Virtual Gourmet

  May 26,  2013                                                                                                NEWSLETTER

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Have a Good Memorial Day


By John Mariani

Cherry Wood Kitchen

by John Mariani

The Wines Of Uruguay--
Not Unfamiliar For Very Long

by Brian A. Freedman




by John Mariani

    Anyone doubting the power of a book or movie to transform a city whose former reputation usually ran to words like "sleepy," "shabby" and "slow" need only visit Savannah 2013.  Just as Hemingway boosted the fortunes of Pamplona in The Sun Also Rises, Savannah enjoyed a renaissance after John Berendt's 1994 book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil gave the city an irresistible sensual decadence matched only by New Orleans in the South. So, too, in an entirely different way, the beloved film "Forrest Gump"--which came out the same year--showed a gentler, sweeter side of the city. Both gave the city a personality few people outside its borders knew anything about, and Savannah had for a long while languished in the shadow of beautifully restored Charleston, SC, a hundred miles away.
    I shall refrain from assessing the impact TV personality Paula Deen has had on the city, except to say that it's done nothing to improve its quality.  One must look elsewhere than "The Lady & Sons" restaurant to find both the soul of Savannah's cooking as well as new places that show how far the city's gastronomy has come since the days when Mrs. Wilke's Dining Room epitomized a way-too-quaint Southern food culture.
    When I first visited Savannah back in 1977, I found it a dowager of a city, its once genteel squares and historic houses as crestfallen as Scarlett O’Hara’s Tara.  Subsequent visits in the 1980s and 1990s showed little progress until Midnight and "Gump" brought in a tsunami of tourism that bolstered the city leaders enough to capitalize on all the new interest. In fact, the "Bird Girl" statue (right) in Bonaventure Cemetery pictured on the cover of Midnight became such a picked over attraction that it had to be moved to the city's Telfair Museum of Art. Even the park bench (left) on West Hull Street where Forrest Gump sat became a tourist icon.
     The principal draw for anyone seeking out Old Savannah, now very much renewed, is to walk through the city's squares, now beautifully landscaped and edged with restored mansions that bespeak another, far more genteel era.  Most of the mansions of the antebellum age were once owned by historic personages, like cotton merchant Andrew Low on Abercorn Street.  Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of America, lived in the mansion at 142 Bull Street, and author Flannery O'Connor lived at 207 East Charlton. The architecture of these homes is anything but homogeneous, so that from block to block you will find Georgian, Greek Revival, Italianate, Regency, Victorian Gothic, and Second Empire styles.  If you haven't the time for a walk through the 23 downtown squares, with names like Chippewa, Calhoun, Liberty, and Pulaski, best bet is to hop on--and hop off, as you wish--one of the trolley tours (there are several), which visit all the main sights and include the occasional appearance of an actor playing a role from “Forrest Gump.”
    The City Market Art Center holds an upstairs collection of local artists, the Jepson Center for the Arts is the newest cultural resource, and the Beach Institute African-American Cultural Arts Center is devoted to changing exhibits.  Outside the city one may visit the 18th century plantation named Wormsloe, and the University of Georgia Marine Science Extension on Skidaway Island has an aquarium. Best source for tourism is .

