Virtual Gourmet

  January 15,   2016                                                                                             NEWSLETTER

Sit-in at Woolworth lunch counter in Jackson, Mississippi, 1963.
 Photo by Fred Blackwell



By John Mariani


By John Mariani



by Geoff Kalish


By John Mariani

Boston Food Market, circa 1950

    Boston is, actually, a very small city:  A compact 90 square miles that seem laid out by divining rod. Population is just 667,000. The city has only one area code. The smallest suspension bridge in the world is in the Boston Gardens.  You can walk the entire Freedom Trail in about an hour.
     I think it is that smallness that makes this richly historic city so easy to walk around (forget driving or mass transport!) and to find so many fascinating attractions, which include a very vibrant restaurant segment, from the 19th century Durgin-Park and the Union Oyster House to the Italian storefronts of the North End, to the stately hotel dining rooms and expanding ethnic eateries of the South End.
    I never tire going to Boston to seek out what’s new and to bask in what’s old.  Here are the results of my most recent visit, which included a dinner at the big, bustling Capo restaurant (right) in South Boston, where Chef Toni Susi prepared a superb meal for about 30 guests of dishes from my book How Italian Food Conquered the World, while still keeping the rest of the restaurant clientele very happy and well fed. I am very grateful and look forward to going back to try more of his cooking.



3 Mechanic Street

    This is actually a new Mare location in the North End—Boston’s Little Italy—for owner Frank DePasquale, who also runs the always packed Bricco next door.  As the name says, there is a crudo bar and locally sourced oyster program, and Chef Nello Caccioppoli is very committed to sustainable seafood and has the contacts from which to get the best.
    Mare’s is a smart, uncluttered design, with white marble walls, floors and bars, while outdoors, with a retractable awning, features lounge seating and fire pits that allow guests to bask into early autumn.
            Among the appetizers I recommend are the lovely zucchini blossoms stuffed with ricotta and lobster, served with mixed greens and more lobster meat ($17.99), and the pristine, wonderfully seasoned kampachi tartare with spoonbill caviar ($18.99). 
    Skip the humdrum buffalo mozzarella with tomatoes and basil pesto ($17.99); instead opt for one of the excellent seafood pastas—lobster ravioli with fava beans, smoked bacon and a cream sauce ($24.99), risotto with perfectly cooked shrimp, scallops, calamari and Italian cherry tomatoes ($24.99) or tagliatelle with fresh lobster, shaved black truffles, tomato and lobster sauce ($29.99), all in portions ideal for two people to share.

    Prices at Mare are remarkably moderate for the abundance of food on the plate, like the silky Alaskan black cod pan-seared in olive oil and served with lobster-stuffed bell pepper and a butternut squash fondue ($28.99).  And if there seems to be a lot of lobster on the menu, who’s fool enough to complain?
    General Manager Rita D’Angelo is one of Boston’s beloved restaurant people, and a great deal of the success of Mare is owed directly to the enthusiasm and Italian brio of her personality and considerable charisma.  This woman wants you to eat well.  She’ll nudge you to try what just came in that day.  She wants you to drink good wine, have a wonderful time.  Toast life!  It is impossible not to give in.

Open nightly for dinner.

