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  June 24, 2012                                                                                                NEWSLETTER

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by John Mariani

Adour Alain Ducasse
by John Mariani

Champagne on the Rocks?
Moët says “Pourquoi non?”

by John Mariani


Part One
by John Mariani

"Essaouira, 2012" Photo by John Mariani

Whether it’s Hemingway’s Paris, Canaletto’s Venice, or Dickens’ London, every traveler to a new land carries with him images and reveries  from art, literature, and film.  To Morocco we bring with us ideas from the Beaux Art genre painters, Paul Bowles' novels, and, indelibly, the black-and-white images of the movie “Casablanca,” which, despite its being filmed entirely on the Warner Bros. studio lot, gave a portrait of the twilight zone city of Casablanca, a crucible of love and honor, intrigue and bravery play out within the arched walls of Rick’s Café Americaine, where in the shadow of the Vichy government, people come and go and disappear as the political winds blow.
    Of course, there never was a Rick’s Café (right) in Casablanca--although there is a tourist bar there now by that name--but Morocco itself has always been a country tied to Arab, African, and European cultures, lying along both the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean and spreading south into the mountains and deserts as barren and beautiful as any on earth.
    A visitor to Morocco invariably flies into Casablanca, usually in early morning, when the sun has not yet warmed the earth and the sky glows violet and orange. As most Moroccans will tell you, there is not really much to keep you in Casablanca for more than a day or two, but spending a morning in a café along the Mediterranean coast, with its shores foaming from the assault of the sea, it's a good way to warm up by sipping coffee and nibbling sweet pastries. And they make a pretty good namesake beer in Casablanca, too.
    The requisite visit--and quite an extraordinary stop it is--will be to the gigantic new Hassan II Mosque (left), the only one besides the Tim Mal Mosque that non-Muslims are allowed to enter, partially set on  the sea, as it was said in the Koran that "The Throne of God was on water."
    It took six years and close to a billion dollars to erect this monument, from 1987 to 1993, designed by
French architect Michel Pinseau and built with the help of 2,500 workmen and 10,000 craftsmen, sot that it stands as the largest mosque in Morocco, the seventh largest in the world. For an important religious event, the building can hold 25,000 inside and 80,000 outside. Pity the latter who during Ramadan must stand out in the blazing sun without taking as much as a glass of water for most of the day.
    As imposing as it is in size from the outside, the true wonders are within, from its glass floor and sliding roof to vast expanses of cut and decorated marble. The prayer hall alone covers 20,000 square meters, and there are two hanging mezzanines reserved for women. The ablution hall, where devotees ritually wash themselves has 41 fountains, along with two huge hammam bath areas.

