Virtual Gourmet

  September 4, 2016                                                                                             NEWSLETTER




By David Lincoln Ross


By John Mariani



By John Mariani


Where Fine Art Meets Les Arts de la Table à la Provençale

David Lincoln Ross

Photos by Bess Reynolds ©

    A mere half-mile from the chic hill town of St. Paul de Vence (above) and only 12 miles from Nice, the Fondation Maeght (below), established and endowed in 1964 by famed Niçoise art dealers Marguerite and Aimé Maeght,  is a world-renowned museum of 20th and 21st century art and sculpture. Set amid towering umbrella pines, well-manicured lawns and outdoor plazas studded with abstract sculpture, the museum’s permanent collection features artworks and paintings by Pierre Bonnard, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Leger (right) and Pablo Picasso, among others. The tranquil setting and stellar museum annually attract more than 200,000 visitors.
    One might readily apply the Michelin Guide’s extravagant commendation “vaut le voyage” (worth a journey) of a three-star restaurant to St. Paul de Vence itself, and, if not quite at the level of Michelin’s highest rating, the town has three restaurants reasonably well regarded, where each chef ably draws upon the sheer variety of fresh seafood and crustaceans from the Mediterranean, locally raised pork, beef and lamb, fowl from guinea hens to rare breeds of chickens, wild game, notably boar, and fruit from ripe white peaches to succulent black cherries. And with any meal, don’t miss sampling a chilled rosé from one of the dozens of nearby estates, especially those from the surrounding Côtes de Provence, like Château de Pourcieux, Domaine Ott and Rock Angel from Château d’Esclans.


Le Vieux Moulin
Lieu-dit Sainte-Claire
Route de Vence
33 04 93 58 36 76

   Perched above a strategic turn on the uphill road to Vence, just outside St. Paul de Vence’s 17th century fortified gate, Le Vieux Moulin—the old mill—was indeed once a dual-purpose wheat and olive oil mill, powered by an ancient aqueduct. A massive gristmill is right inside the restaurant’s entrance, next to the bar, and at the back of the room a huge olive oil press resides. Whether you sit on the terrace, or at a table inside, chef de cuisine Olivier Depardieu serves up classic Provençal dishes.
    At lunch, after enjoying an amuse bouche of rich, black olive tapenade accompanied by thin gressin breadsticks, my wife and I shared pan-sautéed squid, artichokes seasoned with parsley and garlic sauce, resting on an arugula salad. Two different risotto dishes followed, one starring sweet scallops matched with a quintet of perfectly fried, crispy slices of spicy chorizo sausage; the other featuring three large prawns (right) graced with lightly fried artichoke wedges.  Each risotto dish was perfectly creamy and just slightly al dente in texture.

    Desserts looked too good to resist, so we opted for an apricot clafoutis, an egg custard/fruit concoction, as well as a trio of peach, strawberry and chocolate sorbets, all served at their ideal temperature, soft and effortlessly spoonable.
    Le Vieux Moulin’s wine list is strong on local rosés and robust southern Rhône reds. Service was correct and friendly, but not overly so.

Le Tilleul

Place du Tilleul 
33 493 32 80 36

  This charming indoor/outdoor restaurant is named after a magnificent, centuries-old linden tree that stands proudly like a silent sentry guarding the restaurant’s wide terrace situated on the town’s ramparts.  Only steps from the town’s walled fortress, designed by Sébastien Vauban in the late 17th century, the tree’s expanse covers most of the tables. Looking south from a terrace table, one can see all the way to the coast on a clear day.
    Under chef de cuisine Bastien Hodé, Le Tilleul features arguably the best cooking in town, exceeding in creativity, presentation and skill even the more celebrated La Colombe d’Or, which is located almost directly below the ramparts and terrace dominated by the linden tree.
    At dinner, we quickly downed a summery shot of chilled, blended watermelon and heirloom tomato juice, a refreshing potion offering a mouth-watering mix of sweetness and zingy acidity. Then we shared a summer salad of aged Serrano ham on a bed of arugula punctuated by tiny red and yellow cherry tomatoes and topped with fresh sliced Parmigiano-Reggiano (right). Having lunched on scallops, for my main course I ordered a gambas risotto dish that surpassed in creaminess my midday risotto, the giant shrimp the epitome of mild sea-salty tenderness. Graced with paper-thin shavings of peppery red radish and generous dollops of Parmigiano-Reggiano flakes, the dish offered forkfuls of genuine pleasure, complemented by a bone-dry rosé. My wife ordered a tender, perfectly cooked supreme de volaille accompanied by Robuchon-worthy mashed potatoes that were clearly equal rations of butter and tuber.