79 Park Plaza

    Doretta is veteran chef-restaurateur Michael Schlow’s homage to his wife Adrienne’s Greek background—she created and crafted the amazing, very beautiful, shimmering 60-foot wall in the dining room—and many of the recipes are from her family.  No man has ever paid better tribute to the woman and the women behind the woman he loves.
    At dinner you can arrange a “Greek Family Dinner” ($75), which will include the irresistible spreads and mezze ($7 each), which are so good that you could feast all night by just ordering an array—then maybe another array—of these brilliantly colored dishes of chickpeas fragrant with  rosemary and toasted cumin, or smoky roasted eggplant with walnuts, peppers and feta cheese.  There are crunchy zucchini chips with a cucumber yogurt ($12);  roasted carrots with onion, yogurt and spiced granola ($14); and succulent braised lamb with orzo pasta, spinach, cheese and Kalamata olive-spiced breadcrumbs ($16).
    The grilled, lightly charred octopus with onions, capers, parsley and Greek olive oil  ($18) is some of the best you’ll find in the city, and don’t miss the crispy lamb meatballs scented with cumin and lavished with brilliant red tomato sauce, creamy yogurt and nigella seed ($14).  Better order more than one portion of the warm shrimp (left) with lemon, dill, chili and bread crumbs ($14) because they will be fought over.
    There is, of course, a whole grilled fish of the day (MP), and as well as a house-made pasta with stewed rabbit, cinnamon, chili and kefalotiri goat’s milk cheese ($26).  Lamb shoulder is cooked very slowly--for 15 hours--so the meat falls from the bone, served with fava beans and quinoa tabouli ($32).
    For dessert it’s tough to decide among simple Greek yogurt with candied walnuts and thick Attic honey ($9), or the fragile baklava with a smoked apple gelato ($10), or Mimi’s Greek cookie plate ($9).
    I applaud the inclusion of three dozen Greek wines on the list at Doretta, along with scores more of Italian and French wines, though I wince at some of the markups, like 300 percent on a bottle like the Darydas Xinomavro ( $72).

Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner nightly.

780 Boylston Street
Ring Road


    Boston may have more great woman chef-restaurateurs than any city in America—Lydia Shire, Barbara Lynch, Ana Sortun, Marisa Iocco, Joanne Chang, among others—and one of the first was Jody Adams, who long ago set a high standard for Italian food at Rialto in Cambridge (now closed).  Now, with partner Sean Griffing and chef-partner Eric Papachristos, she has opened in Back Bay one of the sunniest, most evocative Mediterranean restaurants this side of Gibraltar.
     The whole room lies within expanses of glass, with an open kitchen, bare wood tables, pin lights tucked into delicate fishing nets, and bright blue and white Mediterranean colors throughout.  You won’t think you’re on the seafront at Thessaloniki (where Papachristos was raised), but when twilight comes on, Back Bay takes on a rosy-fingered glow.
    At lunch time Porto’s menu is fairly unremarkable—lobster roll, lamb burger, skirt steak—but at dinner everything shifts into the Mediterranean mode, although since I visited in early fall the menu now seems to skewer a bit more towards Italy than Greece.  There are several raw items, along with fried, curried oysters with a lemon aïoli ($13); tender clams rich with guanciale bacon, and the scent of fennel on grilled bread ($17); creamy salt cod brandade with sunchoke and parsley crostini ($14); and colorful squid ink bucatini with a bite of chorizo ($16).  I particularly loved the translucent raw scallops ($16) with chamomile, Niçoise olives and lemon balm (left).
    The main courses feature simply grilled seafood, as well as a fried whole fish with okra, fennel, radish and an aïoli ($30) and a fine, ruddy seafood stew teeming with hake, mussels, squid, and yellow-eyed beans ($28).
    For dessert ($9-$12) I recommend the Greek yogurt pannacotta with almond-pistachio and filo or the  ginger and pear galette with a crunch of sesame seeds.
   It would be nice to see more good Greek wines by the glass on a list that tilts, wisely, towards whites. 

Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. 