    From Casablanca we headed to El Jadida for lunch at a fish restaurant called Le Bistro, of a kind that dots the Mediterranean coast. Our guide told us that the seaside cities are best for seafood and that we should save our appetite for meats until we got to Marrakech.  We were well rewarded at this charming true bistro with colors and fabrics that might well have come from Pierre Deux, some travel and movie posters, and a chef who displays his fish of the morning's catch in a box at the open kitchen, so that you make choose whatever you wish.  We wished to try the tiny shrimp called crevettes in a hot pil pil sauce, then a mixed grill of fish and large shrimp drizzled with olive oil.
    That evening in El Jadida, we checked into the new Mazagan Beach Resort (right), set on four miles of sea sand, with a golf course and spa that show clear evidence that this spectacular, very large hotel intends to attract an international crowd.  English is spoken by most everyone on the staff. Many of the rooms have an ocean view, and the hotel wraps around and up and down four floors with semi-circular hallways that take time to navigate to the central part of the hotel, all in flickering light.
It's one of the best hotels in Morocco by far and as modern as anything in the Mediterranean right now.
    There are several dining options here, including Morjana, where they serve traditional Moroccan fare, and Sel de Mer, whose name tells you that seafood is the specialty in this gorgeously lighted, long dining room with a horseshoe bar glowing with translucent blue light and hanging cocoons. It draws a well-dressed crowd--the women tend to dress up for the evening--and there are roomy banquettes and thick-pillowed tables for four and six throughout.  Since the dining room was packed the night I dined there alone, I happily sat at the bar, sipped a cocktail, ordered a white Moroccan wine called President, and enjoyed a bowl of linguine with sauce crustaces, a juicy bar fish with crispy skin, and raspberry nougat for dessert. 
    The next day we departed for the city of Safi, which has a sizable population and a thriving fishing industry, as well as a high reputation for fine ceramics and pottery within the walls of the medina. Here we ate at a restaurant built on several levels, Au Riyad du Pecheur, just a half mile from the ocean.  Its walls are rife with ceramics of fish and fishing (below), its roof is a violet blue, and there are a nine rooms to lease for the night, too. We began with a chickpea soup, harira, served with sweet dates and honeyed pastry, then a mix of fried fish--sardines (for which Safi is famous), prawns, sole, and shrimp, then our first tagine--the beloved stew-like dishes cooked in a ceramic casserole with a tent-like pointed top that captures the flavorful steam within.  Ours was made from chicken with olives, a bit stringy but tasty. Sadly in Safi that week, no alcohol was being served under some blue law edict, and Coca-Cola does not do much for this kind of food.
    Onward down the coast we drove, to Essaouira. Once known by the  Portuguese name Mogador, Essaouira lies along the Atlantic coast and takes its Arab name from "the small fortress," which still encloses the city.  An ancient harbor, the city has traded with every nation in the Mediterranean since the Roman era, and the fortress here has been razed and re-built time and again as a bulwark against invaders who always seem eventually to breach its walls. By 1631 the French had gained preferential treatment from Abd el-Malek II, and it was in the 19th century the city began to take its present form under French engineers at the directives of Mohammed III, with other foreign architects adding to the harbor and fortifications, making it Morocco's principal port for two centuries.
    A Franco-Moroccan war broke out in 1844, and Essaouira became a French protectorate from 1912-1956, so still today many of the residents speak French as well as they do Arabic. In the early 1950s the city had one of its most famous visitors, Orson Welles, who filmed much of his movie of Shakespeare's "Othello" (left) within the fortress walls
from which you can see the ocean rage and streets of Essaouira, earning the director a bust, now much degraded,  just outside the medina wall.  Inside those walls are crafts stores of great variety, including wood working and furniture at very good prices, assuming you are willing to bargain.   This being Morocco, it is critical to do so,  an endeavor I am miserable at, always thinking the first response to my awkward haggling is as far as the merchant will go.  In fact, I learned that anything but a staunch refusal will result in a price well above what you might otherwise pay.
    I did buy some beautiful jewelry and long scarves for my wife at what I figured was a good price, but then, nudged upstairs to see the "real" antiques and the woven rugs, my friend and I were put in the hands of a master haggler at work. After we told him we didn't have any interest in buying a rug, he went into his routine, saying he is making no money on anything anymore. He then unrolled one of the most beautiful carpets I've ever seen, priced at a thousand US dollars. My friend suddenly announced that his dog had eaten its way through his living room carpet, and maybe, if he called his wife, she might want him to buy it--at a reduced price, of course.  (He lives in Tucson, so his wife wouldn't even be awake for several hours.)
    The rug seller immediately unrolled a dreadful imitation of the thousand-dollar rug, and, having voiced our opinion of the two, he sallied forth with compliments: "Ah, you are obviously men of taste and can see the difference!" He then dropped the price to $800. But my friend decided he really didn't want the rug. "How much would you pay?" My friend said he had no interest. The dealer asked me how much I would pay. I shrugged and said $500--"If I were interested, but I'm not." The dealer let his shoulders collapse and sighed, "Sir. . .  sir, I give you the rug for $400. I make no money at all." The end of the story, which went on for 15 more minutes, is that we managed a slow escape, having learned than the first price in such dealings  is always exorbitant, and there never really is  a set price.
    That evening, after a long day, we checked into a particularly romantic 33-room boutique hotel, Heure Bleue Palais, like all buildings in Essaouira, only four stories high. Formerly a rich man's home, then a 19th century orphanage, its courtyard (left) is now set with lighted plants, mahogany, and singing birds.  After a refreshing tea and cookies, we retired into a bedroom set lavishly with antiques, throw blankets, slatted windows, fireplace, rattan chairs, and every modern amenity.  We dined that night at the hotel's restaurant, named Bleu d'Orange (below), guided by the suave, French-born general manager, François Laustriat to Chef Ahmed Handour's finest dishes, which share French, Italian and North African flavors.  The room, evocative of the 19th century, with candlelight and fireplace, had tables covered that night with gold cloths and brass show plates. It was St. Valentine's Day.  We toasted our wives.
    As much as possible, ingredients here are as local as may be found, even the fine goat's cheese.  We began with a salad of calamari with a bread-and-tomato condiment called pappa al pomodoro, then rich foie gras of duck with Moroccan spices and chutney; there was veal sliced cold with a  creamy tuna mayonnaise; ravioli came stuffed with ricotta in a sauce of butter and sage, and our fish dish was a fillet of branzino with a cream of peas scented with ginger. Osso buco milanese was delicious, served as by tradition with saffron risotto.  The classic pastilla of Morocco was here crispy folds of pastry around chicken with almonds, perfumed with cinnamon. Our desserts were a nougat ice cream with cherry confit, and a warm chocolate torta with pistachio ice cream.
    The next day, after a fine breakfast at the hotel, we visited Marjana (below), a co-op of women who produce argan oil products for everything from cooking oil to facial creams. In one room the women sit on the floor,  cracking the nuts, crushing them to extract a tiny bit of oil.  Some are pureed and enriched, others left in their purest state, said

