Virtual Gourmet

  October 5,  2014                                                                                             NEWSLETTER


The Brown Derby menu, Los Angeles (circa 1950)



By Edward Brivio


By John Mariani


By John Mariani


The Wines of Bolgheri Show a Higher Profile
By John Mariani



     I'm proud and happy to announce that my new book, The Hound in Heaven (21st Century Lion Books), has just been published through Amazon and Kindle.  It is a Christmas novella, and for anyone who loves dogs, Christmas, romance, inspiration, even the supernatural, I hope you'll find this to be a treasured  favorite. The story concerns how, after a New England teacher, his wife and their two daughters adopt a stray puppy found in their barn in northern Maine, their lives seem full of promise. But when tragedy strikes, their wonderful dog Lazarus and the spirit of Christmas are the only things that may bring back his master back from the edge of despair.

“What a huge surprise turn this story took! I was completely stunned! I truly enjoyed this book and its message.” – Actress Ali MacGraw

“He had me at Page One. The amount of heart, human insight, soul searching, and deft literary strength that John Mariani pours into this airtight novella is vertigo-inducing. Perhaps ‘wow’ would be the best comment.” – James Dalessandro, author of Bohemian Heart and 1906.

“John Mariani’s Hound in Heaven starts with a well-painted portrayal of an American family, along with the requisite dog. A surprise event flips the action of the novel and captures us for a voyage leading to a hopeful and heart-warming message. A page turning, one sitting read, it’s the perfect antidote for the winter and promotion of holiday celebration.” – Ann Pearlman, author of The Christmas Cookie Club and A Gift for my Sister.

“John Mariani’s concise, achingly beautiful novella pulls a literary rabbit out of a hat – a mash-up of the cosmic and the intimate, the tragic and the heart-warming – a Christmas tale for all ages, and all faiths. Read it to your children, read it to yourself… but read it. Early and often. Highly recommended.” – Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author of Pinkerton’s War, The Sinking of The Eastland, and The Walking Dead: The Road To Woodbury.

“Amazing things happen when you open your heart to an animal. The Hound in Heaven delivers a powerful story of healing that is forged in the spiritual relationship between a man and his best friend. The book brings a message of hope that can enrich our images of family, love, and loss.” – Dr. Barbara Royal, author of The Royal Treatment.



By Edward Brivio
Photos by Robert Pirillo

View from Saybrook Point Inn's  Lighthouse Suite

    Is it appropriate to speak of a New England version of Italy’s Cinque Terre?
    Probably not, and yet the eight small communities strung out along the Connecticut coast, between New Haven and New London, do enjoy that same relaxed, seaside, away-from-it-all vibe. True they’re not situated on promontories that cascade dramatically down to the sea, but sit rather on a coastal plain, and Long Island Sound doesn’t have the profound historical resonance the Mediterranean does. These eight Connecticut towns of the Shoreline: Branford, Guilford, Madison, Clinton, Westbrook, Essex, Old Saybrook, and Old Lyme, however, are rich in a Colonial history all their own.
      Old Saybrook was the site of one of the earliest European settlements in New England, the English having established the Old Saybrook Plantation in 1635. It is also the only place on the New England coastline where the confluence of river and sea has not lead to the development of a full-scale commercial hub (e.g., New Haven on the Quinnipiac River, New London on the Thames etc.,) the wide sandbar found at the mouth of the Connecticut river having hampered navigation from Colonial days to the present.
     For a visit to the town, there’s no better home base than the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa (left), a sprawling 80 room hostelry with adjacent marina that has been welcoming guests, and their pets, since 1989. In order to give his customers a more intimate, B&B-like experience, owner Stephen Tagliatela has just opened in May of this year a smaller guesthouse called simply Three Stories (below), across the street from the main building. In restoring, and completely renovating and refurbishing what had once been the single-family home of locally prominent engineer, William Vars, Tagliatela and his design team have created an elegant mansion in the full-blown Victorian Italianate style of the original structure, a style that dominated American residential architecture in the middle of the 19th century.