1 Kendall Square, Cambridge

Photos by Ken Goodman

    I long ago gave up any notions that good barbecue cannot be made north of the Mason-Dixon Line or northeast of Texas, and Smoke Shop proves the point.  As well it should, given owner Andy Husbands’ rep for garnering the title of World Barbeque Champion Chef and a slew of regional championships.
    Twenty years experience has honed his craft, so Husbands calls his barbecue “a modern competition-style barbecue,” or “City Q,” drawing on styles from Memphis, Kansas City and Texas, with Asian influences and New England seasonality. To sweeten the message, Smoke Shop stocks more than a hundred American whiskeys.
    You just have to look at the accompanying photos to see that it is the real deal: pulled pork ($31) and pork rinds, with a bucket of cold Buds; perfectly charred ribs ($31) with nice touches of collards, white beans, watermelon and pickles.  Chicken wings are such a cliché, but Husbands adds his own spices and agave to give them a new twist ($18.95); he also does an excellent buttermilk brined fried chicken with ranch dressing ($18). There’s also burnt ends of beef ($20). And, although these prices are on the high side—this is Boston, not Brownsville, after all—two side dishes are included.  It almost seems a winking joke that they serve crispy tofu and Brussels sprouts with a farro salad ($19), which makes me recall the scene in the movie Son of Paleface when Harvard man Bob Hope sheepishly orders sarsaparilla in a rowdy western saloon, then snarls, “And put it in a dirty glass.”
    Smoke Shop is a big, wide open place, with outside tables in good weather, and manager Ian Grossman never seems to flag in his eagerness to please.  Located as it is in Kendall Square, you’ll be rubbing elbows with the techie nerds from M.I.T, but they’re too busy on their cell phones and laptops to get in your way of having a good time.  So bring your proud friend from North Carolina or your bragging Texan ‘cue expert.  They may have to eat some crow.

Open 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Mon.-Sat. 




By John Mariani
Photos by Samira Bouaou

132 West 58th Street (near Seventh Avenue)

    Loi Estiatorio without Maria Loi would not really be Loi. 
    Of course, one could say that about many restaurants whose owner’s name is on the awning, but in so few cases these days do those owners ever set foot in their own establishments.  When you enter Loi, you’ll always find Loi everywhere.
    She’s the vivacious Greek woman with the blond bob, the big glasses, the white chef’s coat and a ribboned medallion. She may be at the bar signing copies of her latest book, The Greek Diet (Harper Collins)—she’s written 35—or she may be posing for photos with her admiring guests.
    More than anything it is her infectious spirit—what the Greeks call efforia—that sets the ambiance at Loi, a slender room with seascape murals of Nafpakt
os, the town where Maria was born. The place seems just big enough to be her own home’s dining room, and everybody in the place seems to know her, or wants to know her.
    Maria arrived in New York a few years ago and fell in love with the city, and she was determined to bring her own spirit of Greek cookery to town, at first, in 2011, in a too-large restaurant on the Upper West Side.  The new, smaller quarters (60 seats) on West 58th Street, almost two years old, are a better fit all around.  I just wish they turned up the lighting a bit, which would add even more to the conviviality.  I am grateful, though, that the noise level in the room is wholly civilized. Thick white tablecloths help.
