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  November 23,  2014                                                                                             NEWSLETTER

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"Thanksgiving 1648" by J. C. Leyendecker (c. 1935)


By Geoff Kalish

Charlie Palmer Steak
By John Mariani

BY John Mariani



By Geoff Kalish

    Some twenty years ago,  “fine dining” in Naples, Florida, meant a “jacket and tie” dinner at The Ritz Carlton dining room or Andre’s Steak House.  Ethnic cuisine was limited to red-sauce Italian storefronts or good but standard Chinese fare at spots like Charlie Chang’s. Moreover, finding a sensibly priced, expansive wine list that offered bottles that mated well with the food was wishful thinking. In fact, the situation was so woeful that dining excursions to Miami, two hours away, were not that uncommon. However, owing to an increasingly cosmopolitan, sophisticated population,  especially in the winter months, when well heeled Americans, Canadians and Europeans flock to the city, the dining scene in Naples has done a 180 degree turnaround.  Now a wide range of establishments offers upscale American fare featuring local seafood, and ethnic cuisine ranges from Persian to Peruvian. In addition, more than a few eateries offer extensive, well priced wine lists geared to the fare offered.
    The following are six of my personal favorites that offer upscale ambiance, consistently good food, attentive service and a wine list well chosen to marry with the menu.

4077 Tamiami Trail North

    Celebrating 20 years in Naples, energetic chef-owner Alexander Bernard is now at the top of his game with contemporary takes on classic European cuisine, served in a rather formal space reminiscent of a staid French drawing room, or in a romantic patio garden (preferable) with tables draped in magenta cloths and twinkling lights in the trees. In fact, while some quibble that the fare served is “old hat,” a very recent dinner there was exceptional, with carefully prepared food served in a romantic courtyard by professional, yet friendly servers, and very reasonably priced wines from a list of bottles from consistent top-notch producers. 
     Recent appetizers included an Oriental stir-fry Thai salad with a creamy peanut vinaigrette; sautéed wild-caught New England calamari in a seductive broth of garlic, butter and herbs; and a flaky purse of wild mushrooms and goat cheese--all superb and certainly not culinary clichés. Nor were artistically presented main courses of silky slices of pan-seared sesame-crusted line-caught fresh tuna atop a spinach and seaweed salad doused with a miso demi-glace, a roasted lamb shank infused with rosemary essence, and perfectly seared scallops on a bed of cauliflower purée accompanied by tempura asparagus.
     And for dessert, try the restaurant’s take on the classic tiramisù, with a layer of rich mascarpone cheese between two coffee soaked crackers.

Expect dinner for two to cost about $80 to $90, not including wine, tax or tip.
Open for lunch Mon.-Fri., for dinner Mon.-Sat.

1186 Third Avenue South

    For the past five years fans of fancy seafood have flocked to this “Old Naples” spot to sample the works of culinary art offered by Venetian-born, chef-owner Fabrizio Aielli. And they are rarely disappointed. Housed in an area popular with tourists and locals “looking to be seen,” the restaurant consists of a front dining patio open to the street that includes a bar with a few bar tables, and an enclosed  sleek, contemporary room with a large open kitchen.
      On a recent evening, from a frequently changing menu, we enjoyed artistically presented appetizers of a silky dice of tuna tartar infused with a sweet Thai chili sauce with just the right amount of spice, and tasty grilled octopus.
      For main courses we indulged in a dewy filet of black grouper accompanied by black truffles, peas, oyster mushrooms and smoked fingerling potatoes, as well as a special of grilled whole hog fish, fileted tableside atop creamy polenta. And for dessert we shared a Mocha Dream Bar (a rectangle of layers of creamy mocha and rich chocolate).
     Service, under the direction of manager Tanya Buchanan, was smooth and professional and from an expansive wine list of top-producer bottles we accompanied the meal with a fragrant, Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer, that had just the right amount of spice and acidity to compliment the food.

Expect dinner for two to cost $100 to $120 excluding wine,  tax and tip. (Open daily for lunch and dinner.


