Virtual Gourmet

May 9, 2010                                                                   NEWSLETTER



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GOOD NEWS! now has a new food section  called "Eat Like a Man," which will be featuring restaurant articles by John Mariani and others from around the USA.


In This Issue

DINING OUT IN DALLAS, Part One  by Mort Hochstein

MARCONY by John Mariani

NOTES FROM THE WINE CELLAR: More Women Drink Wine than Men but Men Still Grab the Winelist
by John Mariani



by  Mort Hochstein

     It was still  March, but it  could not have been more pleasant. Under bright skies and warm sun, several   thousand of us were soaking up culture, wine and food in the  Dallas Arts District,  an ever-expanding area where you can go from museum to opera house to experimental theater to sculpture garden, all within a three-block radius.  It reminded me of   Berlin, where five great museums  nestle up to each other on an island off the city center, but unlike the historic German museums, the Dallas facilities are all recent vintage, with new additions still under construction.
     It was the sixth annual Arts District Wine Stroll, and we sipped and noshed at the Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, Winspear Opera House and Wyly Theater, the latter two having opened just this year. I particularly enjoyed the Nasher Center, lounging outside at wine and food stations amidst exotic greenery and even more exotic sculpture. The art stroll was part of Savor Dallas, a festival which spread over the weekend and encompassed wine seminars and two Texas-sized  wine and food extravaganzas,  with about 60 restaurants participating in the recently refurbished Sheraton Hotel. Our group also visited several   new additions to the Dallas restaurant scene.


1717 Main Street

 In Dallas, steak houses are like Starbucks. There’s hardly a corner without one.  On New Year’s Eve, the proprietors of Go Fish Ocean Club in North Dallas and Dallas Fish Market in center city installed  yet another downtown temple of beef  in one of the city’s more memorable buildings, the Comerica Bank Tower, designed by architect Philip Johnson.
      The Chop House, though in the midst of skyscrapers, offers sidewalk dining at an all-season,  heated outdoor patio featuring a huge, brick firepit.  Those who prefer the inside    will pass through  a sleek and streamlined bar to enter a more traditional dining area that pays  its dues to local history with a   panoramic view of a cattle stampede.   Ambiance and pleasant surroundings are fine, but the owners have  found other ways to differentiate the Chop House from the rampant competition.
     The shtick here is the aging room, open to view behind a glass wall. Sides of beef hang   opposite huge discs of amber-colored salt, mined in the Himalayas.   Why Himalayan salt?  Chef Kenny Mills says the Asian variety, from mines deep in the Himalayas,  contains 48 known mineral elements,  is pristine and unpolluted and imbues the meat with a clean saline taste, compared to the often bleached domestic variety taken from open pits.
       “It’s a potent salt,” Mills avers. “It takes much of the moisture out of the air, intensifies the flavor of the beef and speeds the aging.”  Many steakhouses boast of serving only Prime beef, but with the exception of  a New York strip steak the Chop House delivers  what Mills calls "premium choice," the upper level of choice. He argues that the huge demand for the small amount of Prime available on cattle leaves little difference between USDA grades of Prime and the best of choice. He also feels that in-house aging enables him to deliver a Prime-quality cut at sub-Prime prices. Could we taste a difference? No. As for the cooking,  the steaks were perfectly charred, their flavor rich and meaty, their texture tender and could almost have been cut with a fork.
       Though it seemed like overkill to me, there were all sorts of rubs or butters available, Southwestern, Moroccan, Asian, truffle, even lobster butter. And in case you want to read up on that cut in front of you, the Chop House  also  serves up a library of books about beef.
      Mills, though, is part of the allure here,  visiting tables and working the floor happily behind a big apron, showing diners through the aging room and his glassed-in kitchen,  his head topped by a king-size Stetson, the very picture of a voluble, modern Texas chef.    But behind the range, while serving up huge   quantities of charred beef, he‘s also spiced the menu with items not common to steakhouses.
    He caught me right off with his sweetbreads and beef tongue.  The meat was poached to a tender touch, hardly the usual bland and chewy serving, with chimichurri sauce sparking a tangy flavor.  He   lost me with a version of crab cake more properly called crab toast and eminently forgettable.
    A baked potato split and dressed with butter or sour cream and real chives, not scallions, stood out among the usual steak house sides, Texas-sized colossal onion rings, mushrooms and asparagus.   There’s also a   worthwhile   offering of Cajun-style creamed corn with crawfish tails,   spiced with poblanos rather than the customary green pepper. For the more venturesome, Mills brings out veal sweetbreads piccata and braised cow’s tongue and Texas quail confit with goat’s cheese polenta.
     After satisfying our inner carnivores, we watched  in envy    as a waiter-sliced a huge chunk of carrot cake at a nearby table, embellishing with candied carrot pieces. He also brought out a huge check of Texas pecan pie at the same table for those people who had managed to leave room for dessert.

