearless, extremely deadly, extremely worldly, unbelievably sexy, and just as good at driving a car as he was seducing the mistress of his enemy.  Other actors had been credible in the role--George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, even Pierce Brosnan, although Roger Moore, who made the most Bond movies (seven) was little more than a foppish mannequin in the role.\
Physically Craig looks nothing like Fleming's Bond, but then neither did Roger Moore. Craig is a craggy, somewhat disheveled rugby player type, with a haircut that resembles Pee Wee Herman's and a hairless chest that shows off his six-pack. Craig wears clothes badly: There's even a sequence when he dons a Brioni tuxedo given to him by his femme fatale Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) and gawks in the mirror like a teenager about to go off to his junior prom.  He is also humorless, with little of the repartee that Fleming and the onscreen Bonds used to such witty advantage.  He's also rather dim-witted, sloshing down martinis, one of which almost kills him, while playing poker for $10 million stakes against a vicious antagonist named Le Chiffre  in a casino in Montenegro. In Fleming's Casino Royale, the setting is the far more glamorous Monte Carlo, and Bond tells a C.I.A. agent, "I never  have more than one drink before dinner."
    Fleming's 007 was a man of very personal tastes. Neither a gourmet nor gourmand, Bond's preferences in food, wine, and spirits were part of his worldliness. "I take a ridiculous pleasure in what I eat and drink," says Bond in the Fleming's first 007 novel (1953), on which the current film is based.  "It comes partly from being a bachelor, but mostly from a habit of taking a lot of trouble over details. . . . It's very persnickety and old-maidish."  Fleming summed up Bond’s world weary gourmandism in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service when he wrote, “when traveling abroad, generally by himself, meals were a welcome break in the day, something to look forward to, something to break the tension of fast driving, with its risks taken or avoided, the narrow squeaks, the permanent background of concern for the fitness of his machine.”eui
   Before Bond entered pop culture the merest display of Epicureanism in a male character was a sure sign of his untrustworthiness or villainy (think of fat Sydney Greenstreet and Walter Slezak).  Even among heroes, being a “gourmet” was considered somewhat epicene, as with Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe (right), and Zorro’s foppish alter-ego, Don Diego.  Try to imagine Bogart, Gable, Cagney, Cooper, or Wayne ordering Taittinger Blanc de Blancs while supping on smoked salmon and caviar.  For the same reason, it is interesting to note that in 007’s first appearance on film—in a 1954 TV adaption of “Casino Royale”--Bond (played by American actor Barry Nelson) orders not the famous “shaken, not stirred” vodka martini of the book  but a manly man’s Scotch on the rocks.
         Bond was the first fictional male hero to revel in a love of good food and wine, and his connoisseurship was as much a part of his persona as was his Aston-Martin and Walther PPK.  Indeed, his intimate knowledge of wine and food were tools crucial to his survival, as much in detecting uncouth enemies’ intentions as well as in shattering his their maniacal egos.  In the film "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971) Bond exposes two waiters as assassins because they fail to identify Château Mouton-Rothschild ’55 as a claret (left), and in "From Russia with Love" (1963)  007's suspicions are aroused—too late--when a false British agent orders red wine with fish.  Bond cannot resist strutting 'his Epicureanism, complimenting  his Japanese host in “You Only Live Twice” (1967) on his sake, “especially when it’s served at the correct temperature--98.4 degrees Fahrenheit.”   Bond exercises any opportunity for one-upmanship, even with his superior, M: In “Diamonds Are Forever,” Bond sips a glass of Sherry and says to M, “Too bad about your liver, sir; this is a very good ’51 solera.”  When M shoots back, “There are no vintages in Sherry, 007,” Bond replies, “I was speaking of the original solera on which the sherry was based. . . 1851.”  And in “Goldfinger" (1964), when presented with a “rather disappointing Cognac,” Bond sniffs the brandy and slowly observes, “Well, sir, it seems to be a thirty-year-old fine,  indifferently blended, with an overdose of. . . Bon Bois.”