    Since I myself have an avid interest in aviation history, I was enchanted by the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in Pooler, GA, out near the airport, where I was guided around by one of the last remaining World War II airman, Paul Grassey, who flew a B-24 Liberator in the European Theater. It's a wonderful museum, full of restored planes like the B-17 named "City of Savannah" and several interactive exhibits that allow you to re-live the experience of airmen being briefed for their next bombing mission. It's all extremely well done.  If you're fascinated by auto racing, be sure to catch the Great Savannah Races Museum.
For lodgings, Savannah has the usual national chains, but there are also some splendid smaller venues and inns that give you a better sense of the city's spirit and individuality, including the Hamilton Turner Inn, the Eliza Thompson House, the East Bay Inn, and The Planters Inn on Reynolds Square, where I stayed. That structure dates back 200 years, now with 60 rooms, pleasantly decorated and well serviced by an amiable staff.  The dreary, windowless breakfast room could certainly use some re-thinking, but the biscuits and coffee are good enough in the morning.
     The inn is located next door to one of Savannah's most historic restaurants, The Olde Pink House (left), built in 1771. Its pink stucco façade is said to have been a mistake in color but it was never changed, so pink it is today, surrounding a series of period dining rooms with plenty of bare wood floors, fine 19th century artwork, and a convivial cellar Tavern.  I had heard from some that the food at the House was nothing to rave about and that the menu was dated and very expensive.  It was also very formal. I found none of that to be true (indeed, I was puzzled that some patrons were dressed as if to go out gator hunting).  The menu proudly features a good number of traditional Southern dishes, but it also has been updated with items like fried calamari, mac and cheese jalapeño poppers, and "Southern Sushi" composed of smoked shrimp and grits in coconut-crusted nori seaweed.
     I went the Southern route, and I was very pleased with some sumptuous classics rendered well and at reasonable prices (main courses $18.95-$34.95). Of course, there was a plate of fried green tomatoes with their specific tang, and the Habersham Platter is a good way to sample shrimp and grits, a crab cake, and seared sea scallops with remoulade sauce. There's also a fine Low Country she crab soup, and for an entree I recommend crispy flounder with apricot shallot sauce, grits and bitter collards, and the pecan-crusted chicken breast with a blackberry-bourbon glaze and sweet potatoes with pecan vanilla butter and more collards.
    One of the big hits in town for modern cuisine with an edge is named A.Lure,  where owner Daniel Berman and Chef Charles Zeran bring a contemporary swing to Low Country food, along the lines of what several restaurants in Charleston and Atlanta are now doing.  They pride themselves on their food sources, drawn as much as possible from the South, and their commitment shows in the cooking, with a special focus on seafood. Up first on my plate were cornmeal dusted chicken livers with Parmesan risotto, pan gravy and fried leeks; the livers impeccably cooked to tender, the risotto the same. "Peas and Carrots" was a dish of seared sea scallops, baby carrots and peas risotto with shiitake mushrooms, ginger-carrot reduction, and pea coulis, while breast of duck was rubbed with Thai curry and orange, served with sesame Brussels sprouts hearts, quinoa and beluga lentils in a superb coconut curry-lemongrass sauce dotted with cilantro.  I could hardly resist trying a crispy pig's ear salad with blood oranges, feta cheese, and a blood orange vinaigrette, but I was able to resist the idea of foie gras "à la mode," seared Krispy Kreme donut, pineapple chutney, white truffle black pepper ice cream and pomegranate reduction, which sounded too close to a smack-down dish between Paula Deen and Bobby Flay.
    Flamboyancy, however, worked with the desserts, including an extravagant offering of chocolate Grand Marnier terrine, pots de crème with Baileys whipped cream, and a napoleon of white chocolate panna cotta, coffee chocolate gelée, and chocolate cherry brownie with strawberry hot chocolate shooter. At $12, it's meant to be shared by the whole table. A bit less off the charts was a fine frozen goat's cheese soufflé with passion fruit curd, blackberry lemon sorbet and honey tuile.
    For a good, basic meal based on excellent ingredients, The Public Kitchen (above) is a smart new place, very modern and stripped down in decor (the ground floor is far more appealing than the one down a few steps). The menu is kept short, tight and fresh, so that a cream corn soup tastes like the kernels had been shucked that morning, and the shrimp and grits with peas, chorizo, tomato, and sherry cream has all the ingredients in peak cooking form. For dessert the chocolate brownie cheesecake will not disappoint you.
 The PK gets a crowd at lunch and dinner, and brunch is a particular favorite. People dress in casually chic clothes and pressed bluejeans, but the place is laid back and the staff couldn't be friendlier.
    I also was able to drive out of town 18 miles to visit the seaside community of Tybee Island, just for a look. It’s pretty much a stretch of beach with lines of hotels and motels with names like the Sea & Breeze (the ubiquitous Paula Deen even has a place called, achingly, the “Y’All Come Inn"), a lot of shrimp shacks, and t-shirt shops. To my disappointment, a place called The Crab Shack at a rickety family entertainment center called Chimney Creek was not yet open for the season, but I was brightened by finding Wiley’s Championship BBQ, on the way back towards Savannah. It is justly named for Wiley McCrary, who has been winning BBQ events since the mid-1980s, and his little place off U.S. 80 is everything you can hope for in Georgia ‘cue. The place is also known for its oyster roast.  He does superlative pulled pork plates and juicy ribs with just enough smoke, succulent chicken (right) and for those who have never tasted Brunswick stew, Wiley’s will enlighten you to this ancient recipe that dates back to the 1820s, when it was made with squirrel. Wiley’s version is, thank heavens, squirrel free.