Open for lunch and dinner.  Appetizers run $7 to $16; main courses $25  to $55.


614 Davis Street
214- 367-9367

    When I learned we would be dining at Bolsa, a Dallas restaurant that had once been a garage only slightly changed, I pictured something like   the   roadhouses and barbecue joints I had seen in Texas hill country. I wasn’t far from wrong.
     Bolsa’s home is a simple box-like building on a lightly traveled street.  The overhead garage door is still there, pulled up on warm days, and closed at other times.  One side is usually open, with a two-sided bar facing inward to the dining area and   open kitchen, and outward toward a small heated patio.  Bolsa, in Spanish, means bag, and that could apply  to the fourth  wall where simply packaged local foods, flour,  honey and bees’ wax stand on shelves, showing Bolsa’s other face as a market for many of  the primarily organic ingredients used in its ever changing menu. A small cactus sits on each table and recycled electric socket holders do green duty as planter boxes.
    The clientele is just as eclectic as the restaurant, ranging from walk-in locals and regulars to food groupies and tourists carrying maps and printouts of on-line reviews.,  Beamers and Benzes  park alongside  lumbering  SUV’s, pickup-trucks, Harleys and Yamahas.
     Chef Graham Dodds and his crew, working without a fryer or freezer and with minimal storage space, turn out a capricious menu based on fresh local ingredients. Our favorite dish and one that was on almost every able is the bruschetta platter, which I liken   to Texas tapas. It comes with giant tomato slices teamed with mascarpone goat cheese and basil, locally cured ham  with fig preserve, smoked Scottish salmon with pickled red onions and crème fraîche, and Fuji apple slices, P’tit Basque, (an earthy goat's cheese), and pine nuts with a honey dressing.  New Yorker   that I am, I suspected   the salmon might have come from a supermarket cooler, but no, it was as richly flavorful as hand-sliced smoked fish from Zabar’s or Russ and Daughters in Manhattan.  The bruschetta plate is a great buy, four tasting experiences, two of each variety, for $12.
     That platter disappeared quickly and we moved on to a wood-fired flatbread, pizza-like, but bearing no tomato sauce and tangy with a heavenly combination of bitter wild arugula tossed with goat cheese and oven -roasted red grapes.
     Dodds, with training  in restaurants and culinary academies in Oregon, London and Thailand, experiments constantly  in his cramped quarters, turning out on one occasion,  a finger-licking braised lamb shank accompanied by roasted garlic polenta and fennel gremolata, and  crispy, albeit small, perfectly seasoned Texas quail, sweetly sauced and plated with tiny cubed sweet potatoes and crunchy  okra.  The dinner lineup changes constantly and what you enjoy one night might not be around at your next visit, as Dodds reacts to the market and a passion for creating new combinations.
    While main courses at Bolsa are hardly supersized, the desserts tend to be large. Our peach and blueberry crisp, crunchy  and oozing with the juices of the fruits, and topped by a dollop of chantilly cream, was more than enough for two, but we’d  also been touted on the white chocolate rum custard dressed with caramelized banana slices, a smattering of blueberries and drizzled caramel. Again, a dish to challenge a couple of diners, and we answered the call with pleasure.
      The winelist shows an understanding of possibilities and is reasonably priced for a town where restaurant wine drinkers need deeper than usual pockets. Humble in appearance and laid back as it appears, Bolsa is no ordinary roadside shack. It is a dining palace in humble disguise.

Bolsa doesn't really have appetizers other than bruschetta and flatbreads ($11-$12), while main courses run $10-$24.


by John Mariani

184 Lexington Avenue (near 31st Street)


      NYC's Murray Hill neighborhood, east of the Garment District all the way to the East River, is full of ethnic eateries but, unlike just about everywhere else in the city, short on good Italian restaurants, the notable exception being i Trulli.  So when Marco Pipolo,  former partner of Scalinatella, opened Marcony a few weeks ago,  he was not just filling a gap but bringing a more refined cuisine and style to the area. As he contends, the kitchen will “have one eye to the past, honoring traditional New York Italian cuisine, while having one eye to the future with modern influences.”

