Virtual Gourmet

June 6,  2010                                                                   NEWSLETTER

"Cabbage, Northern Michigan, 2009" by Galina Stepanoff-Dargery



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GOOD NEWS! now has a new food section  called "Eat Like a Man," which will be featuring restaurant and food articles by John Mariani and others from around the USA. THIS WEEK: Taste Testing the New McDonald's Wrap


I am pleased to announce that the Italian Trade Commission has just presented me with  its Distinguished Service Platinum Award presented “to recognize the merits of those who, blessed with a profound sense of mission, have helped to generate the momentum that led to the growing popularity of Italian food in America.  In breaking new ground and inspiring numerous others to follow, these pioneers have shown the utmost selfless devotion and appreciation for the country of Italy and the Italian way of life, including members of the press whose writings and services over the years have greatly benefited the image of Italian foods.  And, ultimately, a very selected number or people will have their names introduced in the Distinguished Service Hall of Fame.”--John Mariani


In This Issue

AGUA DOLCE by Mort Hochstein



The Spring/Summer season for publishing is generally pretty lightweight, but there are a few titles I've been impressed with for their savvy or good writing.  Here are some I plan to get some use out of this summer, here and abroad.

BACK ROADS Series--DK Eyewitness Travel
The DK Eyewitness Travel books are the best in the business for their comprehensive treatment of countries and cities, their maps,  diagrams, lavish illustrations, and reasonably up-to-date info on hotels and restaurants.  Now, with this new series, their writers take you well off the beaten track in Ireland, Italy, Great Britain, Spain, and France. To know a country is to get out of its big cities, since London is unrepresentative of the rest of Great Britain, just as Rome is of Italy, and Madrid of Spain.  These guides are carefully researched and very very easy use--and you need not get new editions very often.

BAROLO by Matthew Gavin Frank (U. of Nebraska Pres, $35)
--As Hemingway noted in A Moveable Feast, you can be very happy when you are young and poor and hungry, and that is what drives the narrative and the elation of Frank's book on his leaving behind a restaurant job in the U.S. to live in a tent  in Piedmont and to learn everything and taste everything and drink everything in that fertile territory where Barolo is made.  Frank writes lovingly and with wide-eyed wonder and a healthy appetite.  You'll learn a great deal from his story, not least that Piedmont is a place for wandering or just living on the land.

APPETITE FOR AMERICA by Stephen Fried (Bantam, $27)
--It's about time that Fred Harvey, builder of restaurants along the railroads of the west, got his due in a fully fleshed-out biography and history, and Stephen Fried has the inquisitiveness of a reporter on a story that needs to be better known.  Harvey did as much to settle the west as to feed its passengers getting there, bringing the famous Harvey Girls to every depot and station along so many routes, women who literally helped civilize some pretty out-of-the-way dots on the map.  To put a point on it, as Fried writes, "whether we know it or not, we still live in Fred Harvey's America."

HAY FEVER by Angela Miller (Wiley, $25)
--"The Simple Life" is often anything but, and this lively, warm story of a NYC literary agent who moved to Vermont to open a dairy, Bardwell Farm, and make cheese is less loony than it sounds. The rigors of the enterprise, the weariness of commitment to farm animals' daily requirements, and the joy in producing what became award-winning cheeses makes this a good summer read with a wedge of cheese, a loaf of bread, and a good glass of wine.

PLANET BARBECUE! by Steven Raichlen (Workman, $23)
--As someone who wrote a book on the subject of Grilling for Dummies, I can only marvel at the ability of Steven Raichlen to come out with another and another and another grilling/barbecue book that has the absolute stamp of authority that only someone who has traveled to more than 50 countries can claim. This new volume is remarkable for its breadth--from Malaysian prawns to Tuscan crostini, from Indonesian back ribs to the perfect burger--but its illustrations and Raichlen's untiring interest in the subject make this a must-have for anyone who enjoys cooking, period.