    We ended our evening with a citron sorbet—bracing, almost as tart as fresh lemon juice, owing to the addition of not too much sugar—complemented by a thin sugar-butter gaufrette biscuit.

La Colombe d’Or
Place Charles de Gaulle
33 493 3280 02

    Long esteemed by film icons like François Truffaut, legendary artists like Pablo Picasso, and literary lions like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Le Colombe d’Or hotel boasts the privacy these celebrities craved along with a singular private art collection dating back to the 1920s, an era when the hotel’s founder, Paul Roux—a Provençal native with a fondness for art who owned the quirky bar-auberge—befriended, boarded for free and spotted money to an assortment of talented but poor artists in exchange for their paintings. So came to be a remarkable museum-quality collection of paintings that may be freely viewed in the dining rooms, bedrooms, pool area and its outdoor garden restaurant, where you are as likely to see a brilliant canvas by Miró, Picasso or Braque, or sculpture by Chagall, Calder or Matisse. Today Paul’s grandson, François, and his wife, Danièle, run La Colombe d’Or.
    Given this background, one would hope, even expect, a gifted cuisine nearly as elevated as the art on display. After all, artists and hoteliers have long worshiped Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, as much as Aphrodite, the goddess of love and pleasure. Alas, Demeter, the goddess of nourishment, seems to have neglected La Colombe d’Or’s kitchen. Some dishes deliver, and do so heartily and generously, but others miss the mark by a wide margin.
    Our experience confirmed the hotel-restaurant’s reputation as being comfortable, private, high-priced and afforded with an art collection vastly superior to its cuisine. We lunched on a hot day in early July. After some delicious olives to enjoy while reviewing the vastly oversized menu, I ordered a selection of crudités, which proved as abundant as any market basket loaded to feed six and causing me to do all the slicing, dicing and paring.  A melon appetizer ordered by my wife was similarly ‘deconstructed,’ once again requiring the diner to do most of the work in cutting, combining and re-constructing the undistinguished aged ham.
    For our main course, my wife ordered salmon quenelles that we both agreed were not as refined, light and molten as one should have expected; besides their rough, granular texture, they lacked requisite flavor, in both the salmon itself and its bland-tasting sauce.
    I had much better luck when I ordered braised rabbit and tagliatelle noodles (left), whose dark, mushroom-enriched sauce exploded with forest-floor, red wine and gamy animal flavors, a profoundly satisfying dish that married perfectly with a bottle of brut rosé Champagne made exclusively for the hotel by Cattier in Chigny-Les-Roses.
    For dessert we felt we had to go with a La Colombe d’Or house specialty, a toothsome almond tart whose dazzling flower petal frame was as simply entertaining as the evocative colors of Provence.



By John Mariani



By John Mariani

    It is ironic that there are so many poor and mediocre independently owned restaurants that stay in business for decades, while it is rare that a really excellent one does.  Usually the reason for the former’s endurance is consistency, while the success of the latter is often dependent on the cultivation of a discerning clientele.  Here are two places in suburban New York that you can count on for fine food and superb service year after year.



530 Milton Road

Rye, NY



      On the one hand it’s hard to believe La Panetière has actually stayed at the top of Westchester’s fine dining restaurants, while on the other, in both its appearance and style of service, it seems to have always been there, an 1800s house set atop a bucolic little knoll in Rye, just a half a mile from the Long Island Sound and a mile from the iconic Playland amusement park.

    Since opening La Panetière in 1985, the ever deferential proprietor Jacques Loupiac  (right) has shown just how much dedication and hard work goes into maintaining a restaurant of this stripe while keeping the ambiance fresh. The entrance way still has the antique pantry that gives the restaurant its Provençal name; the arched dining room still has its original beams and bright frescoes; pots of flowers adorn every table, set with two thick damask cloths; the Austrian china is as pretty as the Pierre Deux curtain fabrics; the staff’s tuxedos are gone, but La Panetière’s captains are well dressed and well versed in the traditions of French politeness.  