      The interior of the two-story restaurant echoes the color of Capri, with white walls, and tablecloths,  blue tones, and dark wood beams, accented by a wriggling blue-and-white glass sculpture resembling a, ascendent  sea creature.  Right about now there is also outdoor seating for up to 20 people.  Mr. Pipolo and his staff could not be any more cordial to all their guests and he has stocked a good winelist with plenty of moderately priced bottlings. The menu, too, reflects a good deal of Capri's and Campania's culinary character, beginning with excellent, creamy eggplant parmigiana--a dish that is making a great comeback in NYC after years of neglect.  ender grilled octopus comes with baby arugula and the anise-flavor of fresh fennel. They do an interesting risotto that is grilled with various Italian cheeses, an addictive dish that goes fast at the table.  There is  also a plate of crisp fried artichokes done in Rome's "Jewish style," served with micro-greens salad.
        Each of the pastas I tried was first-rate, not least the ditalini alla Capri--a dish that often fails on this side of the Mediterranean because the seafood is rarely as pristinely fresh over here; Marcony's version is perfect, with a light marinara tomato sauce.  Gnocchi alla Taormina takes on Sicilian flavors when tri-color potato gnocchi are combined with sun-dried tomatoes and a lovely almond pesto, and the richest pasta on the men is one of the most delectable--tortelloni with truffle cream sauce. All pastas can be had as appetizer or main courses. All the fresh pastas are housemade; dry pastas come from Cercola, in Naples.

       Seafood, then, is a high point here, so with the main courses go with the striped sea bass with fava beans and cherry tomatoes or the dentice crusted with potatoes with white wine and lemon sauce--both very delicate and very delicious.  Impeccably cooked, sweet sea scallops (left) came in a light, frothy lemon-butter sauce. For meats there is a fine braised lamb shank with mashed potatoes and as good a rendition of the very northern vitello alla milanese, with arugula and tomatoes, as good as any I've had in the city--Milan or NYC.
     Desserts don't vary much from the usual Italian dolci--ricotta cheesecake, chocolate tortino, tartufo--but are nicely rendered, and the espresso is well made.
     Marcony is  a welcome addition to the Murray Hill neighborhood, but, with its emphasis on Campanian and Caprese dishes, it distinguishes itself from the pack of Italian restaurants that play it safe with the same menu year in and year out.

Marcony is  open Mon.-Sat. for lunch and dinner. Dinner antipasti range from $10.50-$18.50, pastas (full portions) $15.50-$19.50; main courses $17.50-$30.50.



More Women Drink Wine than Men
but Men Still Grab the Winelist

by John Mariani

     I was actually very surprised to read that, according to the Wine Market Council, 53 percent of winedrinkers in the U.S. are women. Also, as of 2009, women are now dead even—50 to 50 percent—with men as so-called “core drinkers,” those who drink wine at least once a week.

     Even that may soon change if women heed the results of a recent survey of 20,000 women over 13 years by Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital that suggested that women who drink a moderate amount of alcohol on a regular basis, particularly red wine, are less likely to experience long-term weight gain than non-drinkers.
     Nevertheless, when a man and woman sit down to dinner at a restaurant, it seems almost inevitable that the guy grabs or is handed the winelist and chooses the bottle.  A survey done by Women & Wine reported that
"A majority of [women] stated that when a man is seated with them in the restaurant, the man is usually presented with the wine list. Even more remarkable, 61% of women surveyed noted that even when they had taken charge of ordering the wine, at least half the time the wait staff presented the bottle to the male at the table."
In our more up-scale dining restaurants, 8 times out of 10, it is the gentlemen at the table still making the decisions,” said Virginia Philip, (below), sommelier at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, where she oversees a cellar of 28,000 bottles and 1,600 selections at the resort’s L’Escalier fine dining room and eight other restaurants, with prices ranging from $35-$15,000.