by John Mariani

300 Spring Street (between Greenwich Street and Hudson Street)

       On a quiet block of Spring Street, north of Canal, a brand new restaurant with the charming name of Cherrywood Kitchen has opened without fanfare, but I hope the neighborhood spreads the word.  I will.  It is a warm, inviting place with a cheery bar and excellent bartender, Bryan Tramontana, who has concocted some excellent drinks, like the signature Cherrywood made with Hornitos tequila, cherry puree, and lime.  The wine list is now just serviceable; I hope it grows.

    First-time restaurateurs Konstantin Ziring and Vladimir Kuznetsov, along with Executive Chef Chris Cheung (left), have carved out an Asian-American niche in this comfortable, small space, and Cheung, formerly with Nobu and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, had obviously picked up a great deal from both in terms of marrying French techniques with Asian spice, aroma and texture.
    He makes fabulous garlic-rich, soft ciabatta bread (right) with whipped blue cheese, the kind of item that some penny-pinching restaurants are charging customers for these days, but not at Cherrywood. It comes out big, hot, and fluffy, the aroma of garlic filling the air, and the cheese spread is light and faintly aromatic.  This bread is as much for staving off hunger as for mopping up the sauces to follow. There is a “Snacks” section of the menu to titillate your appetite, like crisp little short rib spring rolls with scallions, and a dish of caramelized duck wings with blue cheese and Chinese celery—either could serve as one person’s appetizer.  The “Small Plates” section includes an innovative braised bacon soup, made with smoky cipollini onions drizzled with caramel and coriander seed, all set within a powerfully flavorful broth of ham hocks and roasted garlic, garnished with breakfast radishes.
    Smoked asparagus is paired with Serrano ham and topped with a poached egg and a dressing made of fermented tofu. There is, in fact, a good deal of smoking going on in the kitchen, but Cheung has a light hand with it so that the smoke never overpowers the essential flavors of his ingredients. Tiny, sweet bay scallops are now in season and here they come on their pretty, striated shells, with a subtle abalone sauce, Chinese sausage relish for salinity, and a dot of American caviar roe.  I loved this dish and could have eaten half a dozen more bivalves from their shells.

he “Large Plates” section contains ten dishes, also highly seasonal, with a separate category of “slow cooked specialties of the house.” One of these was brined, smoked chicken whose skin is lifted and stuffed with velvety eel (below) , then brushed with Southern Comfort glaze, served with ham hock relish and vegetables.
      It was an interesting dish, although the eel seemed to add little but texture to the whole.  The season has also brought in soft shell crabs, here done Asian-Mediterranean style with lots of garlic and shallots, baby artichokes, and a tangy lemon butter laced with tarragon, coriander, rosemary and thyme, accompanied by butter-basted radishes.  My table’s favorite dish was seared duck with crispy but soft-centered nubbins of sweetbreads, along with a cherry glaze and radishes—all its textures and sweet-acid components working impeccably together.
    For dessert I recommend the 20,000th rendition of New York cheesecake, here gilded with Shanghai walnuts that add a nice crunch.  A warm, baked-to-order apple pie is topped with a crumble of popcorn and peanuts.
    Cheung is a man with solid ideas.  Every dish has obviously been conceived, thought through and thoroughly tested.  This is not one of those brash, loud counter restaurants where the kitchen seems to wing half its dishes every night.  I just hope Cheung keeps a lot of these current dishes around.  I’d go back for them any time.


