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GIFT BOOKS FOR THE HOLIDAYS by John Mariani
NEW YORK CORNER:
GIFT BOOKS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
by John Mariani
Here are a few wonderful new books that should delight any food and wine lover this season. For a recent round-up of other wine books this fall, click here.
GRANDI VINI: An Opinionated Tour of Italy's 89 Finest Wines by Joseph Bastianich ($24.99)--As co-owner of illustrious restaurants like Del Posto and Babbo, Bastianich is well versed in wine--and makes his own in Friuli--and here, rather than a mere recitation of tasting notes, he really digs into what makes his favorite wines so distinctive. Along the way, you find out a great deal about modern Italian viniculture and meet winemakers with whom Bastianich is very familiar. Gracefully written with information packed into every sentence.
PUNCH: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl by David Wondrich ($23.95)--Esquire Magazine's award-winning wine and spirits writer turns his scholarly attention and wit on a neglected genre of imbibing, giving you plenty of history of punch along with 40 terrific recipes according to the "Four Pillars of Punch." There's even Charles Dickens' own recipe for punch here.
CULINARY EPHEMERA: An Illustrated History by William Woys Weaver ($39.95)--One of America's finest and most engaging food scholars digs into all sorts of arcana--fully illustrated--from almanacs and match covers to sheet music and trade cards, not as mere nostalgia but as an indication of just how canny marketers were in getting Americans to love their products. Every page has at least two or three stories you'll want to repeat over a good meal.
LA CUISINE: Everyday French Home Cooking by Françoise Bernard ($45)--This and the next two recommended books come at a time when some fools think that French cuisine is dying. These splendid volumes show that it is in fact having a renaissance--at least at home, where the true repository of French cooking has never lagged. La Cuisine has 1,000 "simple" recipes, from white bean stew with sausage, lamb and goose confit to morels in cream and fault-free ways to turn out everything from true tartar sauce to béchamel.
THE ENTREES: Remembered Favorites from the Past by Gail Monaghan ($45)--For the recipes alone--not many are all that simple to reproduce--this makes a wonderful gift for a cook, but for the stories behind legendary dishes is all the more reason to curl up with it in the kitchen or bedroom. Here you'll find the sole Marguery that so delighted Diamond Jim Brady, the Brown Derby's seafood pot pie, Craig Claiborne's chicken Tetrazzini, and Alice B. Toklas' duck à l'orange. So many of these dishes have disappeared from restaurant menus, so this book is a reliable guide on how to bring them back.
FRENCH COOKING: Classic Recipes and Techniques by Vincent Boué and Hubert Delorme ($49.95)--A big powerhouse of a book, weighing five pounds of 512 thick pages, this tome leads you through more than 200 culinary techniques, not least how to wield a knife in the kitchen, with 125 recipes and stars (the French love the star system!) for degree of difficulty for the home cook. Beautifully illustrated, with a DVD enclosed, its foreword by master chef Paul Bocuse is a ringing endorsement of the world's love of true cooking as a buffer against technology that he says "would reduce cuisine to little more than mechanized `ready meals,' dealing a fatal blow to flavorsome food."
THE ULTIMATE WINE COMPANION edited by Kevin Zraly ($24.95)--Twenty-five bucks could not be better spent by a wine lover than on this marvelous compendium of informational essays by some of the world's best wine writers, including the ever-ebullient Zraly himself, along with Jancis Robinson on "Capturing the Flavor," Frank Prial on "The Day California Shook the World," James Halliday on "Climate," and Hugh Johnson on "The Power to Banish Care." It's a book to savor, to read with a glass of wine in your hand, and it has both heft and an old-fashioned look that makes it one you will always keep handy on the bookshelf.
NEW YORK CORNER
132 West 44th Street (between 6th Ave and Broadway)
Club has nothing to do with shepherding or dietary preferences.
It was founded at Delmonico's restaurant in 1874 by people in the
performing arts and named after English essayist and drama critic
Charles Lamb. For decades, since 1905, it was located on West
44th Street, regularly visited by members that included Fred Astaire,
Irving Berlin, George M. Cohan, the Barrymores, John Wayne, and W.C.
