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  May 11, 2014                                                                                             NEWSLETTER

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"The Help" (2011)



Beginning May 27th, for five consecutive weeks on Tuesdays, John Mariani will be teaching a seminar class in "Food Writing" at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY.  It is open to the general public.  For details contact: Center for Continuing Education & Special Programs, Sarah Lawrence College,1 Mead Way, Bronxville, NY 10708;Telephone: 914-395-2205;




by John Mariani


by John Mariani


By John Mariani



by John Mariani

    As the Dallas economy booms, flush with oil money and new development, the arts and restaurant landscapes have flowered like never before. And the new places are packed. Here are some of the exciting entries right now.


2323 North Henderson Avenue
Photos by Marple

    Lovable is the word that immediately came to mind as I entered this slightly out of the way new restaurant in the Lower Greenwood neighborhood that needs just such a place.  Husband and wife team Stephen Rogers and Allison Yoder relocated here from Napa Valley where they’d spent several years working at the highly regarded restaurant Press, then it seemed time for Dallas-bred Rogers to head home and show him what he’d learned.  Allison would be the gregarious face in the dining room.
    This is one of the least pretentious or overworked new restaurants in the city, cozy, homelike, and, for once, without a crippling noise level.  The clean white and Dutch blue colors lighted by hanging lamps play well off the marble counter and glass wine case.  The staff couldn’t be more affable, and the menu is precisely the length a small operation like this should have: a slew of appetizers that range from raw seafood and beef tartare ($14-$16.50)—both very good—to half a dozen vegetable options that include herbed French fries ($5.25) that go fast at every table.  Crispy sweetbreads are served simply with whole grain mustard and a refreshing frisée salad ($12.50), and one of the most pleasing items is a butter lettuce salad with a red wine vinaigrette and pecorino romano cheese ($8.75).
    Everyone these days is serving pasta on their menus, often with no notion of what a good pasta dish is, so I was impressed and delighted with pappardelle with rich lamb shoulder, king trumpet mushroom ragù with diced asparagus and lemon thyme ($25.95).  I’d already heard from several people that I just had to order the veal cheeks, so I did, as enchanted as my advisers by the meat’s lush texture, braised to velvety tenderness and served with hearty Tokyo turnip, baby carrots, baby onions, bacon and black pepper spaetzle. ($24.25).
     Desserts play the same role of impressing by being homey and honest, including a Basque-style cake with lemon ice cream and a frozen citrus soufflé ($9).  Cream cheese crêpes with huckleberry compote on a Graham cracker  (left) were as light as air and rich as a dollop of lemon ice cream  can make them ($8.50).
    Gemma’s cocktail list is long, its wine list modest but well chosen.
    You’re undoubtedly going to see both Chef Stephen and Allison in the dining room, because they truly do want to know what you think of everything they have so carefully crafted to reveal what I must only suppose is a reflection of their own very personal sense of hospitality.

Gemma is open Wed.-Sun. for dinner.


1530 Main Street
408 N. Bishop Avenue

    Though new to me, Boulevardier has been around for two years and continues to draw a very, very regular crowd that packs this convivial French bistro run by Brooks and Bradley Anderson, chef Randall Copeland and chef Nathan Tate.  You may indeed have the sense of a Parisian eatery when you see the deliberately aged walls, scuffed wooden floors, oysters on ice, painted wooden chairs, and wall rack of wines.
    Alas, Boulevardier is much louder than any Parisian bistro I’ve ever been to, as much a result of such hard surface materials as it is the decibel levels Dallasites can reach while conversing with friends.
    The food, however, is solid, and you can tell the staff has been assiduous in getting classics like onion soup just right ($10); their version is about as fine and flavorful and sweet and caramelized as any I’ve had on the Left Bank. There is a hefty marrow bone roasted to succulence here, and while the crawfish beignets might skirt authentic French tradition, call them Creole and be happy you ordered them, with a rich aïoli for dipping ($12).
    Of course there’s bouillabaisse—a little expensive at $30 but generous—and braised lamb neck with toasted orzo and a red wine braisage ($27), which came to the table far less bubbly and hot than I expected: apparently they transfer the cooked ingredients to an iron casserole but do not heat things through enough.
    For dessert, go with Nancy’s bread pudding ($8) lavished with huckleberry jam, bourbon butter sauce and vanilla ice cream.  Then maybe sit back, finish your glass of Grenache or nurse a Cognac, and perhaps recall just such a place from your salad days and your first dinner in Paris.  

