Virtual Gourmet

  April 9,   2017                                                                                            NEWSLETTER




Part One

By John Mariani

By John Mariani



By John Mariani


By John Mariani

Brasserie at the Marker Hotel, Dublin

    If the photo above doesn’t quite conform to your idea of a Dublin restaurant, rest assured that there are plenty of pubs, fish and chips shops, and traditional Irish restaurants that will.  But The Brasserie, set within the ultra-modern Marker Hotel on the fast-growing north shore of the Liffey River, is very much indicative of how far and how fast Dublin’s dining scene has evolved since the turn of the century.  Let me tell you about a few signal places to go right now.


The Marker Hotel
Grand Canal Square, Docklands

    Nothing better shows the leaps that Dublin north of the Liffey has made than The Marker Hotel, whose glass-sheathed 21st century design takes full advantage of its landscape. Just 187 rooms makes this an ideal modern hotel for both business and pleasure, its rooms spacious, done in contrasts of off-white and brilliant colors, the large bathrooms excellent and well lighted, the free wi-fi works well, and the reception and concierge staff could not be more accommodating.
    The Brasserie soaks up the sun and the light from, to evoke James Joyce, “rivverrun ... from swerve of shore to bend of bay” in the fast-developing Grand Canal section of the Docklands area. There’s a handsome long bar with a swank lounge area set with fine Panton chairs; soft chandeliers hang above each table, and the use of angular, space-age colored ceiling blocks and buffers keep the room from dwarfing diners and also keep the noise down. This could be the officers’ dining room on the Star Trek ship Enterprise.
    The excellent young staff  is genial in the most affable Irish way, knowledgeable and eager to grant requests. The wine list is first rate, with depth and breadth throughout, with prices not inexpensive but not outrageous either.
     Executive Chef Gareth Mullins exults in the quality of the products used (without needing to name every farm and fishing dock from which he sources), delivering beautiful dishes whose deep elemental flavors are enhanced by well-reduced sauces—not too much—in dishes like roasted pigeon with grilled chicory, carrot spaghetti, cauliflower cream, and a truffle and citrus vinaigrette. Barbecued monkfish (right) comes with black cabbage, baby onions and a sweet bacon dressing.
    For dessert the orange and dark chocolate crèmeux is dressed with apricot and orange sauce, orange ice cream and praline crumble, while a purple velvet cake comes lavished with vanilla cream mousse, blackberry and tarragon compote, and vanilla ice cream.
    The Brasserie already ranks with the best restaurants in Dublin and serves as a lesson in what truly contemporary Irish cooking can be. It shouldn’t be missed.

Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At dinner à la carte prices run €8-12 for starters, €18-38 for main dishes. Lunch fixed priced at 2 courses for €26, three for €30.



109A Lower Baggot Street

      While the Brasserie represents innovative Dublin dining in 2017,  L’Ecrivain was the instigator of the city’s fine dining movement back in 1989 and ever since has been maintained under the discerning eye, hand and heart of Sallyanne and her chef husband Derry Clarke (below). I recall eating there soon after it opened, and while it has maintained its genteel good looks despite location changes, the restaurant now has a patina of a classic about it, including its chapel-like stained glass window.
    And after all these years, the place does banner business, not least because of the attention the Clarkes and the staff show to both regulars and newcomers.  Sallyanne seems as ever joyful at greeting guests, telling her story, nudging you to try this or that new dish or wine, while Derry, with head chef Tom Doyle, has never flagged in applying the rigors of French techniques to the very best Irish products.  Kudos, too, for a superb wine list with plenty of excellent choices under €75.
    I could do without the New Age piano music (a droning sample of which you get when you telephone the restaurant), and I can also do without the alphabet soup of allergies noted for every dish on the menu.
    As part of the €75 Seasonal Dinner Menu you get amuses to pop in the mouth.  I, there last fall, was the happy recipient of dishes like perfectly roasted scallops with parsley root, trumpet mushrooms, crispy chicken skin for texture and dashi as a broth base. Tomato and goat’s curd came with the welcome addition of lobster, basil, pickled onions, and a tomato vinaigrette to add just the right amount of acid to the dish.
      Impeccable cooking technique informed a luscious breast and leg of squab with beets, endive, tangy-sweet blackberries, and a lovely potato mousse with the squab’s jus. Also indicative of how a long tenure gets things right was a gently roasted cod with charred gem lettuce, sea vegetables and oyster cream.
    L’Ecrivain is the kind of restaurant where you’d never refuse the cheese course—a selection of Irish and French artisanal varieties—and I enjoyed two marvelous desserts: and opera cake with salted caramel ice cream, and a sumptuous dish of Mirabelle plums with a little doughnut, cream, a tuile cookie, and vanilla ice cream, as I sipped a Monbazillac 2011.
    That L’Ecrivain has been an inspiration to every good restaurant in Dublin is obvious from the way other chefs speak of it. Now, after two decades, it still is.

