Virtual Gourmet

  March 8,  2015                                                                                             NEWSLETTER


"Colored Only" photo by Gordon Parks for Life Magazine (1956)


By John Mariani

By John Mariani

By John Mariani  


By John Mariani

Lake Neusiedl

    As I write this, there are still six inches of snow on the ground in New York, but when you read this, the wildflowers may well be bursting from the rich soil of Burgenland in southeastern, Austria, and the grape vines getting ready to bud.
    I shall be writing about Austrian wines in another column (below), but I could ignore them entirely and still convince you that Burgenland, about an hour from Vienna and bordering on Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia, is well worth visiting for its natural beauty alone.  This is not an area dotted with little Hansel-and-Gretel-style cottages, for the Burgenlanders are a practical people who live in minimally decorated, comfortable stucco homes.  But it is rich as a place where dwell hundreds of species of birds and indigenous breeds of cattle that include the longhorn Graurinder (gray cattle), white donkeys, water buffalo, and Mangalitza pigs famous for their delicately flavored meat.
    Watered and fed by Lake Neusiedl (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) in the eastern parts of the Alps, the region is home to six nature parks, including the huge National Park, founded in 1993. Indeed, the park is prime bird-watching territory, and people are more likely to be seen on their bikes or hiking through the marshes than driving cars. The birds range from the great gray shrike (Raubwürger) and short-eared owl (Sumpfohreule) to the red-tailed phalarope (Odenshühnchen) and the imperial eagle (Kaiseradler).
    My wife and I visited Burgenland last autumn, when most of the foliage and harvesting had taken place, so we contented ourselves with visiting the towns, restaurants, and one very special castle in the region.  On our first day, we visited the small lakeside village of Gols, now famous for its exceptionally well done Weinkulturhaus (Wine Culture House), which not only stocks more than 400 Austrian wines (above) but has a beautifully lighted stone wine cellar to visit. 
Afterwards we sat down for lunch at nearby Restaurant Varga, whose sign reads “FISCH” in big letters, and whose ingredients come straight from the lake each day. Only 14 fishermen are allowed to work in the lake, and Varga has its own, most of whom use nets and traps, not hooks.
        Varga’s interior is old-fashioned Austrian décor, with heavy wood and heavy antiques, but come spring the outside tables are where you want to dine in the sunshine. The menu, on any given day, will be rich with zander (walleye pike), perhaps with eggplant and pumpkin puree; wels (catfish) with tomato, zucchini, potato dumpling and bacon (right); or hecht (pike), simply sautéed with boiled buttered potatoes.  Drink the restaurant’s own wine, name Zummitnehmen.  Prices are according to availability of the fish.
    After lunch we visited the remarkable Dorf Museum, a labor of love crafted almost singlehandedly by Christine and Josef Haubenwallner as homage to the farming heritage of the great plain. It is a kind of amiable ghost town lined with small houses, a schoolroom, grocer’s shop, post office, craftsmen’s shops, bakery, even an old cinema, all reclaimed from a century of village life now largely vanished.
    That evening we stayed on the grounds of the extraordinarily baroque Schloss Halbturn Castle (below), built in 1711 as a hunting lodge for Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, who gave it to his daughter, Empress Maria Theresa of the Hapsburg Dynasty.  Today it is a museum with a small hotel owned and cared for by the very cordial Waldbott-Bassenheim family, which also oversees the vast Markus Count of Koenigsegg winery, well known for its Pinot Noirs.
    The castle is home to a superb collection of furniture, as well as a glorious 1765 ceiling fresco
“Allegory of Time and Light” by Franz Anton Maulbertsch, given as  a wedding present for Archduchess Marie Christine. The rooms are ideal as galleries for the highly popular seasonal art exhibits, concerts, and garden parties, including an annual visit from Vienna’s famed Lipizzaner stallions.
    The hotel's guest rooms, located in a building across the courtyard, have all been refurbished in a very minimalist, modern style--ours in a riot of bright orange colors.  Down the winding staircase is a wholly charming dining room, Restaurant Wieser (below), with wooden booths and beautifully set, candlelit tables where we enjoyed hearty autumnal fare that included that wonderful Mangalitza pork scented with rosemary (€12.80),  and chicken paprika with housemade noodles and sauerkraut (€9.80). Complete meals range from €18 to €25, or you can order à la carte. Lingering here over coffee and candlelight gave us a sense that Burgenland can seem as remote and removed from Vienna as Capri is from Naples. 
    The next morning we drove to Burgenland’s largest town, Eisenstadt (Iron City), actually a small city of just 13,000 residents, its center dominated by the  magnificent Esterhazy Palace (below), once owned by one of the richest of the Hapsburg families and now wholly restored to 19th century grandeur, with several floors of superb and opulent furniture befitting the family’s station.  There is also a grand music hall with impeccable acoustics, where many of Haydn’s works were first performed.