      Philip, one of only 18 women in the world certified as a Master Sommelier (out of 178 worldwide), said in a phone interview that, “If women are drinking with other women, obviously they choose the wine, sometimes with one of them more in charge; otherwise it’s a joint effort.  If pairings are involved, there may be a woman who will ask questions about the wines prior to pouring, though men have more questions.  But if the ladies are in the food and wine business, their questions are more significant and more inquisitive than the gents’.  European women tend to be more comfortable ordering wine when men are present at the table.” In the past, she says, men were always automatically handed the wine list everywhere. “As a woman who dines out with men, unless someone knows who I am, the list is passed to the man, who then hands it back to me,” she says. “We have worked very diligently in our restaurants over the last 5-8 years to not allow that to happen and to offer the list to the table. Still, if it is ascertained the host is the woman at the table, 9 times out of 10 she passes it to the man. I am convinced women do this to not `bruise the ego’ of the gentlemen they are dining with.”

     Even despite her renown—the American Sommelier Association declared her the Best Sommelier in the U.S.A.World in 2002--she finds that her fellow male Master Sommeliers “literally pounce on the list.  I sit back and allow them to make their selections, within reason.  I may order a glass of something else just to get what I really want or to put my two cents in.  If I want to see that list, I have to ask for it.  Strange right?”
       To paraphrase, Sigmund Freud, “What do women want to drink?”  Philip finds that women have an idea of what they "think" they want to drink when they come into the restaurants. But she sees her role as one of guidance and education. “Lighter white wine to start or bubblies is usually the easiest way to start them off,” she contends.  “From there, pinot noir, tempranillo and malbec are the next most likely stepping stones.  In our Seafood Bar and our Asian restaurant Echo, white wines are generally a done deal.  White wines such as torrontés, riesling and soave as alternatives to pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc are varietals women generally do like and are more likely to order than men. But by far, it’s the men who are ordering the big, expensive, red cult wines out of California.”
      In that stratosphere L’Escalier sells wines like ZD “Abacus” M/V for $950, Colgin “Tychson Hill Vineyard” 2005 for $1,000, and Harlan Estate 2004 at $1,525.

    At Corton (left), in New York’s TriBeCa, management has devised a system that seeks to avoid embarrassment. “When the guests sit down the captain will place the cocktail and winelist right on the table and see who reaches for it,” says sommelier Ame Brewster. “We give them a few minutes to look at it, then I’ll go up to the person going through the pages.”
      While Brewster says she has never had a woman who will be hosting the dinner call in advance to ask the list to be handed to her, some have called to ask for a specific wine to be chilled down or opened upon arrival.

photo by Evan Sung
“Over the eight years I’ve been involved with wine service,” says Brewster, “I’ve noticed more people have discussions among themselves about the wine.  But I find that women are more open about discussing the possible wines with me.”
       As for the assumption that women tend to order a “nice dry chardonnay” by the glass, Brewster says that that has changed, too. “Women order seasonally,” she says, “so in winter they tend to go for red and in warm months for whites.” Corton also offers Chef-partner Paul Liebrandt’s eight-course, $145 tasting menu, with a $120 option of matching wines. In this, Brewster says she sees no real difference between men and women. Bu when it comes to ordering big, expensive bottles from a list famous for its selection of rare Burgundies, males tend to be the show-offs. “Even there though, women are moving up in price,” she says. “I’d say with those kinds of wines we’re running 4 to one, men to women.”

John Mariani's  wine column appears in Bloomberg Muse News, from which this story was adapted. Bloomberg News covers Culture from art, books, and theater to wine, travel, and food on a daily basis.



In Ahmedabad, Gurjarat, India, Prahlad Jani (left) is being examined by India's Defence Research Organization to evaluate his claim that he has gone for 70 years without food or water. Thus far, Jani has  spent more than a  week without food or water and doctors say he is not showing  adverse effects from hunger or dehydration. Jani claims to have left home at seven years old to live as a wandering holy man as a "breatharian" who can live on a '"spiritual life-force," nourished by a goddess who pours an "elixir" through a hole in his palate.  The Defence Research Development Organisation hopes Jani may help soldiers survive longer without food, or disaster victims to hang on until help arrives.


"America is finally catching up to what Angelenos have known—and happily devoured—for years. Many of today’s food trends took root in L.A., [like] the eschewing of stiff Continental formality. (Your waiter is as likely to crouch beside your table and ask 'you guys' what’s up.) --Jon Lindberg, "Best Restaurants in Los Angeles," Travel & Leisure (May 2010).



