Virtual Gourmet

November 30, 2008                                                                 NEWSLETTER

Carmen Miranda, "The Girl in the Tutti Frutti Hat" from
"The Gang's All Here" (1943)

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: Next week's issue (Dec. 7) of Mariani's Virtual Gourmet will arrive one day late, on Dec.8, because Mariani will be in Paris next weekend.

In This Issue

In Boston You Can Eat in Prison or Have a Cow by John Mariani




In Boston You Can Eat in Prison or Have a Cow

by John Mariani

  It’s been a long time since Boston was called “the land of the bean and the cod.” Cod is a rarity on menus and Boston baked beans almost impossible to find, save at the venerable Durgin-Park Café, opened in 1827. Boston restaurants are now as diverse as anywhere else in America, and this year three of the new hotspots reflect novel turns on old ideas while not entirely forsaking New England culinary traditions.

The Liberty Hotel
215 Charles Street

    Scampo is set in the exciting new Liberty Hotel, reclaimed from an 1851 granite prison closed in 1973 after being declared unfit for inmates to live in.  Now, the former slammer encloses one of the finest high-end hotels in the city, with grand panoramas over Boston and Cambridge. There’s a bar here called The Clink, but they don’t push the prison gimmick too far.
      Scampo is downstairs, with some of the original prison bars intact, a casual, brick-walled Italian restaurant with horseshoe bar decked out with ESPN screens. The chairs are soft leather and tables are admirably well set with linens and good stemware. A big open kitchen with an eating counter features a menu of small and large plates, and it’s quite a departure from the typical Italian-American fare served in Boston’s Little Italy neighborhood in the North End.     Chef-partner is Lydia Shire (below), one of the pioneers of “New New England Cuisine” in the 1980s, and, since 2001, owner of the historic Brahmin dining room Locke-Ober Café. At Scampo she is encouraging guests to eat any way they wish—a plate of cheese and breads, some pizza, pastas, or hefty, generous main courses. It's all meant to be fun: Ask for waiter Mario Di Pasquale, whose crazy exuberance sets exactly the right tone for a night at Scampo.
      Out of an Indian tandoori oven comes smoky, blistered focaccia bread with wine grapes and coarse sugar. Roasted garlic and anchovies top a sizzling thin-crust pizza. Fat sea scallops are roasted and served on white eggplant puree, and there are wonderful pastas like ricotta-stuffed cappellacci graced with walnut brown butter. Hazelnut risotto is pumped up with sweetbreads and a shot of sherry-like vin santo.
     For main courses there is thickly sliced Prime steak, and lobster with fennel and spiced lemon oil. On Fridays people pile in for her “suckling pig al forno”–leg, chop, and shoulder, all with crackling crisp skin and a side of corn, mushrooms, and bacon.
     For dessert, go with the ricotta cheesecake with almond toffee and mango sorbet, or a plate of freshly baked cookies with espresso and a tot of grappa.
      The winelist is solid and reasonably priced, somewhat more global than Italian.

Scampo is open for lunch and dinner daily.
Dinner appetizers $5-$18, main courses $12-$49.