    We had a really splendid lunch at one of the town’s finest, most modern restaurants, Henrici, located within the palace’s former royal stables, with a menu featuring foods cooked on a lava stone grill, like juicy suckling pig and crispy potatoes.  The interior, reached through glass doors, has high, barrel-shaped ceilings, and fine modern tables, chairs and a counter, all lighted by brightly colored, glowing lamps. 
    We began with goose liver with apple-poppyseed chutney (€15) and herb- marinated lake trout with roe, with an avocado potato salad and Mangalitza bacon (€13), and a dish of marinated, fried cep mushrooms with a chervil cream (€14).
  Our main courses included a dead ringer for Southern fried chicken (€16), here served with potato and corn lettuce, and sliced filet of beef, which came with herbed dumplings (€19). We  finished our meal with curd cheese dumplings and stewed plums (below) and a lovely chestnut cake with red wine pear and plum jam sorbet.

    That evening we dined at a very new restaurant with an even more modern look and menu--Zur Blauen Ganz (Blue Goose), whose owner, Peter Szigeti, is also proprietor of one of the region’s most forward-looking wineries, Szigeti (see article on Burgenland wines below).   There are two dining rooms here, both brightly lighted and therefore very convivial, and the menu ranges far and wide for its effects while still using Burgenland’s products as much as possible.  Thus, we enjoyed dim sum with black pudding and sauerkraut as well as foie gras with plums and brioche (€15); there was sushi with polenta (€13), and carpaccio with apple and horseradish (€9). One of the best dishes was a white zucchini soup with burrata cheese and roast beef and black olives served on the side (€8.50).      Grilled wild shrimp with romaine lettuce and kohlrabi (€19) was simple and perfect, and the cold autumn air was kept at bay by a gutsy gulasch soup with black caraway and garlic (€6.50). There was also a traditional form of Tafelspitz--boiled beef with Sardinian fregola (€20).
    Desserts (left) were sumptuous—mango and coffee with hazelnut crisp (€8), and a rich chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream (€7).
One of the few towns in Burgenland that probably concurs with tourists' expectations of quaintness is Rust (below), granted "free state" status by the Holy Roman Emperor, whose broad streets end at the waterline and whose chimneys are famous perches for storks (right). 
     The Austrian Wine Academy is also located in the city, which is surrounded by vineyards that produce its principal income and its most famous sweet wine, Ruster Ausbruch.
The main streets are mostly off limits to cars, and charming shops line the few blocks of the center. You walk through Rust at a slow pace, through archways, past the town hall and the Gothic Fischerkirche church.  The wine taverns, called Bushenshanken, are gregarious gathering places. Most buildings date back to the 16th through 19th centuries, with mildly baroque façades mounted with royal heraldic decorations.  It's a storybook village, home to only 300 or so citizens, and for its beauty is actually protected by the Hague Convention for the protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which one hopes will keep Rust from ever changing.  Once at the gates, the barbarians will be asked to leave. . . politely.



