Restaurant Totem, Lisbon, Portugal (2007) by
A Very Proud Announcement! by John Mariani
Cheyenne Frontier Days
by Robert Mariani
New York Corner: Veritas
by John Mariani
Man About Town: Cola's
by Christopher Mariani
A VERY PROUD ANNOUNCEMENT!
new book, How Italian Food Conquered
(Palgrave Macmillan) is a rollicking history of the food and wine
Italy and its ravenous embrace by the entire world in the 21st
From ancient Rome to Il Boom of
changing tastes, prejudices, and dietary fads as about our
with culinary fashion and style, full of savory anecdotes about Tony
Batali, Giada de
Meyer, Sirio Maccioni, Lidia Bastianich, Michael Chiarello,
Marcella Hazan, Giuseppe Cipriani, and Ernest Hemingway (below), Nigella Lawson, Tony
Vallone, Piero Antinori, Angelo Gaia, Mario Puzo, Frank Sinatra, and
many more, along with restaurants like Delmonico's, G. Lombardi's
Pizzeria, Mamma Leone's, Patsy's, Perino's, Romeo Salta, Bice, Al Moro,
Cantinori, Le Cirque, Barbetta, San Domenico, Valentino's, Marea,
Zafferano, and hundreds more.
“John Mariani’s tale of Italian food and its culture is a revealing and very informative one. Beneath its covers, within its pages, lies a story of a people who, century after century, have sought to share a love of their food and culture and marry the two so effortlessly that the end result has not only captivated but `conquered the world.”—Lidia Bastianich, host of PBS-TV’s “Lidia’s Italy.”
“John Mariani’s superb writing has captured perfectly the rise of Italian food throughout history, unraveling the evolution of a cuisine that confused the world before conquering it!”—Tony May, owner of SD26 restaurant in NYC.
"A fact-filled, entertaining history that substantiates its title with hundreds of facts in this meaty history of the rise of Italian food culture around the globe. From Charles Dickens's journey through Italy in 1844 to 20th-century immigrants to America selling ice cream on the streets of New Orleans, Mariani constantly surprises the reader with little-known culinary anecdotes about Italy and its people, who have made pasta and pizza household dishes in the U.S. and beyond."--Publishers Weekly
"Equal parts history, sociology, gastronomy, and just plain fun, How Italian Food Conquered the World tells the captivating and delicious story of the (let's face it) everybody's favorite cuisine with clarity, verve and more than one surprise."--Colman Andrews, editorial director of The Daily Meal.com.
"A fantastic and fascinating read, covering everything from the influence of Venice's spice trade to the impact of Italian immigrants in America and the evolution of alta cucina. This book will serve as a terrific resource to anyone interested in the real story of Italian food."--Mary Ann Esposito, host of PBS-TV's Ciao Italia.
Mariani has written the definitive history of how Italians won their
our hearts, minds, and stomachs. It's a story of pleasure over
taste over technique."--Danny Meyer, owner of NYC restaurants Union
Café, Gramercy Tavern, and Maialino.
by Robert Mariani
"Wyoming is a land of great open spaces with plenty of elbow
room. . . . There are sections of the State where it is said you can
look farther and see less than any other place in the world."--Federal
Writers' Project, Wyoming: A Guide
to Its History, Highways, and People (1941).
the parade that kicks off
the 10-day-long Frontier Days event, Cheyenne has an unusually large
of equestrians. If you’re not on a parade float or in a marching band
you’re on horseback or driving a horse-drawn carriage. The mayor, the
the local politicians all walk-trot along the parade route on
steeds and it’s clear this is definitely not their first time in the
Even the 9 or 10-year-old kids here are as at ease on horseback as
Gene, and Roy and Dale. Wrangler®
jeans seem to be Cheyenne’s trouser-of-choice, and of course, just
wearing a cowboy hat and boots. There’s a big Wrangler clothing and
store right downtown, too, where just about every version of cowboy and
attire is available.
the Northeast corner of the sprawling
Frontier Park Rodeo Grounds is Cheyenne’s Old West Museum.