    Before emigrating to NYC, Maria Loi had been appointed the official Ambassador of Greek Gastronomy—twice—by the Chef’s Club of Greece; she had her own TV show on PBS, “Cooking with Loi,” and she cooked at the Obama White House for 250 guests, and last year was invited to be a panelist at the Mediterranean Diet Roundtable Conference in LA.  She even has her own Greek food line at Whole Foods Market, and keeps a namesake restaurant back home in Nafpaktos.
    The menu at Loi is in three parts: Classic Greek dishes, “Village Dishes” and Maria’s own specialties, so it’s good to order from each and to consult with the very helpful staff.  Maria points out that none of her food is fried, which is one of the things that distinguishes her restaurant from a taverna.
     The wine list is modest, with high mark-ups: A Dougos Assyrtikos that costs $16 in a wine shop, $62 here, and a Porto Carras red is $25 versus $88.
    Complimentary pougi is an
amuse bouche of thick, housemade yogurt, feta, roasted cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs, Greek oregano, and olive oil, all baked in parchment paper and served warm tableside. (Incidentally, in her book Maria says she used to have food fights with her sister, throwing yogurt at each other, then using it to moisturize their faces.)
    With the yogurt comes a basket of both whole grain pitas and, unexpectedly, some delicious cornbread biscuits.  I was a bit surprised that this basket was not replenished throughout the evening, which is customary in Greek restaurants. 
    The appetizer portion of the menu toes a fairly predictable line, including grilled halloumi cheese with lemon, olive oil and fragrant Greek oregano ($17);  a salad of tomato, red onion, green pepper, cucumber, Kalamata olives, feta and olive oil ($16); and a savory spinach pie with dill, mint, feta and phyllo ($15).  Delightfully out of the ordinary was stuffed eggplant with zucchini, bell peppers, onion, tomato and rich Greek-style béchamel ($18), which was also layered into a Greek lasagna with slowly cooked spiced beef, tomato, house-made pasta and myrzithra cheese ($29).  Crispy octopus croquettes ($18) were new to me, little balls of ground, seasoned octopus, pleasant but a bit bland.  Another octopus dish was a signature special, ha
tapodaki stin schara, slowly cooked, then grilled, tossed in ladolemono lemon-olive oil emulsion and served over a bed of fava purée with capers, red-wine macerated onions and topped with micro chives ($21). 
    Lamb shank is a hearty, succulent dish, suffused with red wine and abundant with tomato, onion, and lamb jus and sided with orzo ($39).  Special one night were good-sized langoustines (MP) with fat bodies and sweet meat, simply graced with olive oil and lemon, much the same as the star dish of the evening—a lavraki (sea bass or branzino) whose flavor showed every sign of having been recently plucked from the Mediterranean rather than a fish farm. Served with arugula ($39), it was as simple and perfect as seafood from that part of the world gets.
    Don’t miss ordering some side dishes like the gigante beans braised in tomato with spinach ($11) or the cauliflower steeped in tomato ($12).   
     For dessert (all $10) you could be very happy with more of that wonderful yogurt, now lavished with Cretan honey and walnuts, or any of the phyllo-pastry items, one with custard and cinnamon, but I was most delighted by a very dense cake of very fine, light chocolate called sokolakopita made with olive oil.
    At meal’s end, as the room empties out, you may well want to stick around and sip strong Greek coffee and an after-dinner mastiha, a resinous Greek liqueur.  Leaving a room this warm and hospitable is not that easy, and Maria Loi is happy to have you linger.