Open Tues.-Sun. for dinner; Sat. & Sun. for brunch.



    Set next to the Joule Hotel downtown, CBD Provisions (no one ever told me what those letters stood for) has successfully avoided the onus of being a hotel dining room though it serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from the long, open kitchen here, supervised by Chef Michael Sindoni, who is so admirably veering away from the expected by offering an array of dishes that ask his audience to be a bit adventurous.
    The walls are brick, the floors planked from salvaged wood, the lighting low (the waitress may bring you a flashlight), and the noise level is high, not helped by throbbing piped-in music.   It’s a décor that will remind you of many others you may have seen in so-called American brasseries, but the comparisons stop when you get the menu.  What will not is the huge big blue eye sculpture across the street that stares eerily in at you through the window (above)
    You could, of course, play it safe and order pork rinds or a burger here, but the great stuff goes in other directions. Start with the “Little goat pie,” which is terrific, not least its perfect pastry ($6), and if you love tripe—which rarely appears on Dallas menus—dive in at CBD: it’s done with spicy house-made chorizo and smoked paprika, enriching the taste and tender texture of the tripe magnificently ($12).
    Among the large plates there is superb heads-on shrimp with grits ($19), more spicy condiments—this time Italian n’duja chile, and local peppers. Sindoni packs everything he cooks with big, tantalizing flavors.  Only a pork shoulder ($18), cooked for 18 hours, didn’t quite have the savory impact of the other dishes I tried.
    And then there’s the Berkshire pig head carnitas meant for a table to share ($43). Yes, it really is a pig’s head and it ain’t pretty and it overlaps the plate.  From the skin to the custard-like flesh beneath the pig’s cheeks, it is a unique marvel, enhanced with roasted tomatillo salsa and hot tortillas with which to soak up the juices.  Does anyone actually order this thing? Well, aside from the one slapped down on my table, a remarkable number of pig’s heads were headed to others’ throughout the night.
    You may skip dessert but shouldn’t: the cinnamon bread pudding with salted sorghum caramel, brown butter ice cream and spiced pecans, and the seasonal fruit cobbler with almond oat crumble and horchata ice cream are as delicious as any desserts in Dallas right now.
    The wine list is strong in its by-the-glass section, but the small bottle selection lacks focus and has only five wines under $50 on it.
   CBD Provisions takes chances but what I like especially about Sindoni’s ideas is that they fall well within modern Texas cookery while nudging guests to take a chance and be amazed.  

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.



8220 Westchester Drive

    At a time when the comfort and cosseting of guests seems rare and respect for the rigors of the hard-won mastery of cuisine fading, Chef John Tesar’s Spoon Bar & Kitchen is a reminder that true excellence is not about spontaneous combustion in the kitchen.
    Tesar, who chose to stay in Texas after earning his impressive credentials in New York and Las Vegas, first built his rep at The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, then, following a zig-zag of career moves, returned to open Spoon—certainly the most exciting seafood restaurant to open since New York’s Marea five years ago and Le Bernardin back in the 1990s.
    The food is deceptively but exquisitely simple, from the service of raw seafood like yellow tail with Texas ruby red grapefruit and toasted beets to Singapore style chili lobster and Texas toast.  His classic French training shows in the intensity of his reduction of a red wine sauce with a swordfish steak in a wild mushroom crust, and the recipe for his potato gnocchi with jumbo lump crabmeat and black truffle essence should be required reading at every culinary school.
    Add to this a low-lighted, low-decibel level dining room in soft grays and sea foam colors, a pleasingly dressed staff that knows its stuff and is cordial without a whiff of pretension, and you have a restaurant whose coalescence of great, innovative food and a sophisticated, casual ambiance conspire to make Spoon a totem of fine dining in Texas right now.  Next up for Tesar is a steakhouse. I can't wait.