In the La Playa Beach Resort
989 Gulf Shore Drive

    This epitome of elegant beachside dining, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, should not be missed, even on a short stay in Naples.  At dinnertime, the large, elegant, dimly lit dining room provides comfortable seating at white-clothed tables well-spaced to allow for private conversation.  Reserve a table outdoors on the patio a half hour before sunset. Order a bottle of wine from one of the best lists in the U.S, lean back and slowly survey the menu. Once the sun disappears beyond the horizon and the mesmerizing afterglow begins, order at will; everything we’ve tried over the past few years has been terrific.
    In particular, for starters we like the spicy tuna tartare with just the right amount of zesty chili sauce; jumbo lump crab cocktail served with grilled corn, sliced avocado and plantain chips; and the freshly tossed Caesar salad. Main courses run the gamut from lamb osso bucco accompanied by heady saffron cous cous and a pine nut gremolata to a range of juicy sea fare, like the generous portion of black grouper served with blue crab risotto, and a thick fillet of Florida Keys snapper accompanied by creamed boniato and roasted bok choy.  For dessert, go with the zesty classic lemon tart or a crème brûlée (with a different flavor featured each day). Also, there’s a three-course prix fixe menu that changes weekly (a bargain at $39 a person).

Other than the prix fixe menu, expect dinner to cost about $60 a person,
not including tax, tip or wine. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


965 4th Avenue South

    If this restaurant were in New York City or San Francisco, it would be a darling of the dining cognoscenti. Tucked away in a run-down strip mall storefront and well off the beaten path, it serves exemplary modern takes on classic Spanish cuisine at white-clothed tables in a spacious room with pale yellow walls displaying contemporary artwork.
    Most full and part-time Naples residents raise their eyebrows quizzically when asked about the seven-year-old establishment, since the location is not in one of the “spots to be seen,” and the fare served is certainly atypical for southwest Florida. On the other hand, those who’ve discovered the savory creations of  I and M (Cuban-born Isabel Pozo Polo and her long-time friend Mary Shipman) keep returning for more the two dozen hot and cold tapas, such as  Serrano jamon, cured for 18 months and bursting with the earthy flavor of the Spanish countryside; pristinely fresh calamari flash fried after a dusting in a combination of flour and pimenton;  classic gambas (shrimp in garlic sauce), with just the right amount of seasoning, and for those willing to splurge, fresh langostinos à la plancha ($27).
     In addition, there’s a plentiful portion of paella (above) as well as a selection of four to five main courses, such as lamb T-bones over a bed of heady romesco sauce, and firm-fleshed, whole deboned Mediterranean sea bass.
    To conclude the meal there’s a half-dozen dessert choices, including an authentic Spanish coffee flan. Moreover, service is professional with good explanations of the fare provided, and there’s a modest but well-conceived wine list featuring some of the best bottles available from Spain.

Expect dinner for two (sharing 3 tapas and 2 main courses) to cost about $100 not including tax, tip or wine. Open for dinner Mon.-Sat.



800 5th Avenue South

    What sets this five-year-old downtown eatery apart from others of similar ilk are its skillfully prepared,  elegantly presented authentic renditions of classic regional Italian favorites, made with very fresh, locally sourced and top quality imported ingredients. The fare at this spacious restaurant--with an open kitchen, glass enclosed bar area and contemporary vibe--is a world  apart from others of similar ilk. Also, service is a cut above most of the Italian restaurants in Naples, and the wine list offers more than two dozen top-producer wines by the glass and a sensibly-priced selection of carefully chosen bottles, primarily from Italy.
    The force behind this establishment is Andrea Neri, who came to the U.S. from Italy some seven years ago and eventually brought his whole family here, including his mother, to work in the restaurant. And, once you try any of his creations, you’ll realize the difference between this food made with loving care and inferior renditions of the same dishes. We particularly like the caprese mozzarella, made with Fior di latte cheese, locally grown tomatoes and top quality extra virgin olive oil (left) and eggplant parmigiana appetizers, as well as main course items like Venetian classic tagliolini al nero di seppie (black squid ink pasta tossed with chopped tomatoes, shrimp, calamari and Pecorino Romano cheese), Baccalà alla livonese came as a dewy fresh, thick filet of cod sautéed with capers, black olives and homemade tomato sauce, while tender veal piccata had a piquant lemony undertone.
    And for dessert devotees go for the rich, chocolaty tiramisù. Moreover, there’s a bargain-and-a-half two-course “Early Dining” menu for $19 a person with a range of five appetizers and seven main course items like osso buco and salmon encrusted in basil with a lemon and orange sauce, and including a glass of house wine.

