Virtual Gourmet

December 26,  2010                                                                   NEWSLETTER

Selena Royale, Wallace Beery, and Carmen Miranda
in "A Date with Judy" (1948)




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 THIS WEEK: America's Best Restaurant Cities


In This Issue

LONDON DINING, Part Two by John Mariani

NEW YORK CORNER Sel & Poivre by John Mariani

MAN ABOUT TOWN by Christopher Mariani




by John Mariani


    As is the case just about everywhere else in the world, hotels are now home to many of the finest restaurants in major cities, and nowhere is this more the case than in London, whose hoteliers compete fiercely with free-standing restaurateurs in the highly competitive London nightlife landscape.  Of course, there is a long tradition of hotel dining in the city, dating back to the late Nineteenth Century with the opening of the Savoy in 1889, then the Ritz in 1906, where Auguste Escoffier commanded the kitchen. Here are three that have maintained their British traditions of fine dining and superb service while bringing their menus into modern focus.

(Part One of this story may be read at

The Grill at The Dorchester
Park Lane
020 7629 8888

      The Dorchester has long been my favorite grand hotel in London, not just for its splendid location on Hyde Park but for its art déco architecture, its unsurpassed front desk and concierges, and its truly posh rooms. Its list of famous personages since opening in 1931 has included Dwight D. Eisenhower (there's a suite in his name), Winston Churchill, T. S. Eliot, Julie Andrews, Warren Beatty, Johnny Depp, The Beatles, Duke Ellington, and Lady GaGa, who, according to the gossip columns, once dropped off 20 pieces of luggage then got back on her tour bus and did not return to sleep at the hotel that night.
      Aside from its gorgeous Promenade (above) for tea and breakfast, The Dorchester is currently home to three restaurants:  Alain Ducasse's French dining room, the subterranean China Tang, and the one I always go to, The Grill (right), which has been a fixture here for decades. I, for one, never minded when it seemed a legacy of Brit gastronomy, rather clubbish, serving food that came to define post-war London fine dining.  Which is to say, the best roast beef cart in the city, a good cockaleekie soup, and the definitive Dover sole.    These days, however, it is all I can do not to sample the cuisine of Chef Brian Hughson (below), who, without removing or compromising the classics here, has very much made his mark on the menu with dishes as unusual as eel-stuffed tortellini with wood sorrel, salted limes and Scottish langoustines--on which I passed. Somewhat less unusual but truly superb is his veal sweetbreads with black pudding and chestnut crumble, carrot and orange puree, as well as a hearty plate of  pig's head terrine with quail's egg, crispy pig's ear, and spiced fruit chutney.
    Cornish turbot is poached in red wine, with celeriac, smoked beets and braised lettuce, while braised ox cheek is hefty with bacon, capers, raisin puree and very rich Aligot potatoes enriched with a torrent of Tomme cheese. It is indeed difficult, however, not to go with the lustrous Dover sole, floured and cooked in English butter, coming to the table with a sizzle to be de-boned, if you like, by the charming, very pretty waitresses (who are not likely to be British) in place of what was an entirely male staff.
    But if you always went for the sole, you'd miss plump-breasted pheasant with Jerusalem artichoke, black cabbage and Brussels sprouts puree, or the meaty, succulent roast partridge with simple winter greens, garlic sausage and deeply flavorful blood sausage.
      Cheeses are, as ever, an important adjunct to such a meal, especially since the Dorchester stocks some of the finest English and Irish varieties and its  Port list is superlative. But the dessert list is difficult to ignore, when it offers quince soufflé with chestnut ice cream and maple Chantilly cream, or a coffee layer cake with Bailey's ice cream and creamy caramel.
    It hardly needs mention that The Dorchester's wine list is one of the deepest in the city, having had decades to accrue  old and new vintages.

     The Grill's décor was changed a few years ago from an oddly Spanish motif to a proud Scottish one, with murals of Highlanders in full regalia, a novel cast some find  amusing, while others see it as entirely appropriate to the food served here.
      The phrase "the lap of luxury" applies to no London hotel better than to The Dorchester. It is grand, has its own British tenor of glamor and decorum, just enough discretion, and a staff that achieves a canny balance of amiability and formality, guest to guest, stay to stay. With Brian Hughson honing his mastery of The Grill, The Dorchester is one of those places you must see, stay and dine in if you consider yourself a citizen of the world.

The Grill is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Starters run £14.50-£29, main courses £19.50-£47.50; Menu of the day prix fixe,  Two courses £29, three course £33. Prices include VAT and optional 12.5% service charge.