XV Beacon Hotel
15 Beacon Street

Before Mooo was Mooo it was a more formal, very pricey New England restaurant named The Federalist within XV Beacon, which, since opening in 2000, has developed into Boston's finest, most refined small hotel. Last summer the restaurant was taken over by chef Jamie Mammano, who also runs the popular Mediterranean restaurants Mistral and Sorellina. Mooo's pillared dining room looks much the same, but the menu, under exec chef David Hutton, now revolves around steaks and chops, with a few New England items for good measure.
     Indeed, I urge you to have the lobster bisque, as creamy and full of lobster flavor as any I’ve ever tasted, convincingly laced with sherry and cognac. The humble lobster roll is terrific here, with a generous amount of meat in a rich, well-spiced mayonnaise. The accompanying clam chowder, on the other hand, was dark, cloyingly thick, and the flavor of the clams got lost in the smokiness of bacon. Kobe dumplings—not what I’d expected in a Boston steakhouse--were delicious, sauced with soy, ginger and scallions, and not a bad price at $14.
      There was a heavy hand with the salt the last time I dined at Mooo, which compromised beer-battered fish and chips, as well as some otherwise addictive truffled and parmesan-dusted French fries. And I’m not sure why they bother to put Wiener Schnitzel with egg and capers on the menu here at all.  Mooo’s version is nothing special.
      Mooo’s name, of course, demands you have its beef, and you won’t be disappointed with the quality. I much prefer the 14-ounce Prime New York sirloin to the “Painted Hills New York Sirloin,” which is fed mainly on grass then finished with corn, lacking that fat marbling, minerality, and richer flavor of the Prime sirloin.
      Apple crumb tart makes for an excellent autumn dessert here, and while the taste of the homey gingerbread with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream was almost Christmas-y, it would have been better served warm.
      Mooo’s winelist is a tremendous screed of rare Bordeaux and California cabernets, built up over years when expense accounts were fat and liberal. Carved out of a 1722 mansion, with double vaulted ceiling, it seats 36 guests.  Now, however, the list needs a major overhaul for leaner wallets: Of 18 American chardonnays listed only two are under $50. And of 24 American pinot noirs, not a single bottle under $50. 
Ask for the ebullient wine director Sarah DiBari to help you out, and she'll find something first rate within your budget.

Mooo is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. Dinner appetizers $12-$68, main courses $24-$120.

86 Cambridge Street
Burlington, Massachusetts

      Burlington, Massachusetts, is not very far outside of Boston, and if you've got wheels, L'Andana is well worth the drive. It's in a suburban mall, in a former golf shop, which is not the best advertisement for a fine restaurant. This, like Mooo, is another Jamie Mammano production, with the kitchen turning out some authoritative "wood-grilled" Tuscan cuisine in a very attractive setting of weathered barn wood, burnished metal, Italian mosaics, and bronze-shaded chandeliers made from old wine barrels--a mix of rusticity and modernity that works seamlessly, despite its capacity for seating 240 people, with 30 more seats in the lounge, and the inevitable party room. Such size always concerns me about consistency, for when I dined at L'Andana, it was a fairly quiet time. Also, looking over press releases and local reviews, it seems the exec chef has changed at least three times.So, dear reader, if you go on a busy night do let me know how they handle the pressure.
      That said, the conceptions here are wonderful, beginning with some good Italian soups like mushroom with parmesan cream. Other primi I enjoyed were a wood-grilled artichoke with an assertive lemon aioli, parsley, and capers, and a superbly tender and flavorful grilled octopus with potato, soppressata, pickled onions, and a chile bite.  An assemblage of seafood--shrimps, scallops, and lump crabmeat--with cucumber and lemon dressing came deliberately cold, when it should have been room temperature, and it was thereby robbed of some flavor.
       For some reason L'Andana places the pastas to the right of the meats. I doubt it's because the kitchen considers them afterthoughts, but I wasn't thrilled with rigatoni in a bland bolognese or the spaghetti alla chitarra with shrimp, guanciale bacon, chilies, and a tomato broth--a dish that should have soared but was mundane.  Excellent indeed, however, was tortellini with lobster, onion and olive oil and a tarragon cream in which all the tastes and textures melded well.
as at Mooo, the meats are clearly the focus here,  and I thought the ribeye, juicy and fatty, was impeccable, and swordfish--a tricky creature to keep fresh and cook well--was succulent and gained much from peppers, onions, cured tomato, olive, and capers--a dish that was not all that Tuscan but was better than any seafood I've had in that region. But the very best dish I had was a superlative duck--marvelously flavorful, with a vegetable barley risotto and the tang and sweetness of a spiced orange glaze.
       Every dessert was distinguished, from a crostada with lime cream, sautéed pineapple, and coconut sorbet to an Italian version of baked Alaska with vanilla and hazelnut chocolate semifreddo and Amarena cherries.
        The winelist is some 200 selections strong, mostly Italian, with dozens by the glass (from $8-$18), as many half-bottles, including Champagne, and then pages of bottles with plenty selling for under $50, which is a far cry from the list at Mooo.
      If you're anywhere near Burlington, then, L'Andana would be an ideal choice for fine Italian food. I only wish it were smack in Beantown itself.

