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  September 4, 2011                                                                                               NEWSLETTER

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Colorado, Texas, County Fair (1900)


Very Important Announcement!

My latest book, written with Jim Heimann and Steven Heller,  Menu Design in America,  1850-1985 (Taschen Books), has just appeared, with nearly 1,000 beautiful, historic, hilarious, sometimes shocking menus dating back to before the Civil War and going through the Gilded Age, the Jazz Age, the Depression, the nightclub era of the 1930s and 1940s, the Space Age era, and the age when menus were a form of advertising in innovative explosions of color and modern design.  The book is a chronicle of changing tastes and mores and says as much about America as about its food and drink.


“Luxuriating vicariously in the pleasures of this book. . . you can’t help but become hungry. . .for the food of course, but also for something more: the bygone days of our country’s splendidly rich and complex past.  Epicureans of both good food and artful design will do well to make it their cofee table’s main course.”—Chip Kidd, Wall Street Journal.


“[The menus] reflect the amazing craftsmanship that many restaurants applied to their bills of fare, and suggest that today’s restaurateurs could learn a lot from their predecessors.”—Rebecca Marx, The Village Voice.


“Restaurateurs, take note: A resurgence in thoughtful, artistic menus is past due.”—Bon Appetit Magazine


Summer's End in Miami and Bal Harbour
by Christopher Mariani

New York Corner: LOLA
by John Mariani

Man About Town: SF Chefs 2011
by Christopher Mariani

Brutal Heat Doesn't Bother Arizona Wines...Much
by John Mariani


Summer's End in Miami
 and Bal Harbour

by Christopher Mariani

    I still can’t tell you what type of restaurant Miami is best known for, considering there are a handful of new restaurants opening just about every week, all with different culinary influences. But I can tell you that a large majority of the city’s latest restaurants are excellent. The city’s dining scene was put on the map by some of the "old-timers" like Michael Schwartz, the originator of the small plate phenomenon that has now blanketed the dining scene in most major cities across the country. He is still one of the best at his craft. There’s Daniel Boulud, who made his mark in Miami this year when he opened the doors to DB Bistro inside the brand new Marriott Marquis. And  there’s Paula DaSilva, one of the city’s best young chefs, groomed under the guidance of Florida legend Dean Max. She recently opened 1500 Degrees inside the Eden Roc Hotel. These are just a few of the contributors to Miami’s enormous dining scene.
    Every single time I fly down to Miami I eat very well. And not only are the restaurants becoming better and better but the city itself is as attractive as its ever been, stacked high with new buildings and hotels in sections that were once considered shady, now, with bright lights, clean streets and a beach packed with some of the most gorgeous men and women around. Gotta’ love Miami, even if it’s only for its sheer sun-drenched splendor.
         On my last visit, my fourth since New Year’s, I dined at Stephen Starr's Makoto restaurant in Bal Harbour and chef Douglas Rodriquez’s De Rodriguez Cuba on Ocean while staying at the swanky Hilton Bentley on South Beach. This three-day trip happened to coincide with the NBA championship series, so the city was red hot and bursting with excitement. You can't imagine the partying going on in Miami! Every single bar, restaurant and club with a television was mobbed with fans. The festivities went late into the night and sometimes straight through the day. I have to admit, Heat fans are among the most loyal fans I’ve ever encountered, but then again who wouldn’t be a die-hard fan if two superstars like Lebron James and Dwayne Wade were on their team?
    I remember sitting at a great outdoor lounge and restaurant in Miami’s Wynwood Art District called Cafeina (right) watching what seemed like a sure win for the Heat in Game Two but was sadly ripped away by a roaring comeback from the Mavs. Cafeina cleared out in about two minutes after the defeat. I sat quietly and finished my caipirinha. Just a few days later I flew out to Dallas where the Mavs dominated with a nine-point victory before eventually heading back to Florida for Game Six , when Big D hammered the nail in the coffin to win the NBA championship. Sorry to make you Heat fans relive this emotional experience but you didn’t really think you were going to win your first year? Really, did you?               