Cheneston's Restaurant
The Milestone Hotel
1 Kensington Court
20 7917 1000

      The Milestone was new to me, though it's been sitting on Kensington Court looking over the Gardens near Royal Albert Hall, the Victoria & Albert, and Harrod's for a long time now, and its Victorian architecture fits nobly into its neighborhood. With a Bentley limo at your service and two staff members for every guest, the hotel likes to boast of its ability to provide anything for any guest, even those with eccentric requests, like the Russian visitor who discovered his own private sanctuary was in need of 24 English swans, which the Milestone somehow purchased and arranged to have shipped back to his home. Then there was the American woman who, while researching her grandfather's military service in World War II, decided that a suitable souvenir of her visit would be a Sherman tank, if it could be obtained by the next day. The Milestone made a few calls (believe it or not, there are several websites, like  selling such items), found a Sherman, loaded it on a flatbed truck, and delivered it to Madame to bring home with her.
     Every inch of The Milestone epitomizes British refinement, from the acres of mahogany to the superb artwork, curtains, and carpets, in and out of the guest rooms, and, in particular, in the beautiful Conservatory and Stables Bar. The restaurant, Cheneston's (right), is right in tune, and Chef Ryan O'Flynn brings a modernity to an array of classic English cookery, while sommelier Lia Poveda oversees a selection of more than 400 labels.
    Among the more delectable appetizers, I recommend the Devonshire squab, its breast poached, its leg in confit, served with a fried squab's egg and sweet corn crumble. Orkney scallops take on  the sweetness of salsify and caramelized chicory and puree, the saline edge of bacon and the crunch of hazelnuts. There is, of course, a roast of the day, rolled over on a gleaming silver cart, which on the night I visited, was an unusual offering of meat loaf, which was absolutely delicious. For something higher on the hog, consider the Gloucester Old Spot pig roast loin, braised trotter and spiced cheek, with Russet pears, black truffle, and ‘neeps and tatties’ (turnips and potatoes).  There is, in fact, a separate "roast and grill menu." Most modern of all is the  wild Blackmore fallow deer with toasted walnut risotto, celeriac purée, and  a chocolate and espresso sauce. Of course, there's fine Hereford beef, which is--unusual in London--dry-aged for 28 days. It is accompanied by  creamed ratte potatoes, spring greens, red endive, horseradish Chantilly cream,  and shallot jus.
     It is not easy to turn down a selection from Cheneston's cheese trolley, but at this time of year, you may want to opt for
warm ginger cake with Earl Grey ice cream, pickled ginger and ginger foam, or even old English trifle with sherry and quince puree.
     Those who rue the supposed passing of good traditional British food, service, and atmosphere will be relieved by the style and substance at Cheneston's and the English hospitality of a first-rate staff, for whom a dozen swans a-swimming and a 66,000 pound Sherman tank delivery is all in a day's work.

Cheneston's is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Starters range from £14-£16, main courses £20-£33; 2-course table d'hôte £21.50, 3 courses £26.50.  Prices include VAT and optional 12.5% service charge.

The Chesterfield Hotel
35 Charles Street
020 7514 5616

     The Chesterfield's motto is "no request too large, no detail too small." And during my stay there, that seemed to be precisely the case.  Although I didn't put the concierge through hoops, all my requests were met with civility and a look of, "Well, of course, we can do that for you."
    The building, now composed of three properties, dates back to 1749 and was home to a slew of semi-illustrious majors, admirals, members of Parliament, Lords and Ladies.  "From about 1940 all three properties disappear from the London Post Office directories," says the Hotel's historian. "We know from other sources that No.34 was opened in 1943 by Clementine Churchill, the wife of the Prime Minister, as a club for visiting American and Dominion forces. During the years of austerity post-war, when large houses such as these were almost impossible to let or to sell, all three seem to have been occupied at different times and in varying degrees by the Institute for British-American Understanding, an offshoot of the English-Speaking Union which occupied premises adjacent."
    Today three properties  form what is the Chesterfield, a Red Carnation Hotel. 
    The formal lobby (above) is very beautiful and has hosted many a family, encouraged  by the staff's noting that the London Eye and Hamley's toy store are nearby. Children's dining menus are available.
    The lobby leads to the glassed-in Conservatory, which overlooks a garden and fountain, and on to the main dining room, Butlers (above), where I found myself dining alone one Sunday, a not unhappy occasion after spending a week with friends and on business. I got there around noon, the room empty, so before the midday crowd arrived, I received the full unfettered attention of the maître 'd and sommelier.  There was a buffet available, but I chose from the full à la carte menu composed by Chef Ben Kelliher. The wine list amiably features a flight of three glasses, a particularly good idea for someone dining solo, even if I didn't go that route.
      A signature item here is Bea Tollman’s chicken noodle soup--named after President and Founder of Red Carnation Hotels-
-which on that cold, damp day fit the bill for me, a golden, richly flavored consommé with plenty of noodles to warm the appetite. You might opt for a traditional steak and kidney pie with a Colchester oyster and Guinness ale sauce or an omelette Arnold Bennett (named after the British author who with impeccable British stoicism once said, "Always behave as if nothing had happened, no matter what has happened") of Scottish smoked haddock, mature Cheddar and hollandaise. There is a duo of both Scottish and Irish smoked salmon, carved ceremoniously at the table.  
    For main courses there is a wintry Lancashire hotpot with pickled red cabbage, honey and thyme root vegetable, the roast of the day (right), and a  "Chesterfield mixed grill" of steak, lamb cutlet, calf's liver and bacon, Cumberland sausage, and garnishes--a dish that gives a generous array of many items on one plate. Butlers boasts of its Dover sole grilled or meunière, served with
new potatoes or French fries.
      And so, with a nice bottle of Sancerre shivering in an ice bucket, I was wholly content, a book untouched on my left, the wine to my right. I let the afternoon go by as slowly as it wished.  I was in no hurry to end a meal with such delightful company as my own.