By John Mariani
Photos: Evan Sung


94 Chambers Street (off Broadway)

      Translations of French into English can be awkward when it comes to restaurants, like those failed attempts opened by celebrated absentee chefs Alain Ducasse, Louis Outhier, Jacues Maximin, and Claude Baills.  One enchanting exception is Racines, the year-old offshoot of two Paris wine-centered restaurants of the same name (on Rue de l’Arbre Sec and Passage des Panoramas).
   The décor of the NYC branch evokes those of its predecessors, and the style of cooking is fresh, modern and wholly personalized, in this case by Chef Frédéric Duca (below), a native of Marseilles, who’s worked at top restaurants like Le Martinez in Cannes and Hélène Darroze in Paris, receiving his own  Michelin star at his restaurant L'Instant d'Or in Paris in 2013.
    Racines NY does not call itself a wine bar, but partner David Lillie, owner of Chambers Street Wines, and owner/sommelier Arnaud Tronche’s cache of ever-changing natural, organic and biodynamic wines underpins the thrust of the little Tribeca restaurant, with two cellars stocked with more than 800 labels, 9,000 bottles, and 40 reds and whites available by the glass (starting at $9).  Indeed, the restaurant’s name does not refer to the French neo-classical dramatist Jean Racine but to winemaker Claude Courtois’s signature “Racines” blend.
        The slip of a dining room is not unlike many in the neighborhood--a mix of white subway tiles, wooden floors and tables, exposed brick and duct work, and hanging lamps, with a small open kitchen, with marble counter for four people, where Mr. Duca and his staff work their magic.  Photos of French vintners dot the walls. It’s a pretty place, unpretentious and convivial, and somehow the noise level is not too high, given the soft surfaces here. My wife and I talked our heads off amiably all night.
        You may dine at the bar on charcuterie and small bites, but the menu in the main part of the room is where you’ll discover just how inventive Mr. Duca can afford to be, largely because his techniques are so indelibly grounded in the principles of traditional French cuisine.  Thus, a dish of sautéed snails are as French as you’d ever wish, with watercress and roasted garlic accompanied by saffron potato croquette ($12).  Sea scallops are flash sautéed and served with sunchokes, hazelnut, juniper and orange ($35), and in his rendering of a perfectly steamed egg with polenta, Comté cheese, and a lush foie gras sauce ($12, with black truffles $20 supplement) you taste just how precise his cooking is, with every element in elegant balance.
        Squid is velvety, sided with chickpeas, tangy preserved lemon and an olive vinaigrette ($12), evoking Mr. Duca’s Mediterranean roots, and he does an impeccable fregola sarda risotto ($19), rich and buttery, tender and aromatic.
        It is often argued that a chef shows his true talent in simply roasting a chicken, which, frankly, is not all that difficult these days, if you begin with a full-flavored chicken. Where Mr. Duca shows his spark is in cooking the chicken to bring out those essential and to serve it with complementary black trumpet mushrooms, salsify and an “oxy” sauce, based on a chicken stock enriched with a slightly oxidized white Roussillon  Grenache ($29).
        There is, of course, a fine cheese plate ($18), and, as throughout the meal, Mr. Tronche is here to match the perfect wine to his and your liking, such as the 2012 Camin Larreyda Costat Darrèr from Jurançon he proposed the night I dined there.
        Desserts ($11) all provide the same kind of simple, straightforward delectations, from a coffee parfait with candied orange, mint and chocolate sauce to a chocolate and caramel tart and a pommes Tatin with cinnamon crème anglaise and madeliene cookie.  Nothing fancy, just delicious.
        Mr. Duca is not trying to dazzle his guests, and that is his most admirable virtue. Instead of over-thinking dishes and listing too many of them for such a small kitchen, he instead focuses with a laser’s intensity on every element of each dish--its texture, the correct temperature, when to add other ingredients, how to season.  “Lovingly prepared” and “cooking from the heart” are clichés in culinary writing, but to say that the cuisine of Mr. Duca is so definably his is to pay him the highest praise.
        I suspect that if I lived in Tribeca, I would be at Racines once a week, especially on those nights when I just wanted a very good meal with very nice people serving very good wines.  Racines is a restaurant to cherish.
Open Mon.-Sat. for dinner. The $75 five-course menu is a terrific bargain.