DARING PAIRINGS by Evan Goldstein (U. of California Press, $35)--Goldstein, a Master Sommelier, approaches an overheated subject from the idea that various wines show their best when paired with the dishes of great chefs, so he asked dozens of the best American and international chefs, including Floyd Cardoz, Hubert Keller, Fergus Henderson, Frank Stitt, Robert Del Grande, and others to challenge him to come up with a very reasonable match-up of wine to some dishes that are full of ingredients and spices that can be tricky. He interviews some of the chefs themselves for their input and he will also tell you what not to serve with certain wines and vice versa.

by Fred Plotkin (Kyle, $24.95)--More than any single food guide, Fred Plotkin is the most informed and best-traveled throughout every region of Italy, and this fifth edition of this hefty volume proves it on every page.  Plotkin is a natural raconteur, an expert on opera, and a man obviously rapacious in his appetite for good food and wine.  In almost every case where I have visited some of the thousand restaurants, cafes, bakeries, chocolatiers, or groceries Plotkin writes about, I have agreed with his assessment.  Of course, one has to wonder just how recently Plotkin could possibly have visited so many places (and there are some out of date references), but in Italy, more than anywhere else, food stores and restaurants don't change very much, so that even in Plotkin didn't eat the whole menu at a trattoria in Puglia within the past six months, you are pretty much guaranteed that it will be just as good as ever.

by Seamus Campbell and Robin Goldstein (Fearless Critic Media, $14.95)--Beer fanatics talk of their favorite topic with the fervor of sports fans and religious fundamentalists, so every year or so, one or more of them writes up his assessments of his drinking pastime.  The Beer Trials is different in that it is, first, up to date, and, second, done "brown bag" style, meaning the tastings were blind, which is unusual in such rankings. In addition, while most beer book authors tend to like just about everything they sample, Campbell and Goldstein, with a slew of fellow tasters, are ready to call a weak beer a weak beer (see Bud Light) and even give aesthetic assessments of the labels.  Good fun and a great gift for the brewski lover.



The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas
Gets a Fine New Chef and New Direction

by John Mariani

     Consistent excellence is a rare thing in the restaurant world, where chefs come and go, and fads take hold only long enough for them to wear thin and be replaced by the next one.   In the case of Dallas' famous and justly illustrious Mansion on Turtle Creek, which has served for a quarter century as the city's most civilized hotel and social epicenter, there have only been three chefs in its history.  Now, there is a fourth and he is following his own style--which is French--while happily providing The Mansion's regulars with food they long ago fell in love with.
     As fashions and styles change, so, too, has The Mansion refined itself.  Its rooms newly renovated  and the restaurant made more casual, it is now a less formal place--this, for a place that was never particularly stuffy in the first place.  Having been staying and dining there over 25 years, I've always found the staff, from concierge to waiters, highly professional.  What management did not want was for The Mansion to remain a "special occasion place," so bringing in Chef Bruno Davaillon (below) gives the restaurant a new cachet on which to build.
The restaurant was actually closed for months for redecoration while Davaillon worked on his concept and menus,.  Now, there are three dining room options: the Main Dining Room (below) with its  varnished wood tables, coffered ceiling and fireplace;  the smaller, more intimate room, formerly the library; and the small orangerie-like room for a single party.
        A native of the Loire Valley,  Davaillon worked at some of France's top Michelin-starred kitchens, then came to New York to be Chef de Cuisine for a United Nations Ambassador, followed by stints in California and as chef at Alain Ducasse's Ducasse  MiX in Las Vegas.  Now in Dallas, he is trying to build sources as local as possible to find the best ingredients that he tries very hard to cook simply, to reveal their essential flavors and textures.
        The best way to appreciate Davaillon's range--which shows the precision of French training--is to opt for the
extensive 5-course tasting menu at a very reasonable  $95 ($60 more with wines).  When I was there, we began with a light, pretty Dungeness crab salad, tomato-jalapeño gelée and bloody Mary sorbet. This was followed by a very up-to-date serving of crisp  pork belly with caramelized cabbage, daikon radish and black truffles. Colorado rack of lamb, impeccably cooked and succulent to the bone, comes with crispy lamb shoulder,  white grits gratin and braised Texas kale, and bison tenderloin is done “au poivre” with a fricassée of vegetables.  In a dish such as that you can see--and taste--how carefully Davaillon has taken global culinary ideas and combined them with a little Texas swagger, just as evident in his seared diver scallops with a clam chowder sauce and ravioli stuffed with salt cod and potato. He also does pristine sashimi, with a green apple mustard, cucumber, daikon and jalapeño oil. Potato gnocchi is sauced with an artichoke ragoût,  pancetta bacon and basil. Roasted squab comes with Hudson Valley foie gras, a  sunchoke purée and sautéed Brussels sprout leaves.  And with a nod towards India, Davaillon does a Maine lobster poached in rich, thick coconut milk, scented with Madras curry and accompanied by tender hearts of palm.
      At lunch, with nothing over $22, he keeps to an American style, with items like the Mansion's long famous tortilla soup;
rosemary roasted organic chicken, with marble potatoes and snap peas, chicken jus; and a hamburger with truffled French fries.
      If you've never been to The Mansion, it will come as a reminder of a certain style of posh retreating elsewhere; if you haven't been in a while, Davaillon's cuisine will remind you of much the same thing.