Butlers is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. At dinner starters run £9.50-£17.50, main courses £18.50-£39.50, with pre-theater dinners at £21.50 and £25.50. Prices include VAT and optional 12.5% service charge.

To Read Part One of "London Dining," click here.



Sel & Poivre
853 Lexington Avenue (near 64th  Street)
212- 517-5780

      For New Year's let glamor and gaiety rule, but  I seek the bustling comfort of a small restaurant, preferably one that's been around for a good long time.  Thus, an old-fashioned, welcoming, traditional French bistro is where I want to go with friends, a place where the food is wonderful but the chef is not showing off, an atmosphere of warmth and good reception, and a place where I know whatever I order will taste as it always has.           
    For all these reasons, I highly recommend the douce charms of Sel & Poivre, whose simple name is the seasoning for the food and ambiance of owner/chef Christian Schienle, a robust Austrian fellow, who knows his guests well and welcomes newcomers as if they were.
      Not now, but when warm weather comes back, you'll want to sit outside on Lexington Avenue and watch the Bloomie's customers and Hunter College students and young mothers with strollers strolling by.  At the moment, getting through the door into the cozy bar area and dining room will provide relief from a New York winter's gale.  The dining room seats 65 at bentwood bistro chairs or cushy banquettes, the yellow walls set with antique sconces, mirrors, and family photos.  The tables have tablecloths, white, bright, crisp. There are vases of flowers. All is well at Sel & Poivre.
       And so you begin to peruse a menu that seems not to change but in fact subtly does, with nightly specials, some more contemporary than others. There's a good, meaty crabcake with mixed green salad and a sprightly ginger sauce, and a wonderful duck country pâté that you spread on the ample baguette bread.  If you've longed for snails in garlic butter, this is the place to find them.  You also get good-sized slabs of grilled garlic sausage with lentil salad.  One of the specials on a recent evening was stuffed quails, full-breasted examples, with goat's cheese and wild rice.
I do wish the broth had been richer and the onions more caramelized in an otherwise hearty French onion soup.
      All the old bistro favorites are here--frogs' legs à la provençal, kidneys with mustard sauce, duck à l'orange, and the dish I chose one recent evening--perfectly pink calf's liver à la lyonnais. Of course, no bistro worth its pedigree could fail to serve coq au vin, and Sel & Poivre renders a splendid version, with plenty of mashed potatoes on the side. And while we're talking potatoes, yes, the French fries are delicious here, crisp, hot, and meaty.
      Each day of the week brings a particular special, from bouillabaisse to pot au feu, from cassoulette to cous cous royale.
    I suspect you'll be in utter disarray trying to choose from traditional desserts like tarte aux pommes (very good), chocolate mousse with caramelized bananas and crème anglais, crème brûlée, a rich chocolate terrine with raspberry coulis, and the one dessert I  always find irresistible, puff pastry profiteroles with ice cream and plenty of chocolate sauce.
Schienle also chooses the wine list to go along with the kind of food served and the low prices asked at his restaurant.  Most are tariffed around $40-$50, the highest being a Château Prieuré-Lichine 2003 at $125.
    Sel & Poivre is a treat at any time of the year, but right now it embraces the weary shopper and the cold-cheeked reveler with the cheery bonhomie of the holidays.