       L'Andana is open for dinner nightly. Antipasti run $8-$15, full portions of pasta $19-$25 as entrees, main courses $22-$44.

John Mariani's weekly column appears in Bloomberg Muse News, from which this story was adapted. Bloomberg News covers Culture from art, books, and theater to wine, travel, and food on a daily basis, and some of its articles play on the Saturday Bloomberg Radio and TV.


by John Mariani

239 West Broadway (near White Street)

     The closing two years ago of one of New York's seminal restaurants of the late 1980s,  Montrachet, quite possibly foretold the shift in dining out that occurred as the economy slowed down. Montrachet was opened on a shoestring--and a loan from his mother--by Drew Nieporent, whose gamble in locating down in TriBeCa, when there were very few restaurants of any kind there, paid off overnight when the New York Times awarded it three stars.
       Chefs came and went as  Nieporent expanded his holdings through his Myriad Restaurant Group to include Nobu and several of its branches, while a certain movie star glamor attached itself to several of the enterprises, since people like Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams were partners in some of them, so the restaurants were a draw for that, as well as culinary reasons. But Montrachet's time in the sun had faded in the last few years, especially since TriBeCa, which it helped jump start as a restaurant destination, become overgrown with new entries, most more casual.  The fact that the economy started to collapse more than a year ago didn't help, and Nieporent (who still has the admirable TriBeCa Grill, Nobu, Nobu Next Door, Mai House, and Centrico in the neighborhood) let Montrachet's premises lie fallow from 2006 until now.  Its replacement is the very serenely cool Corton.
      Where Montrachet was never highly decorated, Corton is barely so, in a minimalist style of pale Champagne color walls, widely separated tables, soft lighting, and white tablecloths set with Riedel, Laguiole, and Christofle. I'd like to see some color or artwork on those walls.
       The chef is something of a surprise: British-bred Paul Liebrandt (left), whose training at Pierre Gagnaire seemed to urge him on to carve out a dubious reputation with extremely experimental, idiosyncratic cuisine and service at other restaurants like Atlas and Gilt; at another restaurant, he held dinners in complete darkness.  So I was puzzled as to why Nieporent had taken him on at a restaurant that, like Montrachet, seemed to evoke the refined traditions of Burgundy.  Having now dined at Corton, I see that Nieporent must have known that under the veneer of eccentricity lay Liebrandt's considerable talents for a purer cuisine.
Within days of opening Corton was visited by some of New York's finest chefs, all curious to see if Nieporent and Liebrandt were divining the future of New York gastronomy.
      I'm not sure anything quite so prescient is going on at Corton; I do know that the cooking is of a very high order with some engagingly novel ideas but not a whit of pretense about the evening's proceedings.  Indeed, Nieporent has always been an exemplary host--part bon vivant, part partygiver, and full professional.  So he's likely to greet you and chat with you throughout the evening, and is likely to know most of the people in the room. Just as you sit down, out come hot gougères pastries  filled with Mornay sauce--a very lusciously good start indeed.
       The remarkable thing to me about dining out several times a week, here and abroad, is how chefs keep coming up with marvelous new ideas no others had before, and to do so without getting showy about it (as many of Liebrandt's dishes once were).  At Corton he will make a lovely, classic velouté of Jerusalem artichokes with crabmeat, but just by adding a little parmesan and smoked pasta, makes it new and exciting. Simple and simply perfect baby vegetables with fruits and herbs taste like the first salad of Eden, while scallops take on a light brininess from the subtle use of sea urchin cream, the crispness of radish and almonds, while caramelized veal sweetbreads come with an oozing egg yolk "confit," carrot, and argan oil--a superb dish. I'm not sure adding a layer of beet borscht gelée and blood orange to foie gras pushes the envelope any further than others have.
      Liebrandt, working out of a very small kitchen, does brilliant work with seafood, where the subtleties of his craft show the best in dishes like cobia with potato-eggplant terrine, black olive, and something called "vadouvian spice," an Indian mixture.  Turbot, usually a very bland fish when served this side of the Atlantic, took on some grace notes from having a spiced almond crust, black garlic, and a citrus-coconut broth.
        Meats work almost as well at Corton, including a rolled squab with chestnut cream, smoked bacon and foamy pain d'épices milk (I'd hoped foams had passed into culinary limbo by now), though a filet of beef with beets, oxtail, and fondant potato was good if ho-hum.
         For dessert, Robert Truitt's gianduja "palette" gives you a heavenly trio of chocolate, hazelnut, and tangy yuzu in profusion.
         Corton's winelist of course offers many wines of Corton, at very price levels, and I commend Nieporent for carrying about three dozen good country wines under $50. In this economy, that is where the sweet spot is.
          The local reviews for Corton thus far have been raves, and I can see that the restaurant will evolve into one of the city's very finest.  My compliments to Drew Nieporent for his persistence in believing in fine dining and to Liebrandt for finding where his true talents lie.

