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July 3, 2011                                                                                                    NEWSLETTER

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Adrina Partridge in Carl's Jr Hamburger Ad



Maui Makes Its Comeback
by Carey Sweet

New York Corner: Boulud Sud
by John Mariani

Man About Town: Hashknife
by Christopher Mariani

Wine: Who Needs a Million Dollar Estate When You Can Make
Wine in a Colorado Quonset Hut?
by John Mariani


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New York Celeb Chef at French Revolution Festival in Riviera Maya, July 11 - 23
From July 11-23, a festival honoring the anniversary of the French Revolution will be held at AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Riviera Maya. The resort's gourmet restaurant Piaf will be showcasing the talents of New York City's Madison Bistro owner and Maitre Cuisinier de France, Chef Claude Godard. Alongside Piaf's Executive Chef Michele Mustiere, Chef Godard will prepare a 5-course tasting menu featuring Sautéed Foie Gras w/ Artichoke Mousseline and white truffle; Hazelnut-butter Roasted Sea Bass, and a decadent chocolate dessert served with poached raspberries. Available to resort guests at no charge, $1200 pesos (approx. $100USD) for non-hotel guests. 1-888-323-2776;
Bond 45
NYC's Times Square fine-dining favorite Bond 45 (154 West 45th Street, 212-869-4545, is offering an unbeatable $15 Lunch Special at the bar from 11:30am to 4pm Monday to Friday. From pleasing pasta dishes to succulent seafood and steak items, you can enjoy a different and delicious dish each day from Culinary Director Brando De Oliveira. On Mondays indulge in classic Spaghetti & Meatballs; on Tuesdays savor Penne with Sausage Amatriciana; on Wednesdays, a tasty Tagliatelle with Filet Mignon Braciola; on Thursdays, Gramigna with Pulled Pork Ragu; and on Fridays, a flavorful Orecchiette with Red Wine Braised Calamari.
Le Caprice
On weekdays from 12pm to 3pm at the modern Le Caprice (795 Fifth Avenue, 212-940-8195,, you can enjoy Executive Chef Ed Carew's "lunch at the bar" menu with flavorful offerings like a Scotch Egg with celery salt ($8), Scottish Smoked Salmon with lemon and capers ($14), and an exquisite Welsh Rarebit ($10). And with Central Park right across the way, Le Caprice is an ideal spot for a midday meal.
Columbus Tavern
Columbus Tavern's (269 Columbus Avenue, NY 212-873-9400, old-world feel and delectable lunch menu can be enjoyed at their 100 year-old mahogany bar. Executive Chef Phil Conlon offers playful dishes like BLT Dumplings with spicy mustard and salted radishes ($7.50), Triple Mac & Cheese with spiral pasta and roasted tomatoes ($11), and ChefPhilly's Cheese Steak ($13). While there, you can also enjoy unique cocktails inspired by Upper West Side buildings like The Ansonia and The Dakota ($12 each).
Long Island Wine Auction
The second-annual HARVEST: Wine Auction and Celebration of Long Island’s East End ( has been slated for this September, starting Labor Day weekend and culminating the weekend of September 16 and 17, 2011, following the full harvest moon. This wine-centric event features several events including: educational Wine Salon programs, exclusive 10-Mile Dinners at private locations, the Fall for Long Island Festival Tasting with food and wine of the East End, and a Harvest Moon Gala with dinner prepared by one of Long Island’s most notable chefs, Tom Schaudel of A Mano, Coolfish, A Lure and Jewel, and the only live auction of Long Island wine. Tickets go on sale July 1st at
Bluestem Brassaire
SAN FRANCISCO – Amuse Management Group (AMG) partners Adam and Stacy Jed are pleased to announce that their first San Francisco restaurant venture, Bluestem Brasserie, is set to open on Thursday, June 23 at number one Yerba Buena Lane at Market Street, the intersection of downtown San Francisco’s cultural, shopping and business corridors.  A San Francisco brasserie and gathering place, Bluestem Brasserie will serve the city’s hub, offering a lively, all-day dining experience and rooftop bar.  AMG has also announced that acclaimed Bay Area chef James Ormsby will serve as Bluestem Brasserie’s consulting pastry chef.