Guidelines for submissions:  QUICK BYTES publishes only events, special dinners, etc, open to the public, not restaurant openings or personnel changes.  When submitting please send the most pertinent info, incl. tel # and site, in one short paragraph as simple e-mail text, WITH DATE LISTED FIRST, as below.  Thanks.  John Mariani

From now thru Aug. 31 in Houston, Texas, Chef Hugo Ortega of Hugo’s will feature his seasonal “Menu de Flor de Calabaza,” or Squash Blossom menu at his award-winning Regional Mexican restaurant.  Menu can be found online at Call 713-524-7744.

* During the month of May, in Atlanta, Pacci Ristorante is partnering with the Atlanta Humane Society  to celebrate the restaurant’s one year anniversary, donating $1 from every order of its signature carpaccio, fand $1 from every new spring cocktail  ordered to AHS.  Additionally, Pacci will be collecting items on the AHS Wish List  to donate to the organization, and guests can bring in any item off the list to Pacci.  In honor of this partnership, the Atlanta Humane Society is naming a puppy up for adoption Pacci. Pacci Call 678-412-2402.

*On May 10 in NYCSaveur magazine presents a benefit for Wellness in the Schools and The Greenhouse Project hosted by Lauren Bacall & Ann Brasheres with tastings by chefs from Telepan, Gramercy Tavern and more. Tickets range from $150-$300. Visit

* On May 10 at Kellari Parea Bistro NYC, Gabriella Wines presents a five course wine diner,with menu by executive chef Gregory Zapantis. $59 pp. Call 212-777-8448.


* On May 10 and 11 in Cleveland, OH, Kevin O’Connor, co-owner of Lioco Winery, will join wine expert Jeff Graff of Mason, Ohio-based wine distributor Vintner Select, in introducing new Californian wines to the Northeastern Ohio area through a series of wine dinnersheld at Cleveland area restaurants Americano on May 10 and John Palmer’s Bistro 44 on May 11. The Americano dinner is $55pp. Call 216-541-3900. The John Palmer’s Bistro 44 dinner is $60pp. Call 440-350-0793.

* On May 11 The Grand Cafe in San Francisco, will host a Nine Vines Wine Dinner to benefit Project Open Hand. Vivien Gay and Alexis Todor, for Nine Vines, will lead guests through each selection of wine paired with a 3-course menu from Executive Chef Sophiane Benaoouda. $55 pp. Visit

* On May 12 in NYC,  City Harvest presents “Skip Lunch Fight Hunger,” a citywide initiative that invites individuals to donate their lunch money to help City Harvest feed hungry kids and their families. Visit or call 917-351-8764.

* On May 12, in Los Angeles, Wines from Spain presents the LA Great Match: "Vivacious Varietals. Tantalizing Tastes" featuring 300 Spanish wines and 8 LA incl.  THE BAZAAR at SLS by José André. Proceeds will benefit L.A. Works. $45 pp. Visit

On May 12 in Chicago, the Al Greshco Feast makes its second annual debut at David Burke’s Primehouse at The James Chicago and will continue on select dates through September. Executive Chef Rick Gresh hosts a warm weather greenmarket dining experience with fresh, local and sustainable food. Minimum of $75 pp. Call 312.660.0000 or visit

* On May 13 the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans, will host a World Cocktail Week Celebration, with  food, cocktails, music, and Chris McMillian and Dale DeGroff will again make the largest flaming mint julep in history. Tix  available at  On  May 14 the  Museum  will open their newest exhibit dedicated to the history of the classic Hurricane Cocktail. Author Tami Hotard will mix drinks and sign her book, In Pursuit of Pat O’Brien. Free and open to the public. On May 15 host Rachel Arons, the founder of the New Orleans branch of Edible Magazine, will discuss food writing and the Edible network. Free for members, $10 for non-members. Also, the  last Fleur-de-Licious Kids Culinary Camp before the start of summer. The free Summer Kids Culinary Camp will begin June 7th. Free for members, $5 for non-members.

* On May 15 in NYCTaste of Tribeca celebrates neighborhood chefs & restaurants with its 16th annual fundraising event for P.S. 234 and P.S.150 schools from 11:30 am – 3:00 pm.   $40 (in advance) and $45 at the event.

* On May 20 in Berkeley, CA, Gather Restaurant hosts an Earth Island Presents benefit dinner honoring authors Howard Lyman and Nicolette Hahn Niman who will be present. $50 pp. Call 510-809-0400.