Open for lunch Wed.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Fixed price lunch for 3 courses €45, two for €35;  Seasonal menu for three courses €75; tasting menu €90;




Sandyford Road
Dundrum Town Centre

    Having noted how Dublin’s gastronomy is now international, it should come as no surprise that Ananda, located outside of town in a vast shopping mall, is one of the best Indian restaurants in Europe, not least for its modernity, color, décor and attention to service, thanks to owner Asheesh Dewan, who was a college mate to Chef Sundeep Bhagat.
    The place has won numerous awards both in and outside of Ireland, and deservedly so, for Indian cuisine of this high order is not what you’ll still find at the old-fashioned curry houses that dot Dublin. The food is beautifully presented and tastes every bit as good as it looks, beginning with so many starters that it’s difficult to turn away from them and go on to main courses. There is goat’s cheese tart tikki with savory potatoes (€8.50) and duck two ways (below)—smoked breast and crisp potted leg—with apple cracker and orange jam (€12.50). Pray they always keep the Mumbai-style scallops with tomato ragôut (€14.50) and the juicy kurkura lamb kebabs with chestnut and rocket pesto, eggplant fries, chili and garlic (€12.50).
    But do go on to the main courses and you’ll be rewarded with aromatically spiced dishes, some mild, some assertive, like Jhinga neel giri of wild Indian Ocean jumbo prawns in a curry leaf, with coriander and coconut korma (€25.50). One of the specials among many special dishes at Ananda is the signature Sigri lagosta, tandoor-roasted lobster with a hint of cardamom and the fragrance of masala rice (€35.50).  There is much more to try, including many vegetarian dishes—everything I had showed expertise in cooking timing—and, as you’d expect, the Indian breads are addictive. Desserts go way beyond the usual rosewater creams, and are equally as lovely and complex as what precedes them.
    If Ananda’s has not the finest wine list in any Indian restaurant in Europe, I’ve not seen better, with many wines by the glass at reasonable prices and a very international selection that goes on for pages.

Open daily for lunch and dinner. There is a pre-theater dinner at
27 and lunch at 20-21.


Dawson Street

    If L’Ecrivain has a nose-to-nose competitor in Dublin, it’s The Greenhouse, opened in 2012 near St. Stephen’s Green, a sedately decorated, small, quietly serviced restaurant where, with only 40 seats that are staggered in booking, a reservation is requisite for dinner.
     The restaurant’s dedication to wine in unparalleled and very well selected in all categories, though many are priced high (see my note on wine prices below). The website, by the way, is confusing,  difficult to navigate and amateurish for such a fine dining experience.
Mikael Viljanen, a Finn, likes fancy plating, sometimes a bit twee, but it doesn’t detract from the flavors of the food. My margin notes ran from “very good” to “exceptional” throughout the meal, beginning with a plump lobster raviolo (right), cabbage, trumpet mushrooms and corn;  a carefully roasted foie gras, seared and buttery outside, soft and creamy within, appended with sweet apple, the subtle scent of sorrel, the surprise of smoked eel and Riesling wine to cut the fat.
    Exceptional indeed was a roast seabass with crab, broccoli and lightly smoked yogurt to enrich it, and Sika deer partnered with Brussels sprouts, cèpe mushrooms, salsify and blackberries.
     There is a nice selection of artisan cheeses, but as an extra course at €18 it’s pricey. Caramel custard tart with banana and hazelnut was delicious and equal to the praline and milk chocolate cream with citrus and salted milk sorbet.
    You may begin an evening at The Greenhouse in a somewhat hushed room, but after a glass of wine and such splendid food, everyone will be talking in admiration of what they are so obviously enjoying. And there’s a good chance you’ll begin chatting about the experience with the next table over.