By John Mariani


    Of all the regions of Austria that grow wine grapes—Wachau, Kremstal, Kamptal, Donauland, and others—the most exciting innovations are coming out of Burgenland for wines at the Qualitätswein level as set by the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, created in 1986.  On a recent visit I was amazed at the breadth of varietals from the vineyards of this southeastern region, In fact, the Weinkulturhaus in Gols carries more than 400 labels, all from Burgenland, which now has its own Wein Burgenland marketing association.
    Wine has been made in Austria for 4,000 years, and at one time it was the third largest producer in the world; now it is sixteenth.  Vineyards devastated by phylloxera in the 19th century were replanted with poor quality grape vines, and by the 1980s much of its production was sold in bulk, which led to a few unscrupulous wineries trying to bolster flavor by adding minute amounts of anti-freeze-like diethylene glycol, which caused an international scandal and long-lasting reaction against all Austrian wines.
    Since then, younger wineries, especially in Burgenland, have been working hard to make quality wines on a global level, and the new wine laws and adherence to EU standards have helped enormously. Winemakers also have eschewed the antiquated German Fraktur font from their labels, done away with the German term Spätburgunder for Pinot Noir, and moved beyond the favored Müller-Thurgau and Sylvaner white varietals once promoted for export. While visiting Burgenland last fall, I drank its wines while in the region, and found them well represented in the best restaurants in Vienna.  “Red wine culture only really began in Burgenland around 1986,” the managing director of Wein Burgenland, Christian Zechmeister, told me over lunch in the city of Eisenstadt. “About 30% of the wines are red, made from Blaufränkisch (above), Zweigelt, Blauberger, Pinot Noir, St. Laurent, and others, and they are all being pioneered by young winemakers.”

     Blaufränkisch (called Lemberger in Germany and Kekfrankos in Hungary) means “blue Frank,” referring to the grape’s color and the Franks who established an empire in the middle ages. In Viennese dialect, as in English, “frank” also suggests something honest, and there is nothing flamboyant, overoaked, overripe or flabby about these wines. A late-ripening varietal, its good acidity keeps the fruitiness in check. Occasionally a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Zweigelt may be mixed in.
   One of the most innovative wineries in the area is Szgeti, whose owner Peter Szgeti, makes a wine variety of Burgenland wines and is especially known for his sparkling wines made from Grüner Veltliner and Welschriesling, made in a dry, brut style.  Szgeti also makes a prestige brut blend of 60% chardonnay and 40% blanc de blancs by the French champenoise method, which I found did indeed compare with very good Champagne.  Yet his sparklers never rise to the extravagant prices of French competitors:  Brut Grand Reserve is only 38 euros, his Grüners about 20.
    I was, however, most impressed by the Austrian red wines I tasted, for I’d never had much interest in them before and very little at all with those from Burgenland. I had a splendid wine named Juris (George) from Gols, made from the often finicky St. Laurent grape, related to Pinot Noir, but with more body and concentration.  It’s a varietal Burgenland vintners are banking on to find an international audience.
    Blaufränkisch is already in the vanguard, as shown by a delicious 2013 from Weingut Ernst Triebaumer, which is also experimenting with blends of the varietal with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
    I was even impressed by several Grüner Veltliners I tried—a varietal I’ve always found bland at best. The 2013 Esterházy Estoras example had much more flavor, with nutty and peppery notes, and pleasant 12.5% alcohol.
    These wines are made to be drunk young, though the reds can certainly mature with a few years in bottle.  And with prices being so reasonable, you can buy a few bottles and taste the same vintage for years to come to see just how bright the future of Burgenland’s wines might be.




