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  May 18, 2014                                                                                             NEWSLETTER

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Betty Healy, Stan Laurel, Lorna Andre, Daphne Pollard,  Oliver Hardy and Iris Adrian   in "Our Relations" (1936)


Beginning May 27th, for five consecutive weeks on Tuesdays, John Mariani will be teaching a seminar class in "Food Writing" at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY.  It is open to the general public.  For details contact: Center for Continuing Education & Special Programs, Sarah Lawrence College,1 Mead Way, Bronxville, NY 10708;Telephone: 914-395-2205;



DC Dining
By John Mariani

Applebee’s of the Air:
American Airlines First Class Dinner

By Andrew Chalk


Gramercy Tavern
By John Mariani

Penfolds Celebrates Its 170th Anniversary in London
By John Mariani



By John Mariani

         With all the wrangling going on in Washington--interrupted only by frequent Congressional vacations--it’s surprising the politicians ever get to go out to dinner.  Indeed, the sighting of a major political figure at a restaurant is sufficient fodder for the local newspapers (those that are left), though a true celebrity is even better for the media mill.

         Still, the nation's capital is a solid dining city, frequented by those who live in and around it and by the millions of tourists who visit. Here are some of my favorite new spots in town.



777 I Street NW


        What hits you first as you enter Del Campo is the aroma of sweet smoke coming off everything from skirt steak and sweetbreads to charred beets and mortadella cheese sizzling on the huge grill that underpins most of the cooking at this grand South American restaurant located next to D.C.’s Chinatown.

        Peruvian Chef Victor Albisu, whose grandfather was a Cuban baker and whose mother ran a market where her son learned to grill from Argentinean and Uruguayan butchers, has focused his expertise and energies to create a meat-centric menu on which everything shares common ground. Even seafood and ceviches are lashed with good olive oil and share the plates with chilies, charred onions and corn, yucca fries, tangy romesco sauce, chimichurri and salsa criolla.  Bread is baked in cast-iron skillets, and, when the kitchen closes, the bar serves street food--empanadas, albondigas, chicharones, and a chivito sandwich ($20) stuffed with seared ribeye, mortadella, ham, olives, hearts of palm, and fried egg. 

        The heart of the matter here is the array of meats: chorizo sausage (four kinds), short ribs, ribeye, lamb shank, pork belly, all gleaming, fat-rich, generously sliced and piled high, and whether deep red, rosy or pink, always charred black ($9-$72).

        You feast on all this in a splendidly expansive dining room with concrete walls and oak floors, antique mirrors and chandeliers, worn leather chairs and South American antiques.  If Peruvian food in this country needs a template for the future, Del Campo is surely one of the most exciting new restaurants of this era.

Del Campo is open for lunch Mon.-Fri. and for dinner nightly.


2800 Clarendon Boulevard

Arlington, VA


        Another Latin-American restaurant--this time mostly Mexican--has made a big splash over in Arlington, Virginia, where Chef Jeff Tunks, Gus DiMillo, and David Wizenberg took over a defunct, two-story eatery and turned it into a riot of color, with Aztec-style tiles and textiles, mirrors and a copper-clad fire pit, a 50-foot bar with gleaming shelves stocked with more than 120 tequilas (the signature margaritas are terrific), brushed metal barstools, a grand staircase and an outdoor patio. The name of the restaurant means “fire kitchen and tequila bar.”

        This is one of Passion Food Hospitality’s many local restaurants, which include DC Coast, Acadiania, Ceiba, and Passion Fish, and the largess of this newest enterprise is part of the company’s usual m.o.--make it big, make it fun, make it authentic.  Tunks and his crew spent considerable time enlivening traditional Mexican cooking, so start off with a few botanas, Mexican cold and hot plates such as the quesadilla de jaiba packed with lump crabmeat and three chile sauces ($10), or the flautas de pato of juicy shredded duck confit with Oaxacan white cheese and a black mole sauce ($9).

        There are several tangy ceviches and main courses--if you can stop yourself from ordering the small plates--include a pozole verde of hominy with slowly braised pork and green chile ($8); a vegetarian chile with avocado and crème ($8); and a “sizzling skillet” of meats, corn, and tortillas (market price).