     The subdued, pink exterior is embellished with vivid white trim. Clapboard siding, verandas extending across the front of all three stories, wide, overhanging eaves, and a flat roof give the building a predominantly horizontal, rectangular shape. The balustrades and square columns of the porch and balconies supply strong vertical elements to the facade as do tall, narrow, two-over-two windows in simple white surrounds. Gingerbread porch brackets, and incised, cove corbels beneath the eaves repeat this vertical thrust and provide a bit of curvilinear appeal. All faithfully reproduce the house’s original Italianate design, as do a square cupola and a tower (which in the house’s present incarnation serves as an elevator shaft.) The building is even more beautiful at night.
    Like the exterior, the interior is an impeccably turned-out period showpiece, with decoratively paneled wainscoting, squat Doric columns, and opulent crown moldings, all painted white, as well as hardwood floors, and large, lavishly carved fireplace mantels in every room. Overstuffed, tufted white leather sofas, Delft-blue and white drapes, and an Aubusson-style carpet grace the public living room, which is next to a formal dining room.
     A graceful serpentine stairway climbs up to the third floor. Every detail of the interior is exquisite; everything looks fresh and newly-minted. To complete the decor, there is a collection of beautiful landscapes of the surrounding sea and marshes on the walls. And the Three Stories own Concierge, Mrs. Anna Pratt, provides a welcome as warm and wonderful as her setting, as well as knowing all there is to know about the area, its history, and its denizens.
     Our large guestroom had an enormous, extremely comfortable, king-size bed, a couple of armchairs, a small desk, and a fireplace. A pristine bathroom combined period details --including a console sink and bulls-eye window-- with up-to-the-minute fixtures and an arsenal of thick, fluffy white towels. Overlooking the marina and the mouth of the Connecticut river beyond --and overlooking the marina’s parking lot as well--the semi-private balcony was big enough for a cocktail party.

     The Inn’s restaurant, Fresh Salt (left) spreads-out over three softly-lit dining rooms including the bar room, each a few steps down from the one before. Maritime paintings grace the walls. Bare tables with cloth napkins and comfortable armchairs, banquettes along the back wall, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlook a marina filled with boats. One of the room dividers is a large fish tank inhabited by appropriately sized tropical fish, some in the most amazing Day-Glow colors: aquamarine, orange, and a yellow so intense that it looks like it’s more about Benjamin Moore, than about Mother Nature.

     On any given night, a variety of local oysters are available, mainly from nearby Rhode Island, with evocative place names such as Cedar Island, Matunuck, Moonstone, East Beach, Watch Hill, Rome Point etc. Fresh and clean on the half shell, they may be even better as Oysters Rockefeller. Chef Leslie Tripp’s take on this venerable classic --created in 1899 at Antoine’s in New Orleans-- with just a touch of cream and Parmesan cheese under a thin layer of spinach, manages to set off the delicate taste of the oysters, without overpowering them, as so many modern versions do.    Other starters we strongly recommend are the Chef’s clam chowder, both New England and Manhattan, and both equally as delicious, as well as his chilled Ceccarelli Farm English pea soup, served with a parmesan flan, and some lobster claw meat. Ceccarelli’s, a third generation farm in nearby Northford, Ct., also supplies the chef with salad greens and corn grown specifically for the restaurant.  
These same peas star in another dish, the English pea ravioli (right), one large raviolo served with guanciale, wonderfully sweet pea tendrils, Parmigiano Reggiano in a truffle butter fondue. A tasty combination of ingredients including a sprinkling of whole green peas. Anything is better than overcooked vegetables, but these peas were a little too raw and crunchy for my taste.                                            
    One night the starter specials included zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta and crab meat, then battered and deep fried. A dish we’ve often enjoyed in Rome, the version here was at least as good, if not even better, with a very satisfying crispiness all its own. If only there had been three instead of just two.
      Main courses we can heartily recommend include Montauk Big Eye Tuna, beautifully seared, and still red inside; Scallops from Bomster Farms in Stonington, CT. once again quickly seared and still sweet, both served with a perfectly cooked arugula and corn Risotto; Maine lobster salad with artisanal greens, avocado, and asparagus, all in a lemon dressing, and Lobster roll, both Connecticut style with warm butter -- an unexpected and delicious variant-- and Maine style with a touch of mayonnaise.
    The Paella Valenciana was appropriately chock-a-block with calamari, clams, mussels and chicken, as well as a whole lobster tail --cut in two for easy removal from its shell- but the very tasty saffron and chorizo-flavored  rice was uncharacteristically a little soupy, which really didn’t seem to matter taste-wise.
    On the lunch menu, you’ll find a wonderful cod cake (left), here made with a creamy brandade of cod instead of the usual flakes, and all the better for it. Topping it with a sunny side-up egg was a delicious gilding of the lily.
    For dessert we enjoyed good Peach Melba with fresh peaches, and great pineapple upside-down cake, deep brown and soaked in a yummy pineapple syrup.