Corton is open for dinner Mon.-Sat. Fixed price 3-course menu at $76, and  $110 for eight.



By John Mariani

      What’s in a name? Organic. Natural. Sustainable. Slow. And when it comes to wine, what do any of the those terms have to do with a grape-based beverage we have been happily and healthily drinking for millennia?
     Only the term “organic” really has any meaning when it comes to contemporary wines, although it would appear that wines have always been organic in the dictionary sense of being part of “a class of chemical compounds that formerly comprised only those existing in or derived from plants or animals, but that now includes other compounds of carbon.”  That would certainly include grapes.
     Nevertheless the science of viticulture (grape growing) and viniculture (winemaking) has over centuries improved the chances of making better wine by using everything from natural compost, which enriches the soil, to sulfur, which prevents bacterial spoilage. Merely using the word “organic” does not mean allowing nature simply to take its course, along with a few Hail Marys to help things along.
     In Europe, the EU’s legal definition of organic does not even cover the production of wine; it only states that the wine must be made from organically grown grapes.  In the U.S. and Australia, that definition is expanded to include “organic wine,” made without the addition of sulfur dioxide. Less than one percent of American and Australian wines are thus labeled.
      A few other standards are set solely within small viticultural areas, not federally or by the staters. Certain forms of filtration and cleaning agents are also discouraged. I don’t even want to get into so-called “biodynamic” winemaking, which tries to put vineyards in tune with astrology and “moods” when the universe is in or out of harmony with vineyards.  Whatever.
     One can legitimately argue that the organic or natural way of growing grapes and making wine makes the most sense, but for the time being only small areas can afford to do so.   Alsace, Germany, and some South American vineyards are increasing their organic output, but winemaking is so dependent upon the vagaries of nature that organic farming can be very expensive and extremely risky.  The greater quantity of grapes required, as in Champagne, the more un-natural safeguards vintners have to take, which even mean simple irrigation (forbidden in some vineyards).
     The first winery to claim organic status, back in 1980, was Four Chimneys on Seneca Lake, New York, which makes a great number of semi-sweet and sweet fruit wines from blackberries and blueberries as well as from grapes.  The San Francisco-based Organic Wine Company imports its bottlings from the South of France; its motto is “Where drinking good wine is a no-headache decision!”—contending that, “Everybody should know by now that AUTHENTIC wines made with UNSPOILED grapes do not produce such ill effects. It's not their stomach that is in question but the PRODUCT!”  Those capitalized words—theirs, not mine—have no legal meaning whatsoever.
      Yorkville Cellars in Mendocino makes Bordeaux varietals like sauvignon blanc, semillon, cabernet franc, and merlot. Frey Vineyards in Redwood Valley (above) has won awards for its organic wines and usually sells out its entire production each year. One of California’s most committed organic wineries is Fetzer, whose mission statement is, “Since 1984, we have pursued sustainable practices and have always sought to expand and improve them. We don’t adhere to our environmental commitment because it’s trendy or to make a political statement. We do it because we believe that it results in better wines and, quite simply, because it is the right thing to do.”
     There is in all this always a whiff of smug moralism in tune with saving the whales and the chipmunks in the oceans and woodlands of the world—all admirable pursuits.  But in a world where increasing food production is paramount at the same time, while there is an enormous surplus of wine, the importance of balancing priorities may trump the dubious value of drinking a wine made according to varying standards only recently applied in thousands of different territories.
     Simply saying your wine is organic does not guarantee quality by a long shot; nor do most people have to give any thought whatsoever to the possibility that the preservative sulfur dioxide may cause a few people headaches. Only a fraction of one percent of winemakers do not use sulfur dioxide, and, as the Oxford Companion to Wine notes, “There have been attempts to produce wines without any addition of sulfur dioxide. Such wines are particularly prone to oxidation and the off-flavours generated by wild yeast and bacteria.”  In any case, a small amount of the compound occurs naturally as a by-product of fermentation, making it impossible to make a wine completely free of sulfur dioxide.
     So it gets back to the word: does “organic” mean enough in the production of wine to make you seek such wines out? It’s a choice, not a preference one can so easily indulge, and with better care of healthier vineyards, wines labeled “organic” haven’t yet proved much of anything.