   Back to the story, I arrived in Miami mid-afternoon and checked into the Hilton Bentley.  Beyond the deluxe accommodations and considerate staff, the Hilton Bentley sits directly on the beach as the only hotel beachfront in all of Miami with private chairs and drink service. Grab a chair and blanket if you are staying at the hotel and wait for your server to come by, order a drink, gaze out at the gorgeous ocean or simply look around; the women are very attractive. Rooms are all elegantly appointed, and the hotel staff is as cordial as you would hope for.
     Next to the lobby is chef Douglas Rodriquez’s restaurant De Rodriquez Cuba on Ocean (left), a chic hangout for excellent upscale Cuban food. As long as the humidity is bearable, try to eat outside where there are a handful of tables set up along the blue-lit pool for an extremely posh South Beach experience. The menu selection is a good size, filled with spicy ceviches, a raw bar, smoked marlin tacos, fried pork belly and the churrasco, a marinated skirt steak. The night I dined at Cuba on the Beach I was accompanied by large group of ladies, and Rodriguez decided to serve us the la caja china, an entire roasted pig served with black beans, white rice and sweet plantains. The whole pig is for parties of fifteen or more and must be pre-ordered three days in advance. The meat is tender and juicy and shreds with the graze of the fork while the amber brown skin crunches with each bite. Underneath the crispy skin hides a layer of melting fat that adds richness  to every forkful of the salty, moist meat. This pig is worth making a few new friends if you’re a party of under fifteen guests. After a few plates of the succulent swine, we finished off the evening with a short espresso, a glass of Macallan and then headed over to Louis in the Gansevoort, a nightclub for an evening of partying and dancing. If you are looking for an authentic Miami party, head to Louis,  if you can get in.
    The following morning, still in a slight haze, we drove over to the Doubletree Grand Biscayne Bay for a hearty breakfast at Los Gauchitos, an Argentinean steakhouse on the base floor of the property. After a quick bite it was off to our private yacht for an afternoon of leisure while cruising around Miami Beach and even stopping at times for a quick swim. The afternoon ended all to soon and we headed back to the dock with a fresh sun tan.
    That evening we dined at Tony Chan’s Water Club inside the Doubletree, where chef Li was cooking inside his enormous glass-enclosed kitchen. There’s tasty Peking duck  (right) drizzled with hoisin sauce wrapped up in homemade pancakes, pork dumplings, spicy lamb and giant balls of fried ice cream for dessert. The restaurant literally sits directly on the water, hence the name Waterclub, and looks out onto the bay as the sun sets and glistens off the water.
    We rushed dinner this evening because we were off to Miami’s six-year young Adrienne Arsht Center (left) located in downtown Miami where we watched the Broadway show "Hair." I will hold my comments regarding the actual musical, but the arts center itself is magnificent,  the space is tremendous, just under 600,000 square feet, and holds upwards of 2,400 people. It has brought an element of needed class and sophistication to the downtown area. It is nice to see Miami expanding its arts scene and reforming a city that ten years ago was considered strictly a party metropolis.

        The following day after a little relaxation in the sun I drove up to Bal Harbour for lunch at one of Stephen Starr’s newest restaurants called Makoto (right). Chef Makoto Okuwa is a trainee of Iron Chef Masahura Morimoto and is doing a terrific job in South Florida serving dynamic Japanese food inside a very grand space. You can either eat outside on white lounge cushions as the sun begins to set in the evening or inside the completely dark-wood dining room where long wooden tables are fitted with oak benches. The sushi menu is fairly typical, with prices that reflect its high quality fish. There’s also a regular menu with selections of toro tartare, spicy snapper ceviche and roasted shishito peppers. Makoto is serving some of the greatest noodle dishes I’ve ever tasted, including the uni fettuccine, kishimen noodles with sweet wasabi and sea urchin butter, and the Makoto Ramen, ground steak flavored with garlic, bean sprouts and red chili. There is a choice of three wagyu steaks and the house favorite, Kobe steak sliced thin and seared tableside over a burning hot black river stone sided by a ponzu dipping sauce.
    Whether it is strictly for business or pleasure I always eat well when in Miami. I have a few more trips coming up in the near future and my biggest dilemma is which new restaurants will I dine at when visiting?