Expect dinner for two (except the “Early Dining” menu) to cost about $90 to $100,
not including wine, tax and tip. Open for lunch and dinner daily.


3745 Tamiami Trail North

    Run by chef-owner Nicholas Mercier and his affable (and unflappable) wife, Nathalie, this 14- year-old establishment--with a setting reminiscent of a cruise ship dining room (with water-filled portals lining one long wall)- - is one of the most popular dining spots in Naples. And rightfully so.
    The flavors of appetizers like plump sautéed calamari with an addictive grilled tomato sauce laced with Parmesan, and the five-spice Kurobuta pork belly accompanied by caramelized endive and apples doused in a bourbon molasses sauce are memorable long after the meal is over. Salads consistently contain fresh greens and just the right amount of flavorful dressing. From a wide range of main course items, we continually opt for the cooked-to-a-turn seared, vanilla-infused U-8 Diver scallops, each on a mound of goat cheese polenta and topped with a citrus beurre blanc, and the spicy volcanic snapper--two thick grilled fillets served over a mix of wok vegetables and steamed rice ringed with a tangy Asian aïoli.
     Other popular seafood entrees include wood-grilled branzino, grilled Scottish salmon, and sautéed filet of Mediterranean bass served with seared foie gras and a pomegranate-infused veal reduction.
    For dessert, go with the Key lime cheesecake or the decadent warm nut-pear bread pudding. And to accompany all this, there’s a very thoughtfully put together, well priced wine list with selections like a crisp, dry William Fevre Chablis ($47 a bottle) and an earthy Tasca d’Almerita Nero d’Avola ($44).

Dinner for two, excluding wine, tax and tip, will cost about $90-$100.
Open for lunch M-F, dinner daily.