    Also wholly intact is a 12,000-bottle, 1,000-label wine cellar whose breadth and depth is matched in the region only by Valbella’s in nearby Connecticut and La Crémaillière’s in Banksville, N.Y.  It would be easy enough for Loupiac merely to keep older vintages of wines that haven’t sold just to build up the size of his list, but, in fact, aside from some grand trophy wines and large format bottlings (including a 1914 Château Latour), the selections are very much current, with white wines largely from 2010 to the present. There is also an impressive collection of Cognacs, Armagnacs, Calvados, Ports, Madeiras, Scotches and Bourbons.

    Chef Dean Loupiac (left), Jacques’s nephew, is not about to radicalize a menu that has proved so successful over so many years, but neither is his seasonal selection of dishes in any way stuck in the past. Thus, while he pays homage to one of La Panetière’s former chefs, Yves Gonnachon, by keeping his duck terrine with pistachios, truffles, cornichons, relish and pearl onions ($19), he will also do a thoroughly modern carpaccio of sea scallops with domestic caviar, grapefruit aspic and a sprinkling of celery, tomato, chive and black salt ($19).  There is always foie gras on the menu, and I enjoyed a light flan of it with simmered wild mushrooms and a jus scented with Madeira ($24).

    Next came a sizzling, fragrant casserole of Maine lobster with pequillo peppers, fresh almonds and herbed beurre blanc ($42), which captain/sommelier Nicholas Charbonneau matched with a Trimbach Riesling 2012 in magnum to provide an acidic cut to the richness of the dish.  Sweetbreads always need help to prevent them from being bland, but La Panetière’s gain only minor interest from the addition of chanterelles and a veal jus, served with peas, scallions and a lettuce chiffonade ($36). 

    A mild curry sauce perked up a juicy medallion of veal with layers of quinoa, ratatouille and Chinese cabbage ($44), a dish that showed that the kitchen can marry tradition and contemporary ideas.

    There is an extensive selection of rare cheeses ($16) that has always been part of La Panetière’s modus operandi, so that dessert becomes a question of temperance. At a set tasting menu I was served summer’s cherries in Greek yogurt with mimosa jelly, the crunch of granola and Kirschwasser-spiked cappuccino—very light and refreshing, much more so than a very rich caranoix sable cake of pecan nougat, Nutella mousse, lemon ganache and caramel ice cream ($16), which seems like three desserts on one plate and each should be enjoyed on its own.  Of course, a restaurant like this will always have a choice of soufflés ($16).

       Petits fours follow and you are presented with a farewell bag of chocolates.
La Panetière might easily have faded in popularity as its clientele grew older, but the dining room is full of people born over three generations, all aware that La Panetière is still the kind of restaurant where, if a woman gets up or sits down, her chair is always attended by a staff member.  Pampering can go far among those who cherish it, but setting une bonne table is what keeps them coming back to La Panetière year after year.


Lunch is fixed price at $25 and $32; dinner is à la carte or fixed priced at $90. Ample party facilities available.




1300 Putnam Avenue

Riverside, CT



    In the case of Valbella, which opened in 1992, the parking lot is still full most nights of the week with an inordinate number of Maseratis and Mercedes-Benzes, and the extraordinary 1,400-label, 15,000-bottle wine cellar (below) is still the site of many private dinners season after season.  There are also two younger branches of Valbella in Manhattan, completely different in look, one in the Meat Packing District and the other in midtown.

    Owners David Ghatanfard and Valerie Malfetano  have succeeded at all three largely by changing very little, least of all the unquestioned quality of the meats and seafood. They also maintain a crew of professionals who get to treat their often demanding clientele as honored guests: favorite cocktails and wines are remembered, preferences in seating, duration of meals, all are known to general manager Nick Zherka and conveyed to his waitstaff.  If there is a fault in their manner, it is only in their recitation of so many specials each night that no one could possibly remember most by the time the spiel is over, but it’s all part of the shtick.

ore often than not when I go to Valbella I order a tower of iced shellfish, which is mounted high with whatever you prefer—lobster, crab, mussels, oysters, clams, shrimp, along with various dipping sauces. Alternatives I’d consider would be the fried calamari ($25), or the grilled eggplant with fresh mozzarella, tomato and roasted pepper vinaigrette ($21).