Stampede 66
1717 McKinney Avenue

    Stephan Pyles is no stranger to me:  thirty years ago his Routh Street Café was one of the pioneers of New Texas Cuisine, and I’ve praised several other of his restaurants in the years since, calling him Chef of the Year for his namesake restaurant Stephan Pyles.  Now, with Stampede 66 (the numbers refer both to Philips 66 gas stations and to the iconic Route 66), he has culled all he’s learned and all he truly loves about the old and new traditions of his home state and brought them to vivid life in a hugely entertaining restaurant with video screens projecting rodeo scenes and Texas sayings, like, Molly Ivins’s “Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be President of the United States, please pay attention,” along with fine sculptures by leading western artists, cowhide upholstery and a wondrous collection of longhorns.
    Then there’s the food—the sublimation of down-home cooking into great cuisine, from the crunchy honey-fried chicken with buttermilk biscuits and mashed potato tots to the lush shrimp and grits and smoky barbecued beef brisket with potato salad (right). For dessert you can’t go with anything—butterscotch pudding with salted caramel or sweet corn icebox pie or the chocolate custard and ice cream float with a bottle of the coveted real sugar Dr Pepper.
    Anyone who cannot wrap his arms around this food is very probably without a pulse.

Stampede 66 is open for Lunch Mon.-Fri., for dinner nightly.

4444 McKinney Avenue

    Mesero in Spanish means waiter, and owner Mico Rodriguez, is evident in the dining room doing whatever needs to be done to make his guests happy.  The place doesn’t look like much—white cinderblock walls, concrete floor, bare tables, some big bright artwork, and that’s about it. They don’t take reservations but you won’t wait long for a table to free up; things move fast here. It’s a popular family spot.
    I can’t say Mr. Mesero is forging any new frontiers for Mexican food in Dallas, but the foremost criteria for the genre is that it taste very fresh, not pre-cooked, based on quality ingredients (not often the case), and have a good base salsa.  Here those criteria are met across the board, not least in the red chile salsa that is as bright as a penny and complex in seasonings not overpowered by mere heat.
    Best thing to do is to order the #5, a combo of cheese enchilada, brisket taco, refried beans and rice ($10.95), and you’ll get a good idea of the cooking here.  As at so many Mexican restaurants, categories are mainly swappings of proteins wrapped inside tacos, enchiladas, bocaditos, and so on, so there’s a lot of repetition. Trust me, the #5 will tell you all you need to know. And it won't cost you much.  Toss in a Negro Modelo ($5), tax and tip and you’re full and out the door for under twenty bucks. 

Open daily for lunch through late night.  




The two-year old Omni, owned by the City of Dallas and conveniently connected to the Dallas Convention Center, is a vast complex of 1,001 guestrooms, with 67 luxury suites, where you could wander seemingly forever, which is nearly as much time as it themselves are impeccably modern if soul-less and the bathroom, surprisingly small for a brand new hotel.  Otherwise, amenities are good, except that the hotel charges for in-room WiFi—not exactly a competitive edge when most hotels have abandoned fees. The Texas Spice restaurant downstairs has an extensive morning buffet. There is also Bob’s Steak & Chop House, which I did not try, but it has a very extensive wine program.
    I also stayed out at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas (below) at Las Collinas, which is a fine place to chill out if you have no expectations of heading into town, because there is no transport except taxi or town car, and they are very expensive. But if golf and the 25,000 square foot pool, even some sand, are your wont, this is a big sprawling place—far larger than most Four Seasons properties—spread over 400 acres, with 431 guestrooms and villas adjacent to the golf course.  The main restaurant, Café on the Green, is where I had an enjoyable American lunch of generous lobster salad, a French dip sandwich soaked in pan juices, and updated, not too sweet coconut cream pie,  and I was happy to see that the wine list here, unlike almost everywhere else in Dallas, has a fine selection of  about a dozen Texas labels, including the impressive Duchman Family Winery wines.