Cherrywood Kitchen is open for lunch Mon.-Fri, for dinner Mon.-Sat.; Snacks run $5-$14, small plates $1-$17, large plates $21-$46. Fixed price dinner at $35.




by Brian A. Freedman

    Not long ago, toward the beginning of the growing season in November, I had the delightful opportunity to spend a week in Uruguay, tasting the wine and speaking with the producers and growers who make it all possible. It was kind of like looking into the future.    In this hyper-globalized wine world, where bottlings from all over the planet are readily available at all levels of retail and at restaurants, it’s rare to spend your days getting acquainted with wines that you’ve never experienced before. Sure, there’s the increasingly common Uruguayan Tannat-sighting in the States--usually at a shop or restaurant with a particularly ambitious, open-minded buyer or sommelier--but in general, Uruguay still flies under the radar here. Ask most American consumers which countries grow wine in South America, and the response, the vast majority of the time, will be Chile, Argentina, and then. . . silence. After spending a week in Uruguay, however, I am confident that that is all going to change, and in the short term, too. The wines are that remarkable.
    Located east of Argentina and south of Brazil, Uruguay boasts a remarkably strong economy these days, a burgeoning tourist infrastructure, spectacular food (which I will be reporting on soon), and all the potential in the world when it comes to its wine industry. Physically, the wine regions here reminded me more of Bordeaux than anything in, say, Mendoza: gently rolling hills, no terribly dramatic changes in elevation to speak of, and a climate shaped by the nearby Atlantic. As far as the wines themselves, Tannat may be the marquis grape variety of the country; indeed, I am confident that it will be the calling card of the Uruguayan wine industry for some time. But it is far from the only one. Every day, it seemed, I was poured fantastic glasses of Sauvignon Gris, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Malbec, Merlot, and more. There were even highly successful examples of less expected varieties, like Marsanne, Albariño, Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, sparkling wines, rosés, dessert bottlings, and more.
    As site selection for vineyards continues to develop and improve, so, too, will the wines. This was most evident with the range of Pinot Noirs I tasted, which ran the gamut from plodding to marvelous, depending on how well the plot in which the vines were planted had been selected. But the potential is clearly there for a broad spectrum of wines to find high levels of success in Uruguay (Pinot included), and the growers and winemakers--as well as the owners themselves, sometimes modestly funded, sometimes anchored by fortunes made in other businesses--are as ambitious and passionate as any I’ve encountered in the wine world.
    All the building blocks are present for the development of a world-class wine industry here. Which is why it’s so interesting to visit Uruguay right now. From large-scale projects to smaller, more boutique operations, the quality is omnipresent; it’s just a matter of ramping up exports and familiarizing consumers with all that Uruguay has to offer.
    For most American consumers, Uruguay is synonymous with Tannat, and Tannat is associated with deeply tannic reds expressive of rich berry fruits and perhaps a bit of tobacco-tinged earth. The truth, however, is far more complicated, and far more exciting than that. Tannat in Uruguay is grown and produced in a range of styles, from that familiar tannic style to remarkably delicate examples that find their footing more on the red-berry and feminine end of the flavor spectrum. To discuss this grape variety as if it were a monolith is to do it a great disservice.
    De Lucca impressed me with its Tannat Reserve 2009, an unexpectedly aromatic wine that hinted at rose water, sappy red cherry, pomegranate, and hints of pink peppercorn. On the other end of the spectrum was the Jimenez Mendez Premium Tannat 2009, its sweet plum and black cherry notes mingling with black peppercorn and a lovely sense of minerality. Marichal’s Reserve Collection Tannat 2011 was more exotic, a mouth-filling wine with café mocha, cherry conserve, and a finish of orange peel. Their Grande Reserve “A” Tannat 2009 was also swoon-worthy, its charred meat, fig, and balsamic character promising a long life ahead in the cellar. The Amat 2007, a 100% Tannat from Bodegas Carrau, straddled the perfect tightrope between New World exuberance and Old World terroir specificity. Cherry-filled chocolate aromas led to flavors of kirsch, cassis, tobacco, vanilla, cinnamon, and hints of smoke. Narbona’s Luz de Luna Tannat 2011 burst from the glass with aromas of violets and an entire cobblerful of berries, with flavors of hoisin sauce, balsamic, licorice, and cedar. It promises many years of evolution, like so many that I tasted.