by John Mariani
Photos by Kirsten Luce


113A Middle Neck Road

Great Neck, NY

    I don't get out to Long Island much and have little familiarity with Great Neck, but my goal was to eat Lola, the two-year old restaurant run by Michael Ginor (left), for whom I have long had respect as one of the most influential and energetic chef-entrepreneurs in  America.
Born to an expatriate Israeli family in Seattle, Ginor moved between Israel and the United States before settling in New York when he was 13.  After college  and grad school,  he became the youngest vice president of brokerage house David Lerner Associates at 24, but like many frustrated by the Wall Street ethos, Ginor left to fight with the Israeli Defense Forces, serving as a Captain and IDF spokesperson in the Gaza Strip. He returned to NYC and in 1990, with Izzy Yanay, a fellow Israeli expat and expert on the production of foie gras, founded Hudson Valley Foie Gras, while continuing to study and work at restaurants, product development, charity work, food writing, and creating and organizing gourmet events, workshops and demonstrations. In his spare time he also authored Foie Gras. . . A Passion, which won the prestigious Prix la Mazille for Best International Cookbook of the Year in 1999.  His first restaurant, TLV in Great Neck, featured classic Israeli street food.  In September 2009 he debuted Lola, where he is embracing all the global food cultures he has learned about in his travels.  You can see why I wanted to visited Lola.
    The name Lola is a play on Robert Indiana's LOVE icon (right).  Inside the large dining room is done with a red glass-topped bar--the signature cocktails here are really good--exposed red brick and exposed ceiling pipes, and a lot of polished wood throughout. It's casual, lively, and clearly an expression of Ginor's sensibility, which is writ large in his cuisine.  (Ironically, Ginor noted  that 40 percent of Great Neck's inhabitants keep kosher and never eat at Lola as a result.)
    The moment we sat down out came a generous  slab of a cross between puffy focaccia and flat bread (left), glistening with sea salt and olive oil.  I could have stopped right there: this bread was so delicious, I wanted to eat nothing else. But there was so much more to be savored from a menu where just about everything is enticing.  So push on we did.
    To go with those cocktails or at any table, there are substantial "snacks," which include a variety of French tarts, puff pastry crust (undercooked on one we tried) with toppings like truffle, pecorino, and caramelized onion, and one with rock shrimp and leek cream.  Duck prosciutto is a terrific example, with rhubarb, Gorgonzola,scallion and a sweet fig glaze.
    Among the first courses don't miss the tuna tartare with sweet soy-mirin glaze and avocado tempura. If you read that you might say, oh, that again, book read more closely--the first-rate tuna chopped just finely enough,  the saline and sweet aspects of the sauce and the novelty of avocado tempura, crisp outside, lush within. General Tso's sweetbreads are just like the usual chicken version, with a sweet-sour batter and sauce, while the bayou sausage comes with luscious rock shrimp and grits, a runny egg tempura, shellfish bisque sauce.  Whew! What a great dish! There is a platter of foie gras torchon, duck prosciutto, mostarda di cremona, pickled cherries, and, as well as artisanal smoked and cured meats, not least an array of rabbit-based charcuterie, all served with wonderfully charred country bread. Since Ginor knows foie gras better than anyone in the U.S.--and I've visited his duck farm up the Hudson--by all means have the pan-seared fresh foie gras with a parsnip mousseline, hazelnut croquante for crunch, and Port-glazed figs. Sautéed octopus was all right, a little fishy, with smoked paprika, lemon and garlic, and fava beans.
    One of the signature dishes here, for very good reason, is Ginor's orange-glazed moullard duck breast and confit leg (right), with rich potato mousseline, sweet carrot flan, and braised red cabbage: notice how all the elements on his plates are entirely complementary, with no shock value just to be outrageous.  There is a fine red duck curry, too, not very spicy, with pumpkin, "forbidden" black rice that is a terrific additive, and tangy lemongrass emulsion.  A hug Berkshire Heirloom pork chop gets a guava glaze then a slick of ginger-scallion salsa verde, spicy rice cakes, and sweet and sour collards.
    As noted, this is rich food, and the richest of all is the Kobe beef burger with caramelized onion confit, truffle cheese, horseradish aïoli, and, for $5 more, torchon of foie gras or seared fresh foie gras--and Lola cubed fries  with hot brava sauce on the side.  I took one bite, swooned with pleasure, and sent the burger for sharing with the rest of my tablemates.  This dish packs a big, big wow.    
    If there's any possible smidgen of room left, then go right ahead and order the lemon meringue mousse with crumble or the Lola Kit-Kat with hazelnut caramel and hazelnut ice cream.
I just hadn't the stamina to try a dulce de leche and butterscotch sundae. They also have excellent petit-fours and chocolates at meal's end. 
    I was as amazed at the winelist as I was at the menu, for there are an exceptional number of very good global selections, with a large number of them under $50. 
    Ginor might well put a sign over his door reading, "Here you really do get what you pay for." No one is going to balk at the prices here, the portions here, or the generosity of spirit here.  Ginor knows how people love to eat with abandon.  Lola is a triumph of the notion that sometimes you just gotta indulge and do it with gusto.