to do everything from curing ailments to making one's skin beautiful, soft and blemish free. We bought some as late Valentine's presents.
   Of Agadir, there is nothing to say except that it is a brand new, white city built on the total ruins of an ancient one destroyed on February 29, 1960.  Lasting just fifteen seconds, the quake toppled everything in Agadir; a year later reconstruction began, and today it is a completely modern city with nothing of historic interest left.  Still, its population has grown to 200,000 people, and it's become an important commercial port, within sight of the beautiful Atlas Mountains to the north of the Souss River.
     Down in the Souss Valley lies Taroudant, sometimes called the "Grandmother of Marrakech" because of its resemblance to the much larger capital city. It was once an important stop along the caravan route, and its bazaar teems with vitality, both inside and out, with souks at each of its main squares, one Berber, where one finds the best spices and household goods, one Arab, which specializes more in handicrafts, rugs, and jewelry.
    We headed up into the Atlas mountains that night where we found one of the most remarkable inns in Morocco. Of that evening and of the wonderful food served there, I shall have more to say about next week in Part Two of this report.

By the way, I must recommend our guide, a young man named Younes Darif, as knowledgeable, personable and well spoken as any I've depended on anywhere in the world, accompanying us for a week with information on every aspect of Moroccan history, religion, culture, cuisine--not to mention bartering--we could ask for.  If you go, I think you should try to hire him and hope he's not busy:
Younes Darif, Hay el Farah2 BD Ibn el Athir N 26 Res Salim Appt N 14,  Fes, Fes Agdal Maroc, Morocco;





ADOUR Alain Ducasse
St. Régis Hotel
2 East 55th Street (near Fifth Avenue)

    Adour Alain Ducasse NY is now almost five years old and has settled,  after a few changes in chefs de cuisine, into one of New York's finest French restaurants, with all that implies in elegance, grand luxury, genteel  service, and, of course, haute cuisine.
Ducasse himself (below), now a  global entrepreneur, seems to change chefs at Adour more as a refreshment than a departure. New to the kitchen is Julien Jouhannaud (below, left), 33, who had been exec chef at the DC branch of Adour for three years. Born in France, Jouhannaud went through the usual trajectory for young cooks, working at  Michelin-starred restaurants like La Balette in Collioure,  Jacques Maximin in Vence, and Le Buerehiesel in Strasbourg, joining  the Groupe Alain Ducasse in 2001 at Le Louis XV in Monaco, then heading for  miX in Las Vegas. He returned  to Europe to serve as sous chef at The Roussillon in London, before joining Ducasse’s Bar & Bœuf restaurant in Monaco, then became chef de cuisine at The Harbour Grill at the Hilton Hotel in Singapore.  That's quite a résumé, one filled with global influences of a kind Ducasse has always been open to.
    Yet the power and precision of French training is in every dish: My wife and I put ourselves in his hands to cook two different tasting menus, which began with an amuse of egg en cocotte in a deliriously rich sauce périgueux. We could have stopped right there and felt blissful.  But still to come was a dish of thinly sliced daurade and dollop of caviar from Siberia (who knew?) with a confit of lemon (below, right), and a deceptively simple Alaskan King crab cocktail with which lush avocado, tangy-sweet grapefruit and a dash of coriander went splendidly. Turbot with wild mushrooms and the crunch of almonds followed, along with a glorious take on old-fashioned lobster Newberg--a dish that originated in NYC more than a century ago--with new potatoes. This once ubiquitous dish, made in the past by rote,  shone bright and new in Jouhannaud's rendering, all based on the idea that, indeed, the perfect ingredients can be transformative.
    The meat courses were down-the-line classics revived: squab "en crapaudine" (a ill-sounding name for a dish, usually made with chicken, in which the bird is flattened, marinated, then cooked crisp), with peas, artichokes and a salmis sauce of the bird's juices, wine and demi-glace. Then came that old canard (pardon the pun), duck à l'orange (below, left), an impeccably cooked breast--not sliced and bloody as became the fashion under la nouvelle cuisine--with its skin intact in an orange sauce only faintly sweet, its caramelization adding a slightly bitter edge, served with glazed turnips.
    For dessert, in addition to an array of bon bons and candies, we enjoyed
  poached rhubarb in a light yogurt cream with an intense strawberry granité; a hazelnut soufflé with grapefruit sorbet; and a dark chocolate tart with superb vanilla ice cream.
    The wine list at Adour is one of the best selected in the U.S., and while so many of the wines are so expensive, ask the sommelier for a comfortable price range and you will be very happy with the choice. Indeed, while the price of a meal here is not cheap neither is it exorbitant compared with those new, slovenly, inhospitable places around NYC where you can spend just as much for far less. Indeed, a three-course à la carte meal at Adour can run under $100, and the five-course tasting menu is only $115.  As they say in Hollywood of certain movies, every penny is up there on the screen, and every penny you spend at Adour is worth it for an evening of such civilized beauty.
     On the night we dined at Adour, the restaurant seemed packed with Asian expense accounts, but for me, a restaurant like Adour, as romantic as any in NYC, is a place I was thrilled to be alone with my wife for a delayed anniversary dinner, just the two of us relaying back and forth how food of this caliber and technical brilliance is not only the legacy of French cuisine but the beacon by which fine dining must  still be measured.  I cannot imagine any chef in Europe or America not learning something from Jouhannaud's cooking and acknowledging the debt they all have to the discipline that lies beneath the creativity. Ducasse has his fingers in many pots around the world, but he is unstinting in his dedication to excellence. 
    While others simply slap their name on far-flung steakhouses or replicate the same menus in branch after branch, Ducasse is still someone whose commitment to individuality is palpable in every one of his restaurants.