    Most of the producers over the course of the week-long visit turned out Tannats notable for one reason or another. But, as I said, there is infinitely more to Uruguay’s wine than just that great grape variety. Bodega Familia Irurtia, for example, produces remarkable Viognier. Their km.0 Viognier Roble 2011 is a serious bottle, with smoked white peach, apricot, honeydew, and a hint of spice. They also excel with Guwurztraminer, especially their Botrytis Excellence Cosecha Tardia 2002, a honeyed, spicy, marzipan-rich treat that sings with smoky rose petals and a slight hint of salinity to balance out its sugar. Alto de la Ballena is responsible for excellent wines from a range of grape varieties, including their Cetus Syrah 2010, Merlot Reserva 2008, and an ingenious Uruguayan riff on Côte-Rôtie: Tannat - Viognier Reserva 2009, a sappy, densely fruited red lifted by a hint of violets, minerals, and white peppercorns. My tasting notes read, “I could drink this all day.
    Garzon not only produces excellent wines--I particularly enjoyed their Tannat Reserva 2011, blended with 9% Petit Verdot, and their Pinot Grigio 2012, a lovely apple-rich white with mineral, pear, and white-blossomed flower notes to spare--but also a range of excellent olive oils. Pizzorno produces one of the top sparkling wines I tasted in Uruguay, the Espumoso Brut Nature Reserva NV, a Chardonnay - Pinot Noir blend with slate, toast, apples, and a serious sense of balance. Their straight Pinot Noir Reserva 2011 also demonstrated the potential for this most finicky grape in Uruguay. It was a meaty, cherry- and mushroom-kissed standout. (Their Tannat, of course, is also excellent.) Pisano, the first winery in Uruguay to be certified for Integrated Pest Management, is home to three generations right there on the property. Their Torrontes Reserva 2012 is a lovely way to begin any meal, and the wonderful Viña Progreso Sangiovese 2008 embodies all that this classically Italian grape variety can do here. The RPF (Reserva Personal de la Familia) Petit Verdot 2008 is gorgeous, and custom-made for grilled meats. Juanico Familia Deicas Preludio Barrel Select 1999 showed how well Uruguayan wines can age, its balanced, almost Bordeaux-like notes of cherry, cassis, and mint amped up with dulce de leche and coffee notes. And Filguera is clearly a producer on the rise; its Estirpe 2007, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah is an exciting, elegant wine, and its whites, particularly from Sauvignon Gris, show lots of potential. Bodegas Castillo Viejo and Bouza both produce a range of excellent bottlings, notably the former’s addictive El Preciado 1er Gran Reserva 2006 and the latter’s phenomenal Albariño, which we enjoyed at their fabulous on-site restaurant, replete with a remarkable classic-car collection a short walk from the table.
    Uruguay, then, is as exciting a wine-producing country as you can experience right now. Add to that a tourism infrastructure that is being built up in a serious, ambitious way, astounding food, and people who are friendly and wonderfully accommodating, and you have the recipe for the next big destination in South America. And even if you can’t get down there right away, popping the corks on a selection of bottles to be found here at home is strongly recommended. Run to the wine shop and buy as many bottles from Uruguay as you can find, from as wide a range of grape varieties and producers as are available. They are utterly delicious, and will be hugely popular here in the years to come. Justifiably, deliciously so.



According to The Australian newspaper, a Sydney restaurant worker at Ol'e Chicken & Burgers thwarted a would-be robber by dumping a bucket of chili over his head, which "floored" the suspect long enough for police to arrive and arrest him.


"To say that Hot Cakes restaurant is a safe choice for a meal is not a comment on the menu or the food arriving from the kitchen. It's just a fact. . . . At any given time, odds are you can spot a table ringed by doctors or nurses, identifiable by their blue scrubs and the occasional stethoscope. (Hint to the medical community: The chicken-fried steak, while delicious, will likely defy resuscitation.) Beyond that, the diner is a popular stop for patrol officers from the Denver Police Department's Division 6, headquartered a few blocks away."--William Porter, "Hot Cakes," Denver Post. (5/1/13)



 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--Now in Paperback, too--How Italian Food Conquered the World (Palgrave Macmillan)  has won top prize  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: 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).

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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