By John Mariani
Photos by Georgina Richardson

Charlie Palmer Steak

3 East 54th Street (near Fifth Avenue)

        It has become pretty much the norm that when a celebrity chef/restaurateur builds an empire, he pays little or no attention to the fifth, sixth, or twentieth unit he opens. 
      More often than not,  he and his lawyers merely sign management contracts with a clause requiring him to drop by once a year to see if he recognizes anyone in the kitchen.  And, if the restaurant goes belly up, ah well, he didn’t put any of his money into it anyway.
    Truly dedicated chefs will still spend as much time as possible in their original restaurant in order to maintain its signature luster. In that category I place Charlie Palmer, whose rise from a cook to a chef to a restaurateur and now even to a hotelier has been marked by consistent attention to his 26-year-old NYC flagship, Aureole, and to Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, CA, where he and his family live.
        Palmer has not chosen to play the clown  chef on television—that irresistible magnet for ego-mad cooks who spend far more time on location than in any of their far-flung kitchens.  Palmer has opened a series of steakhouses in DC, Las Vegas and Reno, of a kind that don’t really require the kind of constant, hands-on attention that a fine dining room like Aureole does.
    Thus, Palmer’s opening of a namesake steakhouse in NYC seems a safe bet for both him and his company; for the New Yorker who can go to any of a dozen of the finest steakhouses in America, “CPS” is now yet another option to compare one with the other.  The night I dined there, Palmer had just gotten off a plane from California and rushed over to check in on his newest enterprise, located on East 54th Street,which replaced Rothmann’s Steakhouse.    
    The transformed 80-seat dining room is handsome and deliberately breaks from the tavern-like clichés of old-school steakhouse design. There’s good lighting, iridescent colors, artwork, textures of stainless steel mesh, glass, and tweed. Odd, though, that it is the only one of Palmer’s four steakhouses that eschews tablecloths, when they are ubiquitous in high-end competitors in NYC like Luger, Sparks, Palm, BLT, Smith & Wollensky, Porter House, Strip House, and newcomers like Davio’s, NYY Steak, Il Mulino Prime, and Costata.  By comparison, the (albeit pretty) wooden tables with placemats at CPS more resemble the look of a casual café.
    Otherwise, this new Palmer entry has a service staff without a scintilla of the brashness of so many others, and there’s a briskness—but never a rush--about how guests are taken care of. 
Thanks to wine director Peter Bothwell, the wine list, as at all Palmer’s restaurants, is first rate.
    Brooklyn-born, Jersey-raised exec chef Matthew Zappoli breaks none of the traditions of steakhouse menus here, instead content to find the very finest ingredients possible and to treat them with respect by not altering their essential flavors.  You don’t find sea urchin butter on your sirloin here, or bottarga on your fried potatoes.
    What you will find is one of the most generous shellfish platters, piled high with lobster, oysters, clams, shrimp, crab claws, and Alaskan King crab ($38 per person).  The tuna tartare ($21) takes on dimensions from a citrus ponzu and pickled ginger with sesame crackers, while yellowtail sashimi ($20) at the right temperature comes atop a salt block (left) with
piment d’espelette, lime and shallots.  Foie gras is blended with chicken into a rich, creamy pâté ($19), served with sweet fig chutney and crostini.
    Because of his clout, Palmer  obtains the finest meats in the American market, and you won’t easily find a better, juicier bone-in ribeye  of Angus beef ($54).  One section is devoted to “dry-aged 30 days” beef, including a porterhouse (below) for two ($109) and a cut called “teres major” ($28), a thick rounded strip of beef from near the scapula of the steer. It is almost as tender as filet mignon but has much more flavor.  It’s not a cut you’ll find often on menus, but one I hope more steakhouses will add.  There are also three Kobe steaks—two American ($58 and $62), one Japanese ($162).
Thirty-days of dry aging is just on the cusp of that point where beef can become livery; beyond that it can get downright funky. (Those chefs—not Palmer--who push 56-, 75-, and 128-day aging are doing it for the record book, not taste.)  A bone-in New York strip ($56) did not have the sumptuous flavor I expect.
It is obvious when a master chef applies his knowledge beyond the grill to the side dishes, for CPS’s are outstanding, including Yukon Gold mashed potatoes ($9) and creamed spinach ($9).   
    Same goes for desserts, like the chocolate cake with warm caramel and milk chocolate ice cream ($11), and the peach cobbler with cinnamon streusel ($11), though the cheesecake pudding ($11) needs a bit of re-thinking.
    Prices at CPS are pretty much in line with its competition. What you get at CPS is the personalized style of one of NYC’s finest chefs, as opposed to multi-unit corporate managers.  It shows in the service, and, being brand new, CPS is eager to please.

Lunch: Mon.-Sat.; Dinner nightly





BY John Mariani

      The difference between a true hunter and a weekend amateur is that the former kills only what he wants to eat and the latter only eats what he hasn’t hunted. In the same way, the true wine lover is one who matches the wine to the food, not the other way around. 
So, when it comes to serving game, the choice of wine is as important as the sauce and side dishes served with the food, and, while there are no longer any hard-and-fast rules about such things (white with fish, red with meat), there are certain affinities between game and wines that can make enormous difference in the outcome of a meal. 
I have, therefore, chosen five varieties of game and matched them to wines that bring out the best in them, enhancing everything about their essential flavors. And, I might add, vice versa.  Depending on the sauce, of course, which might be very spicy or Asian or sweet, as in a classic duck à l’orange, I might alter my picks.  But for the average cook who’s going to serve game simply, so as to retain those flavors that make it special, here are my most ardent suggestions—none (except the Tiganello) more $25 a bottle.