Open year-round, the
museum features one of the country’s largest collections of beautifully
restored horse-drawn carriages along with an extensive array of Western
saddles, rodeo belt buckles and photos of world champion riders and
Welcome to The Plains--Across
Plains Hotel. It’s
a short ride from the rodeo arena and just 5 stories high. The Plains
an up-dated remnant evoking the hay day of Cheyenne’s prosperous
days.” First opened in 1911, the Plains’ lobby and rooms have a
Century elegance. One can easily imagine tired, dusty cowpokes fresh
trail sauntering into the Hotel’s classy tile-floored lobby and
they’ve fallen right into the lap of luxury. By today’s standards, The
may seem dated, which is its charm. The lighting is subdued and
replicates the romantic mood that the Hotel’s original gaslights might
cast. The rooms are spacious and have all the amenities, but feel
austere by 21st Century
Where The Buffalo Roam--The
Ranch where you have a chance to get up-close-and-personal
with their buffalo
herd. You’re driven out onto the pasturelands in a wonderfully rickety
hand-built train and supplied with a bag of “bison treats.” The moment
train stops, a big, shaggy herd of about a dozen buffalo surrounds you,
for their goodies. You get a real sense of just how big and imposing
beasts are when you’re literally a few feet from them. They aren’t
human-friendly, so you’re advised not to try to touch or pet them.
Little Bear Inn for dinner. This popular,
unassuming roadside restaurant opened in the 1870's
people traveling north by stagecoach to the Black Hills to mine for
the growth of the rail lines marked the end of the stagecoach route in
Breakfast at The Luxury Diner—Perhaps no
Cheyenne embodies the unpretentious, keepin'’-it-real cowboy style
the Luxury Diner and Motel at
1401-A West Lincolnway. From 1896 to 1912, the
Diner was an operating trolley car in the Capitol City. It’s been a
diner since 1926. Folks say you really should not leave Cheyenne
one of their cheeseburgers.
to Go in Medicine Bow— The term “Vedauwoo”
magical 250-acre park (right)
of ancient rounded, rocky outcroppings
located in the Medicine Bow area near the city of Laramie. Known as a
great "wide crack climbing spot,” Vedauwoo offers a breathtaking,
mountain setting where climbers and hikers can really “get vertical.”
over 900 climbing routes currently here, for different experience
watched in amazement as a quintet of climbers rappelled down the face
of one of
the shear rock faces. (No safety nets here. You’re on your own.)
Ranch just a short drive
from town. Here Ranch owner Dennis Steele and his multi-generational
will treat you to an evening of song, laughter, Bar-B-Que and
pack for departure the next day. In
I heard the wail of another freight train as it pulled out of the
depot heading west across miles of moon-lit plains. I thought about the
but exhilarating times that sound had once brought to Wyoming’s capital
and how this annual “Frontier Days Celebration” has re-captured that
and built it into a piece of the Old West’s History that everyone can
experience and enjoy. It made me realize what a gift this event is to
who has ever watched a classic Western film and wondered what it felt
ride the range and be a part of that unique and totally all-American
NEW YORK CORNER
considerable resources, which included the former's spectacular
collection of nearly 200,000 bottles, to open Veritas (from the Latin
"in vino veritas").
The intent was to have a modestly sized restaurant built around that
and to match the food to it in the French-American style then coming
focus. It was no surprise that Veritas soon was winning awards for its
cellar and the kitchen raves for its cuisine under Chef Scott Bryan,
succeeded in 2008 by Frenchman Grégory Pugin, an eight-year
protégé of Joël
to a maple-brined "wooly pig" with charred tomato and
wilted butter lettuce. Niman Ranch loin of lamb is good, with tarbais
and a lustrous minestrone broth but best of all is the short rib raviolo--one big raviolo--with oyster
mushroom and pickled red onions. This is a
good-sized raviolo, but
however big it might be, it is so delicious that you'll want
Veritas is open for dinner only nightly. Appetizers run $11-$19, main courses $24-$39. Bar menu $5-$16.
There’s only one main room at Cola’s, with a blue-and-white tiled floor, white marble tables, wooden chairs and a small waiter’s station topped with tall pepper mills, a few bottles of wine, and an espresso/cappuccino maker. Like the restaurant, the wine list is very small, comprised of a handful of red and white wines, just one label for each listed varietal, an area that Cola’s might easily improve on.
food is a blend of regional Italian and Italian-American dishes with a
Sicilian touch, and like many NYC Italian restaurants, the
pasta dishes trump all. Homemade pappardelle
comes to the table steaming, topped with a hearty wild mushroom veal ragù
while the marble-sized potato gnocchi
are coated by a creamy spinach
and gorgonzola dolce sauce.
