Mariani's Virtual Gourmet Newsletter

June 5, 2011

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Trattoria in Naples, 19th Century

This Week

by John Mariani

by John Mariani

by Christopher Mariani


GOOD NEWS! now has a new food section  called "Eat Like a Man," which will be featuring
 restaurant articles by John Mariani and others from around the USA.
  Locavore, Shmocavore

On Monday, June 13, John Mariani will host a four-course book signing dinner in
Boston at BINA Osteria for $40.  For info and reservations, click here. 


On Thursday, June 16, John Mariani will host a book signing dinner in
Bristol, Rhode Island, at DeWolfe Tavern, for $60 per person. For reservations, click here.




by John Mariani


    The pleasures of eating and drinking well make for good reading during the summer, not least at the beach when you can pick out a few recipes, then go shopping and cook them up that evening.  Here are books that seem particularly valuable this season. Note well how many are from smaller, more independent publishers at a time when the big guns seem to have run out of new ideas in favor of celebrity cookbooks cobbled together by assistants.

For Cod and Country: Simple Delicious Sustainable Cooking
by Barton Seaver (Sterling Epicure, $30)
    Washington, DC-based chef Barton Seaver has long been a voice for sustainable food before it became faddish among lesser talents.  He has been commended for his efforts by  the Seafood Choice Alliance, the Blue Ocean Institute, and the National Geographic Society, and he is a believer that there are no bad foods, just bad choices. All good choices and terrific seafood recipes are the basis of this splendid, beautifully produced volume. Seaver insists that the amount of protein on a dish should at least be equal to the vegetables, so every recipe makes the "sides" just as important as the main ingredient, as in dishes like albacore tuna with warm pickled shiitakes and chive risotto; roasted whole Arctic char on pine needles with pine nut sauce; along with salads, soups, and pastas, all tied to the seasons. This is not a jeremiad, it is common sense and good food on every page.

SCOOP: 125 Specialty Ice Creams from the Nation's Best Creameries

by Ellen Brown (Running Press, $19.95)

    I'll sit down for hours with any cookbook Ellen Brown writes--and there are a slew of them--so I pay attention when she turns her focus on what is, let's face it, the world's favorite food.  Had this book only been a collection of Brown's recipes it would be well worth the modest price, but this is much more, for Brown has always been an astute culinary historian, and she lovingly describes the background and special qualities of wonderfully ice cream stores all over the USA, from Bassetts in Philadelphia and Herrell's in Northampton, MA (she rightly credits Steve Herrell for creating the artisanal ice cream movement) to Graeter's in Cincinnati and Sweet Republic in Scottsdale, AZ.  The recipes are culled from these icons, and Brown makes sure they work for use in the home kitchen.

Southern Biscuits
by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart (Gibbs Smith, $21.99)

    I find most single subject cookbooks appealing and sometimes definitive but rarely enthralling. But like many contemporary Southern authors, Dupree and Graubart have infused their work with both authority and true passion, and Rick McKee's photos in this book dare you not to light the oven immediately. Many of the recipes are from the authors' friends, like the half-dollar ham biscuits  from Covington, GA, and Senator Fritz Hollings' "Flakey Appetizer Cream Cheese Biscuits" from South Carolina.  Before opening the pages of this book I had no idea of the range of biscuitry, and once you master the detailed instructions on basic biscuits, it's likely you'll try most others in this wonderful testament to Southern cookery and a persuasive antidote  to just about everything Paula Deen has made her millions from.

Maine Classics
by Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier (Running Press, $30)

    Award-winning chefs Gaier and Frasier, of Arrows Restaurant in Ogunquit, Maine, were among the first restaurateurs to showcase the true bounty of the New England cornucopia, and this highly instructive book shows why the food of that region is so extraordinarily rich and by necessity tied so intimately to the seasons.  There is good info on foraging, on "How to Eat a Lobster," and the essential herbs  to plant for a garden.  Then come irresistible recipes--johnnycakes with peekytoe crab, classic lobster rolls, cod cakes with tartar sauce, Yankee pot roast, and Whoopie pies, all old fashioned dishes made with a professional's eye towards finesse but without over-refinement. 