       Fleming’s Bond endured terrible hangovers and suffered self doubt, as the character does in the new Bond film.  Fleming took great pains to detail Bond's gourmet meals (although Noël Coward pronounced Fleming’s own cooking at his Jamaican residence, Goldeneye, as inedible).   In Diamonds Are Forever Bond describes the perfect woman as "somebody who can make sauce Béarnaise as well as love."  He does not care for sushi and despises tea, calling it one of the reasons for the downfall of the British empire.  In the Fleming books Bond preferred Champagne--particularly Taittinger Blanc de Blanc '45 ("A fad of mine, " 007 calls it in Casino Royale)—to red wine, which M prefers.  And, of course, Fleming created the fad for vodka martinis “shaken not stirred” that endures to this day.  In the new "Casino Royale" the screenwriters can't seem to make up their mind if the new Bond is or is not a man of distinctive tastes: While playing poker, table Bond orders a cocktail that specifies Gordon's gin and Lillet "shaken over ice" with a twist of lemon (which he later names after Vesper Lynd), but ten minutes later when a bartender asks him if he wants his drink "shaken or stirred," Bond snaps back, "Do I look I care?"4r2r4r242r4r2
     Fleming larded his potboilers with Bond's preferences: 007 bought his coffee beans
at De Bry on New Oxford Street (taken without sugar), He liked his eggs brown and speckled (boiled 3 1/3 minutes), from French Marans hens and his butter fro Jersey. Being of Scottish ancestry, he only liked smoked Scottish salmon. His favorite honey was Norwegian, purchased at Fortnum's, his marmalade Cooper's Vintage Oxford, and his jam Tiptree “Little scarlet” strawberry.
     In the very first Bond film, “Dr. No” (1962), his preference for a vodka martini “shaken not stirred” is even noted by Dr. No himself, who later  serves Bond a Dom Pérignon ’55, prompting 007 to sneer, “I prefer the ’53 myself.”  From that moment onward D.P.’s sales soared--—so much so that the Bond films were a repository  of  “product placements.”  By the next film, “From Russia with Love,” Bond is conspicuously drinking Taittinger Blanc de Blancs in two different scenes.  But starting with "Live and Let Die" in 1973, Bond begins a string of eight films in which he drinks Bollinger (although he switched back to D.P. in “Diamonds Are Forever”).  By the time of “Licence to Kill” (1989) such promotions had become embarrassingly blatant: Timothy Dalton tells room service, “and of course, I’ll want a bottle of Bollinger R.D. sent up right away.”  In fact, 3rfg3rffor the film "The Living Daylights" Bollinger traded on the Bond name by producing a limited edition poster headlined, "Bollinger, the Champagne of James Bond 007" (left).  And during the making of “For Your Eyes Only” a spokesman for the film told the press, “We don’t know what Bond will be drinking this time.  We had a little trouble last time getting enough of the right Champagne.  Maybe he’ll switch to Campari.”njo
    One can only imagine, then, what Stolichnaya paid producer Cubby Broccoli to have Roger Moore hold up a bottle of Stoli to the camera at the end of "A View to a Kill" (1985).  Or what Finlandia gave the producers to have Pierce Brosnan switch to their brand in "Die Another Day" (below). Or the money Hennessy forked over to have Bond, in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service” (1969), tell a St. Bernard that has restored him with brandy after a near fatal avalanche, "Good fellow, but I do wish it had been Hennessy."  Even Mike Myers'  Austin Powers parodies (below) of the Bond movies seem to parody product placement by having them so many brandished in so many scenes.
      3hBond’s living high on the hog does take its toll. In both the novel Thunderball (1965) and the movie "Never Say Never Again" (1983) based on it (which had already been made into a 1965 film), 007’s physical condition is of some concern to M--furred tongue, high blood pressure, and a liver "not palpable"—causing him to chastise Bond for his consumption of “too much alcohol, fatty foods and white bread,” to which Bond replies, "I don't eat all that much white bread, sir."  He is thereupon sent off to Shrublands health clinic to purge his body of "free-radical toxins," but, after refusing a meal of "lentil delight" and goat's cheese brought by a beautiful nurse, Bond seduces her by breaking out his secret hamper of Beluga caviar, Strasbourg foie gras, quail's eggs and vodka.
      Clearly the Bond movie franchise had become stultified with outlandish fantasy sequences and tacky computer-generated derring-do, and the producers are to be commended in bringing something of Bond's human dimensions back into focus with the new "Casino Royale." Watching Daniel Craig in action playing a rough-around-the-edges version of Fleming's hero  is to see how the movie franchise has, yet again, been able to renew itself, but in the bargain most of what made Bond so appealing in the first place--the man all men wanted to be and all women wanted to bed--has been lost.  Craig's macho man is all muscle and thug; he is not the man Fleming described in the 1953 novel as Bond ends his day at the casino: "His last action was to slip his right hand under the pillow till it rested on the butt of the .38 Colt Police Positive with the sawn barrel.  Then he slept, and with the warmth and humour of his eyes extinguished his features relapsed into a taciturn mask, ironical, brutal, and cold."