The pasta portions are generous, easily enough for an
entire meal, but also perfect as a starter when shared. Other notable
appetizers are the grilled Portuguese octopus served with roasted
potatoes in a
wild fennel vinaigrette, drizzled with olive oil and the cremini
mushrooms stuffed with chopped prosciutto and roasted pine nuts. Meat
dishes include a veal saltimbocca, braised short ribs, filet of sole
Pantelleria (named after an island off Sicily, famous for its capers)
and a local market fish cooked to your liking. There are also
nightly specials, one dish for each night of the week.
is a personal and, given its size, cozy intimacy to Cola’s that
is fading from Manhattan
restaurants, a rare
quality and style that may be considered old fashioned but is certainly
enjoyed at a time of raucous restaurants and impersonal service.
The secret to Cola's success may well be in its being true to itself.
Open daily for dinner, lunch Mon-Fri. Antipasti $6.95-$9.75, pasta $11.95-$14.95, and meat and fish dishes $15.95-$18.95.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is suing several companies affiliated with a House office building cafeteria for $150,000 for negligence over an "unfit and unwholesome" sandwich wrap he bought in April 2008 that contained an olive pit that caused him "sustained serious and permanent dental and oral injuries requiring multiple surgical and dental procedures, and has sustained other damages as well, including significant pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment."
"The restaurant uses one of the most awkward slogans I have ever heard: `Something hot coming to your mouth.' Mind you, the restaurant’s name is Pho 69. Is that improper syntax or a deliberate, but ill-advised, attempt at a double entendre? I think I’ll just leave it there." Stett Holbrook, "First Street Pho," San Jose.com (1/12/11)
✉ 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
* The Virtual
Gourmet's John Mariani will
Trattoria Lucca in Charleston, SC, next Wed.,
March 2, hosted by chef-owner Ken Vedrinski. Call 843-973-3323;
www.luccacharleston.com. . . . .John
Mariani will also be giving a cooking demo at the Charleston Food &
Wine Festival on Friday, March 4, and an author's signing on
5. For info click
On Mar. 1, Stephan
Pyles in Dallas, Tx, will host a
Vineyards wine dinner. Mark Neal will lead guests through each
wine paired with a 4-course menu created by Chef Pyles. $125pp. Call
214-999-1229 x 102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
* On March 14
in NYC, the 9th Annual Taste of Greenwich House
will welcome 40 of NY’s finest restaurants as they serve up tastes from
kitchen in support of the variety of urban social service and art
offered through Greenwich House. Featured chefs from restaurants will
attendance. General Admission $125pp., VIP $200pp. Call 212-991-0003 or
* In March, The Tangled Vine in NYC will celebrate its one-year anniversary with a series of events and specials devoted to different wine regions. The first week is devoted to wines from Spain, followed by France, Germany and Italy with wines from the selected region 20% off. As part of the celebration, on March 6, they host a Taste of the Mediterranean Wine Dinner featuring organic winemakers Flos de Pinoso from Spain and Domaine de la Patience from France. Wines will be complemented by dishes from Executive Chef David Seigal served family style. $49 p.p. Call 646-863-3896 or visit tangledvinebar.com.
* On March 12, The 3rd Annual NJ Food & Wine Festival at Crystal
Springs in Hamburg NJ,
holds a series of wine and spirits events, including
a seminar on rare boutique and cult wines, tastings of wines from
and New Zealand, a scotch tasting and a cocktail pairing event. The
Grand Tasting brings together 30 wineries and 20 NYC and NJ restaurants
including Tribeca Grill, Oceana, CulinAriane, Pluckemin Inn, Plein Sud,
Restaurant Serenade, Strip House and more. Individual events from $30 -
Call 973-827-5996 ext 3 or visit NJFoodWineFest.com njfoodwinefest.com
* Chef-owner Riccardo Ullio of Sotto Sotto is honoring his restaurant’s 12th anniversary by hosting four-course prix fixe wine dinners inspired by 12 different regions of Italy, one evening per month, complemented by wine pairings reflecting the specific region featured. $65 pp and $85 with wines. Call 404-523-6678 or vurestaurants.net.
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:
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).
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,
reviews of tropical and ski resorts, reunion destinations, attractions,
weekends, family festivals, cruises, and all kinds of vacation ideas
the first port of call for family vacation planners. http://www.familytravelforum.com/index.html;
ALL YOU NEED BEFORE YOU GO
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.
© copyright John Mariani 2011