Around the World in Eighty Meals

by Nan Lyons (Red Rock Press, $31.95)

    If only for the 3-D cover--really amazing--this would make a good gift book, but Lyons is a fine raconteur with impeccable taste, so she leads the armchair traveler through the experience, history, and in many cases the unspoken rules of dining  and drinking everywhere from London's Savoy Grill and The Ivy to Pré Catalan in Paris and the Hemingway Bar at The Ritz.  Curious about the legends of Harry's Bar in Venice? Raffles Hotel Grill in Singapore? Charlie Trotter's in Chicago? They are all here, splendidly illustrated, with many recipes attached. The prose can fall between the gee whiz and the breathless cliché, but there is a lot of insight into what goes on in some fairly exclusive enclaves.

Sustainably Delicious
by Michel Nischan with Mary Goodbody (Rodale, $35)

    Long before the Slow Food movement, Rodale Press was a leader in stressing the importance of sustainable foods of all kinds, and Nischan, chef at The Dressing Room in Westport, CT, is no acolyte to the field.  He is the Real McCoy: for years he has been stressing the importance of maintaining the balance of man and food, and his recipes show how, without being doctrinaire, this translates into beautiful, savory foods, evident in  dishes like his butter-and-oil poached Pacific halibut, chicken pot pie, French toast with brown sugar bananas and scalloped root vegetables. Yes, he wants you to respect the food you eat but he also wants it to be truly delicious.

A Gourmet Journey Through France: The Most Beautiful Restaurants from Paris to the Côte d'Azur
by Gilles Pudlowski and Maurice Rougemeont (Flammarion, $45)

    In case anyone's forgotten that France is still devoted to the gastronomic sublime or feels that French cuisine is fading fast, a perusal of this gorgeous book should dissuade him. Pudlowksi, who does the  comprehensive, well-written and highly informative must-have guides to hotels and restaurants to France, has put together a reverie of French master chefs, from the celebrated, like Alain Chapel and Paul Bocuse to the lesser known stars like Jean-Michel Lorain and Marc Meurin, all marked by their resolute dedication to the very highest standards of gastronomy, all of them as creative as they are devoted to the grand traditions. Although the photos show that France's masters are way too obsessive about using lobster, truffles, caviar, and foie gras--and this food does not come cheap--there's little to argue about when you see what temptations they provide year after year. (Don't lug this glossy book to the beach!)

Esquire Eat Like a Man: The Only Cookbook a Man Will Ever Need
Edited by Ryan D'Agostino (Chronicle, $30)

    As Esquire's Food & Travel Correspondent, modesty forbids me from mentioning my own writings in this book, but an objective assessment of the volume's expansive, entertaining virtues is easily based on  perusal of  recipes that largely come from some of the finest chefs in America (Paul Bartolotta, Andrew Carmellini, Suzanne Goin,  Rick Monnen, Bryan Caswell, et al), and they do toe a masculine line, with dishes like braised short ribs, fish and grits, and fried chicken.  But the addition throughout of some of the best writing on food and drink from Esquire's best writers is not just lagniappe: it amounts to what a good food book, especially a cookbook, should be, along with spirited segments of the magazine's popular series "What I've Learned," from Julia Child to Mario Batali. The photography and illustrative material is first rate and makes you hungry fast. Not a bad purchase for a woman who wants to know what a guy really likes to eat, and it's not beet salad with radish wafers.


by John Mariani


310 Lenox Avenue (Between 125th & 126th Streets)

    To paraphrase Thomas Wolfe's opening of Look Homeward, Angel, "A destiny that leads an Ethiopian to Sweden is strange enough, but one that leads him to Harlem, New York, is touched by that dark miracle of chance which makes new magic in a dusty world." For that is the journey made by celebrated chef Marcus Samuelsson,  raised in Gothenburg, Sweden after his parents adopted him and his sister from Ethiopia at the age of three. By age 24 he was the much-praised chef at the Scandinavian restaurant Aquavit in New York, and after that opened or consulted on a series of restaurants and wrote several award-winning cookbooks before moving to Harlem and opening Red Rooster this past December.   
    Harlem's transformation over the past five years into one of the city's most vibrant neighborhoods has to no small degree been owed to new restaurants that have clustered around the legendary soul food restaurant Sylvia's, including Five & Diamond and Chez Lucienne.  These and others are bustling, none moreso than Red Rooster, which is named after an old Harlem haunt.  There are tables outside on Lenox Avenue, and in all Red Rooster sits 120, with the main floor bar and dining room a rich repository of Harlem culture, with a very convivial figure eight bar where you can order anything on the menu, reclaimed wooden bookshelves, glass tile floors, leather banquettes and china and service ware collected from old diners around NYC.  The main reference to Samuelsson's culinary journey is in a black and white graphic to the rear, and there are works exhibited by artists from the Studio Museum Harlem.   