*  On May 25th, in Brooklyn, Chef Saul Bolton will present La Primavera, an Italian wine dinner celebrating Spring  at Saul. Wines by Tony DIDio Selections. $125 pp. Call 718-935-9844.

* This May 26--29 in New Orleans, the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience hosts their 19th annual event. Enjoy 1000+ wines from  200+ winemakers from around the world, and food from 100+ of New Orleans’ best restaurants. Events incl. Winemaker Dinners, the Signature Royal Street Stroll sponsored by Rouses, the Seminar Series and the Grand Tastings held in the Louisiana Superdome. Proceeds benefit local charities. Tix prices vary.  Special hotel and ticket packages available  at Call 504-529-WINE.


* On May 26 in New Orleans, GW Fins Restaurant and Silver Oak Wineries will present a spectacular five course wine pairing dinner as part of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience.  $125pp inclusive.  Call 504-581-3467.

* On May 29 in Naperville, IL, SugarToad will host Roast –n-Toast, a farm-focused pig roast paired with local beer from Two Brothers Brewing Co., live music, family activities and a silent auction with proceeds for the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Chef Geoff Rhyne will roast whole pigs and chickens La Caja China style, a slow roasting charcoal box popularized by Cuban cooking. $30, adults; $10, children ages 5 to 12 and free for kids under 5. Call 630-778- 8623.

* From June 1 - 15 in San Francisco, "Dine About Town San Francisco" returns with  100+ of the city's finest restaurants offering a 2-course lunch menu for $17.95 and/or a 3-course dinner menu for $34.95.  Call 415-391-2000, or visit

* On June 3, in Atlanta, Morton’s The Steakhouse Downtown will offer a  beer tasting featuring 4 different Dogfish Head beers (Midas Touch, Raison, 90 Minute and Palo) paired with Morton’s  appetizers.  A beer specialist will also be on hand to give a short presentation. $45 pp. Morton’s will donate $5 from every ticket to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.    Call 404-577-4366.


* From June 4-12, in NYC, the "Gourmet Latino Festival" debuts at the Astor Center for a celebration of Latin gastronomy and culture. The eco-friendly, socially-conscious festival will feature over 30 food and beverage experts, including chefs such as Aarón Sánchez and  mixologists.  Local Latin spots will tie-in via “Authentic Dining Week.” $65-$85 per seminar and grand tasting event. Visit


NEW FEATURE: I am happy to  report that the Virtual Gourmet is  linking up with 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: SWISS DIARY; WHALE WATCHING 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).

Family Travel Forum: The Family Travel Forum (FTF), whose motto is "Have Kids, Still Travel!", is dedicated to the ideals, promotion and support of travel with children. Founded by business professionals John Manton and Kyle McCarthy with first class travel industry credentials and global family travel experience, the independent, family-supported FTF will provide its members with honest, unbiased information, informed advice and practical tips; all designed to make traveling a rewarding, healthy, safe, better value and hassle-free experience for adults and children who journey together. Membership in FTF will lead you to new worlds of adventure, fun and learning. Join the movement.

Family Travel Forum

All You Need to Know Before You Go

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. Contributing Writers: Robert Mariani,   John A. Curtas, Edward Brivio, Mort Hochstein, Suzanne Wright, and Brian Freedman. Contributing Photographers: Galina Stepanoff-Dargery,  Bobby Pirillo. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.

 John Mariani is a columnist for Esquire, Bloomberg News, and Diversion.  He is author of The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink (Lebhar-Friedman), The Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink (Broadway), and, with his wife Galina, the award-winning Italian-American Cookbook (Harvard Common Press).

 Any of John Mariani's books below may be ordered from by clicking on the cover image.

My newest book, written with my brother Robert Mariani, is a memoir of our years growing up in the North Bronx. It's called Almost Golden because it re-visits an idyllic place and time in our lives when so many wonderful things seemed possible.
    For those of you who don't think of the Bronx as “idyllic,” this book will be a revelation. It’s about a place called the Country Club area, on the shores of Pelham Bay. It was a beautiful neighborhood filled with great friends and wonderful adventures that helped shape our lives. It's about a culture, still vibrant, and a place that is still almost the same as when we grew up there.
Robert and I think you'll enjoy this very personal look at our
Bronx childhood. It is not yet available in bookstores, so to purchase a copy, go to or click on  Almost Golden.
--John Mariani

© copyright John Mariani 2010