The Mansion on Turtle Creek is at 2821 Turtle Creek Boulevard; 214-559-2100; The Mansion on Turtle Creek Dining Room is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.


801 Ninth Avenue (between 53rd and  54th Streets)

      Ninth Avenue in the 40’s and low 50’s is where I occasionally catch a quick and inexpensive dinner before going to the theater in New York. It’s a street of inexpensive ethnic restaurants—Thai, Turkish, Italian—and many old-line taverns.  The newcomer on the block, one that boosts the quality bar several notches, is Agua Dulce—sweet water. It’s  bright, multi-colored with modern Lucite chairs and stainless steel tables, a communal dining area great for singles,  potted palms ,  a three-story tower of  liquors and mixers,   six rooms, a  rambling  bar area, two levels of seating and two outdoor patios,  On a mid-week visit recently, there was hardly an empty seat.
      This area usually quiets down considerably once the theater crowd empties out  around 7:30, but showtime runs into the late night  at Agua Dulce.  The attraction for many in the younger crowd  may be that long bar where margaritas, tequila and accai -themed   drinks flow profusely   but for those who find fine dining more appealing,    the cooking of chef Ulrich Sterling is what fills the seats in the quieter sections of the restaurant.
     Sterling , born in South Carolina, was executive   chef at Sushi Samba   where he was responsible for a fusion menu that somehow spanned  the cuisine of Japan, Brazil and the Caribbean. He opened his first New York restaurant, Chicama, guided by Douglas Rodriguez, whose Patria restaurant ignited an explosion of interest in Latin American and Caribbean cuisine back in the '90s,  and credits serving   under Rodriguez for  his  own interest in food from the other Americas.
       Patria spawned a host of imitators, some good, some  better forgotten. Sterling leads the good pack,  deftly building on   the Latin  palette  of accents and flavors. Buoyed by a Luna Caliente, a tangy cocktail of habanero-infused tequila and pureed mango, we started off with a trio of guacamoles, unlike any we’d ever experienced.,  each a revelation of  new tastes.  I enjoyed the sweetness of Guac Tropical,  a mélange of pineapple sprinkled with mango and  ignited by spicy habanero pepper , and the fire of Ahumado, bringing together smoky chipotle, house- cured bacon and tomato   The third  was Tipico,  a slightly  more temperate wedding of  deep red jalapeño,   lime   and cilantro blending with  shaved red onion.  We  dampened the fire on  our tongue   with small portions of Caribbean pumpkin soup,   pureed    with only a trace of cream,  and spiced by bits of chorizo.  There was, of course, Sterling’s take on ceviche, (left) fresh salmon cured   with more fiery spices and hamachi with Asian flavorings , converting even Rollie, who’d never before cared for  this method of enjoying fish.
   Mango keeps popping up in his dishes, often mated with a chili,  and I think there were  traces of the mango  even in his Long Island duck,  flavorfully  glazed with a pepper new to me, Peru’s  dark red aji panca. Hardly the  way you might find it  in Peru, but  as with almost everything that came to our table, Ulrich’s style is to make his own improvements on traditional cooking. The  dish showed his talent at fusing  the flavors of  Chinese and the South American cooking.  Its peppery    marinade was   a refreshing change from the overly sweet  sauce that  often swamps duck.  Memorable, too, was a flavor-laden  beef short rib, braised 12 hours in a potent smoked tea and paprika mix to smoky, rich fall-off-the fork tenderness   Malanga, a tuber sometimes called Japanese potato, dressed up with truffle flavor, accompanied the beef.   And, of course, we were not going to miss out on  yucca, one of our favorite Caribbean veggies, which came to the table as fries, spiced by  a yin and yang aïoli  of vanilla and garlic.
     Nor were we going to forgo flan, although this version, caramelized, dressed in salted caramel  topped with salted caramel ice cream, was   a long way away  from what we had expected. Next time,  I’ll   ask for a more traditional flan, or else join the chef  in another peppery excursion,  trying a favorite of our waiter, chili chocolate cake.