LOLA serves lunch Tues.-Fri. and dinner Tues.-Sun. Cocktail Snacks $7-18; Tasting Plates $12-48; Prix Fixe $35; Signature Dishes $56-75.



by Christopher Mariani


    Two weeks ago, after exiting San Francisco International Airport, I jumped into the first cab I saw and headed straight for the Ritz -Carlton (left) on Stockton Street, where I would hang about in posh comfort for the next few nights following dinners at some of the city’s newest and hottest restaurants. I was in town for the city’s culinary week, SF Chefs 2011, where I would be judging the Illy Café Chef’s Challenge to decide which team of chefs would walk away with $20,000 to give to the charity of their choice, compliments of Chase Sapphire Visa Signature.                                 Arriving at any Ritz-Carlton is always an experience unlike that at any lesser hotel i n the city.  Bellhops swarm the car, open the doors, and carry in your luggage while discreetly checking the nametag on your bag so they can greet you by your last name and notify the front desk that you have arrived, so that your check-in is as quick and simple as possible. These seemingly effortless gestures continue through the entire stay, especially when lodging on the Club Level where breakfast and lunch are served daily in the lounge and you 'll enjoy the best concierge service in town.
      Following a glass of white wine and a plate of cheese, I walked out of the Ritz and headed south on Stockton towards Union Square Park, where the SF Chefs tent was set up for grand tastings and cooking demos. For anyone who has never been to San Francisco, believe me when I tell you the hills are far steeper than they appear on television. While walking down Stockton towards the Tunnel, I witnessed a tall woman
wearing high heels exit her apartment building attempt to scale down the street. She had her arms as wide as they could go for balance and her knees bent while her feet shuffled down the vertical hill with tiny choppy steps to avoid a spill. She made it safely to the bottom after declining my assistance.
      Finally at Union Square I entered the massive white tent with a media pass and was amazed to see such an enormous turn-out. The tent was flooded with locals checking out the event while walking around with either a glass of wine that hung from their necks in a little girdle or a colorful cocktail served in martini glasses, most of which ended up on the floor, owing to the mass of attendees. Everyone was smiling and the crowd stopped by each and every food station to taste signature dishes prepared by some of the city’s finest chefs. There were hundreds of chefs present throughout the entire weekend, all cooking with a spirited fever, making it clear there was a friendly competition to serve the best dish in the tent. There were wonderful samples of pork belly, marinated skirt steak, fried whitefish, cured meats, chilled summer soups, and just about every dish under the sun. It was a grand evening of mingling, plenty of food and maybe too much wine. The event was a great way to promote restaurants in the city, but more importantly to celebrate the extraordinary culinary scene in San Francisco. Here is a partial list of notable chefs who were cooking throughout the week and played a significant role in the SF Chefs 2011 extravaganza: Tyler Florence, Chris Cosentino, Bob Helstrom, Michael Mina, Mark Sullivan, Nancy Oakes, Hubert Keller, Ron Siegel, David Bazirgan, Mark Dommen, Elizabeth Faulker, Melissa Perello, Xavier Salomon, Suzette Gresham, Charles Phan, and  the beautiful Dominique Crenn.
         After the last morsels of food were eaten inside the tent and the last call for drinks was announced, it was off  to The City Club for the after party where Wente Wines were poured as chef/DJ Hubert Keller (below) spun the turn tables. At some late hour of the night the party ended and with great luck I caught a cab and headed back to the Ritz. It most be noted, SF, although a terrific city, has one of the worst taxi services I have ever witnessed. It honestly seems as if there were only a handful of cabs in the entire city.
         The following morning after a hearty breakfast and a tall cup of coffee, I walked down to the Westin St. Francis where Michael Chiarello and Tyler Florence conducted a great cooking demo. I left a little early, only because I wanted to stop by the “Talking and Tasting Pork” presentation to eat some swine. I then headed back to the hotel for a short siesta before I would judge the Illy Café Chef Challenge.
         I was on a panel with three other judges, Fran Carpentier, Miriam Morgan, and Margo True, to taste and assess the food prepared by Chris Cosentino and Elizabeth Faulkner, team one, and Dominique Crenn and Russell Jackson on team two. The idea was, who ever could create a better four-course meal using Illy coffee as the theme of each dish would be awarded $20,000 to be given to the charity of their choice. There were some good dishes and there were some bad ones. Experimenting with coffee, which can be an extremely potent ingredient, is no easy task. I will say, there was a real sense of creativity in all the dishes, but that did not mean they all translated into what one would want to eat as a meal. Regardless, the event was tons of fun and full of energy. In the end, team Cosentino/Faulkner walked away the victor. Below is a quick video of all the excitement.
         That evening there was another grand tasting under the Union Square tent followed by the Late Night Booze and Bites party, hosted by Top Chef All-Star Richard Blais. Fabio Viviani, Jen Biesty, Marisa Churchill and many other Top Chef contestants were in attendance.
    I left Monday morning with a full stomach and the memory of one the greatest food and wine festivals I’ve ever attended, and that’s  saying a lot, considering SF Chefs is only three years young. I will be writing about the restaurants I dined at in a future issue, but in the meantime let me  remind everyone who has not dined around San Francisco that the city has a style all its own when it comes to cooking, and the restaurants are as good as you will find anywhere else in the country.