    Unfortunately, on the hot New York night we dined there, the a/c had malfunctioned and the main dining room was sweltering, so we repaired to the nice-and-cool but definitely dreary downstairs room. 
   Red Rooster's menu, executed by Michael Garrett,  is an amalgam of Southern and Harlem soul food along with some global items, and it's not surprising that the best dish on the whole menu is reflective of Scandinavia--an appetizer of terrific gravlax on pumpernickel with avocado and dill cream cheese. Before that you can nibble on very moist yellow cornbread with honey butter and tomato jam, which is very good if way too sweet for a classic Southern rendering.  Tacos and tostados of ceviche, fluke, salmon, and avocado are worth fighting over, and oysters with ginger mignonette are classic.  The crab cakes with a spiced mayo and avocado are good and meaty.
    For main courses there's hearty braised short ribs with roasted chokes, ginger, carrot, and pickled ramps, and a lovely grilled salmon with peanuts in a tangy citrus broth with long beans.  My favorite was the blackened catfish--not overpoweringly hot--with fried pickles and a delicious lemon dill slaw. There are also "Helga's Meatballs," based on Samuelsson's grandmother's recipe, with lingonberry sauce, and a chicken and egg with injera bread (not on the menu the night I ate there).
    Now you know that a Southern restaurant has got to have fried chicken, and Red Rooster's is called  "Fried Yard Bird," a  bone-in, skin-on chicken, marinated in buttermilk, served with collard greens, white mace gravy, hot sauce and seasoned chicken shake.  Oddly enough, this was not a hit, its skin breaking and sliding off the meat, the whole a bit greasy, with a way-too-subtle white gravy; this bird would hardly be a match for the myriad versions served around Harlem chicken joints.
    You'll delight in just about every one of the desserts, from a strawberry rhubarb pie that brims over with early summer vibes to sweet potato dumplings with cinnamon sugar.
     There's a good wine list to go with this food--rich, spicy wines are recommended--but the beer selection is at least as interesting, especially Harlem’s own Sugar Hill Golden Ale and a fabulous Swedish barley wine called Nils Oscar--a great find!
     It is a high compliment to say that Red Rooster needs Harlem as much as Harlem needs Red Rooster, for both are on a roll and the restaurant brightens a street that has itself become a beacon of a  second Harlem Renaissance.

Red Rooster is open for Lunch Mon.-Fri, for dinner nightly, for brunch, Sat. & Sun. Dinner appetizers run $10-$17, entrees $14-$33.


by Christopher Mariani

Highpoint Bistro and Bar
216 Seventh Avenue (between 22nd and 23rd)