By John Mariani

Rôtisserie Georgette
14 East 60th Street (near Madison Avenue)


        In the often backbiting NYC restaurant world, I doubt there is anyone who enjoys a higher likeability rating than Georgette Farkas (below), who, having spent 17 years as communications director for chef-restaurateur Daniel Boulud, finally did what she had originally intended to do two decades ago--open her own restaurant.
        New York born, Ms. Farkas began cooking professionally at 16, attending École Hôtelière de Lausanne, then training at Michelin-starred restaurants like the Hôtel Richmond in Geneva, Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, Moulins de Mougins, and Louis XV in Monaco before joining the marketing side of Boulud’s expanding empire.  Her experience as a bartender at Blake's Hotel in London and with night club impresario Régine in Paris only added more European polish to her New York savvy.
        And now she is off on her own, with a namesake restaurant built around a piece of twirling kitchen equipment that turns out scores of roast chickens each night, along with other meats and seafood. The long dining room, in low light, has steel girders and tall brick walls hung with antique mirrors, swag curtains and an Aubusson tapestry. Banquettes are done in chocolate brown leather; tables are bare; the noise is tolerable.  The open kitchen’s front is decorated with blue tiles.

        The courteously dressed East Siders took to the restaurant immediately, dining early, so that reservations are easier to come by after 8 o'clock than before.
        When Rôtisserie Georgette opened this year, expectations were high, given Ms. Farkas’ reputation, but the early word-of-mouth on the consistency of the food was less than exultant.  On my first visit, about a month after the restaurant opened, I enjoyed myself but found some of the cooking lackluster. Even the vaunted chicken was tepid, rather than hot; nor was it the best version of the bird in a town with plenty of exemplars.

        For reasons not explained, Ms. Farkas fired her first chef, bringing on Chad Brauze (above, with Farkas), formerly a sous-chef at Restaurant Daniel.  Now, not only has the Amish-bred chicken improved but his additions to the menu have made Rôtisserie Georgette what it was intended to be.  Indeed, despite being meat-centric, the menu will have enormous appeal to any vegetarian who has no problem with the lavish use of butter and cream.
        Thus, on my second visit, with Brauze aboard, I was giddy with almost every appetizer, from roasted artichokes and peppers with a lemon-garlic aïoli ($16) to roasted leeks with duck prosciutto, mâche lettuce, pignoli and grilled onion vinaigrette ($14). There were three pâtés on one plate ($21), each smoothly textured and distinctive, with fine toasted bread, and a generous portion of foie gras with a rhubarb chutney and candied pistachios ($28).   Only the gnocchi à la parisienne ($18 as appetizer or $26 as a main) disappointed; on two tries it was too soft and gummy.  But then, that ill-conceived dish almost always is.
        Before turning to those chickens, I must comment on the side dishes of vegetables, like the whole roasted glazed carrots ($9) that you might want to pick up with your fingers if they weren’t so hot (below); the well buttered spring peas with fresh mint ($11) that are just perfect at this time of year; crispy pencil-thin asparagus enhanced with lemon, coriander and a rich Hollandaise ($11); brown butter-enriched spinach scented with garam masala cream ($10); and wild mushroom fricassée persillade ($12).
        So.  The chicken. It is now everything it should be, brined in advance, rotated to garner an even, crisp skin, very juicy within, and it comes with a variety of sauces--herbes de Provence; garlic, tomato and tarragon; or Grand Mère, with red wine, mushrooms and bacon--and at a very reasonable price of $24. There is a more flamboyant version, for two at $36 per person, called poule de Luxe, which comes as a whole chicken whose breast is stuffed with panko crumbs and wild mushrooms and topped with seared foie gras as gilding. And, believe me, two people will take plenty home; I got two lunches out of the leftovers.
        Fat is neither wasted not held back at Rotisserie Georgette, and that goes for the roasted potatoes, the baked potato with Parmesan, and the butter-rich mashed potatoes.  They taste fabulous.
        There are several non-chicken items on the menu, but I only tried them under the former chef’s tenure, so I can’t really report on the two:  roast quail in red wine sauce ($42) or the suckling pig ($450). Sadly, the latter is only served for 6 to 8 guests, when you can get an individual portion at other places around town. There is also harissa-marinated loin of lamb ($32), and, again for two, côte de boeuf, whose price of $60 per person for a 20-ounce cut works out to considerably less than some other restaurants in town are charging for the same, like $145 at Minetta Tavern.
        Ms. Farkas attracted patîssier Nicole Kaplan away from Eleven Madison Park, but she is toeing a more traditional French bistro line here, with excellent versions of tarte Tatin, chocolate soufflé, and pot de crème.
        The wine list is just about as large as it should be for this venture, but it’s top heavy in price for a rôtisserie restaurant. It might be nice even to have some good Beaujolais by the carafe, as you’d find in France.
        But Georgette has been a big success, not least because people were waiting for Ms. Farkas to open just such a place as a reflection of her own ebullient, ever cordial personality. That goes a long way, and, though it is not a novel concept, I suspect we’ll see similar restaurants being opened around the U.S. very soon. (Plenty of out-of-town chefs have been dining here.)  But then, they won’t have Georgette Farkas running them.