To contact Christopher Mariani send an email to



by John Mariani

         I learned two things staying put in my room at The Hermosa Inn (left) when the temperature hit 107 degrees in Scottsdale, Arizona: First, daytime TV is much worse than I imagined, and two, a bottle of Arizona wine helped get me through it till dinner.
         I was not entirely surprised by the TV shows but I was amazed that Arizona makes wine at all, given the withering heat and arid conditions grapes must be forced to grown in. But in fact, the state has 45 federally bonded and licensed wineries, many with fine western names like Tombstone, Bitter Creek, Broken Glass, Arizona Stronghold, and Javelina.
          Spanish missionaries made wine back in the 1700s, but modern viticulture with European vinifera grapes like chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and grenache only started in 1973 in Sonoita.
Today there’s even an Arizona Vines & Wines quarterly magazine, whose current edition concentrates on Arizona women involved in the industry, including Deb Wahl of Oak Creek Vineyards & Winery, which produces 1,500 cases a year of zinfandel, syrah, merlot and chardonnay. Wahl says she moved to Sedona after 9/11, “somewhere quieter [and] somewhere safe to raise my son.”
         There are three wine trails to tour, Verde Valley (northeast of Phoenix), Sonoita (south of Tucson), and Wilcox {southeast of Tucson), all in the high desert, at elevations between 3,800 and 6,000 feet, similar to those of Mendoza, Chile, which means temperatures will be 20 to 30 degrees lower than in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Even so, the few bottles sold shipped out of state through the Internet can only be shipped in cooler months.
    The wine I drank in my lonely room was a Page Springs Cellars Vino del Barrio 2009 ($15). This family-owned winery is just 15 minutes south of Sedona, with a tasting room and weekly tours. Labeled simply “Arizona Red Wine,” it is a reserve blend of the winery’s best barrels and varietals. At a friendly 13.6 percent alcohol, it has a grapey flavor and an undercurrent of sweetness that would be very good at an Arizona pork barbecue or with soy sauce-based dishes. A wine like this loves salt and sweetness.
    One night when the temperature dropped to the chilly 90s, I went to FnB, one of Scottsdale’s most popular new restaurants, where Chef-owner Charleen Badman and partner-sommelier Pavle Milic are extremely committed to introducing guests to the breadth of Arizona wines.  The ever-ebullient Mr. Milic, who kept calling me “My dear sir,” arrayed flights of Arizona bottlings that were all clean and well made, the reds tending to be dense and very full-bodied.    
    Pouring a Keeling-Schaefer Three Sisters Syrah 2008 (about $18), Milic said, “In a blind tasting of red wines from Arizona, California and Europe, this wine won out over a Chateau Lynch-Bages, my dear sir.” I asked who did the tasting, and he said they chefs and wine experts. I wasn’t entirely surprised by the outcome, since big, dense reds tend to dominate more refined bordeaux in tastings.   
    The Keeling-Schafer, made “on the western slope of the Chiricahua Mountains,” was, however, very good, rich but not cloying, and goes well with smoky items on FnB’s menu like lamb tenderloin with summer tabouli, mint, and pomegranate.
    I also enjoyed a 2008 Dos Cabezas Toscano Red Blend ($24) from Cochise County, a blend of sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, which was nice and loose and pretty velvety on the palate, with a strong finish. Owned by Todd and Kelly Bostock since 1995, the winery moved it moved to Sonoita in 2003 and now makes 3,000 cases of various wines annually.