Sel & Poivre is open for lunch Mon.-Fri., for brunch Sat. & Sun., Dinner nightly. Dinner entrees $12.95-$28.95; fixed price (with glass of wine), $27.95.



by Christopher Mariani

Koi Restaurant
Bryant Park Hotel
40 West 40
th Street

    The Bryant Park Hotel is known for being one of New York’s more fashionable, and with the presence of its high style Asian-inspired Koi Restaurant, it has become one of the most happening spots in Midtown. I dined there this past Monday night around eight pm, and I was amazed to see a crowd of guests still huddled around the hostess stand at half-past nine, so I can only imagine the bustle come Friday and Saturday.
    The original Koi in Bangkok, opened by the Koi Group, was reinvented in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and NYC.  All four locations have consistently attracted a young,  vibrant clientele, owing mainly to the trendy atmosphere set forth by the wait staff and the restaurants' chic interior.  The NYC location is three to four times the size of most NYC restaurants, with a two-story high ceiling dressed by a massive honeycomb sculpture, Asian plants that crawl up the tall walls, enormous glass layered chandeliers that hang from above, beige and sandstone tones,
and comfortable dark brown banquets and wooden tables that add to the dim, romantic cast.
    Like most Asian-infusion restaurants, Koi’s food seems to lack an identity, but that’s not to say Executive chef Nick McCoy hasn’t put together a diverse menu with complex flavors and appetizing preparations.  For starters, do try the Kobe-style
potstickers, sided by a ponzu dipping sauce, and also the rock shrimp ceviche, placed over thinly sliced cuts of delicate yellowtail sashimi, drizzled by a shiso pesto sauce.  For those fond of spiciness and heat, the crispy rice appetizer topped with spicy tuna and a shaving of hot pepper is delicious, easily one of the best items from the signature dish section.  There is sushi, but do not expect traditional negiri; chef puts together rich specialty rolls, most filled with types of  fried tempura topped by sweet glazes.
    The entrees are extremely generous in portion and are all reasonably priced, most in the low $20 range.  Tender braised short ribs is topped by a plum wine reduction, served over a cauliflower puree.  The short ribs were juicy, easy enough to cut through with a fork, and had strong hints of cinnamon, a delightful flavor, perfect for NY’s cold wintery weather.  I was very pleased with the sweet
miso bronzed black cod, skin on, served over bok choy and asparagus.  Koi also offers seven different meat dishes that include beef, lamb, chicken and duck.  For dessert, the fried banana spring rolls blend a warm soft sliced banana with chocolate hazelnut spread, placed inside a crispy spring roll, and sided by a crème anglaise dipping sauce.
    Koi is not radically breaking the mold of the Asian-infusion cuisine, but it sure is distinguishing itself with panache as one of the top restaurants in that genre.

Koi is open for lunch Mon.-Fri. and for dinner nightly; appetizers run $5-$32, main courses $24-$48.

To contact Christopher Mariani send an email to


Rosé Champagne Rids Pink-Fizz Image
to Be Top Holiday Sparkler
By John Mariani

    Far be it from me to perpetuate the idea that Champagne is only for holidays, business deals, weddings and World Series wins, but the December holidays are upon us and drinking a good Champagne seems almost requisite. And to my mind there is none more celebratory than the rosé, which was once disparagingly regarded as “the pink stuff.”
      Rosé Champagnes are something of an anomaly in a region where the winemaker's goal is traditionally to make as white a wine as possible, even when using black pinot noir grapes. In most regions, still or sparkling rosé is made by macerating the red grapes at pressing to achieve color. Champagne is that rare appellation that allows rosés to be made by blending in red wine, and today 90 percent of rosé Champagnes are made this way.
      Despite rosé's perky image, the top Champagne producers have for some time now put the same diligent efforts into their rosés as into their blanc des blancs and prestige cuvées, and the astronomical prices can be about the same.
    Still, there are now so many superb rosés in the market selling for well under $100 a bottle that the idea of spending $200 and more for a vintage rosé seems a bit excessive.
      Also, I find that so many of the top-of-the-line rosés are deliberately made to be bone dry, which I think robs them of the component of fruit that is essential to any wine, sparkling or not. I found a 2002 Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or Rosé Brut ($170) more than austere, even a little soapy, and 2004 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Brut Rosé ($225) drier than I recall in other years, without the blossoming fruit I’ve always loved about this marque.
    I will admit to being in thrall to Perrier-Jouët’s 2002 Fleur de Champagne Brut Rosé, whose signature style has always been to balance fruit and citrus flavors with enormous finesse. Unfortunately, it sells for $250-$300 a bottle.
      At a media tasting at New York’s Felidia restaurant, with a first course of smoked salmon and radicchio and a second of risotto with seafood, I found a wide array of delectable bubblies, with the best of them priced well under $100.  Here are some of my favorites.