Fields. The Club still exists, now on West 36th Street, but in
its place is the brand new Chatwal Hotel and a restaurant that pays
homage to the premises legendary fame. Upon gaining membership, Fred
Astaire is said to have exclaimed,
"I felt I had been knighted."
Lambs Club is open for
breakfast daily, brunch on Sat. & Sun., lunch Mon.-Fri., and dinner
nightly. Appetizers run $12-$24, entrees $26-$46.
LOS CABOS, MEXICO
well deserves its reputation as a place for Americans to fly into and
out, even if that may seem a tad too touristy for the more adventurous
travelers. I found out on a recent trip that there is indeed a
far more authentic experience to be had there rather than just
soaking in the sun.
Mariani send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannaford of Three Dog Bakery franchise stores in Pasadena
Angeles, now offers a $19.95 "Feast for the Beast," incl. Lamb
Wellington, bakery blend kibble, fresh carrots, a
spinach dip and pumpkin pie.
RESTAURANT REVIEWS WE
NEVER FINISHED READING
"There was a time when you could make a Gilman boy's lips quiver just by mentioning 'The Morgue.'"--
, "Petit Louis," Baltimore
✉ Guidelines for submissions: QUICK BYTES publishes only events, special dinners, etc, open to the public, not restaurant openings or personnel changes. When submitting please send the most pertinent info, incl. tel # and site, in one short paragraph as simple e-mail text, WITH DATE LISTED FIRST, as below. Thanks. John Mariani
PLEASE NOTE! OWING TO THE NUMBER OF CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR'S-RELATED EVENT ITEMS SUBMITTED TO THE VIRTUAL GOURMET, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO INCLUDE ANY BUT THE MOST EXTRAORDORDINARY.
* From Dec. 14 through Jan. 14, in Atlanta, Pacci Ristorante <.pacciatlanta.com> will offer guests a “No Peeking” promotion. During that time, diners will receive an envelope that contains an undisclosed prize and must remain sealed until the next time they dine at Pacci. At the guests’ next meal, a Pacci server will open the envelope to reveal the prize he or she has won. Prizes will include such deals as 50% off a meal at Pacci, a free entrée at Pacci, a cocktail party for eight people at AltoRex Rooftop Lounge or a weekend stay at Hotel Palomar. Prizes must be redeemed by the end of February (excl. Valentine’s Day weekend). Call 678-412-2402.
* On Dec. 15 in Washington, D.C., Occidental Grill & Seafood presents "Global Feast for the Senses", an exotic 5-course spice dinner with menu by Chef Rodney Scruggs and global spices provided by "The Saffron King" Behroush Sharifi. $110p p. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres reception at 6:30PM, and dinner begins at 7:00PM. Call 202-783–1475 or visit OccidentalDC.com.
* On Dec. 15 in Berkeley,
CA, Gather Restaurant celebrates their 1st anniversary
with a complimentary glass of Iron Horse sparkling wine for every
dinner guest. Call 510-525-4864. gatherrestaurant.com.
From Jan. – April 2011, Cap Maison and its Cliff
Cap restaurant in St. Lucia,
will host a Guest Chef Series,
from U.S. resorts. Rates start at $435, incl. full breakfast. The
3-course dinner menu $75 pp. Call 1-888-765-4985 or visit
* From Jan. 5 - 9, Grand Velas Riviera Maya is hosting the 2011 Food Blogger Camp, incl. one-on-one "speed blogging" meetings, blog critiques, photography breakout sessions, culinary demos and tastings, a food styling workshop, and seminars on brand and business building. Rates start at $1200 for media and $1,340 for non-media. Call 1-866-230-7221 or visit www.velasresorts.com/files/foodbloggercamp/index.html.
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, ForbesTraveler.com 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." THIS WEEK: Best Travel and Food Books.
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 KNPR.org. Click on the logo below to go directly to his site.
Tennis Resorts Online: A 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:
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.
nickonwine: An engaging, interactive wine column by Nick Passmore, Artisanal Editor, Four Seasons Magazine; Wine Columnist, BusinessWeek.com; email@example.com; www.nickonwine.com.
MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly. Editor/Publisher: John Mariani. Contributing Writers: Christopher Mariani, 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.
Any of John Mariani's books below
may be ordered from amazon.com by clicking on the cover image.