        Along with a fine tres leches cake (right) with cream cheese icing and guava sauce ($7), there are desserts you won't find in typical D.C. Mexican eateries, like torejas, a Mexican-style pressed French toast with vanilla ice cream, and cajeta cheese.

        The Latin American bottlings on the wine list are exceptional.

Open for dinner seven nights a week; Tacos & Tortas Mon.-Fri. and for brunch Sat. & Sun.


1050 31st St NW

202- 617 2400

        The most modern and exciting new hotel in the Capital is Capella, located above the C&O Canal in Georgetown and designed by Peter Silling. (Capella also has hotels in Bangkok, Dusseldorf, Singapore and Cabo San Lucas.) The minimalist brickwork of the exterior opens to a glittering foyer and high-ceilinged, very comfortable Living Room, where you may have coffee and rolls in the morning or drinks later on, and artisan craftsmen have been hired to work the polished Austrian woodwork throughout.  

    There are 49 guest rooms and 12 suites, with personal assistants assigned to you who can easily and efficiently tend to any request. In my case, a lost bag, left in the taxi, was retrieved within an hour of my arrival.

        The swank 26-seat Rye Bar has become a prime watering hole in Georgetown, and the sleek 70-seat Grill Room, overlooking the Canal, is where Chef Jacob Esko, from Sweden, shows off his commitment to buying very fine beef that includes a 40-day dry-aged Virginia Prime ribeye with Smoked Gouda, caramelized onions, porcini gratin, beets and a smoked sauce laced with rye for $56--which is $9 less than the steak alone at Bourbon Steak around the corner at The Four Seasons. 
    This, like many other dishes, including fish, Esko cooks on the bone to retain the food’s juiciness. There’s a bargain $29 three-course lunch. And there is a daily rotisserie item, such as chicken with mashed potatoes and vegetables ($29), and pork tenderloin brined in honey mustard with wild mushrooms, fiddlehead ferns and pea sprouts with gnocchi and Sherry sauce ($32).
    The wine list could be a lot longer and less pricey than it currently is.

        I also like the nice touches like the Champagne cart with some exclusive Taittinger labels, the beef tartare prepared tableside ($20-$26), and the dessert cart, which offers a made-on-the-spot baked Alaska.  Those who shrug that fine dining is dying should see how it's been reformulated in the sleek style of The Grill Room.

The Grill Room is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.


800 F Street, NW


    Billed as an “American Brasserie with French and Asian influences,” this new 160-seat restaurant in Penn Quarter is run by the redoubtable Ashok Bajaj of the Knightsbridge Restaurant Group, which also owns the superb Indian dining room Rasika and the fine Italian spot Bibiana.  Far less focused than those others, Nopa aims to hit too many niches--from raw bar and snacks to sandwiches and burgers, but there is plenty to love on the menu.

    When I visited, the main dining room, done in white brick, rough wood paneling and steel accents, was outlandishly loud, but I’m told that baffling was put in to tamp down the noise; in any case, the room away from the main one is quieter.

    Chef Greg McCarthy, who worked with Jean Georges Vongerichten in New York for six years and at Nobu 57 there, has a talent for richly flavored food, evident in his Chilean sea bass with baby eggplant and spring peas shot through with wasabi ($28);  a vegetarian will be over the moon for the glazed vegetable pastiche in a sweet-sour broth with black quinoa ($18).  I also loved the roasted rockfish with citrus salsa and fingerling potatoes, and, in season, the crisp soft-shell crab with a lush avocado puree scented with basil.  

    The best starter I tried was an expertly rendered terrine of foie gras with carrot and ginger.  For dessert, you can hardly go wrong with the freshly baked madeleine cookies ($7) or the chocolate nougat bar with roasted almond toffee ($9).  And for those with a soul for the South, don’t miss the fried strawberry pies with fromage blanc ice cream ($9).

Nopa is open Mon.-Fri. for lunch and dinner, Sat. for dinner and Sun. for Champagne  brunch ($30) and dinner.