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by Carey Sweet

Wailea Beach

     As the Hawaiian green sea turtle glided to the surface of the clear blue waters off the edge of Wailea Beach,  I gunned my Shop-Vac a bit, hoping to draw a bit closer without startling him.
    OK, I wasn’t really riding a commercial vacuum cleaner. But the snorkel scooter I had rented from Maui Undersea Adventures (below) sure looked like one. The bright yellow canister was heavy and had a propeller jet at its end; the idea was to hang on to the handles, appreciate its buoyancy, and zip along at up to three miles per hour as I snorkeled the reef in ease, farther from the shore than I might have unaided. The turtle breezed lazily by, popping its head up for a gulp of air through the crest of a wave so close that I could almost have touched him. And yes, I knew it was a him; my scooter pro had pointed out the difference in male and female turtle tails before we left the shop, which sits, entirely conveniently, right behind the poolside restaurant at the resort where I was staying, The Four Seasons Maui at Wailea.
    Earlier in the day, I had paddled an outrigger canoe through the same waters, skimming at a brisk clip with a guide who explained the history of the craft that was used by the first Hawaiians venturing to the islands from Tahiti. The nearly hour-long excursion is complimentary to hotel guests, and at the end, to soothe my sore shoulders, a massage would be waiting if I chose, at the resort’s thatched-top hale huts nestled amid the naupaka hedges on the edge of the seaside bluff.
    As interesting as the adventures were, the most surprising part was that I had needed to reserve my space – for both snorkeling and canoeing – several days in advance. In fact, for the outrigger, there had been a lengthy waiting list, and I had gotten in only when management decided to add an extra session. It was because, as this same management later told me, during my stay in early May, just past Maui’s high season of mid-December through mid-April, The Four Seasons (below) was at better than 80 percent occupancy. Well, welcome back, Maui.
    Only two years earlier, in 2009, hotels across the island had averaged 59.9 percent through the year, as the bomb economy collapsed the travel market. Yet not only are hotels Maui-wide now pushing average daily room rates of a healthy $379, but The Four Seasons has introduced a decidedly un-recessionary promotion for 2011: Unforgettable Events, a calendar of over-the-top themed gatherings aimed directly at the luxury crowd, with pricey, fantasy-inspired adventures like a yoga retreat with celebrity coach Kathryn Budig, insider access to Maui Film Festival, and tennis, bicycling and surfing camps with some of the world's top professionals.  To kick the series off, winemaker Michael Silacci of Opus One had flown in for a $350-per-person dinner, showcasing the legendary bottlings of the Napa, California winery in a four-course meal prepared by Four Seasons’ executive chef Roger Stettler.
    It was why I had come back to the island, a favorite haunt of mine forever, but one that other travels had taken me away from these last five years. This menu, paired with progressive Opus One vintages, had been intriguing enough to get me to book a flight.   
    Since my last trip to Wailea, virtually nothing has changed – the intimate resort community on the southwestern edge of Maui still boasts the same spectacular velvety-sand beaches, the brilliant sun that warms the ocean to bikini-dipping comfort, and the quiet, silky mood that moneyed people relaxing together imparts.
    Four Seasons itself remains the epitome of elegance, displayed from the grand open-air lobby to the lavish gardens, to the ocean front suites, each outfitted with two spa-style marble bathrooms complete with spa products, a wet bar and dining room, and a lanai that spreads the length of two regular size hotel rooms. A stay is not cheap. The lowest-end access for a mountain side room starts at $465 a night; the ocean view prime suite I commandeered cost $1,495 (below), and it’s possible to lavish in a three bedroom presidential suite for a cool $14,750. Rooms on the Club Floor include opulent breakfasts, hors d’ouevres and wines, for a surcharge of $225 per day.
    Yet one of the payoffs is that, within the 380-room oasis spread over two wings on 15 acres, I found there’s really nothing that could be desired. Typically, I’m an avid explorer, and restless. But by the time I departed the resort three days later, I had left the property only once, for a visit to The Shops at Wailea, and even that didn’t feel like a true departure, since the boutique mall is a picturesque 15-minute walk up a winding oceanfront path. I wouldn’t have needed to make the effort, either; in December, the resort opened more upscale boutiques of its own, and had I shunned walking, a complimentary private town car stood at the ready to whisk me to nearly anywhere within reason on the island.