by John Mariani

The Palace Hotel

455 Madison Avenue

   The glory that is the Villard Mansion (right), which dates to 1884, with its exquisite wood-paneling, marble fireplace and parquet floors is among the rare interiors in NYC to be landmarked, which means that any entrepreneur that occupies it must respect and maintain every square inch of its beauty.
     When Le Cirque 2000 was in residence here for five years, designer Adam Tihany simply moved in furniture--controversial red-and-yellow furniture at that--which was in odd contrast to the architecture so carefully crafted by Stanford White more than a century ago. When Le Cirque left two and a half years ago, the space lay quiet until new owners of The Palace hotel, to which the Mansion is attached, re-opened it  last December and reverted to a more judicious look that truly shows off the grandeur of the rooms here, one of which is the dining room called, inexplicably, Gilt. (A former second dining room is now used for breakfast and is not part of Gilt.)
     Unfortunately whoever installed the lighting in the restaurant must have a funereal sense of style. Upon entering from an outside staircase you are greeted by a hostess in black within a reception room that can only be described as mausoleum-like, wholly without gaiety or vitality.  To the rear is a reconfigured bar, and to the right the dining room, which is also so poorly lighted as to make one want to whisper to your friends to please pass the salt. So drained of life is the room that I cannot imagine anyone wanting to be in that space for a happy evening out.  And does the management truly believe that pumping in disco music after 9 PM is somehow going to get people to start swaying and shaking their booty in such a somber atmosphere?

       tu,When Gilt opened, management had the brash idea to bring in a very controversial chef, Paul Liebrandt, notorious for pushing the edge of cuisine to the extreme (at another venue he once served dinner to people in compete darkness). His eccentricities were tempered upon arriving at Gilt, but it was clear to everyone who dined there that such food--at such prices!--was not going to go over well with New Yorkers.  Liebrandt left Gilt after only a few months in the kitchen.
     But the news that he would be replaced by a stellar young chef whose work I applauded eagerly when two years ago he took over the kitchen at Stephen Starr's re-cast Striped Bass in Philadelphia more than enticed me to return to Gilt.
     At Striped Bass Christopher Lee, 30, formerly at Oceana, Jean-Georges, and Daniel in NYC, showed himself one of the real masters of American seafood, and I was delighted he was returning closer to where I could get to his food. Lee came aboard in October.
      Yet my high hopes were dashed by a meal that struck me as an excrescence of his style, an overwrought, fussed-with flourish that seemed to be more about  the plate than the food; no wonder the tag line here is "A Taste of the Unexpected." Many of the flavors I recall with such pleasure at Striped Bass are still here but they lie beneath irrelevant wrappings and sit on china swabbed with thick reductions that look like someone forgot to wipe the plate clean. A yellow fin tuna tartare with kimchee, rice pearls, scallion pancakes, and a shallot-ginger dressing was one of the less complex items, and it was good and clean in flavor.  Nantucket bay scallops were not the sweetest I've had (the season is still early), and they were compromised, not enhanced, by edamame beans, passion fruit, lotus root, black truffles, and an unidentified jus. If ever there was an ingredient that need next-to-nothing done to it, it is delicate bay scallops; these seemed more part of an idea than the idea itself.
      So, too, when you order a dish of agnolotti, it is reasonable to expect that you'll get a good portion of the fat little stuffed pastas. At Gilt you get three, filled with bland butternut squash equidistantly placed on the plate with morsels of good meaty quail, hazelnuts, ricotta cheese, and cranberry sage butter--all right, but a wholly inept understanding of what a pasta dish should be.
     yoooFrou-frou ran riot in the main courses too, from a New Zealand John Dory with black beluga lentils, baby carrots, arugula and an ill-advised pear cider, to pheasant braised as a torchon, served, with some restraint, alongside sweet potato purée, Brussels sprouts, and huckleberry jus. "Peking Style" squab had little of what one would expect from such a moniker, here served with dull vegetable fried rice, spicy Asian greens, broccoli florets, and a sweet-sour sauce--all of which made me recall what a really wonderful dish a true Peking duck is, but not this.  Combining short ribs and lobster on one plate is not, in itself, a bad idea at all, but combining pomegranate and cauliflower, black trumpet mushrooms, and tagliatelle is (and the $12 supplement on a 3-course $78 prix fixe is unnecessary).6

The Bar At Gilt

         There is a lengthy and admirable tea menu here, and the cheese service is splendid too.  Desserts is a category where a chef can go a little crazy, but curiously enough, Gilt's desserts are actually quite sensible and very good, save a caramel financier with caramel hazelnut praline whose accompanying caramel ice cream was too salty to make sense.
  The wine list at Gilt (which is on their website) is about a thousand labels strong,  a spectacular screed for very wealthy people, though for the rest of us there are few decent selections under $60. The service at Gilt is professional and helpful, and they need all the help they can get: the night I visited, only five tables or so, mostly couples, were taken in the dining room.
      I suspect the cool reception thus far of Gilt by the general public has more to do with its a) being in a hotel and b) the dreary lighting and ambiance of the room.  For me, however, my wonderment at how a great young chef could get such giddy ideas about conflicts of flavors and fussy presentations and expect New Yorkers to respond with enthusiasm is disappointing, to say the least.
     Gilt is open for dinner Tues.-Sat. There is a $55 pre-theater menu.