Agua Dulce is open for lunch 11 to 4 pm, Mon.-Fri.; brunch Sat. & Sun.; dinner nightly. Appetizers from $8 to $16; mains $18 to $23, with sides at $6.

Mort Hochstein, former editor and producer for NBC News and the Today Show, and former managing editor of Nation's Restaurant News, writes  on wine, food and travel.


In Fort Worth, TX, the Cowtown Diner is serving the world's largest chicken fried steak, weighing in at four pounds, with 6 pounds of mashed potatoes and 10 slices of Texas toast, all of it covered with gravy, and called the Full o' Bull Platter for $69.99 but is free for anyone who can finish the whole thing, along with an XL  T-shirt that reads “I came to Cowtown Diner hungry and left full o’ bull.”




"[A new French movement]
is simply nuts (though you’re not allowed to eat any; it smells to me of a silly gimmick). It’s a diet called L’Air Fooding. One does it by acting as if she (let’s face it, no guy would do this) is eating, but doesn’t actually eat; it’s pretend eating. The alternative is that you’re allowed to feast on a bowl of water with some salt in it. Madonna has been featured 'doing it'  in an ad for Dolce & Gabbana. Mime eating. Yes, folks, dumb. From the land that brought you Marcel Marceau to this—Morsel Notso.--Ed Schwartz, "The French Connection," Nob Hill Gazette (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 through Sept. 6 (Labor Day) in Phoenix, AZ, summer-long Hollywood & Wine Festival at Arizona Biltmore features celebrity bands in concert, Hollywood professionals revealing their secrets, movie screenings, theater productions, celebrity winemakers uncorking their best, special foods and more. Concerts $10-15 pp. Call 800-950-0086.

* Every Saturday in June, July, Aug. and Sept. is "Seashore Saturday "at Manhattan’s Inside Park at St. Bart’s. Featuring a Traditional New England Clam Bake: lobster, clams, mussels, shrimp, linguica sausage, potatoes, corn, all ember-roasted in the wood-fired oven under a bed of seaweed and herbs at $36 pp. Other seashore fare available. On the Terrace, weather permitting, and in the dining room.  Call 212-593-3333.

* From June 1 - 30 in NYCRayuela will celebrate its third anniversary with a special five course Estilo Libre Latino tasting menu by Chef Maximo Tejada. $53 pp. Wine pairing $28 pp. Call 212-253-8840.

 * From June 5-20 in Los Angeles, CA, 6 celebrated Italian dining destinations: Drago, Caffe' Roma, Il Grano, Il Moro, Locanda del Lago and Valentino, will be offering special Authentic Italian prix fixe menus at lunch and dinner Call  Drago 310-828-1585. Caffe' Roma 310-274-7834. Il Grano 310-477-7886. Il Moro 310-575-3530. Locanda del Lago 310-451-3525 and Valentino 310-829-4313.

* From June 6-19 participating NYC restaurants will offer don’t-miss deals and special menus celebrating Albariño wines from Rías Baixas, Spain. For  full list of restaurants and deals, visit . . On June 10 NYC's Artisanal Cheese Center will host an Albariño & Cheese Pairing Class from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. $75 pp. To register visit or call 212-871-3144. . . .On June 14 in Chef Harold Dieterle and wine writer & educator WR Tish will host “A Taste of Summer," an Albariño Pairing Master Class at City Winery from 7 – 9 pm. $45 pp. Visit or call 212-608-0555 x 713.

* On June 6 in San Francisco, at The Fairmont, COCHON 555 holds the only heritage pig and chef competition in the U.S., the event will feature 5 Chefs, 5 Pigs and 5 Winemakers working together to raise awareness for heritage breeds. The chefs incl. Staffan Terje, Anthony Strong, Dennis Lee,Thomas McNaughton and Morgan Maki,; winemakers incl. Krupp Brothers, Elk Cove Vineyards, Chase Cellars, Wind Gap Wines and Pey-Marin Vineyards. Ryan Farr will perform a whole pig breakdown.  Visit

* On Thu. and Fri. evenings from June 10 – Oct. 1 in Chicago, IL, Lawry’s The Prime Rib offers a package featuring a sunset river cruise hosted by the Chicago Architecture Foundation followed by dinner at Lawry’s. $85pp.  Visit or call 312-787-5000.