Applebee’s of the Air: American Airlines First Class Dinner
By Andrew Chalk

       Flying back first class from London gave me a chance to board first, sleep on a full-flat seat and take on board something larger than a reading glasses case without being charged more than the price of half a tank of gas. Another perk of first class travel is first class food. American Airlines says its menu selections are “inspired by you and created by our experienced culinary team. So sit back, and satisfy your cravings with the fine cuisine offered onboard.” They then say: “Satisfy your palate with our chef-inspired menu options that range from succulent entrées to light and refreshing selections.”
       Buoyed by such promises,  I eagerly awaited meal service. The glossy, printed menu informed me that I would start with an amuse-bouche of “Chicken Pakora with Mango Chutney” (right). The wait was not to be long. Cabin staff bustled around in the kitchen and reappeared with china bowls containing . . . containing what? Two spherical mediocrities on a cocktail stick atop a miserly portion of chutney. The uninspiring appearance turned out to be this dish’s biggest strength. In the mouth, these pakora were just glutinous balls of tasteless glop. Either the recipe had gone wrong in the kitchen, or these were made of those resins you see on documentaries about industrial plastics. These images show the light snack fritters that I was expecting and they bear no relation to the dense, leaden orbs that we were served.
        On to the starter. I passed on the Thai Chicken and went with the choice of smoked salmon. Salmon is always a good bet at 35,000 feet, owing to its strong taste, and smoked salmon has the strongest salmon taste (below). If the previous course had been arranged by an apprentice on his first day, then this was his second effort.  He seemed to have grasped the rudiments of presentation and constructed a dish that could, with the shaping of the cream cheese and the placement of the folded salmon slices on the blinis, be described as appetizing to look at. The taste was more of a mixed bag.  The strong points were the forceful taste of the salmon (likely raised in a concentration farm in Scotland) on the blinis along with those large capers. But the spring peas in the blinis were bland and the cream cheese must have been some leftover pus from the documentary that inspired the first course.
     Thus far, American Airlines wasn’t doing well. I wanted the names of those chefs who had inspired these dishes. Had they flunked out of the first week of "Hell’s Kitchen"? Did they stage at White Castle?
     Morel mushroom soup tasted like morel mushroom soup and even looked attractive with its deep earth tones against the backdrop of its white serving bowl.  But Americans culinary winning streak was not to last. Seasonal greens with fresh vegetables, asparagus and pesto mozzarella with honey Dijon dressing may have been better described as “grass with gloop.” The oversweet honey Dijon dressing would never get through French customs.  If Paula Lambert of The Mozzarella Company in Dallas had made the airline’s cheese, she could have used it to fill holes in the Deep Ellum sidewalk, not for human consumption.
     The entrée was another step up (confidence-restoring would be too strong a term). Look at the color of that Chateaubriand
(right), as it is luxuriantly called. Perfect medium rare and with gratin potatoes and sautéed leeks that stood up to the strain of high altitude. The tenderloin wasn’t Prime grade , but it wasn’t Kevlar either. A reasonable effort.
      One of the other entrées made me think of home. Crab cakes with spicy hollandaise, warm cabbage, sautéed greens and roasted potatoes were straight from the Sam’s Club freezer case. To compensate for the lack of any crab flavor, they had been weaponized with salt. To paraphrase a million yelpers, “yum.”
     Desserts come on a separate menu and so they should. The Traditional Ice Cream Sundae is Ben and Jerry’s vanilla ice cream scooped into a bowl, drizzled with butterscotch (or hot fudge) from a jar, and sprinkled with pecans from a packet and whipped cream from a can. This masterpiece of culinary technique was so divine that I wanted to ask for a second one.
     All of this gastronomic excess is yours for about $8,600 each way. Although the wine list is a compensating bright spot, I am so glad I used miles to buy my seat as it dulled the disappointment that the pinnacle of what American Airlines does is so appallingly bad. It’s only April, but so far this goes down as my worst meal of the year.


By John Mariani


42 East 20th Street (off Fifth Avenue)

        After the huge success of Union Square Café as both a beacon of good taste in that New York neighborhood and as a standard for a new form of American genial hospitality when it opened in 1985, owner Danny Meyer bided his time before opening another restaurant. 
    Nine years went by before Meyer took the plunge with a nearby space whose name, Gramercy Tavern, aptly described a large restaurant with an upfront bar (left) serving engaging small plates and a multi-room dining area (below) where then Chef Tom Colicchio expanded people’s idea of modern American cuisine. Added to this were a superb wine list and the same warm hospitality that Meyer had been continually refining.  The accolades came fast: it was one of my Best New Restaurants that year in Esquire.