    First courses: $9.95 to $13.95, mains: $19.95 to $34.95 for filet mignon, and desserts;  Lunch: starters:$8 to $21, salads: $14 to $24, sandwiches and main plates: $14 to $24.

     The Inn is a favorite spot for weddings, and I can’t think of a better place for a honeymoon than the Inn’s Lighthouse suite, situated in a small cottage all on its own on the main wharf (above), with unobstructed views of the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound from all the windows. Its 900 square feet include a living room (below), dining area, kitchenette and bedroom. And, your own personal lighthouse.
    The lovely Sanno Spa is located right off the lobby of the main building, and provides a complete menu of services in a suite of serene, immaculate white rooms. I can personally recommend the Gents Facial, which was not only relaxing, but also left my face with a healthy glow, as well as the Deep Tissue Massage, invigorating and stress relieving at the same time. Both were administered by therapists responsive to the personal needs of their guests, and well-versed in their craft. Treatments at the Spa are a great way to start off any visit to the Inn.
     Finally, for the convenience of its guests, it also provides a complimentary shuttle for trips into town and around the neighborhood, or transfers to and from the railroad station, a very thoughtful amenity, as taxis are few and far between.
The hotel is dog-friendly. Rooms from $339.




By John Mariani

    Every fall for the past decade, the New York edition of the Guide Michelin comes out and stirs up a little froth among the media as to who's won stars and lost them.  It's always good news for the new winners, a sigh of relief for those who retain their stars, and a shock to those who've lost them.  For the newbie in the new edition--none in the three-star category, three in the two-star rankings, 17 in the one--there is much joy in and out of the kitchen. For, although it is debatable whether the Guide has the clout it once had in an era of on-line vox populi ravings, there is still a prestige that accrues to those famous stars.
    The Guide's standards have shifted radically in recent years, after too often being termed by the media as outdated and favoring extravagantly expensive French restaurants, whether they are in Paris, London, New York or Tokyo.  Recent editions have tried mightily to prove their mantra that it is "only what's on the plate" that counts, based on the "high quality of the ingredients."  Still, those are difficult ideals to defend when every one of the three-star restaurants in the just-out 2015 edition are very to wildly expensive: Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare ($255 per person, without wine), Eleven Madison Park ($225), Jean-Georges ($128-$208), Le Bernardin ($135, or $336 with wine), Masa ($450), and Per Se ($295-$350), all of which have dominated the list for years now.
    Things get a bit more interesting in the two-story category where a New Nordic restaurant like Atera, whose high quality ingredients include lichen, yeast, pear skins (below), and magenta spree, vies with a 25-course meal at Blanca in Brooklyn, a haute-Korean place called Jungsik, and the idolized Momofuku Ko, where a three-hour meal with no choices is to be endured in what may the loudest, least comfortable small space in Manhattan.
    Clearly the Michelin Man (named Bibendum) adores Japanese food--the guide to Japan lists nearly as many stars as in all of France--lavishing single stars on NYC restaurants like 15 East, Hakkasan, Kajitsu, Kyo Ya, and more, while seeming to have little taste for--or perhaps understanding-- of Italian food. Is it really credible to say there is only a single two-star Italian restaurant, Marea, in the whole city?  Then, in the one-star category,  to have only five Italian restaurants in a city that has more Italian restaurants than Florence and Rome combined?   Mind you, one-star indicates "a very good restaurant in its category," which almost sounds like a consolation prize.
    Then there is the steakhouse conundrum: only three receive any stars at all--Peter Luger, M. Wells, and Minetta Tavern (this last not really a steakhouse but just a place that serves good beef).  Since all the top steakhouses in New York, like the original Palm, Smith & Wollensky, Porter House, Strip House, and others served top quality beef--which is the only thing on Peter Luger's menu that's first rate--why do they not make the cut?
    You and I and the media can debate which restaurants should and should not be in one or another category, but does any serious diner believe that Gotham Bar and Grill, Gramercy Tavern,  and Blue Hill are deserving of only a single star?  Does anyone--even its regular crowd--believe that The Breslin or Caviar Russe belong on a list with those other one-stars?
 One should be aware that, unlike most NYC newspapers and magazine reviewers, Michelin bases most of its inclusions on a single visit by a single inspector, dining alone--which is hardly sufficient for an in-depth assessment--although star-rated restaurants usually get more visits from other solo inspectors.  (In an article this week on the London inspectors. the head of the UK guide said they may take their spouse or friend with them to dine but have to pay for it out of their own pocket.)
     In the old days it could take a restaurant years and years to grow from one star to three, and only a minuscule number get to two or three in any case.  Now, a place opens in the spring, and voilá! it's got a star in the fall of the same year. 
    Perhaps it would be better if the Guides came out every three or even every five years, which would give new restaurants a chance to show consistency and improve as well as indicate just how much things have changed and how much has remained the same over a longer period.  If that were the case, the Guide Michelin might be a required purchase for true gourmands.  But since the rankings change so little from year to year, is it really necessary to do more than glance at the Guide's website to see what's new?