Loi Estiatorio offers lunch Monday through Friday, and dinner daily.  There is a $44 prix fixe pre-theater dinner.




by Geoff Kalish


    Often called “liquid gold” because of its color and price, Madeira was once the most popular wine in the 13 colonies. In fact, it was the libation used by our forefathers to toast the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Moreover, George Washington was reputed to have consumed a pint of this purposely oxidized, fortified beverage daily.
    However, during the past three hundred years, along with the abandonment of tri-corner hats and powdered wigs, overall U.S. consumption of this prized beverage had dwindled down to minuscule levels—well overshadowed by the likes of California Chardonnay, Cabernet and anything French, Italian or Spanish.
    According to  Mannie Berk of the Rare Wine Company, a leading U.S. authority on the topic, a number of reasons account for the decline in popularity of Madeira.  Made since the 17th century on the Portuguese island of the same name (part of an Atlantic archipelago west of Morocco), the wine was “fortified” by the addition of alcohol to prevent spoilage when shipped in barrels across the Atlantic to America (a prime customer). Not surprisingly, because of the heat in the “holds” of the ships, the wine became highly oxidized during the voyage, adding a unique bouquet and taste that the colonists fancied.
    But in 1800 the U.S. imposed a three-fold increase in import duty on Madeira. Then in the 1850s the grapes were infected with a fungal disease (Odium) and then by a plant louse in the 1870’s, with an overall decrease in quality. Next came Prohibition, followed by a trend towards lower-alcohol wines. On the up side, Berk and others closely involved in the Madeira trade note, adventurous U.S. consumers, many of whom seem to favor higher alcohol content in their libations, are now discovering the product. In fact, Blake Murdock, managing director of the Rare Wine Company, notes that “the U.S. resurgence in Madeira over the past 10 years has been the driver for enhanced worldwide interest in the product.”  But he and Berk strongly feel that to continue the rush for this liquid gold, consumers need to better understand the basics of the product and be open to tasting it.
    Though perhaps oversimplified, the basics are as follows: Madeira is still made on the same Portuguese island as in the 1700s from any of a number of grapes, but primarily the Sercial, Verdelho, Bual, Malmsey and Tinta Negra Mole varietals. During fermentation brandy is added to fortify the wine and then it’s “cooked” by either heating the wine to a temperature of about 120 degrees Fahrenheit for a few days or, preferably, by exposure of the barrels to the heat of the sun for a period of three or more years. Generally, the final product contains about 20% alcohol and varying degrees of sweetness—depending on when the brandy was added to stop the fermentation of grape sugar into alcohol. 
    But, no matter what varietal is used, the wine is produced to contain a lively acidity that prevents the sweeter styles from acquiring a cloying taste. When labeled with the name of a particular grape varietal, such as Sercial or Malmsey, the wine must contain at least 85% of the juice of that grape and generally contains a prescribed, pre-determined degree of sweetness.
    For example, most Madeira produced from Sercial is light in color and body, with a bouquet and taste of almonds; that from Verdelho is slightly sweet with a smoky fragrance and flavor; Bual is sweet with a taste of raisins and apricots; and Malmsey is dark in color, with a rich taste of caramel and notes of honey. An additional style, very popular in the U.S., is “Rainwater,” which is primarily made from the Tinta Negra Mole varietal and is similar in color and body to the lighter Sercial but closer in taste to the slightly sweeter Verdelho.
    Aging also plays a big part in the aesthetics (and price) of Madeira, with the following major categories (only used for wine made from a least 85% of the Sercial, Verdelho, Bual or Malmsey grapes):

Reserve denotes a wine usually made from multiple vintages that  is aged a minimum of five years.

Special Reserve is usually made from multiple vintages but aged at least 10 years.

Extra Reserve is usually made from multiple vintages but must be aged at least 15 years.

Colheita  must be made from a single vintage and aged at least 5 years in casks.

Vintage Madeira must be made from a single vintage and aged for at least 19 years in casks and one year in the bottle before release.

    For example, a Special Reserve Sercial would be a fairly dry wine with an almond flavor made from grapes harvested in multiple vintages and aged at least 10 years—such as Barbieto Sercial Charleston Special Reserve, retailing for about $50 a 750ml bottle.  And a Bual would be a rather sweet wine with a raisin and apricot taste made from grapes harvested from a single vintage and aged at least 20 years—such as Blandy’s 1969 Vintage Bual, retailing for about $230.
    Once bottled, Madeira does not usually improve with age but can retain its bouquet and taste for extensive periods of time. Bottles should be stored in an upright position because the high alcohol content and generally long storage periods can cause deterioration of the cork. After being opened, the wine can be stored in the bottle, or in a lead-free decanter, and will usually not diminish in bouquet and taste for at least six months.     When serving Madeira it should be at room temperature so as to show as much aroma as possible and, while it’s traditional to serve the wine in port-type glasses, I find little difference in the effect of glassware on the wine’s aesthetics.
    When matching Madeira with food, I find that Sercial mates particularly well with hors d’oeuvres ranging from smoked salmon to bruschetta to “pigs in the blanket.” Verdelho matches the likes of pâté, triple-crème cheeses and even poached salmon and barbecued chicken. Bual makes a good accompaniment to grilled pork or veal chops and even steaks. And Malmsey adds to the decadence of desserts like bread pudding and crème brûlée and blue-veined cheeses.
    As to the future for Madeira, Murdock comments: “I think the versatility of the wines, along with their singular styles, will continue to expand the market. However, the producers could certainly destroy momentum with crazy price hikes, or they could flood the market with mediocre wines. But the hope is that producers navigate the supply-demand curve with a long-term focus on quality, and on continuing incremental growth.”