        In the years since, Gramercy Tavern has rarely had an empty seat, and if you want to dine there without booking weeks in advance, make a rez after nine o’clock and you should be good to go. There are a lot of tables and it can get loud, depending on the people seated near you, but the overall ambiance of the place, which is kind of posh tavern-like, is without a scintilla of pretense.  

        Colicchio departed long ago to become a food TV celebrity, but his replacement, since 2006, Michael Anthony (right), has proven himself more than an impressive successor.  Indeed, Anthony’s cooking has a refinement that has gotten stronger over the years, and, given the numbers of guests he has to cook for each night, it is a marvel that the food arrives with such consistency.

        On my last visit there were some uncharacteristic lapses in service (we received no bread until an hour after we sat down) but I count that as a momentary anomaly.  

        The wine list, overseen by beverage director Juliet Pope, is stronger than ever, with global holdings at every price range.

        I was at a table for four, so I had a chance to taste a great array of dishes, and almost every dish was carefully conceived and had remarkable flavor.  The start-off amuse of savory granola with yogurt and arugula was a bit odd, more like a breakfast item than a dinner dish, but this was followed by a fine beef tartare with pine nuts, capers and pickled mushrooms, and a lustrous smoked trout (left) with cipollini purée and pickled onions, two dishes whose sour tang snapped the palate to attention.

        Lobster pappardelle pasta with chorizo, scallions and small, sweet mussels was sumptuous, while a mushroom custard, sunchokes, trout roe and more pickling, this time burdock, was delicious but not a very generous portion for a starter; it would have made a terrific  .

    To see how easily a vegetarian can dine here with pleasure, choose a dish like Anthony’s kabocha squash, mushrooms, ricotta and hazelnuts in a luscious mélange, or the glistening grilled carrots, sweetened with honey, a crunch of pistachios and Cremont cheese that lifted the humble carrot to a rich, satisfying level. (There is a six-course $102 vegetarian menu available.)

    Flounder was simply done, with wild rice, shiitake mushrooms and an enriching lobster sauce, again showing an intelligent marriage of vegetables and protein in perfect balance.  Black bass, too, was in tandem with bok choy, sweet potatoes and a creamy peanut curry sauce.  Some very fine, well-fatted pork loin and deckle--a mottled cut that you rarely see--was wonderfully matched with bitter collards, starchy black lentils and light kohlrabi.

    The first of the desserts was a sweet and tangy grapefruit granité with lime and avocado, which nearly worked; much better was lemon sherbet with poppy seeds, ricotta, hazelnuts and thyme, and then came the big gun sweets--coconut pudding with mango, passion fruit, pistachio and just a hint of sweet basil; and an amusing chocolate banana slice dressed with caramel, sesame and black cardamom and shot of dark rum. The send-off was a happy little coconut and marshmallow fluff cake, almost like a reward for finishing all the veggies.  

    The meal had such a cogent, focused, almost thematic consistency based on the season’s vegetables--the Union Square Green Market is nearby the restaurant--but it also showed the individual spirit of Michael Anthony, who has few peers for this kind of elegant but approachable food without modernist interference.

    So, now two decades old, Gramercy Tavern sails on the calm waters of consistent good taste and attention to the natural order of things in the garden, farm and sea.  It’s a way of cooking whose style is sorely missed in so many of the new flashes in the pan.

Gramercy Tavern is open for lunch Mon.-Fri, and for dinner nightly. At dinner the vegetable tasting course is $102, the seasonal menu $120; a 3-course menu is $92 fixed price.



By John Mariani

    The idea of someday opening Australia’s most illustrious winery was surely not on the mind of Christopher Rawson Penfold (below) back in 1833 when he took his medical exams at London’s Apothecaries’ Hall (left)--the same premises where, this April, Penfolds held an anniversary luncheon commemorating the winery’s 170 years in business.