This article also appears in Culinary Concierge this month.



In Providence, Rhode Island,
State police arrested Stanley Kobierowski after he drove into a highway message board on Interstate 95  and found his blood alcohol level was 0.491 percent - the highest ever recorded in Rhode Island for someone who wasn't dead.  He was taken to a hospital, put in the detoxification unit, and sedated. The legal limit in Rhode Island is 0.08. A level of 0.30 is classified as stupor, 0.4 is comatose and 0.5 is considered fatal, according to the health department.


“As a result, we've witnessed the exponential growth of what we call Better Alternative to Home (BATH) restaurants -- casual, modestly priced eateries (pasta-rias, burger joints, BBQs, upscale diners, noodle shops and myriad ethnic places) as well as family dining chains. These restaurants buy wholesale and produce meals far more efficiently than home cooks.—Nina and Tim Zagat “People Still Have to Eat,” The Wall Street Journal (10/30/08). . . . MEANWHILE, BACK IN XENIA, OHIO:  A  25-year-old employee of the local Burger King and aspiring musician thought fans would get a kick out of watching him take a bath in the restaurant’s kitchen sink by making a video on YouTube. The fast-food chain fired everyone who appeared in the video.


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 most unusual of events for those holidays in Quick Bytes. --John Mariani

* From Dec. 1-14 Marquis Los Cabos’ “Blue Cabo Culinary Getaway,” hosted by food and wine expert Anthony Dias Blue celebrates Mexico’s prestige as a gastronomic destination, as well as the food and wine landscape of Los Cabos, with Chefs Thierry Dufour of Marquis Los Cabos; Margarita Salinas of San Jose del Cabo’s Don Emiliano,  and Dr. Jaime A. Villalobos Diaz, founder of The Mexican Academy of Tequila-Mezcal-Wine Tasters. $1,485 pp. Visit or call 877-238-9399.

* On Dec. 1 thousands of bars and taverns in NYC  will celebrate “Red Monday” for the 75th anniversary of the Bloody Mary. NYS and local officials will proclaim Bloody Mary Day and honor Carol Bradley, granddaughter of Ferdinand "Pete" Petiot, the Paris bartender who brought the cocktail to NYC in the 1930s, with a citation and a Bloody Mary toast. in the middle of  Times Square at 1552 Broadway.  A year-long celebration will take place thoughout the USA with Bloody Mary themed events.

* For the entire month of December, bacar  in San Francisco will offer a special menu featuring Champagnes by-the-glass, half-glass and in flights from producers incl. Perrier Jouet, Krug, Salon, Gaston Chiquet and Rene Geoffery. Wine Director Haley Guild will guide guests through these special selections, ranging from $18-$99, along with Chef Morgan Mueller’s special menu, Call 415-904-4100;

*  The 2008 Nevis International Culinary Heritage Exposition has been rescheduled for Dec.  5-7, celebrating  top chefs from Nevis and the Caribbean with cooking demos, seminars and gourmet showcases at Old Manor Hotel. Also, Walking tour of Mansa’s Last Stop,  Beach BBQ with martini and aged rum tasting bars at Coco Beach;  Veuve Clicquot champagne reception and gala dinner with Hennessy cognac bar and cigar rolling at the Nisbet Plantation Beach Club; Lunch by the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis Culinary Team.  Those attending can purchase tix for individual events or a complete package ($440 USD). Visit  or call 869-469-7550.