    One extraordinary new change is the Serenity terrace (below) built for $9 million two years ago; guests pay up to $395 a day for the luxury of lounging in one of the six private cabanas next to the infinity pool and hot tub. It’s adults only, and oh-so peaceful; I dozed off frequently, sun-baked and waking long enough to sip the champagne stocked in my private mini bar, or to watch a movie on my 42-inch HD TV between refreshing dips in the water.
    Another noticeable update to Four Seasons is in dining. Local food has come front-and-center, with Stettler and his new executive sous-chef Sam Faggetti showcasing Maui products at the resort’s flagship steak- and seafood house Duo, plus the beachfront Ferraro's Bar e Ristorante. 
     If promoting outrigger canoe rides offers an unparalleled sense of place, so does  the resort's commitment to working with some 70 local farmers who contribute everything from island-fresh tomatoes (below) to baby fennel, to Haiku tomatoes and Hamakua mushrooms, to a delectable goat cheese from Surfing Goat Dairy on the slopes of Haleakala Crater in lower Kula. The chefs bring in briny-crunchy opihi, a unique-to-Hawaii shellfish similar to baby abalone, plus Kona lobster from the island to the south, and of course many tropical fruits. For diners at Duo, three presentations of Haiku tomatoes arrive dressed in honey-saffron, parsley-tomato aïoli and brined Maui onions, while the Surfing Goat's cheese fritter is a dense ball moistened with roasted eggplant caviar and tomato onion jam, and togarashi seared ahi contrasts meaty spice with feather-light Hamakua mushroom tempura in a delicate miso-beurre blanc. Enjoyed on the tiered patio with cool ocean breezes wafting through, it’s not hard to imagine that miso is kissed with sea salt.
    In an artful balance of celebrating its Hawaiian-ness without tackiness (there is a hula show, but it is a single performer in the posh lobby lounge), even the breakfast buffet features local specialties like island apple bananas in a creamy sauce, alongside daily specials such as milk-rice brûlée, like a fluffy tapioca custard smothered in berry compote.  At Ferraro’s (below), which doubles as a casual lunch spot for guests in swimsuits and flip-flops, but also as an elegant al fresco bistro serving authentic Italian cucina rustica cuisine, local Kula corn becomes the base for a chilled soup dotted with lemongrass panna cotta and a dollop of Dungeness crab salad, while flaky, tender and mild flavored Hawaiian monchong fish is brightened by tomato foam, black olive tapenade, and toasted fregola pasta that melds like moist couscous. A table at the edge of the cliff-side eatery is a coveted perch; during the day, the sun sparkles like diamonds on the water, and at night, the stars glitter in brilliant pinpricks. The only thing the highly polished Four Seasons staff can’t control, it seems, is the weather. In a typical Hawaiian twist of spring, the day of the Opus One gala dawned clear but cloudy, and by late afternoon, light showers had made the resort’s oceanfront lawn slippery. The party was moved inside, to a reception in an enclosed courtyard and supper in a ballroom.
    No one was complaining, though. One of the appeals of the resort’s new Unforgettable Events is the private mood, and this gathering was limited to 20 attendees. So as we mingled over hors d'oeuvres passed with Champagne, I visited with other guests who had not been to Maui in several years, but had not needed much excuse beyond this dinner to return. We nibbled ahi “pearls” dotted in American caviar, wasabi crème brûlée decorated in tobiko caviar and more. After sitting down at the long, communal table, we ate pan-seared sweetbreads paired with a lean, elegant 1981 Opus, enjoying how the organ meat’s preparation in aged port wine-mole syrup over organic apple hash accented in vanilla-honey infused parsnip ice cream made for a surprisingly rich complement. For a next course, a 2005 Opus offered concentrated aromas of blueberry, rose petals, white truffle, licorice and nutmeg, bringing a complex accent to an earthy entrée of braised oxtail dolloped with sunchoke mousse, a rich slab of crack-skinned Kurobuta pork belly drizzled in acai berry reduction, and pommes Anna.
    Dessert would be an array of confections paired with 2007 Opus, selected, the winemaker explained, for its showcase aromas of cassis, nutmeg, raspberries, cola, fresh oats, dark chocolate and forest floor. The sweets were uncommon flavors, too, like sweet potato and cinnamon skewers finished in brown sugar candy; an ingenious layering of roasted fennel, chocolate pate and carbonated orange mousse that danced on the tongue; and chocolate buttermilk cake brightened in candied beets and raspberry fluid gel.
    Because of the rains, we may have missed the sunset and surf through our meal. Yet nothing could dampen the thrill of being back in Maui,  in all its glory.