Open Tues.-Sat. for lunch and dinner; 3 courses €69, 4 courses €79; 5 courses €85, with wines plus €55 and €90.



A bottle of wine at a Dublin restaurant of every stripe may strike you as considerably higher than even Northern Ireland or London, but the reason, as explained by John Wilson in The Irish Times, is because “duties on wine in Ireland are among the highest in Europe. We pay excise duty of €3.19 on every bottle of wine, plus 23 percent VAT on top of that . . . Excise duties tend to distort pricing by more than simply the duty, as importers and retailers incorporate the excise in the cost of their wine before they add their profit margin, [making Ireland] the most expensive country in which to buy, even more so than Denmark, Sweden and Canada, all known for having very high duties and, in the case of the latter two, run by state monopolies.”


Dublin seems to have a plethora of food tours visitors may take, each with various options, and I was able to go on two while there.

On a “gentle” three-hour stroll, you will visit seven to eight different places, all independently owned, tasting food and drink in each place and meeting the purveyors or makers who reflect “the current food scene, bringing new international and contemporary tastes to the Irish table and all using great Irish produce.”
    The luck of the Irish was upon me with my guide Róisin Fallon, whose expertise, flexibility and great enthusiasm never flagged as we visited  Powerscourt food hall, Sheridans Cheesemongers, the Fallon & Byrne Food Market and much else. If you sign up, ask for her and you’ll have a friend forever.

Go to:

Paul Kavanagh’s Irish Food Trail is a three-hour tour centered more on pubs and restaurants, with a Deluxe Sunday option for high-end restaurants.  You’ll visit three restaurants, beer and wine included,
meet local people and experience the culture and history of Dublin along the way, with groups of four or more.  I was a lucky bloke indeed to join five energetic American sisters on the tour, sharing a fine traditional meal and Guinness at The Front Door and ending at a lively pub-music club in Temple Bar, where we got a lesson in making the perfect Irish coffee. It’s likely by the end of the tour and the drinks, everyone will feel like brothers and sisters, no matter where you’re from.    Go to:


By John Mariani

    120 West 49th Street

    For a quarter century now Oceana has been a totem for great seafood in NYC, a longevity that guarantees its access and clout to buy the best in the market.  Though not new to NYC, Bill Telepan, following eight years at his own namesake restaurant, is the new chef, and while there are changes throughout the menu, Oceana remains as exemplary as ever within its own style.
    Together with the Livanos family (who also own the Greek restaurant Molyvos), managing partner Paul McLaughlin has kept Oceana, once located off Madison Avenue, as a beacon of great modern design, beginning with an oyster bar up front that is always packed by the moment the clock strikes six. Beyond is a beautiful, spacious dining room with a window onto the brightly lighted kitchen where Telepan and his team work to keep up with a constant flow of regulars and newcomers, pre-theater and after.
    You may also eat in a glassed-in area flanking the kitchen, one of several private dining options.