     Now that the summer is officially almost here, NYC sidewalks are packed with pedestrians walking everywhere. New Yorkers do their best to stay above the hot, muggy subways and prefer to walk rather than hail down a cab for a commute that by foot was only too recently bitter cold and unbearable but is now warm and pleasant. NYC is always alive but in the summer months the city becomes animated and takes on an active persona. People are everywhere, parks begin to bloom as loungers hang out for a tan, the east and Westside pier bars are hopping, and best of all, many restaurants set up little tables for dining right outside their doors on the sidewalk.
    NYC’s attractive women sit in colorful sundresses while sipping cold glasses of white wine. Men take off their ties and roll up their sleeves to enjoy the season of sun. All are wearing a fashionable pair of shades, the bigger the better in this city. Some come for a cocktail and appetizers, others just for a cocktail and conversation. Even lovers sit outside and gaze into each other’s eyes over a bowl of pasta and a bottle of wine. With over 20,000 restaurants, NYC is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest food cities. Just  last week I drove into Manhattan, found a parking spot on 23rd  and walked east past the huge Clearview Chelsea Cinema before stumbling upon a great little restaurant that had its doors wide open and in the front a bubbly hostess who asked, “Would you like to eat inside or outside?”
    On Seventh Avenue, just one block east of Patsy’s Pizzeria and two blocks west of the enormous Italian market Eataly is the airy and casual Highpoint Bistro and Bar. Highpoint’s menu is filled with an abundance of Italian dishes, steakhouse favorites and American classics like the corn dog, cheeseburger slider and a “very special” meatloaf. It clear that this hearty array of dishes reflects executive chef Phil Deffina’s time spent cooking under chef David Burke, whose style is all his own, serving dishes with gusto and gobs of flavor.
    Highpoint is just over a year old, and from the looks of things on a busy Tuesday night, they are doing very well. The room is long and covered with wood, almost all tables have a comfortable brown, leather banquet and there is a bar in the middle that seats about ten.  Best of all, there are multiple tables set on the sidewalk where you can enjoy the summer weather and watch the city pass you by.
    My date and I started with some crispy beef dumplings and two well-made cocktails, both served in saucer champagne glasses. Then came a slew of appetizers, including American Kobe corn dogs placed on wooden skewers sticking out of an elegantly designed tree. The presentation was a bit over the top but the crunchy dogs brought back memories of what a corn dog used to and should taste like.  I highly recommend this dish. Large chunks of cubed tuna tartare were placed inside hard-shelled tacos and garnished with tobiko, avocado mousse, a sweet seaweed salad and an ahi mayonnaise. For a mid-course, we shared the pappardelle mixed with garlic, pesto, pine nuts, duck confit, ricotta and topped with a soft egg that spilled creamy yolk when broken. For our main course, we shared the tender beef short ribs that broke apart with the graze of a fork and was sided by a spicy horseradish. Entire grilled branzino came out with the skin on and the meat delicate and moist, simply seasoned with salt, pepper and a touch of lemon.
    As if all this food wasn’t enough, chef Deffina then sent out dessert, the caramel experiment. Above a block of Himalayan rock salt, a big pot of caramel was poured on top and surrounded by cupcakes, brownies, popcorn, candied pecans, marshmallows, pretzels and much more. I could have dipped just about anything in the salty caramel and it would have been good--a delicious do-it-yourself dessert.
    Above all, Highpoint’s service staff is what really defines the experience. Our server was attentive, sweet, always smiling, and recommended just about everything we ordered. The wine list is divided into three sections, all filled with red and white wines, the first section starting at $25, the next $35 and the most expensive at $45. The wines along with the food are reasonably priced, a quality I hope to see more of in NYC. The combination of satisfying food, great ambiance and terrific service made my evening of summer in the city.        