Adour is open for dinner Tues.-Sat. Dinner, à la carte, runs $18-$31 for appetizers, and $36-$56 for main courses;  Tasting menu $115; vegetarian tasting menu $85.



Champagne on the Rocks?
Moët says “Pourquoi Pas?”
by John Mariani

    When Benoit Gouez, Chef de Cave of Moët & Chandon since 2005, told me he was making a Champagne intended to be drunk over ice, all I could do was to picture a mustachioed, veteran cellar master at Moët looking like the late French actor Philippe Noiret and screaming, “Mon Dieu! Mais non! Jamais! Jamais!
         Over an all-Champagne lunch at The No Mad restaurant in New York, Gouez laughed and explained what sounds like a wholly unorthodox way to drink a wine so traditionally associated with celebrations, tuxedos, and fluted glassware:  “Champagne, like everything else, must evolve. In St. Tropéz the summer people drink Champagne `a piscine,’ around the swimming pool, with ice. So we’ve made a Champagne called Ice Imperial with more body and a little sweeter, so it won’t be so easily diluted by ice.”
         As chief winemaker, Gouez (right), who at just 42, has the vitality and relative freedom to re-direct a treasured and storied Champagne house, now part of Moët-Hennessey-Louis Vuitton, that dates back to 1743, whose holdings spread out over more than 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres), producing 26 million bottles annually.
If Moët has any problem it has been one of prestige, by comparison with other marques, including those it owns--Ruinart Père et Fils, Mercier and Dom Pérignon. “For a century now Moët’s White Star label has been our flagship label in the U.S.,” he said, “and it used to be much sweeter.  Today we are discontinuing White Star, replaced by our well-established Imperial label (dating to 1869), which is lighter and has more finesse. We have reduced the dosage [a sugar syrup added to Champagne to induce a second fermentation] to 9 grams per liter to make it drier, but we’re not making it `pas dosage’ [no dosage] just to be trendy.”
         In that, Gouez was acknowledging that many of the Champagne houses have been making drier and drier styles at higher and higher prices, calling them “prestige cuvées.” In one sense, this marketing concept goes against the long-cherished idea that a individual house forges a consistent style and flavor year after year that its consumers come to expect.
    Moët (below), for instance, is always a blend of pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot meunière, while other houses may use only chardonnay. “My vision,” said Gouez, “is that if you’re looking for that consistency of flavor, drink the non-vintage; if you are excited by distinctions made possible by the quality of a single year, then drink a vintage Champagne.”
         His point was well taken over lunch at The NoMad. By presenting an array of Moët Champagnes with different dishes, Gouez showed how different styles offer different tastes, some richer, some older, some fruitier. We began with an icy platter of seafood—diced hamachi, sea urchins, and scallops—with a bracing appetite starter, Moet’s Brut Imperial, which is spring-like in its balance of fruitiness and green flavors.
    A chiffonade salad of snow peas with pancetta, pecorino and mint was paired with a deeply-colored Brut Rosé made with up to 50 percent pinot noir, whose lush body and pleasing acid married well to the salty edge of the ham and sharpness of the cheese.
         Next came a Grand Vintage 2002—Moët’s current vintage release—which has a low dosage of 5 grams and a fine, strong bouquet and fullness on the palate that went splendidly with fresh tagliatelle pasta with mild King crab, tangy Meyer lemon, and a crunch of black pepper.
         The main course was roasted lobster with thin, hot potato chips, spring vegetables, and a classic sprinkling of tarragon. For this Gouez popped the cork on a Grand Vintage 1992, which, with 51 percent chardonnay, 26 of pinot noir, 23 of pinot meuniére, and 5.5 percent dosage, was absolutely superb and as fresh as any of the bottles I sampled that afternoon. It was creamy and while it had what connoisseurs like to call the “patina of age,” it showed none of the oxidation that so many British connoisseurs favor. “We do everything possible to reduce oxidation in our wines,” said Gouez, which is why this 20-year-old bubbly had such remarkable vibrancy, a perfect foil for the richness of the lobster.
         While we’re on the subject of bubbly, I noted that the examples tasted had very tiny bubbles and slight effervescence.  Sometimes a Champagne served too warm can cause tame bubbles, but these were impeccably chilled. “We do everything possible to reduce oxidation,” said Gouez. He also noted that climate change since 1988 has increased the sugars in the grapes. “In the Champagne region this is a boon because we’ve always had an issue as to when to harvest grapes that are mature enough.”
         By the same token, too much sugar can change the profile and taste of Champagne, whose traditions are among the strongest and most enduring in France. Then again, if things get too warm out their by the pool, you can now pour your Moét on the rocks and by tres chic.