Nicholas Feuillatte Brut Rosé non-vintage ($47-$55)--Unlike the 2002 vintage cited above, this is a sleek, gorgeously constructed wine with perfume and ripeness. If this is a workhorse Champagne, it’s from very fine stock indeed.

G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut Rosé non-vintage ($56-$63)--Good old Mumm-sy, the Champagne you always see in movies being splashed about. Its former predictability has evolved into admirable consistency in a style that has depth and celebratory sparkle.

Bruno Paillard Rosé Brut Premiere Cuvee non-vintage ($60-$75)--The charm of this pretty rosé is in its adaptability to so many foods, from lobster to chicken, from smoked salmon to light desserts, and its high color is a joy in itself.

Henriot Brut Rosé non-vintage ($56-$60)--If you expect fruit in a rosé, Henriot delivers gushes of it, which makes it a fine aperitif to kick off the evening and ideal with holiday sweets and cookies, even dark chocolate.

Charles Heidsieck Brut Rosé Reserve non-vintage ($70)--Deep salmon-pink color married to floral, almost rose-like notes, with a good ballast of citrus in tandem with the fruit.

Louis Roederer 2004 Brut Rosé ($65-$76)--Absolutely luscious and downright creamy. For me, this is the very essence of a rosé Champagne.

Ayala Brut Rosé Majeur non-vintage ($47-$55)--Since Bollinger bought this small estate in 2005, it has improved greatly with a light-bodied style in direct contrast to Bollinger’s staid, classic austerity. Everyone should enjoy a glass or two of before dinner, though perhaps it doesn't have enough body for afterwards.

John Mariani's wine 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.



“The De Gustibus column on Nov. 24 about coffee makers referred incorrectly to the Maestro coffee grinder. It crushes beans; it does not slice them.”—NY Times, Dec. 4, 2010).


Residents of Iztapalapa cooked up a 230-foot-long, one-and-a-half ton enchilada, which a Guinness Book of World Records official announced was the world's biggest.
"With this Guinness record we are showing the world that Iztapalapa is a high-level tourist destination," said Alejandro Rojas, tourism secretary of Mexico City,  which also holds the world record for the largest number of people dancing Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and for most people kissing simultaneously.




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


* On Jan. 11 – 12 in New York, NY, Turks & Frogs wine bar is offering a Lesson in Turkish Wine.  Two people can enjoy two glasses of Turkish wine from a selection of five and a spread of meze to accompany it.  Turks & Frogs’ sommeliers will offer the selections and explain the elements of each wine in order to help guests choose the ones that best suit their individual palates.  The special will run every Tues. & Wed. throughout Jan.  $25. Call 212-691-8875.

* On Feb. 9 Strip House Houston is paying homage to the classic gentlemen of "Mad Men," by hosting a Rémy Martin dinner pairing. The dinner will feature a four-course dinner prepared by Executive Chef John Schenk that will feature a Louis XIII Infused Butter & Black Truffle Bordelaise. Each course will be paired with a variety of Remy Cocktails, with the grand finale being a Louis XIII night cap. $158. Call 713-659-6000.

* On March 26, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawke's Bay New Zealand will host a 3 Chefs Dinner,  featuring Thomas Keller, Heston Blumenthal, & Neil Perry with NZ wines by Dry River. Three night minimum stay incl.  dinner, breakfast, dinner over three days. From NZ$3400 pp (twin share)Visit



FEATURED LINKS: I am happy to  report that the Virtual Gourmet is  linking up with four 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."  THIS WEEK: SKI TOWNS WITH OLYMPIC FLAIR


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).

The Family Travel Forum  - A community for those who "Have Kids, Still Travel" and want to make family vacations more fun, less work and better value. FTF's travel and parenting features, including reviews of tropical and ski resorts, reunion destinations, attractions, holiday weekends, family festivals, cruises, and all kinds of vacation ideas should be the first port of call for family vacation planners.

                                                                    ALL YOU NEED BEFORE YOU GO

nickonwine: An engaging, interactive wine column by Nick Passmore, Artisanal Editor, Four Seasons Magazine; Wine Columnist,;;


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 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 2010