Open for lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat.




By John Mariani

        At a wine luncheon in New York last week, I was happy to find that South African wines have come so far in the past ten years.
    I didn’t say “so fast,” because South Africa has been making wines far longer than most “New World” producers like California, Australia, New Zealand and much of South America. Viticulture has been part of the country’s economy since the first plantings in the 1650s. 
       Back then, most vineyards were planted with Muscat to make the sweet dessert wines of Costantia, which are still being produced. Today, however, the majority of wines are white, with about 35 percent from the Chenin Blanc grape, there called Steen.  Currently there are about 270,000 acres planted, about the same territory as in Bordeaux.       
    Yet, for all that history, it was only in 1973 that Wine of Origin labeling took legal hold; and well into the 1990s the country’s Co-Operative Winegrowers’ Association was still dictating production quotas, minimum prices and predetermined production areas, which served to hamper small estates in favor of bulk wineries.
        Add to this an international resistance to South African exports because of the government’s apartheid policies up through 1994, and the chances of the country’s better producers to compete on the world market were slim.  Indeed, few wine stores in the U.S. carried more than a handful of South African wines, like those from Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Kanonkop Wine Estate, La Motte, and Warwick Estate.  Those days are over and the best small estates, like those whose wines I sampled last week, are now coming into the global market and have U.S. importers.
        I was by far most delighted at the tasting with the Chenin Blancs: very crisp, very cleanly made wines from a varietal so often too grassy and tasting oily like petroleum. But these were balanced in fruit and acid, and, unlike the better Chenin Blancs from France’s Loire Valley, are very decently priced, like the 2012 Mulderbosch ($12), the 2012 Botanica Skurfberg ($24), and the 2012 Radford Dale, though this last is pricey at $40.
        The Chardonnays tasted were equally well balanced, with just enough wood to round them out and a sensible alcohol level that never went beyond 13.5 percent. I particularly liked the 2011 Neil Ellis Elgin ($28), which is grown in a cool climate about 45 miles east of Cape Town, and the 2012 Hamilton Russell ($33), whose estate is located in the appropriately named region of  Hemel en Aarde (Heaven and Earth) Valley.
        There has been, among the small producers, an effort to mimic--or bear homage to--Bordeaux-style blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other varietals, well displayed in a 2012 Boekenhoutskloof “Chocolate Block” ($33)--its vineyards are shown above--a complex blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Viognier, while the 2011 Rust en Vrede ($36), with Cabernet, Syrah and Merlot still needs some aging to come into focus. The Rust en Vrede estate is shown below.
        The Syrah wines were particularly interesting in that they indicated two stylistic renderings of that varietal. A
n elegant example of one style was the 2011 Mullineux Family Wines ($30), definitely a nod toward Rhône Valley tradition, with the big forward fruit of the grape toned down by careful picking and barrel aging.
       On the other flank are Syrah-based wines that taste far more like overripe examples from California, Australia and New Zealand--where the name Shiraz prevails--that are very bold, often grapey, fruit forward, but, ultimately, one dimensional. One that fell in between styles was the 2011 Spice Route Chakalaka “Rhône Blend” ($23), a blend of Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Grenache, along with the Syrah.
        These and others of the nearly 30 wines presented were impressive pretty much across the board, showing that South Africa’s wine industry, at least among the small producers with young owners, can hold its own in quality, and most certainly in price, with the best of the New World wines.