By John Mariani

529 ½ Hudson Street

     Not for the first time am I happy to credit Ed Schoenfeld with being NYC’s best ambassador of Chinese food.
    Back in the late 1960s, when most Chinese restaurants in America were still serving egg foo yung and chow mein, Brooklyn-born Schoenfeld developed a passion for authentic regional Chinese food, and he was behind or consultant to some of the best Hunan and Sichuan restaurants of the next decade, including Uncle Tai’s, David Keh, Pig Heaven, and Auntie Yuan. He helped set new standards for dishes like hot-and-sour soup, lobster soong, Hunan honeyed ham on white bread, cold noodles with sesame sauce, crispy walnuts and others that became totemic in Chinese restaurants around the U.S.     So, when Schoenfeld and Chef Joe Ng, with restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow, decided to open a restaurant called Red Farm, no one knew quite what to expect. The result was a witty take on Asian food with a New York attitude that included dishes like pastrami egg roll--it was Momofuko Ko without the attitude, discomfort, and bad music. Pastrami triangles are on the menu at the new Decoy restaurant, located downstairs from Red Farm, but the main event here is the $65 per person (two person minimum) Peking duck dinner, which includes pickles and chips, duck consomme, ten pancakes, and at least one side dish and pair of appetizers.  Be forewarned that Decoy cooks only 24 ducks per night, so pre-ordering is requisite.

    The pleasantly lighted room and bar (with a first-rate bartender) is set with a long communal table you have to wedge your way into, so the conviviality is immediate.  Good waiters and a fast kitchen make everything go smoothly in what has become a cadenced routine.
    Let’s deal with the duck first: it is everything you could ask for, with its crisp, lacquered outside skin, its velvety flesh, and legs and wings for those who like to chew right through.  The meat and skin go into thin steamy pancakes with scallion and hoisin sauce, you roll it up and devour it with giddy pleasure. 

    But, before you even get to the duck, you have a generous array of other items, which begins with that shot of lovely, intense duck consommé and chips.  You get to choose your small plates from a list of 13, and it’s a tough choice. By all means don’t miss the excellent sweet potato noodle salad topped with uni (though maybe not worth the $12 supplement), and those pastrami triangles, which, like Chinese ham, have the same succulence that makes them cousins.  I loved the shrimp-stuffed shishito peppers, but be aware that they are very spicy and might dull your palate for the duck to follow. Oxtail dumplings were delicious, though there wasn’t a discernible amount of oxtail meat inside.
    Then you have the main dishes, and the two we tried were absolutely wonderful.  Jamaican-Chinese style jerk baby chicken with corn and Brussels sprouts is a triumph of forceful flavors and textures, while the pork ‘toro’ with Korean rice cake was milder but admirably flavorful.  The fried rice that accompanied these came as a large platter of well-seasoned chopped vegetables and fluffy, nutty rice whose being lightly fried gave an extra dimension of flavor.
    I’m not going to urge you on to desserts.  They are alright—Key lime pie, chocolate pudding and panna cotta—but almost seem out of place here and don’t have the authority of everything else on the menu.
    In opening Red Farm, Schoenfeld and Ng brought a fresh take on New York-style Chinese food; with Decoy they have perfected one dish impressive enough to bring people back again and again, but even if you don’t eat duck, you’d have a superb dinner of tweaked Chinese classics among the best of their kind in the city.

Open nightly for dinner. Reservations for parties of seven.




Tuscan Wines of Bolgheri Take Their Place in the Sun

By John Mariani


        The wholly unofficial term “Super Tuscan” was once a convenientcatch phrase to sell expensive, non-traditional blended wines like Sassicaia, Tignanello, Solaia and Ornellaia, and it worked well until anyone and everyone in Tuscany started to call their wines Super Tuscans, even though the best vineyards were already owned by producers like Antinori, Ruffino, Frescobaldi and a few others who now shy away from the term.

       The Italian government hasn’t made things any simpler, at first prohibiting the iconoclastic new wines from carrying anything but a designation of “vino da tavola” (table wine), then, in 1994, coming up with “I.G.T.” (typical of the geography), for such wines.  