At the Gin Tub in the English town of Hove, owner Steve Tyler has covered the walls with   tinfoil  and hung copper along the ceiling, which jams all signals and makes it impossible for patrons to text, tweet, swipe, Instagram, or Snapchat.  Tyler told the BBC, “I’ve seen it progressively get worse and worse and I thought, ‘I want to stop this.'  We like our patrons to enjoy the company of the people they are with not the online people they are not with. We are trying to bring back the art of conversation.  If you sit by the windows you will get a signal or if you really need to make a call please just take the ten steps outside.  Let's all look up and talk."


“Remember a few years ago when we all went nuts for small plates? And how we all bought into it until we realized we were spending just as much money to eat less without having any more fun. Well, Giant, the wonderful four-month-old spot from Jason Vincent, Ben Lustbader (both of Nightwood), and Josh Perlman (Avec), finally makes a definitive case for the movement.”—Jeff Ruby, Giant and Ēma Show the Best and the Blandest of Small Plates,” Chicago Magazine (10/16/16)



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

   The Hound in Heaven (21st Century Lion Books) is a  novella, and for anyone who loves dogs, Christmas, romance, inspiration, even the supernatural, I hope you'll find this to be a treasured  favorite. The  story concerns how, after a New England teacher, his wife and their two daughters adopt a stray puppy found in their barn in northern Maine, their lives seem full of promise. But when tragedy strikes, their wonderful dog Lazarus and the spirit of Christmas are the only things that may bring his master back from the edge of despair. 


“What a huge surprise turn this story took! I was completely stunned! I truly enjoyed this book and its message.” – Actress Ali MacGraw

“He had me at Page One. The amount of heart, human insight, soul searching, and deft literary strength that John Mariani pours into this airtight novella is vertigo-inducing. Perhaps ‘wow’ would be the best comment.” – James Dalessandro, author of Bohemian Heart and 1906.

“John Mariani’s Hound in Heaven starts with a well-painted portrayal of an American family, along with the requisite dog. A surprise event flips the action of the novel and captures us for a voyage leading to a hopeful and heart-warming message. A page turning, one sitting read, it’s the perfect antidote for the winter and promotion of holiday celebration.” – Ann Pearlman, author of The Christmas Cookie Club and A Gift for my Sister.

“John Mariani’s concise, achingly beautiful novella pulls a literary rabbit out of a hat – a mash-up of the cosmic and the intimate, the tragic and the heart-warming – a Christmas tale for all ages, and all faiths. Read it to your children, read it to yourself… but read it. Early and often. Highly recommended.” – Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author of Pinkerton’s War, The Sinking of The Eastland, and The Walking Dead: The Road To Woodbury.

“Amazing things happen when you open your heart to an animal. The Hound in Heaven delivers a powerful story of healing that is forged in the spiritual relationship between a man and his best friend. The book brings a message of hope that can enrich our images of family, love, and loss.” – Dr. Barbara Royal, author of The Royal Treatment.


The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink by John F. Mariani (Bloomsbury USA, $35)

Modesty forbids me to praise my own new book, but let me proudly say that it is an extensive revision of the 4th edition that appeared more than a decade ago, before locavores, molecular cuisine, modernist cuisine, the Food Network and so much more, now included. Word origins have been completely updated, as have per capita consumption and production stats. Most important, for the first time since publication in the 1980s, the book includes more than 100 biographies of Americans who have changed the way we cook, eat and drink -- from Fannie Farmer and Julia Child to Robert Mondavi and Thomas Keller.

"This book is amazing! It has entries for everything from `abalone' to `zwieback,' plus more than 500 recipes for classic American dishes and drinks."--Devra First, The Boston Globe.