Highpoint is open nightly. Appetizers range $9-$14, main courses $18-$36

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by Mort Hochstein

    Patrick Campbell is one of my heroes, perhaps my number one hero in the wine business. If the name is not familiar, it’s because Patrick never courted publicity, never hired a pr person.   He was, until recently, the man behind Laurel Glen, generally recognized as one of California’s finer Cabernets.
      For a wine of its quality, Laurel Glen has always been reasonably priced.  It’s currently around $50 and usually costs less than similarly ranked Cabs from peers such as Kathryn Hall and Spottswoode. “I don’t believe prices are an indicator of value,” Campbell observes. “The wine world can be weird and the price quality thing is ridiculous. We are certainly up there with the best of them."
      Campbell (left) is one of my wine world heroes because he doesn’t follow wine fashions, makes the kind of wine he likes, has always put quality first and never chased the big buck. I respect the life he’s lived. Campbell earned a masters degree in the philosophy of religion at Harvard, played the viola professionally and spent three years in a Zen community where he worked in the vineyard, therein identifying his eventual career.  And finally I respect him most because he conquered a handicap that might have sidelined many of us. Since childhood, he has been paralyzed in both legs, yet he labors in the vineyard, moves rapidly on braces and crutches, and runs a tractor configured so that he can control it manually. He’s a competitive kayak racer   and an independent thinker, a person who looks you straight in the eye and gives you a straight answer. You have to admire the man.
     In March,   Campbell sold Laurel Glen   to Bettina Sichel, the fifth generation member of a family dynasty that has been making and importing wines in Germany since 1857.     Her father, Peter Sichel, is another one of my heroes. Peter Sichel escaped from Nazi persecution just before the start of World War Two, volunteered for the US Army the day after Pearl Harbor and joined the OSS in 1943, serving in Algiers and France.    He entered Mainz , headquarters of the family wine business,  hours after Nazi troops had fled,     found its  underground cellars intact, and soon regained control for the family. He ran spies in Germany as an OSS agent, and later was a CIA officer in  Berlin, Washington, and Hong Kong, rejoining the family business in 1959.
            In the  seventies,  Sichel gave the world Blue Nun, a bland Liebfraumilch which became, along with Gallo Hearty Burgundy,  the  entry level wine  for many Americans. He was also the proprietor, until 2006, of Fourcas-Hosten, a modest Cru Bourgeois Chateau in Bordeaux. His wartime  exploits and his role as godfather to many wine enterprises and wine journalists have always impressed me.  Long before New York City  began trying to ease the road  for  cyclists,  Sichel    bicycled  daily from his home in upper  Manhattan to his office in midtown,.  Now in his eighties, he’s   writing his memoirs and I am eager to read them.
   The success of Blue Nun established Peter Sichel as a marketing maven. Bettina  Sichel  (right) demonstrated    those same ‘chops’  in more than 20  years in the wine industry,  launching and establishing brands  as marketing director for  Franciscan  Estates, Quintessa and most recently, the Napa Valley Vintners Association.
    “Bettina,” Patrick observes, “wants to give Laurel Glen a bigger presence.”  She jump-started that campaign in key markets soon after acquiring the winery, teaming with Campbell in a series of vertical tastings of Laurel Glen Cabernet from ’81 through ’06 in key markets.
         Campbell’s Cabernet has always had a complex, Bordeaux-like balance of acid, fruit and tannin with good aging ability.   The wines in the eighties were occasionally a bit   crisp and austere  , but the Laurel Glen style segued  toward riper and richer in the nineties becoming   somewhat softer, yet more concentrated. The   wines of the new century are fresh and   accessible at an early stage, but are built for aging    in the Laurel Glen tradition.  While his wines have evolved, Campbell has   not been tempted to swing toward the high alcoholic content and high extraction style all too prevalent today in California “Over the years,” he said,  “there’s    been a progression  from  an old world model  of lean,  classical flavors toward a more modern fruit-driven  style, but  we have maintained the deep core of mountain fruit, acid backbone and balance which are the hallmarks of Laurel Glen Cabernet.”  The tasting reflected this goal and seeking out wines from recent harvests, particularly ’01 and ’02 will be a rewarding effort. The 2006 Laurel Glen should be in most markets now and, though young, is a promising vintage.
       Why did Campbell sell Laurel Glen?  ” After 35 years, it was time to move on. I really did all I could with the winery and it just wasn’t that intellectually interesting anymore,” he responds. Campbell will   not be idle. His Terra Divine Vineyards produces    two inexpensive California brands, Za  Za  Zin and Reds, and is home basis for his  South American ventures. He travels below the equator four or five times a year, sourcing grapes for several fine reds,    most notably a series of excellent malbecs, among the finest to come from Argentina.  And, he says, he has started playing his viola again.

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The British government intends to cut the national deficit by selling off some of its stock of fine wines tin the cellar at Lancaster House pay for cheaper bottles to be served to  visiting dignitaries. The foreign office estimated a savings of 500,000 by 2015.


`“I booked at table at [The Ivy in Los Angeles] and did a number so Jaime Brajas, the manager, knew  how unbelievably important I was.  “I’ll keep a table for you on the patio,” he promised.
         “When I got there with Geraldine and my Hollywood cinematographer, Richard Kline, there was no table free on the patio.  We were shown to a pleasant farmhouse-like interior—blue plates on the walls, very twee—and told to wait.
         “`I don’t do waiting,’ I said.
         “`It’s going to take 10 to 15 minutes to get rid of those people on the patio,’ Jamie explained.
         “`Get six waiters to stand by the table and shame them into leaving,’ I instructed.
         "`I’ll be one of them,’ said Jaimie.
         “`Take a machinegun,’ I advised.
         “`They’ve gone,’ he announced. `I told them they had 30 seconds to leave before the restaurant caught fire.”—Michael Winner (right), “My LA Story—More Horror than Thriller,” The Sunday Times (5/8/11).