Some of the most illustrious of the original Super Tuscans were from the region of Bolgheri, south of Livorno in western Tuscany near the Tyrrhenian Sea.  Not least among them was the Bordeaux-like blend Sassicaia, which was at first simply labeled “vino da tavola” in 1968.  But in 1994 both Bolgheri as a region and Bolgheri Sassicaia received a legal designation of denominazione  di origine controllata (controlled designation of origin), or DOC.

        So, now that the “Super Tuscan” name has faded, more wineries are proudly marketing their wines as from Bolgheri, whose hillside vineyards and cool sea breezes make for distinctive terroirs and allow the propagation of excellent sangiovese—Tuscany’s most traditional and famous grape—along with merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and petit verdot, which have for centuries been the varietals blended to make Bordeaux wines.

        Currently there are 38 members of the Bolgheri Consortium, spread over 2,650 acres. One of the best is the forward-looking Aia Vecchia (below), owned by the Pellegrini family, which produces four wines, three reds and one white, made from two estates comprising 118 acres, with 74 acres under the Bolgheri DOC.

        I had dinner in New York with the young—twenty-six years old—scion of the family, Elia Pellegrini, who looks very much like the professional soccer player he was not long ago, before joining  the family business.  Affable, earnest and fluent in English, Elia is typical of the Tuscan youth who have been driving the wine industry to experiment while retaining all the traditions that have made Bolgheri so prestigious.  

Aia Vecchia, which means “Old Barn,” has really developed its portfolio only since the 1990s, now under winemkaer Nicolo Scottini, and in the past decade has gained global distribution as far away as Zanzibar.

        Over a diverse meal of cold salumi and cheeses, ravioli with duck confit, sautéed calf’s liver with onions, and roast pork at the Theater District restaurant Orso, we drank three Aia Vecchia wines: first the Vermentino  2013 ($12), a fresh white wine with a charming bouquet and good citrus qualities that can serve as easily as an aperitif—the alcohol is 13 percent—as with antipasti like the sausages and mozzarella we enjoyed. Since it spends only four months aging in stainless steel and two in bottle, it is a wine to be enjoyed right now with no need to wait.

      Lagone  2011 is, at $15, amazingly well priced for a Tuscan wine of this caliber.  I scribbled down on my notes “it tastes like wine,” which I mean as praise at a time when so many wines are made to taste like high alcohol fruit punch.  Here, the blend of 60% merlot, 30% cabernet sauvignon and 10% cabernet franc has the lusty character of what a Bordeaux-style Italian wine shows at its best. 
         Lagone spends 12 months in oak barriques and six in bottle;  although it can certainly mature further, there’s every reason to enjoy it right now with a rich pasta or red meats. At 13 percent alcohol it is nicely textured and layered in its components.

    The denomination “Bolgheri Rosso Superiore” hardly does justice to Aia Vecchia’s top-of-the-line red, Sorugo 2010 ($35), made from 50% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot, 15% cabernet franc, and 5% petit verdot. The first varietal gives the wine its body and tannin, the franc rounds it out, and the petit verdot provides fruitiness and acid, all adding up to a very well priced red wine that would be an ideal match for red meats and, now that autumn is here, game and white truffles.

    The wine ages at least 18 months in barrel, then another year in the bottle, achieving at least 13.5 percent alcohol, although Elia Pellegrini told me that, owing to climate warming, it’s not always easy to keep the wines at that level.

So, for those who have only dreamed of tasting Super Tuscans like Sassicaia selling in excess of $150 a bottle, the acquisition of a wine like Sorugo will tell you almost as much about modern viticulture in Bolgheri.



“I just got chills, up and down my leg,” a fellow diner blurted out immediately after one bite of David Waltuck’s überbuttery foie gras ($4), cheekily served lollipop-style at the chef’s comeback restaurant, élan. Those chills aren’t hyperbole—the perfect spheres of smooth liver, coated in pistachios and curled around a figgy core, are so audaciously rich, it’d be a medical anomaly if your arteries didn’t give a good quiver."--"Elan," Time Out (8/19/14)


In Japan, at the Osaka Ohsho restaurants, a new dish is equal parts
fried doughnut and ramen noodles dressed in a spicy dan dan style.


 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: LETTER FROM LONDON

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,  Misha Mariani, John A. Curtas, Edward Brivio, Mort Hochstein, Andrew Chalk,  Dotty Griffith and Brian Freedman. Contributing Photographers: Galina Dargery,  Bobby Pirillo. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.

To un-subscribe from this newsletter,click here.

© copyright John Mariani 2014