Photo by Paul Johnson

    The menu has been somewhat shortened, but there is still a wide selection of oysters and crudi (below). Telepan has brought over a few dishes from his former restaurant, and he’s also quite proud about his porchetta-spiced pork chop with white beans and roasted garlic ($38). Right now the oyster list may include specimens ranging from Cape May Salt, Hurricane Island, Pebble Beach, Wellesley and Kusshi (all $3.50). 
                                                                                                         Photo by Noah Fecks

    He was kind enough to send out eight different crudi ($17-$23) that included y
ellowtail, sea urchin and a mild dose of horseradish; tuna tartare with pickled mushrooms, cippolini  and bottarga roe; marvelous, sweet bay scallops with green apple, kohlrabi and sumac; black sea bass, caviar and lemon aïoli; a sea scallop with hot kimchi vinaigrette; razor clams in squid ink and tangy blood orange; a halibut ceviche with spicy sunchoke and orange; and steak tartare, with a deviled egg sauce and preserved lemon.

   There are now three pastas on the menu, including stracci (rags) with a bountiful amount of Gulf shrimp and stracciatella, cabbage and basil ($25/$35). The lobster Bolognese ($30-$40) is a hold-over from Telepan, and while it’s good, it’s a bit overwrought, and I can’t figure why it’s dubbed “Bolognese.”

Photo by Noah Fecks

    Among the appetizers we tried there were four baked oysters judiciously seasoned with bacon, garlic and oregano ($20), and grilled octopus with a nice hit of shishito pepper and a welcome acidic splash of celery vinaigrette ($21). There’s no disputing the amount of lump meat in the crabcakes with spicy cole slaw and good, old-fashioned Green Goddess dressing ($22), though I might wish for the larger jumbo lump of a kind I’d find in a good seaside eatery in Maryland.
    When swordfish is at its best it is a terrific slice of goodness and that night it was a lustrous beauty, with pickled lemon, escarole and a delightful black pepper yogurt ($42); so, too, was the seared halibut—more flavorful than most in NYC—with crushed sunchoke, wild mushrooms and spinach ($42); almost translucent sea scallops took on the perfect additions of orange, carrots and a side of fried polenta ($44).                                                                        
                                                                                                Photo by Paul Johnson

    I did question Telepan as to why he’s serving farm-raised Scottish salmon rather than wild, and he said it was a question of price.  But, hey, this is Oceana and this is NYC; if you serve the best it has to be in every category. Anyway, his salmon is crusted with lemon and served with salade frites, herb aïoli and lemon-pepper salt ($40).
    Pastry chef Douglas Hernandez fits his lavish desserts impeccably into the Oceana style, as with his tropical vacherin with a lime meringue, coconut ice cream, pineapple granité, macerated tropical fruit and prosecco lime gelée ($12); a not-too-dense chocolate bar with a hazelnut crust, Nutella powder, candied cocoa nibs, candied pistachios, chocolate meringue, white chocolate crèmeux and chocolate sorbet ($15); and an orange Dreamsicle parfait of orange cream, olive oil cake, oatmeal crumble and orange foam ($12). The signature Oceana cookie plate ($12/$21) remains in place.
    There’s also a new wine director onboard, Adam Petronzio, who stocks  600 selections and 24 wines by the glass, with $26 the highest price, for Pierre Gerbais Champagne; still wines run $10-$20.
    Oceana has achieved a remarkable feat, for not only does 25 years in business make it a bonafide NYC classic that has maintained a highly diverse clientele but that it has managed to evolve with the times without losing its original spirit, which from the beginning was always based on innovation.  That, and the personal attention of Paul McLaughlin and his staff, puts Oceana in the top rank of what NYC restaurants truly represent.  

Photo by Paul Johnson

Oceana is open for breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri., for dinner Mon.-Sat. In addition to a la carte, there is a chef’s tasting menu at $95.