Wine Column Sponsored by Banfi Vintners

A Season with a Reason for Wine

by Cristina Mariani-May                                                                                     
co-CEO of
Banfi Vintners                                                                                         
America's leading wine importer

    May is a great month for wine, at least around my house.  Then again, around my house, every month is a great month for wine! 
But at this time of year it just seems like we’ve got so many more reasons to open something fun and different.
    We celebrate Mother’s Day in honor of my mother’s bubbly personality with a sparkling rosé.  Fermented in the bottle and made from 100% Pinot Noir, Cuvee Aurora Rosé evokes a bouquet of flowers in a glass.  Like Mom herself, Cuvee Aurora starts off charming and demure, but the more you get to know her, the more you realize how complex and deep she is!  And you always end up wanting more, so make sure you have an extra bottle or two on hand because that ‘aperitivo’ will likely stay with us for lunch too!
    This month we also celebrate my oldest son’s birthday, with a wine that I believe will quite accurately  describe him someday soon – Cum Laude, Latin for “with Honors” which is surely the way this bright and thoughtful young man will receive his diploma! The wine is a “super Tuscan” blend of Sangiovese for backbone, Cabernet for muscle, Merlot for a soft note, and Syrah for that “sparkle in the eye.”  All these wonderful attributes combined in one wine and one brilliant young man!
    On the same day we celebrate my father’s birthday.  Saving the best for last, we toast him with something appropriately noble and well-aged, such as a back vintage of our Poggio all’Oro, a single vineyard ‘Riserva” of Brunello di Montalcino.  Coming from one of the oldest vineyards on our estate and bearing the most ideal “micro-climate” for this persnickety varietal, Poggio all’Oro is only made in those unique years when all the conditions are right – in fact, we’ve only produced it in 11 of the past 25 vintages!  So just like Dad, it is a rare bird, with a lot to say, giving you a lot to think about, and lingering on the memory.

Cristina Mariani is not related by family or through business with John Mariani, publisher of this newsletter.



NYC restaurant Bagatelle has  put a $1,000 ice cream sundae on its menu called the "Mauboussin Mega Sundae," consisting of vanilla ice cream,  Dom Pérignon Rosé sorbet topped with chocolate truffles, macarons, whipped cream, chocolate vodka sauce, and "gilded brownies" with gold  leaf. In addition, it comes with Mauboussin ring made of black steel and white gold on the side.




"Modern Texas cuisine is what happens when creative chefs with contemporary Texas sensibilities create dishes using Texas ingredients and traditional Texan cooking techniques."—Leslie Brenner, restaurant critic for the Dallas Morning News (April 28, 2014).



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

The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink by John F. Mariani (Bloomsbury USA, $35)

Modesty forbids me to praise my own new book, but let me proudly say that it is an extensive revision of the 4th edition that appeared more than a decade ago, before locavores, molecular cuisine, modernist cuisine, the Food Network and so much more, now included. Word origins have been completely updated, as have per capita consumption and production stats. Most important, for the first time since publication in the 1980s, the book includes more than 100 biographies of Americans who have changed the way we cook, eat and drink -- from Fannie Farmer and Julia Child to Robert Mondavi and Thomas Keller.

"This book is amazing! It has entries for everything from `abalone' to `zwieback,' plus more than 500 recipes for classic American dishes and drinks."--Devra First, The Boston Globe.

"Much needed in any kitchen library."--Bon Appetit.

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,  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. Editor: Walter Bagley. 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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© copyright John Mariani 2014