    During the meal, attended by wine media, negociants, sellers and collectors, in the same room where Dr. Penfolds would have received his degree, several of the estate's wines were poured, including the Yattarna 2011, one of the most expensive chardonnays in the world at $130, made from grapes harvested entirely in Tasmania; Barossa RWT [Red Wine Making Trial] Shiraz 2004 ($150), a big, bold red whose grapes are sourced from vines planted a century ago; and its iconic signature Grange 1999 ($400)--now almost impossible to find--made from 100 percent shiraz; and Great Grandfather Tawny NV ($350), which is said to reflect the tastes of such fortified wines two centuries ago.

    Dr. Penfolds and his wife, Mary, re-located from London in 1843 to South Australia, where they purchased 500 acres they called the Magill Estate, a small part of which they devoted to growing grapes to make fortified wines popular in their day. After the doctor’s death in 1870, Mary remained committed to the winery and it stayed within the family, which retained a majority interest until 1976, after going public in 1962. The company is now called Treasury Wine Estates.

    Today the company owns two wineries, the original Magill Estate and Nuriootpa in the Barossa Valley, and it is widely considered one of Australia’s greatest wineries, pioneers of New World shiraz but also  producing a wide range of white, red and fortified wines. In 2012 Penfolds released a “Block 42” 2004 sold in sealed glass ampoules for $168,000 each--the world’s most expensive bottlings at that time.

    For the 170th anniversary in London, Penfolds celebrated by linking up with one of London’s most glamorous design and furniture companies, Linley (left) on Pimlico Road, to place an imperial bottle (the size of eight regular 750 ml bottles) of Bin 170 Kalimna Shiraz 2010 into a bespoke  wooden case marked with a compass whose lock opens only if turned to the longitude and latitude of the Magill Estate and which hides a secret drawer containing a photographic journey of Kalimna Block 3C as well as a Certificate of Authenticity. To assure the perfect ambiance for the wine in any room it might reside, the case also contains a synthetic hygrometer and bimetal thermometer. The boxes--only seven were made--were said to have taken 80 hours to craft and another 40 to polish, plate and engrave.

The wine itself was made from a single vineyard from old vines, with all grapes handpicked; unblended with other wines, it spends 16 months in French oak. The last time this wine was made was in 1973.

    The wine and case together sell for $60,000, with each buyer’s name and bottle number customized by Linley. Out of 5,544 bottles of the wine made, only 240 will go to the U.S., for $1,800 a bottle. 

    In addition, Penfolds has installed an intimate namesake wine room within the Linley store where its wines may be tasted--free of charge, because the store has no license to sell wine.

    The next day I had a chance to taste more Penfolds wines at a spectacular new wine shop named Hedonism and at one of London’s most historic wine stores, Berry Brothers & Rudd (below), whose clients, since 1698, have included the Royal Family, Lord Byron and the Aga Khan. Sixty-nine cases of the firm's wines were on the Titanic when it sank in 1912.

    Over a lunch of hen’s eggs and asparagus, braised ox cheeks and Cumbrian beef, and chocolate dessert with citrus jelly, we drank a Penfolds Reserve Bin 09A Chardonnay 2009 ($130); Grange 1989 (difficult to find except on eBay!); and Bin 7 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon 1967 ($1,285), which, like all the Penfolds reds I tasted, showed a remarkable vigor and maturation despite their age.  The 1967 still had mellow tannins, the aroma of truffles, and the fine fruit of the shiraz grape.

    (Be aware that most of these wines come in very small quantities to the U.S. market, but Penfolds Bin 389, aged in American oak and often called “Baby Grange,” and Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon, both $69, as well as Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz at $30 have good distribution in the States.)

    It was quite a celebratory weekend, especially for an Australian wine whose London-bred and educated founder left England  to seek a livelihood in a new world ten thousand miles away.  But no matter how long it takes, it’s always nice to come home to brag.

To see how Bin 170 was made, watch the video here:>




"The night of the lunar eclipse, I was having a late supper at Red Medicine out on Wilshire, a few tables over from a man who had decided to dress as Jesus for the evening, a slender young man with long, straight hair and white robes flowing around his ankles. I can't be sure, but I think he ordered the tasting menu."--Jonathan Gold,
"Red Medicine, a little like punk rock and splendid in its own way," LA Times (4/25/14)


A Beer Festival on June 28  will be held at Sunny Rest Resort in Palmerton, PA,  a "relaxed clothes-free resort."


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

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: SANTA FE'S FIVE BEST CHILE BURGERS

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).

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,   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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