By John Mariani

    For a half century now the Purple Heart Foundation has been supporting and honoring the sacrifice military veterans have made for our country by helping more than19,000 veterans.  To contribute to such work is a privilege for those who can, and in the wine world, no one is better positioned to make a mark than Vietnam vet Ray Coursen and Iraq war vet David Grega.
    Coursen (below) founded Elyse Winery in Rutherford, California, in 1997 and a decade later purchased a small winery and vineyard adjacent to the C. Mondavi family’s Yountville Vineyards.  Having gained a reputation for overseeing the creation of more than 50 well-regarded wines, Coursen was approached by the Mondavi family to collaborate on a charity wine to benefit veterans through the Purple Heart Foundation.
    “I didn’t hesitate for a second,” Coursen told me over a steaks and chops dinner in New York. “Any way I could use my expertise to honor those brave men was what I most wanted to do. I came home unharmed, many did not. So working with the people at Mondavi allows me all the leeway necessary to make the best wine I can, not just some commemorative bottling with a pretty label. I’ve been able to source fruit right from the family’s vineyards to make a premium merlot-based wine that would sell for $20 so that it was within a veteran’s budget.”
    It as a sentiment that wholly jibed with the Mondavi family’s intent: “We are proud to make an annual donation to the Purple Heart Foundation, an organization dedicated to serving the unmet needs of military men, women and families. Our military personnel make huge sacrifices. When crafting this wine, we made no sacrifices. It is an uncompromising wine made under the close stewardship of the Peter Mondavi Sr. Family, whose patriarch is a proud veteran of World War II. Join us as we lift a glass and pay tribute to our brave military heroes and thank them for their profound contributions.”

    Coursen, 68, grew up on a New Jersey farm, was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1968 and served two years, afterwards touring Europe, where he began his love affair with wine.  On returning home he enrolled at UMass Amherst’s Stockbridge School of Agriculture, tended bar and worked at a fine wine shop in Boston, where his passion for wine soared. With his wife, Nancy, Coursen moved to California in 1982, working from the bottom up to learn the wine business, especially at White Hall Lane under winemaker Art Finkelstein. Buying Elyse Winery was a dream realized; making wines for the Purple Heart charity has made it all the sweeter.
    The first vintage, 2013, debuted with representatives from the Mondavi family and
the Purple Heart Foundation gathered at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York, with the presentation of a $10,000 check to the foundation and a promise to donate up to $50,000 annually in future years.  Only 7,200 cases were made and the wines sold out fast.
    A year later winemaker David Grega joined the effort.  He had served in Iraq, returned home to Northern California, caught wine fever in 2008 and launched Carlotta Cellars and Broken Arrow Wines in 2011, as well as being Assistant Winemaker for brands like TOR Kenward, Rudius, Boich Family Cellars, Anthem Winery and others.
    I was able to taste the wines with Coursen and found them very admirable, especially at the $20 price point.  They had good complexity and the alcohol, at 14.2 percent, was not too high, ideal with the strip steak and Colorado lamb chops we enjoyed that evening. The 2013 is a blend of
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc  and Petit Verdot, resembling a sturdy Pomerol, as is the 2014, with some Petite Syrah added in, of which 1,500 cases have been produced.   
    Such wines don’t deserve write-ups like the one that tried to force tacky metaphors on a serious effort, like “Whether you’re the Grill Sergeant or the Drill Sergeant at the barbecue, take command with this dark-ruby colored and fruit-forward Bordeaux blend.”  These are wines that demand respect for their character and their honesty, good wines at a good price for a very, very good cause.

Purple Heart wines can be ordered on line at





One of Spain's top restaurants, El Celler de Can Roca, is trying to help employees cope with their high-pressure stress by hiring a staff psychologist named Inma Puig, a therapist whose clinical expertise is in teamwork morale.  According to the NY Times, Joan Roca, one of El Celler’s three chef-owner brothers,  notes, the kitchen has “a lot of people working at high speed, very close to each other — and with a knife in their hand.”


FOOD WRITING 101: Making the word "Panzer" into a verb is the act of an imbecile, as is the rest of the following sentence

“As ‘fast casual’ panzers over our dining a landscape, restaurant L is nothing short of radical. It’s a throwback that’s also ahead of the curve: at once a grand dame and an outlandish upstart, Hollywood Regency glamour meats New York City kick ass.”—“Restaurant L,” Cincinnati Magazine (March, 2017).


 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:

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 Restaurant, 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, Geoff Kalish, Mort Hochstein, and Brian Freedman. Contributing Photographers: Galina Dargery. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.

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