"We shriek as the launch bounces off the chop, and the salty spray makes everyone scramble to protect his or her mobile phone, a task made harder for Fatma bin Fahad because she is also trying to keep her head scarf from flying off and her black chiffon abaya from whipping up her backside."--Susan Hack, "Future World: Dubai," Conde-Nast Traveler Britain.

They Could Tell Because After the Third Bite One
Started Singing "La Bamba" in a Mickey Mouse Voice

In Los Lunas, NM, three workers at a Burger King were arrested after two tribal police officers discovered that the hamburgers they ordered were sprinkled with marijuana.  The Isleta Police Department officers ate about half of their burgers Sunday before discovering marijuana on the meat.


TO ALL PUBLICISTS: Owing to the amount of material sent to this newsletter regarding Christmas, and New Year's dinners--many of which are only announcements as to price fixed dinners--it is impossible for me to include any but the more unusual of events for those holidays in Quick Bytes. --John Mariani

* From Dec. 4-9 The Food Studio in Atlanta will feature "The Decadence of Truffles" menu, created by Executive Chef Mark Alba, with white Alba truffles in each dish.  There will also be a prix-fixe menu only on Dec.  10 as a finale;  $90 pp., with wine pairings,  $130. Menus may be viewed at:  Call 404-815-6677.
* On Dec.  5, Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, MI, will hold a family style feast to raise funds for the Southern Foods Alliance by celebrating foods that are little-known and seldom tasted outside of the South.  Authors John T. Edge and Angie Mosier will be on hand to highlight the work of the Southern Foodways Alliance and to share the candid and often humorous stories of food explorations in the South and beyond. $75 pp. Call 734-663-FOOD.

* On  Dec. 7 Mae Mae Café in NYC will serve a “Slovenian Soliloquy,” a 3-course dinner with wine pairings showcasing the culinary and winemaking traditions of Slovenia for just $32 ($22 for the meal only).  Chef Vesna Carman, who owns one of the country’s most highly acclaimed gostilinas or inns,  Pri Danilu, will present highlights from her Slovenian St. Nicolas Day Celebration Dinner at the James Beard House the night before. Call (212) 727-2424.

* Between Dec.  8 and  Jan. 15, the Hotel d'Angleterre on Lake Geneva, Switzerland, will offer  a “What A Wonderful Winter Fantasy” package,  incl. 2 nights accommodations; bottle of "Vin des Glaciers";  Welcome gift and a basket of "Biscôme"; CD of Swiss Christmas Carols; daily buffet breakfast traditional cheese fondue in a typical chalet of the Jura; "Mont Blanc 4807" cocktail in the Leopard Lounge; 4-course dinner at Windows by chef Philippe Audonnet; pastry demo; access to the fitness and sauna rooms;    if staying on Christmas Day, a stocking stuffed with season goodies; Rates from CHF1346. In North America call 1-877- 955-1515; in Europe, 00 800 1698 8740;

* On Dec. 12 Unwind with Wine is hosting an "Affordable Holiday Sparklers," with  3-course wine dinner by Executive Chef Pnina Peled of Ristorante Cinque Terre at the Jolly Hotel Madison Towers. in NYC,  hosted by with Eric Asimov, chief wine critic of the New York Times, who will speak on the best bubblies for the season. $85 pp. Visit


MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly.  Editor/Publisher: John Mariani. Contributing Writers: Robert Mariani,  Naomi  Kooker, Kirsten Skogerson,  Edward Brivio, Mort Hochstein, Suzanne Wright. Contributing Photographers: Galina Stepanoff-Dargery,  Bobby Pirillo. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.

 John Mariani is a columnist for Esquire, Wine Spectator, Bloomberg News and Radio, and Diversion.  He is author of The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink (Lebhar-Friedman), The Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink (Broadway), and, with his wife Galina, the award-winning new Italian-American Cookbook (Harvard Common Press).

 Any of John Mariani's books below may be ordered from by clicking on the cover image.

6y6My newest book, written with my brother Robert Mariani, is a memoir of our years growing up in the North Bronx. It's called Almost Golden because it re-visits an idyllic place and time in our lives when so many wonderful things seemed possible.
    For those of you who don't think of the Bronx as “idyllic,” this book will be a revelation. It’s about a place called the Country Club area, on the shores of Pelham Bay. A beautiful neighborhood filled with great friends and wonderful adventures that helped shape our lives. It's about a culture, still vibrant, and a place that is still almost the same as when we grew up there.
Robert and I think you'll enjoy this very personal look at our
Bronx childhood. It is not yet available in bookstores, so to purchase a copy, go to or click on  Almost Golden.
--John Mariani

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copyright John Mariani 2006