20 West 64th Street (between Broadway & Central Park West)

         Capitalizing on one’s strengths is as crucial to success in the restaurant business as it is in the auto industry.  Just as GM and Ford will never make a good facsimile of a Porsche or Rolls Royce, chefs who stray into genres and styles they know little about almost always come up short.  Thus, Daniel Boulud, who is resolutely French, born in Lyon in the farming village of St. Pierre de Chandieu, has always concentrated his efforts on refining what he knows how to do better than almost anyone else in NYC, and that is to offer French food of a kind you will indeed find in Lyon, or Paris, or Marseilles, or Strasbourg, along with a few Mediterranean flavors mixed in.
         His first NYC effort, and still his grandest, was his namesake Restaurant Daniel on East 65th Street, stringently devoted to haute cuisine. Next was Café Boulud, also on the Upper East Side, more casual but still serving very sophisticated cuisine with some global interactions; then came DB Bistro Moderne,  which in its swank décor and $55 foie gas-and-truffles burger was nothing like any other Theater District bistro; two years ago he went further into casual chic with Bar Boulud, across from Lincoln Center, then way downtown to open the huge charcuterie-based DBGB.  Along the way he had projects in other cities as far flung as Singapore and London, always toeing the French line.
         Now comes Boulud Sud, whose name refers to the cuisine of the South of France and the Mediterranean, and it’s set next to  his  equally new take-out Épicerie offering wondrous breads and pastries, and adjacent to Bar Boulud.  If, then, you wonder how this new venture may be yet different from all else Boulud is doing, just open the menu and you’ll see:  It’s broken into sections
entitled “De La Mer,” “Du Jardin” and “De La Ferme,” with many small plates items and an emphasis on grilled fish and lamb.
The new restaurant is easily one of the most beautiful of any year, with  120 seats  and an open kitchen with counter seating. The lighting is perfect—soft and flattering, and the echoes of the barrel vaulted ceilings at Bar Boulud give an added comfort factor to the color ones of sunflower yellow, ocher, slate gray, pear wood paneling and terrazzo floors, with bright works of art by Vik Muniz. As at all Boulud's restaurants, the welcome is très gentil.

    Executive chef Aaron Chambers, a Brit, has a résumé that includes Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Milton, GB, the Dubai Burl Al Arab Hotel, and various U.S. restaurants before joining Boulud as sous-chef at Café Boulud. Pastry chef Ghaya F. Oliveira, born in Tunisia, was at Café Boulud as of 2001, then at Bar Boulud, and in her work she expresses what is the Boulud philosophy:   “Working for Daniel means always reaching for the best. It’s knowing how to be classic and modern at the same time.”  Sommelier   Michael Madrigale oversees 250 labels, starting at $25, though there is precious little on the list at that lowest price; there is a good number under $50 though.
    Boulud Sud is best appreciated at a table for four or more; there are simply too many dishes that sound irresistible, beginning with the "De La Mer" items like octopus braised in white wine till tender then seared  à la plancha and served with Marcona almond puree,
arugula and orange salad with lemon-oregano vinaigrette, and toasted Marcona almonds.  Daurade (sea bream) is also cooked on the griddle, tangy with a rich Romesco sauce. Cured Spanish anchovies (way too salty) come with shaved fennel and socca chickpea flour bread, a specialty of Nice. Plump grilled shrimp come with a garlic-and-basil pistou. The "Du Jardin" dishes include a chickpea herb falafel with humus and lavash bread, and crispy Roman-style artichokes with a lovely aïoli.
    "De La Ferme" (from the farm)
comes duck leg kataifi with date chutney, rabbit porchetta with asparagus and basil, and larger dishes like a wonderful plate of orecchiette pasta with baby goat ragôut and wild garlic. Quail is cuddled in pancetta and accompanied by bitter-salty Tuscan kale and a lush rosemary-onion soubise, while harissa-spiced grilled lamb loin is sided with with Algerian eggplant. One of the specialties is a Moroccan chicken tagine, with turnips, spinach, and preserved lemon that could have used a little more zest and would be more fun if served in the actual ceramic tagine.
    Oliveira's desserts are magical--rich but not heavy, beautifully conceived but not overly wrought, like the mint-chocolate pavé with pine nuts, jasmine flower, and biscuit and her Eve's Delight
, an apple baked in puff pastry and served with red currant marmalade and Calvados crème anglaise.
    Daniel Boulud's newest venture is very clearly an expression of what he loves about modern cuisine, of which he has been a pioneer for more than twenty years. At Boulud Sud he fits another piece of the puzzle into his grand design and in so doing reveals ideas no one else has yet accomplished with such aplomb while giving the Upper West Side a lot more to brag about.