Mariani's Quick Bytes
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"Dinner by the Book"
On June 6 in NYC, The YWCA-NYC will host "Dinner by the Book" at Negril Village with special guest with special guest Victoria Brown, author of Minding Ben (Voice/Hyperion). Tickets are $40 and include tasting menu, autographed copy of Minding Ben, and a tax-deductible donation to the YWCA. Reservations required. For tickets, contact <>  or call (212) 735-9708.
On June 6 in NYC, Maestro Steven Blier continues the spring season of HENRY¹s ³Sing for Your Supper.² An evening of great music provided from New York City¹s rising stars of musical theatre and opera and Chef Mark Barrett¹s famous Baked Veal Ricotta Meatballs featured in the 3-course, Italian-American prix-fixe dinner.  ³Sing for Your Supper² will sell out, so please reserve your table now!  Call 212-866-0600 for reservations or visit
Powell's Books
On June 6 at Powell's Books on Hawthorne in Portland, OR Melissa Coleman will read from This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone, a memoir that takes place during the early days of the natural living and organic food movements. 7:30pm. Powell's 503-228-4651, or visit for more info.
The Booksmith
On June 8 at The Booksmith in San Francisco, CA, Melissa Coleman will read from This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone, a memoir that takes place during the early days of the natural living and organic food movements. 7:30pm. The Booksmith 415-863-8688, or visit for more info.
Apsleys, a Heinz Beck Restaurant
On June 9, The Lanesborough, London, and Domaine Leflaive, will host an exclusive tasting event at ‘Apsleys, a Heinz Beck Restaurant.’  Adam Brett-Smith, MD of Corney & Barrow, will be on-hand throughout the dinner to lead guests through each of the rare vintages offered, paired with 7-courses designed by Three-Michelin starred Chef Heinz Beck.  £250 pp. Call +011 44(0)20 7259 5599 or visit  
On Saturday, June 11 from 12pm to 3pm, at the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, CT, just an hour outside NYC, guests are invited to a one-of-a-kind culinary event to benefit Philip Johnson's iconic Glass House, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  While exploring the buildings, grounds and art collections of the Glass House site (47 acres), guests will also meet and enjoy dishes created by the award-winning restaurant chefs of Harvest to Heat including Michel Richard, Derek Wagner, Brian Lewis, Bill Taibe and Lee Chizmar. Live music, fine wines, and artisanal cheese and chocolates will round out the afternoon.  Dine with Design tickets are $300 with limited availability and may be purchased online at or via phone at 866.811.4111.
Gather Restaurant
On June 22 Gather Restaurant in Berkeley, CA will host a Hodo Soy/Magruder Ranch $47.00 four-course prix fixe dinner prepared by Esquire Magazine’s “Chef of the Year” Sean Baker with continuous service from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m.; Mac MacGruder and the owner of Hodo Soy will be at the dinner; vegan alternatives available; optional wine pairing also offered; 2200 Oxford Street; (510) 809-0400;

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 Any of John Mariani's books below may be ordered from

My new book, How Italian Food Conquered the World (Palgrave Macmillan) is a rollicking history of the food culture of Italy and its ravenous embrace in the 21st century by the entire world. From ancient Rome to la dolce vita of post-war Italy, from Italian immigrant cooks to celebrity chefs, from pizzerias to high-class ristoranti, this chronicle of a culinary diaspora is as much about the world's changing tastes, prejudices,  and dietary fads as about our obsessions with culinary fashion and style.--John Mariani

" 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

"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.

"John Mariani has written the definitive history of how Italians won their way into our hearts, minds, and stomachs.  It's a story of pleasure over pomp and taste over technique."--Danny Meyer, owner of NYC restaurants Union Square Cafe, Gotham Bar & Grill, The Modern, and Maialino.


FEATURED LINKS: I am happy to  report that the Virtual Gourmet is  linked to 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: EATING IN LONDON; KITEBOARDING OFF THE MADELEINE ISLANDS; ART WORLD ROYALTY IN MAASTRICHT; HIP HOT HISTORIC PHILADELPHIA.

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.

Family Travel Forum

                                                                    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.

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