"Much needed in any kitchen library."--Bon Appetit.

Now in Paperback, too--How Italian Food Conquered the World (Palgrave Macmillan)  has won top prize  from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.  It is a rollicking history of the food culture of Italy and its ravenous embrace in the 21st century by the entire world. From ancient Rome to la dolce vita of post-war Italy, from Italian immigrant cooks to celebrity chefs, from pizzerias to high-class ristoranti, this chronicle of a culinary diaspora is as much about the world's changing tastes, prejudices,  and dietary fads as about our obsessions with culinary fashion and style.--John Mariani

"Eating Italian will never be the same after reading John Mariani's entertaining and savory gastronomical history of the cuisine of Italy and how it won over appetites worldwide. . . . This book is such a tasteful narrative that it will literally make you hungry for Italian food and arouse your appetite for gastronomical history."--Don Oldenburg, USA Today. 

"Italian restaurants--some good, some glitzy--far outnumber their French rivals.  Many of these establishments are zestfully described in How Italian Food Conquered the World, an entertaining and fact-filled chronicle by food-and-wine correspondent John F. Mariani."--Aram Bakshian Jr., Wall Street Journal.

"Mariani admirably dishes out the story of Italy’s remarkable global ascent to virtual culinary hegemony....Like a chef gladly divulging a cherished family recipe, Mariani’s book reveals the secret sauce about how Italy’s cuisine put gusto in gusto!"--David Lincoln Ross,

"Equal parts history, sociology, gastronomy, and just plain fun, How Italian Food Conquered the World tells the captivating and delicious story of the (let's face it) everybody's favorite cuisine with clarity, verve and more than one surprise."--Colman Andrews, editorial director of The Daily

"A fantastic and fascinating read, covering everything from the influence of Venice's spice trade to the impact of Italian immigrants in America and the evolution of alta cucina. This book will serve as a terrific resource to anyone interested in the real story of Italian food."--Mary Ann Esposito, host of PBS-TV's Ciao Italia.

"John Mariani has written the definitive history of how Italians won their way into our hearts, minds, and stomachs.  It's a story of pleasure over pomp and taste over technique."--Danny Meyer, owner of NYC restaurants Union Square Cafe,  The Modern, and Maialino.



FEATURED LINKS: I am happy to  report that the Virtual Gourmet is  linked to four excellent travel sites:

Everett Potter's Travel  Report

I consider this the best and savviest blog of its kind on the  web. Potter is a columnist for USA Weekend, Diversion, Laptop and Luxury  Spa Finder, a contributing editor for Ski and  a frequent contributor to National  Geographic Traveler,  and Elle Decor. "I’ve designed this site is for people who take their  travel seriously," says Potter. "For travelers who want to learn about special  places but don’t necessarily want to pay through the nose for the privilege of  staying there. Because at the end of the day, it’s not so much about five-star  places as five-star experiences."  THIS WEEK: GUESTHOUSE AT GRACELANDS; NEW PARIS RESTAURANT

Eating Las Vegas JOHN CURTAS has been covering the Las Vegas food and restaurant scene since 1995. He is the co-author of EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants (the fourth edition of which will be published in early 2016), as well as the author of the Eating Las Vegas web site: www.eatinglasvegas. He can also be seen every Friday morning as the “resident foodie” for Wake Up With the Wagners on KSNV TV (NBC) Channel 3  in Las Vegas.


nickonwine: An engaging, interactive wine column by Nick Passmore, Artisanal Editor, Four Seasons Magazine; Wine Columnist,;;

MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly.  Editor/Publisher: John Mariani. Editor: Walter Bagley. Contributing Writers: Christopher Mariani, Robert Mariani,  Misha Mariani, John A. Curtas, Geoff Kalish, Mort Hochstein, and Brian Freedman. Contributing Photographers: Galina Dargery. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.

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