Boulud Sud is open nightly for dinner (lunch begins in September). Dinner  à la carte with main courses from $26    and three course pre-theater menu served 5- 6:30 pm



by Christopher Mariani


HWY 281 N. &HWT 254
Peadenville, TX


    When I think of Texas I think of a giant rack of smoky ribs glistening with a glaze of sweet and tangy barbeque sauce, meat so tender and moist it shreds effortlessly off the bone. Each bite packed with gusts of smoke, fat, salt and hints of heat that linger on the tongue even after a gulp of cold Lone Star beer.
         On a recent trip back to Texas I touched down and jumped in the car with my good friend Brian before heading west towards Graham County (a good hour and half drive from DFW). On the way we stopped by Hashknife on the Chisholm for some terrific 'que. Hashknife sits alone on the corner of a four-way stop sign, not a soul in sight for miles in any direction. The restaurant pops out of nowhere and Owner, Jim McLennan, Jr. opened the place five years ago to feed local construction workers in the surrounding area; oddly, I saw nothing constructed. McLennan’s reputation quickly grew and has attracted the likes of loyal bbq fans from all over Texas.
         I could be wrong but the building appears to have once been an old gas station. The outside very simple, with a maroon awning and a giant sign with big, bold, white lettering that reads “BARBEQUE.” Inside is a cozy little wood-trimmed dining room connects to an open kitchen that releases whiffs of burning charcoal, slow-cooked meats and best of all, ribs! The chairs are comfortable and the tables large, exactly what is required when sitting down for some hearty Texas fare.
         Chef started us out with some smoked chicken salad sandwiched between his house-made bread, cut thick, and sautéed in what I assume was an entire stick of butter. The plate of sandwiches was quickly left with a few remaining toothpicks originally used to keep the sandwiches standing up right. Next came the beef.  Savory hunks of brisket had beautiful layers of fat in each bite and was sided by McLennan’s housemade sauce, a wonderful combination of vinegar, salt and sweet bbq that complemented the brawny slap of meat. Rib bones piled high as we devoured the entire rack, possibly the best ribs I have ever tasted. Sides included an order of hickory-smoked beans, slaw and the sweetest corn on the cob imaginable. This was the type of lunch that required a washing of the hands, lips, cheeks and maybe a spot of two left behind on your shirt.        
    When the meal ended, or so we thought, Jim’s lovely wife approached the table with a big smile and slapped down a few slices of her very own banana cake topped with “Texas” sweet icing and filled with a banana-custard that made you wish she was your aunt so you could get it all the time. There was no mistaking the McLennan duo were put on this earth to do one thing, feed fellow Texans great bbq. Neither Jim nor his wife would be happier doing anything else. They show all guests traditional southern hospitality and know how to keep you coming back for more.
If you drive by late on a Thursday night you may even see Jim and a few buddies kicking back with a few Shiner Bocks while singing some tunes. Reminded me how the simple things in life are the most pleasurable. When we left,  they gave us nice parting gifts, complimentary, burnt orange Hashknife T-shirts. I’ve worn it once back here in New York and folks here aren’t too familiar with the hue.

To contact Christopher Mariani send an email to

Who Needs a $50 Million Dollar California Estate When You
 Can Make Good Wine in a Colorado Quonset Hut?