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.


Reports say that bluefin tuna from Japanese waters has been contaminated from the nuclear plant crippled by the tsunami. The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years.


"I moved to Los Angeles two years ago and learned right away that I was unprepared for West Coast life. Before even buying my plane ticket I should have listened to the old Beach Boys song and cultivated a bushy, bushy blonde hairdo. I thought it was just a surfer thing, but everyone here has one: the mayor, the specialist who came to install the `edible wall garden' on my composting shed, the police officer who ticketed me for my backyard pizza oven (I burn lawn clippings in there), everyone! The other biggie: My diet of grains, meats, vegetables, and homemade fruit leather was far too varied. Apparently all I ever need to eat for the rest of my life is kale. And I swear to you on the tub of Sun-In hair lightener into which I dunk my increasingly bushy head each morning: I will achieve a kale-only diet.--
Scott Jacobson, "Kale of Duty: Why I choose to eat nothing but kale, ever, for the rest of my life,"


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

My latest book, which just won the prize for best book from International Gourmand, written with Jim Heimann and Steven Heller,  Menu Design in America,  1850-1985 (Taschen Books), has just appeared, with nearly 1,000 beautiful, historic, hilarious, sometimes shocking menus dating back to before the Civil War and going through the Gilded Age, the Jazz Age, the Depression, the nightclub era of the 1930s and 1940s, the Space Age era, and the age when menus were a form of advertising in innovative explosions of color and modern design.  The book is a chronicle of changing tastes and mores and says as much about America as about its food and drink.


“Luxuriating vicariously in the pleasures of this book. . . you can’t help but become hungry. . .for the food of course, but also for something more: the bygone days of our country’s splendidly rich and complex past.  Epicureans of both good food and artful design will do well to make it their coffee table’s main course.”—Chip Kidd, Wall Street Journal.


“[The menus] reflect the amazing craftsmanship that many restaurants applied to their bills of fare, and suggest that today’s restaurateurs could learn a lot from their predecessors.”—Rebecca Marx, The Village Voice.

My new book, How Italian Food Conquered the World (Palgrave Macmillan)--now in paperback!--has  won top prize 2011 from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.  It 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

"Eating Italian will never be the same after reading John Mariani's entertaining and savory gastronomical history of the cuisine of Italy and how it won over appetites worldwide. . . . This book is such a tasteful narrative that it will literally make you hungry for Italian food and arouse your appetite for gastronomical history."--Don Oldenburg, USA Today. 

"Italian restaurants--some good, some glitzy--far outnumber their French rivals.  Many of these establishments are zestfully described in How Italian Food Conquered the World, an entertaining and fact-filled chronicle by food-and-wine correspondent John F. Mariani."--Aram Bakshian Jr., Wall Street Journal.

"Mariani admirably dishes out the story of Italy’s remarkable global ascent to virtual culinary hegemony....Like a chef gladly divulging a cherished family recipe, Mariani’s book reveals the secret sauce about how Italy’s cuisine put gusto in gusto!"--David Lincoln Ross,

"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 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).

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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