    Pastas are all made in house, and a whole portion can easily be split for two as an appetizer.  The pappardelle Bolognese ($32. for a main course) in a ruddy veal ragù takes on the added luxury of cream-rich burrata, while linguine teems with abundant lobster, crabmeat and shrimp in a chile-spiked fra diavolo sauce ($42).

    Because of the impeccable quality of the meats, it’s highly recommended you go for the superb dry-aged shell steak in a demi-glace tinged with rosemary served with sautéed baby spinach, roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables ($50).  You will want to gnaw right down to the bone of the juicy, well-fatted baby rack of lamb, which comes with mashed potatoes ($50). And, of course, the gloriously flavorful veal chop ($55) is a double cut.  The fish on the menu is not described beyond letting you know it’s all dependent on what species the chef bought in the market that morning.      All the main courses come with seasonal vegetables, which is fine, except that some variety, dish by dish, would be even better.

    Desserts are not Valbella’s strong point, but, after a meal so grand, you may not want to do more than share a good piece of cheesecake or some fresh fruit with whipped cream. Still, ordering a perfectly rendered souffle is always a good idea.

    People who live in lower Connecticut or Westchester, Putnam or Duchess counties can readily drive over to Riverside for a fine night out, and those who already enjoy the two Valbellas in Manhattan, whose menus are very similar, will be very happy to find the same quality of food and service in a beautiful suburban setting about an hour’s drive north.


Valbella is open for lunch Mon.-Fri., for dinner Mon.-Sat.




By John Mariani


"Autumn Landscape" (1890) by Vincent Van Gogh


    With summer waning, it’s not as if I’ll stop drinking rosé or Italian white wines, but as autumn approaches, I tend to lean towards more robust bottlings in my cellar.  As the poet John Keats so sensuously observed of autumn,


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;

To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,

And full all fruit with ripeness to the core.


    Of course, a lot of winemakers overdo that ripeness, letting their grapes hang on the vine far into October in the hope of building up the sugars and, through fermentation, the alcohol to give more body and bounce to their wines.  Such winery creations are of little interest to me because they are out of balance and sometimes don’t even taste like wine.  Here are some I think strike the proper balance of fruit, sugar and alcohol. along with some fine spirits,  as we ease into autumn.


DIERBERG STAR LANE SANTA RITA HILLS DRUM CANYON ROAD PINOT NOIR 2013 ($52)—California wine label verbiage is beginning to be as encyclopedic as that on German wines, and Dierberg tells you a lot about provenance for this fine example of a nicely ripened pinot noir, at 14.1% alcohol.  The vintage had a warm, dry spring, so ripening and picking was earlier, making the fruit bright with an earthiness of the terroir. Dierberg also makes a Dierberg Vineyard pinot ($44) at 14.8% that gets into plummy territory, and its 2013 Chardonnay ($32), barrel aged in 15% new French oak and with 14.6% alcohol, is way out of touch with what chardonnay should taste like.


CONDE DE VIMIOSO VINHO REGIONAL TEJO 2014 ($8)—Pioneering Portuguese winemaker João Portugal Ramos was among the first to see real potential in Tejo, building a state-of-the-art sustainable winery in the region in 2004 specifically to produce wines for a global market.  This is a surprisingly complex blend of cabernet sauvignon, aragonez, alicante bouschet, touriga nacional, and syrah, and, for the levels of flavor, and a good 13.5% alcohol, it is really a remarkable buy for eight bucks and an easy to drink red wine any night of the week.


EMILIANA COYAM VALLE COLCHAGUA 2010 ($30)—This biodynamic Chilean blend of 38% syrah, 27% carménère, 21% merlot, 12% cabernet sauvignon, 1% petit verdot,  and 1% mourvèdre has real structure, aged for 13 months in 80% French and 20% American oak  (“Coyam” is an Indian word for “oak”).  The 14.5% alcohol level is on the high side, but the wine shows off dark berry fruit that is ideal with beef or lamb.