by John Mariani

    It would be facile enough to say that wealthy Coloradans have only recently followed Californian entrepreneurs into the wine business, but in fact, Colorado was producing nearly 2000 gallons of wine annually as far back as 1899. By 1968—around the same time Robert Mondavi revolutionized the California wine industry—the first modern Colorado winery, Ivancie, opened in a garage in Denver, with later plantings in  Grand Valley. Now there are more than 100 wineries in the state, and visitors can easily drive designated Colorado Wine Trails to Loveland, Boulder, Evergreen, Arvada in search of them.
         Or you can stay in downtown Denver and visit The Infinite Monkey Theorem (TIMT) winery, which, since 2008, has operated out of a Quonset hut in a back alley of the city’s Santa Fe Arts District. The winery gets its name from the idea of probability that
a monkey striking typewriter keys at random for an infinite amount of time will eventually type out the complete works of Shakespeare. “We like the simple irony of comparing such an endeavor to the incredibly controlled process of premier winemaking,” says TIMT’s winemaker and partner Ben Parsons, adding that, “we are the Shakespeare, not the monkey.”
         The winery produced 4,500 cases last year, with 95 percent of the grapes grown around Colorado’s Western Slope, the rest sourced from California. Parsons and his partners have made TIMT very much a community project within the arts district, donating $25,000 to the University of Colorado Cancer Prevention Center (Parsons’ father died of colon cancer in 2007). “We have local restaurant sommeliers digging dirt and bottling the wines,” he says, and TIMT presently offers three- and five-gallon kegs to more than 400 local customers, bars and restaurants through TIMT’s wine club.
    The winery plans to open its own restaurant this year, though right now the neighborhood gets dicey with druggies at night. “Good idea to lock your car,” says Parsons.  From the outside, the cement block building of the winery (below) looks nothing like the baronial wine estates in Napa and Sonoma Valleys; inside a room is full of cardboard boxes, open bottles of wine, and a tasting table.  A young black dog runs around at his leisure. The tanks and barrels are in the Quonset hut, and the only real décor is the graffiti on walls and the delivery truck with a painting of a chimpanzee on the side.
         Parsons (right) is a Brit, from Kent, who’d worked as a merchant for Layton’s Wines in London, then moved to New Zealand to work in the vineyards, eventually graduating top of his class in oenology at Adelaide University. A job ad for a winemaking position, with no interview required, brought him to Canyon Wind Cellars in Palisade, Colorado, and by 2004 he’d turned Sutcliffe Vineyards (founded by another Brit, John Sutcliffe) from 400 to 4,000 cases a year.
         Wanting his own winery, he figured he could source the best grapes from the Western Slope, which he compares to France’s Rhone Valley, with a 200-day growing season and less than seven inches of rainfall.
         While everything about TIMT seems unorthodox, Parsons bases everything he does on traditional winemaking, and though I expected that expertise to show in his wines, I really was quite amazed at the results.  Tasting bottled, finished wines at the winery, I was immediately impressed by a mouth filling, pleasantly fruity 2010 sauvignon blanc.
         Parsons’ rosé of cabernet franc was a beautiful, true rose color, very fruity and well suited to summer foods. A 100 percent petit verdot 2009 was still tannic but solidly knit, a big chewy wine, best with roasted meats. A 2009 petite syrah was very true to its varietal character, with a fine, expressive bouquet, and a sensible 14.2 percent alcohol—one of the best petite sirahs I’ve tasted anywhere.
         Not everything was so wonderful: an unfiltered 2009 malbec, with 10 percent petit verdot, smelled reedy and was a little sweet in the finish. And a red blend of petit verdot, malbec, petite sirah, and syrah, called 100th Monkey, was too massive, almost cloying on the palate.
I tasted a number of other Colorado wines while out there and when I got home, and found that some producers still cling to a sweet, outdated style; others are experimenting with way too many varietals—many from out-of-state fruit--while others produce small quantities specific to the terroir.
    I very much enjoyed the Rhone-style syrahs of Whitewater Hill, Boulder Creek, and Sutcliffe, but was surprised at the particular flavor of Sutcliffe’s 2008 Down Canyon Blend Red Wine, from around McElmo Canyon. A mix of cabernet and syrah, the former giving excellent structure, the latter a sweet grape softness, it tasted like what I would think a wine from Colorado would taste like—a bit unpolished and a little wild, but for a red wine to go with a lot of grilled foods, this is a winner.
    As for purchasing Colorado wines out of state, here’s the official word from

NOTE TO ORDERING ON-LINE: As of 1 July 2006, it is no longer necessary to have visited a Colorado winery prior to ordering wine to be shipped to you. However, as each state's shipping laws are different, whether a winery can ship directly to you will depend on whether your state will allow it and whether the winery has purchased a shipping license for your state. Many of those licenses are prohibitively expensive for small wineries with very limited production. So please check with each winery about shipping to your location prior to ordering

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.


Chinese artist Ju Duoqi uses cabbages in the Beijing vegetable market into works of art depicting women, using toothpicks and knives to cut the cabbage leaves into body parts, then photographs the result.  Her cabbage series has been exhibited in Beijing, London, Paris, Los Angeles and Miami, with limited edition prints selling for $2,900-$4,300.

. . . And in Nanjing, 180 of  Chinese farmer
Liu Mingsuo's watermelons exploded after an effort to chemically boost the fruit by applying forchlorfenuron, a growth accelerator. 



 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: Martha's Vineyard, Letter from Rome, Letter from Paris.

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,  and Brian Freedman. Contributing Photographers: Galina Stepanoff-Dargery,  Bobby Pirillo. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.

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