 At an alcohol level above 15 percent, however, more than one glass might require a designated driver for the night.
s the scent of a mesquite grill floated in the air of the restaurant, I tried a Callaghan “Back Lot” Red Blend 2008 ($25) from Cochise County, an unusual blend of mourvedre and zinfandel that had the flavors of deep cherry and a hint of chocolate.
    My favorite white wine, “Ann’s Blend” ($22), from the same winery, was an outstanding accomplishment as a blend of 45 percent grenache blanc, 35 percent verdelho, and 20 percent symphony (a hybrid of muscat and grenache blanc created at University of California Davis).
    Kent Callaghan’s winery started in 1990, a year when Phoenix’s Shy Harbor Airport was shut down by a 120-degree heat wave. Even in Callaghan’s vineyards up in Elgin, at 4,800 feet, it was 105, and he lost thousands of vines to the heat. He replanted with hearty varietals that could take the high temperature during the day and the cool desert nights.
    Next time I’m in Arizona, I hope it will be in winter. I’ll light a fire, watch the steaks grilling, and pop the cork on an Arizona wine and wait for the moon to rise over Cochise County.

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.



"Tips for dining in Paris:   The waiters. Never assume the restaurant personnel will be amicable. A disdainful look on entering is a safe start. This will give you time to measure up the situation. A bit like two dogs meeting. First there’s the growl, followed by a hair bristle, ending up with a bottom sniff and a tail wag. Same goes for the French, who like to know who they’re dealing with."—IOL.COM (aug. 18).




Burger King has dumped its weirdo King character icon (left) with a new ad campaign for its California Whopper  with pictures of fresh ingredients and no talking points. "People want a reason to go back to Burger King," Alex Macedo, senior marketing vice president, told USA Today. “"There are no plans to bring the King back anytime soon."

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

My new book, How Italian Food Conquered the World (Palgrave Macmillan) 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

" A fact-filled, entertaining history [that] substantiates its title with hundreds of facts in this meaty history of the rise of Italian food culture around the globe. From Charles Dickens's journey through Italy in 1844 to 20th-century immigrants to America selling ice cream on the streets of New Orleans, Mariani constantly surprises the reader with little-known culinary anecdotes about Italy and its people, who have made pasta and pizza household dishes in the U.S. and beyond."--Publishers Weekly

"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, Gotham Bar & Grill, 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: Bike The Greenbriar River

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).

The Family Travel Forum
 - A community for those who "Have Kids, Still Travel" and want to make family vacations more fun, less work and better value. FTF's travel and parenting features, including reviews of tropical and ski resorts, reunion destinations, attractions, holiday weekends, family festivals, cruises, and all kinds of vacation ideas should be the first port of call for family vacation planners.

Family Travel Forum

                                                                    ALL YOU NEED 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: Christopher Mariani, 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.

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© copyright John Mariani 2011