*   On Dec. 7 in Berkeley, CA,  Chocolatier Blue is hosting “A Celebration of Chocolate: The First Annual Chocolatier Blue Chocolate Festival.” $15 pp. Call 510- 805-8800;

*  On Dec. 10  Ubuntu restaurant in Napa, CA, will host a special evening in partnership with Benziger family winery. Chef Jeremy Fox will serve a 5-course dinner at $150 pp, with each course to highlight a different wine from the Benziger winery.  Call 707-251-5656.

*  On Dec. 11, The Association for Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (A.C.E.) and its neighborhood initiative, the SoHo Partnership will host a SoHo Holiday Stroll  with participating venues stay open late, incl. restaurants and bars Balthazar, Barolo, Centovini Restaurant, Lure, L'Orange Bleue and Spring Lounge. Examples of Stroll promotions are 15% of your check and live belly dancing at Moroccan hotspot L'Orange Bleue; Centovini Restaurant is offering a 10% discount on its fare.  Visit Call 212- 274-0550 x17.


NEW FEATURE: I am happy to  report that the Virtual Gourmet is  linking up with three excellent travel sites:

Everett Potter's Travel  Report

I consider this the best and savviest blog of its kind on the  web. Potter is a columnist for USA Weekend, Diversion, Laptop and Luxury  Spa Finder, a contributing editor for Ski and  a frequent contributor to National  Geographic Traveler,  and Elle Decor. "I’ve designed this site is for people who take their  travel seriously," says Potter. "For travelers who want to learn about special  places but don’t necessarily want to pay through the nose for the privilege of  staying there. Because at the end of the day, it’s not so much about five-star  places as five-star experiences."  To go to his blog click on the logo below: THIS WEEK: FLYING DURING THE HOLIDAYS


Eating Las Vegas is the new on-line site for Virtual Gourmet contributor John A. Curtas., who since 1995 has been commenting on the Las Vegas food scene and reviewing restaurants for Nevada Public Radio.  He is also the restaurant critic for KLAS TV, Channel 8 in Las Vegas, and his past reviews can be accessed at Click on the logo below to go directly to his site.


Tennis Resorts OnlineA Critical Guide to the World's Best Tennis Resorts and Tennis Camps, published by ROGER COX, who has spent more than two decades writing about tennis travel, including a 17-year stretch for Tennis magazine. He has also written for Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, New York Magazine, Travel & Leisure, Esquire, Money, USTA Magazine, Men's Journal, and The Robb Report. He has authored  two books-The World's Best Tennis Vacations (Stephen Greene Press/Viking Penguin, 1990) and The Best Places to  Stay in the Rockies (Houghton Mifflin, 1992 & 1994), and the Melbourne (Australia) chapter to the Wall Street Journal Business Guide to Cities of the Pacific Rim (Fodor's Travel Guides, 1991). THIS WEEK: WINTER TENNIS BARGAINS

Family Travel Forum: The Family Travel Forum (FTF), whose motto is "Have Kids, Still Travel!", is dedicated to the ideals, promotion and support of travel with children. Founded by business professionals John Manton and Kyle McCarthy with first class travel industry credentials and global family travel experience, the independent, family-supported FTF will provide its members with honest, unbiased information, informed advice and practical tips; all designed to make traveling a rewarding, healthy, safe, better value and hassle-free experience for adults and children who journey together. Membership in FTF will lead you to new worlds of adventure, fun and learning. Join the movement.

Family Travel Forum

All You Need to Know Before You Go


MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly.  Editor/Publisher: John Mariani. Contributing Writers: Robert Mariani,   John A. Curtas, Edward Brivio, Mort Hochstein, Suzanne Wright, and Brian Freedman. 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 Italian-American Cookbook (Harvard Common Press).

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

My 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. It was 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

© copyright John Mariani 2008