LINEAGE 2011 ($165)—See, California can make an outstanding Bordeaux-stye blend— cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, petit verdot, and malbec. Which makes sense when the Mirassou family has been in the wine business since 1857, and their Lineage is considered one of the finest wines coming out of Livermore Valley.  After pressing, the wines spend a year in 50% French oak, then individual barrels are racked, then re-barreled for another 6-8 months.  This softens up the tannins and allows the fruit to emerge at a appealing 14.1% alcohol.  Yes, it is very pricey, but this is among California’s finest red wines.


MICHTER’S LIMITED RELEASE BARREL STRENGTH KENTUCKY STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY ($67)—Just released in May, the bottle tells you the barrel number, which is a tad too much info than you need, except that this is just the second time Michter’s has produced this 110.2 proof item, which is much sought after.  It’s a rye (Michter’s makes a similar bourbon) and may come as a surprise to those who remember rye as that cheap Canadian stuff you mixed with ginger ale. The personality of the grain is distinctive here, the burn just good enough to remind you it’s American through and through.


BULLY BOY DISTILLERS ESTATE GIN ($30)—Anyone can make gin—and many did it in bathtubs during Prohibition—but this Boston-made example, distilled from apples and grain at 94 proof, has an admirable flavor without being overpowering, so that sipping it on its own, even without ice, is something of a revelation. On the rocks it is terrific, and if you must mix it with vermouth, keep the latter a whisper. It’s a fine Indian summer drink.

CRUZAN BLACK STRAP RUM ($14)—The term “blackstrap” derives from a New England mixture of rum and molasses, dating in print to 1724, further defined as being the third strike of molasses after the extraction of sugar crystals. (The first strike was considered the finest, but the third was good for making rum.) Cruzan, with its distillery in St. Croix, makes this very dark, pungent rum both to be sipped on the rocks or as real ballast to a drink with citrus, though I would not try to make a daiquiri out of it. It’s also a delight as a float on top of a cocktail.  It’s been in the market for a while now, but I just tasted it for the first time and found it to be more than a mere curiosity, and it packs some punch at 80 proof.


MONKEY SHOULDER BATCH 27 BLENDED MALT SCOTCH WHISKY ($30)—Made by William Grant & Sons, this is a Speyside whisky that is a blend of three single malts—Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie—mixed into 27 batches and released at 94 proof.  At this price it’s a good intro to single malts and makes a good mixer, too, with the touch of a sweet undertone, a modest burn, and a balance of the grassy and robust that characterizes Speyside examples. 







A long-term, large-scale study by Syracuse University  found that "Habitual chocolate intake was related to cognitive performance, measured with an extensive battery of neuropsychological tests," and that "More frequent chocolate consumption was significantly associated with better performance on [these tests]."  Also, researchers at Tel Aviv University reported that eating chocolate every morning was found to help people lose weight, because, according to study leader Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz, eating a higher-calorie breakfast in the morning reduces cravings throughout the day and prevents late-night snacking. Experts contend that a nutrient called a flavonoid represents up to 20 percent of the compounds present in cocoa beans. 



According to a study of 2,767 older couples (50 or over) published in The Journals of Gerontology, couples who drink may have "decreased negative marital quality over time." Couples who reported drinking even just one drink a year were more likely to report that their partner doesn't get on their nerves, get overly critical, or let them down.  The study highlighted that what's most important isn't how much couples drink but whether they both drink. If both partners drank, they were more likely to have a happier marriage than if just one of them drank.



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

   The Hound in Heaven (21st Century Lion Books) 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 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: LAST MINUTE SAIL ON A WINDJAMMER

Eating Las Vegas JOHN CURTAS has been covering the Las Vegas food and restaurant scene since 1995. He is the co-author of EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants (the fourth edition of which will be published in early 2016), as well as the author of the Eating Las Vegas web site: www.eatinglasvegas. He can also be seen every Friday morning as the “resident foodie” for Wake Up With the Wagners on KSNV TV (NBC) Channel 3  in Las Vegas.


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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