A family in London reported that a glass Nutella jar magnified the sun's rays in its kitchen and started  a fire that wrecked their house and killed their dog.



"It was the bacon that did it. Two thick slices, sticky, crisp and chewy all at once, were a revelation of all that bacon can be. Dubbed `millionaire’s bacon' ($7), it tasted like a million bucks and was one of those dishes that you can’t get in your mouth fast enough. And that’s how I burned my tongue, by the complete inability to exert control over the fork in my hand.
"--Brooke Jackson, "Kitchen  Sunnyside,"


 A WINE COLUMN Brought to you by Banfi Vintners.


    In ancient times, Italy was dubbed the "Land of Wine" because the vine thrives in every region -- for three millennia, no product has been more closely identified with that country.  Yet, despite paeans of poets, philosophers and essayists, it wasn't until the late 20th century that Italian wines gained a reputation for products of the highest international quality. Passage of the Wine Law of 1963 spurred the industry's modernization. Highly comprehensive, the Denomination of Origin laws are, in part, patterned after France's respected Appellations Contrôlées, defining Italy's winemaking traditions and regulating every phase of viticulture and viniculture, including vine types, grapes, their processing, aging, and bottling.
    More recently, in response to pressure from winemakers, the laws have been amended to encourage experimentation with untraditional grape varieties and techniques (e.g., “Super Tuscans”). Additionally, since 1992 the EU began updating basic rules that now divide wine production into two different categories: wines with origin and wines without origin.
    Currently, there are four main Italian wine categories:

Wines Without Origin Vini (Wine) – previously Vino da Tavola, these simple generic wines’ labels will state only red, white or rose. 

Vini Varietali (Varietal Wine) – Must contain at least 85% of Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, or Sauvignon Blanc.    

Wines With Origin: Indicazione Geografica Tipica (Typical Geographic Indication, or “IGT”) - This appellation, instituted in 1992,  was intended to upgrade a major portion (about 40%) of Italy's table wine production on par with French Vin du Pays or German Landwein. The wine's label must declare its specific region and may cite varietal type and vintage. Growers or regional governments are required to apply for IGT status just as they do for a DOC or DOCG appellation. Currently, there are more than 100 IGTs.  EXAMPLE: Sartori di Verona Pinot Grigio delle Venezie IGT.

Denominazione di Origine Controllata (Denomination of Controlled Origin, or “DOC”) - Wines bearing this appellation are registered by the government. Their labels must state zone of origin and the wines are required to meet certain production standards. E.g., only approved methods of planting, cultivating, and fertilizing can be employed. Maximum yields are controlled, as are bottling specifications, alcohol content, and aging. The products and their claims are subject to government review at any time. There are currently about 300 DOCs. EXAMPLE: Fontana Candida Frascati DOC

Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin, or “DOCG”) - The most stringent of the categories, this appellation embraces all DOC assurances and further requires a producer to control and guarantee everything claimed on the wine's label: zone of origin, net contents, name of grower and bottler, place of bottling, and alcohol strength. Affixed to the bottle is a government seal of approval, and the wine is subject to analysis at any time by government inspectors. EXAMPLE: Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

Although DOC and DOCG were established in 1963, the first DOC was not awarded until 1966 (Vernaccia di San Gimignano), and the first DOCG not until 1980 (Brunello di Montalcino). One thing to keep in mind is that these classifications guarantee ONLY that a wine comes from the place stated on its label – it’s not necessarily a guarantee of quality. The most reliable indicator of quality is the producer. Your best bet is to check the label for a winery with a strong reputation and history of consistently making great wine, such as Castello Banfi.





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

   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  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.


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,  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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