Venison—Wild venison, with its satiny, lean meat and deep red color, is among the great pleasures of gastronomy, and nothing but a fine red wine with some good fruit and tannin components will do.  Even farm-raised venison, though lacking the desirable gaminess of wild deer, needs a robust red wine.  I find pinot noirs too delicate and California cabernets too big. Instead I love Tuscan wines, which can range from a medium-bodied, juicy chianti up to a very expensive Tuscan red like Tignanello ($115). Much more affordable, and ideal for venison, is Peppoli ($18), a chianti made from 90% sangiovese grapes grown in the illustrious “classico” region, made by the Antinori family, which makes both fine chiantis and Tignanello.  Its lustiness, its scents of cinnamon and especially its hints of pepper are perfect for the richness of venison.

Duck—Whether you serve sliced duck breast rare, as is the French style, or the whole bird roasted crisp,  duck has a flavor finer than chicken’s dark meat and the succulence that comes from the enormous amount of fat the bird possesses in it skin.  Therefore, you don’t want a wine it can overpower.  Merlot is a solid choice, because it is made from one grape and known for its ability to smooth out its tannins and become velvety and lush at a fairly young age.  There are plenty of good choices for merlots out of California, but one of the most consistent, vintage after vintage, is Clos du Val ($22).

Pheasant—I don’t find much farm-raised pheasant worth the money, but a freshly caught bird, even if it doesn’t have much fat on it, makes for wonderful eating.  The mild gaminess and the texture of the flesh make this ideal for a lighter red wine. You will probably want to bard a wild bird with bacon, which provides fat and keeps the flesh from drying out. You don’t want a big cabernet, which will overpower the bird’s flavor.  Here a pinot noir is my prime choice, especially one from California’s Russian River Valley that shows body, fruit, some spice, and a complexity that itself can be faintly gamey.  I’ve been particularly impressed by Rodney Strong’s pinot noirs, which sell for an amazingly reasonable $15.   With Thanksgiving upon us, pinot noir works equally as well.

Trout—The two classic ways to treat trout are either to pan fry it in butter or bacon fat, or to cook it in a court-bouillon, whose added vinegar turns the skin a delightful blue color.  In either case, trout takes well to white wines with an edge and enough acid to enhance the marvelous freshwater flavor of the fish.  With its apple-like fruitiness and its tangy finish, riesling makes a great match.  German rieslings that are labeled “trocken,” meaning dry, are delicious with trout, but why not stay domestic and go with Hogue Cellars Johannisberg Riesling, which at about $9 is an astonishment for its grace, its delightful fruit, and its spirit. With some fried potatoes on the side, this is as good as a fish dish gets. 

Striped bass—A great fish deserves a great white wine, and striped bass, especially those taken from Atlantic waters off Cape Cod down to South Carolina, is one of the finest of all fish for a feast.  It can be used for sushi, because its flesh has such meaty firmness and enough fat to demand an equally fat wine like chardonnay. France’s Burgundy region produces the most delicate and most expensive, but California makes the biggest-bodied, with plenty of buttery, vanilla flavors. If allowed too much time in oak, however, the wine tastes more like wood than fruit.  Acacia’s chardonnays ($10) have always provided me with the kind of balance I crave when I eat sea bass, which needs nothing more than a green vegetable on the side to make it the perfect meal. 



A study published in the journal Behavioral Brain Research links an ingredient in beer to improved brain function in young mice, owing to  a type of flavonoid found in beer called xanthohumol. The study tested very high amounts of xanthohumol, meaning that a human being would need to consume as much as 2,000 liters of beer per day to ingest the same amount as the mice did



-"[Tomatoes] help protect your skin from the aging rays of the sun! I learned...[this] tidbit while watching How to Live to 100 on the Cooking Channel."

-"I am notorious for my table settings and my dishes. If I'm cooking an Italian meal, I will grab my red Hermès china to go with the red sauce."

-"I love this salsa because it's as figure-friendly as it is fabulous. Especially when you think outside the tortilla chip bag."

-"My refrigerator has a personality of its own. (It probably needs its own Instagram account, too.)"

From In the Kitchen with Kris:  A Kollection of Kardashian Jenner Family Favorites by Kris Jenner


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.  WATCH THE VIDEO

“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.

 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: WARSAW; BHUTAN

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.

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