* From June 11 to July 11, in NYCTartinery will be airing the live World Cup games on 2 TV’s and offering “buy two get one free” deals on cocktails, beers, and rose during those games while fans munch on the restaurant’s classic tartines.  Call 212-300-5838.

 * On June 11th in New York City, B.R. Guest Restaurants: Bill’s Bar & Burger, Dos Caminos Soho and Wildwood BBQ will celebrate the World Cup and give fans the chance to start the day right by viewing all matches (starting with the first morning match) while enjoying special menus. These locations will open 30 minutes prior to kick-off each World Cup morning. Visit

* On June 11 in London, to celebrate the start of World Cup 2010 Spitalfields super brasserie Le Bouchon Breton presents an abundance of flat screen TV's to watch the matches diners can choose from a 3-course  menu  from £50 pp. and cocktails on two for one at the bar and a cold pint of larger and a Croque Monsieur/Madame for just £7.95. Call 08000 191 704 for bookings.

* On June 13 in East Rutherford, NJ and June 26 in Foxborough, MA, The Great American Food and Music Fest will celebrate  American fare and music,  incl.  Tom Colicchio, Paula Deen, The Neelys, Roadfood's Jane & Michael Stern, and more. Tickets start at $40pp. Visit

* On June 16, in Chicago, IL, join DMK Burger Bar for a Make-A-Wish Foundation fundraiser for Vanessa, a 15-year-old Chicagoan, who received a diagnosis of terminal acute lymphocytic leukemia. $20 pp. Call 773-360-8686.

* On June 16, in Phoenix, AZ, Quiessence Restaurant at the Farm at South Mountain celebrates the summer harvest with a Festival of Tomatoes Dinner. Chef Greg LaPrad presents six courses of tomato-filled courses paired with Sam Pillsbury's Arizona wines, poured by the winemaker himself.  $79 pp. Includes 6 courses and wines. Visit or call 602-276-0601.

* On June 17 Roof Terrace Restaurant at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC will host a Batch Bourbon Tasting reception, incl. small batches like Makers Mark, Basil Hayden’s and Knob Creek. The evening will feature hors d’oeuvres by Exec. Chef Joe Gurner. $30 pp. Call 202-416-855.

* On June 17, in Chicago, IL, Shaw's Crab House welcomes Domaine William Fevre for a special tasting and winemaker appearance in the Oyster Bar with winemaker Didier Seguier. ,DWFC will be specially featured by the glass for $7.50 and bottle $29. Call 312-527.2722.

* On June 19, Westport Rivers in Westport, MA will host the 2nd annual Taste of Westport food and wine festival to benefit Westport agriculture. Again the focus will be on Westport. The wine, food, beer, produce and providers and music will be from or source from the town of Westport. Visit  or call 508-636-3423 x1.

* From June 21-Aug.  9 in London, the Metropolitan <>  is having a special afternoon tea inspired by the summer music festivals, “Fes-Tea-Val De-Light,” serving healthy tea snacks and a Patron Silver “tea-quila” cocktail. £25 pp. Call +44 (0)20 7447 4757 or email:

* On June 24 & 25,  The Palms Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach, the 6th Annual Florida International Wine Challenge offers unlimited tastings of  400+  wines from 15 countries in benefit of Florida Breast Cancer Foundation and the Melanie Finley Ovarian Cancer Foundation. $60 pp at  Call 866-998-VINO (8466).

* On June 26 in Seattle, KEXP and The Triple Door present The Triple Sip 2010.  Guests will be treated to a private concert by  Man or Astro-Man?, a dinner prepared by Wild Ginger Executive Chef Nathan Uy, and a tasting featuring over 45 wineries such as Quilceda Creek, Hourglass, Peay Vineyards & Jean-Luc Colombo.  $225 pp. Call 206-838 -4333.  Visit

* On June 26, in Woodside, CAPop The Cork!  will benefit Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. An afternoon of wine tastings by local vintners paired with hors d'oeuvres prepared by guest chefs. Also, gourmet dinner and auction items! . Tickets range from $125 to $250. Visit or call 650-858-0202.



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: Summer on Monhegan; Toronto.


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

 John Mariani is a food & travel columnist for  Esquire and wine columnist for Bloomberg News.   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