Virtual Gourmet

  March 19, 2023                                                                                             NEWSLETTER

Founded in 1996 


Jude Law and Susan Sarandon in "Alfie" (2004)



By Geoff Kalish


By John Mariani

By John Mariani


By John Mariani


On this week's episode of my WVOX Radio Show "Almost Golden," on Wed. March 22 at 11AM EDT I will be interviewing Sal Scognamillo, owner of the famous celebrity Theater District Restaurant PATSY's. Go to: The episode will also be archived at: almostgolden.


By Geoff Kalish

"1.8 Renwick" Janet Eckleman (2015)


    A recent visit to Washington, DC emphasized the point that more than a city of government office buildings, monuments and insurrections, the U.S. capital presents visitors with numerous wonderful museums and a wide variety of reasonably priced, excellent restaurants. In addition, it features a large assortment of lodging facilities within walking distance of the main attractions.  
   We found the new Salamander Hotel (formerly the Mandarin Oriental) a great place to stay from a standpoint of elegance, facilities, price and location. Situated along the Potomac River, within easy walking distance of the National Mall, major museums and the new “wharf area,” the hotel offers a plush spa, indoor swimming pool and 373 elegantly modern, spacious rooms with a number overlooking the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials.  And, while at this time the hotel restaurant only offers breakfast and lunch, there’s a more than adequate 24- hour room service menu. And another feature is top-notch Concierge service with sage advice and directions to museums and restaurants.

        As for museums, we visited nine in total with the following highlights: The West Building of the National Gallery of Art  features paintings and sculptures  from the 13th to early 20th century, including a room of Rembrandts, numerous works by Tiepolo, a room containing a series of paintings by Louis Maurice Boutet de Monval on the life of Joan of Arc and a bevy of paintings by French impressionists, including Monet, Degas, Pissaro, Renoir and Gaugin.
        Also not to be missed is the sculpture garden, just outside the museum, containing works by contemporary artists like Tony Smith and Mark di Suvero as well as classics from Calder and Miro. The Hirshhorn Museum—which I call  “The Museum of Way Out Art,” whose current exhibit of rooms by Yayoi Kusama (“One With Eternity”—is open through the Spring, along with a permanent room by Laurie Anderson.
        Adjacent to the Hirshhorn there’s the National Museum of Asian Art (Sackler Gallery), with a thought-provoking exhibit of contemporary photography from India entitled “Unstill Waters,” that explores the social impact of recent environmental changes.
        At the Smithsonian National Museum of American History there’s ongoing exhibits on food and transportation with a focus on the involvement of African Americans in these two industries; and at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art there’s an extensive exhibit about “Nollywood,” the growing Nigerian movie industry with an output of nearly 2,500 films a year.
        The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum offers an insightful exhibit of the invention of the first ever “heavier than air” manned flight by the Wright Brothers. There’s an exhibit about “America’s Response to the Holocaust” at the National Holocaust Museum examining the motives, pressures and fears that molded America’s response to Nazism and the holocaust.
        A not to-be missed exhibit at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (near the White House) is Janet Eckleman’s installation of fibers and lights, exploring the interconnection between humans and the physical world. And, at the Phillips Collection, in Dupont Circle, there’s an impressive array of 70  paintings of little-known Italian impressionist painter Giuseppi de Nittis.




Mi Vida
98 District Square SW

        Located in the new “wharf area,” this 400-seat establishment (there’s another on 14th Street) serves upscale Mexican cuisine in a number of surprisingly cozy, quiet spaces. An order of guacamole with crab and shrimp salpiçon, habanero and cilantro ($2), that had just the right about of tongue-tingling spice was served with a large bowl of crisp, addictive house-made chips. We also shared an order of tacos stuffed with crispy cod bathed in tartar sauce and avocado salsa, ($29)
       For main courses we chose a plate of whole roasted butterflied branzino, half coated with red and half with green spicy adobo and accompanied by black beans ($36) and an order of enchiladas filled with braised chicken breasts covered in a creamy combination of buttery chihuahua cheese and tomatillo sauces ($22). We concluded with a trio of fruity sorbets ($8) and accompanied the meal with a bottle of  2016 Bodegas Elias Mora “Crianza” Toro wine that had bright flavors of ripe cherries and cassis.


RPM Italian
650 K St. NW

        Located in the city’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, this restaurant, part of a small chain out of Chicago, features a sleek, modern interior, upscale Italian fare and attentive professional service. Moreover, there’s an excellent wine list offering some exceptional bottles at somewhat reasonable prices.
        We started with appetizers of a moist, Waygu beef carpaccio ($23) rolled up with crisp arugula, topped with Parmesan crisps and drizzled with truffle aïoli ($12), as well as a heady cremini mushroom wood-oven pizzette. We followed that with a salad of thinly shredded Brussels sprouts mixed with avocado and mildly spicy “Mamma Lil” peppers ($14).
        For main courses we chose an order of spicy King crab shards atop briny-flavored squid ink spaghetti ($28), and an order of  large, dewy sea scallops coated with a pistachio pesto ($34).       
We accompanied the meal with a bottle of 2019 Passarosso Etna Rosa from Nerello Mascalese, gown in various vineyards along the slope of Mount Etna, that showed a bouquet and flavor of cherries and pomegranate with a touch of acidity in its memorable finish. And in lieu of dessert we shared a glass of sweet, honeyed 2019 Maculan Torcolato de Breganze.




45 Rockefeller Plaza

By John Mariani

Interior and food photos by
Gentl + Hyers

            Rockefeller Center has been one of New York’s glories since its beginnings in 1933 and completion in 1939, a daunting rebuke to that decade’s Depression proving that, with its sunken ice rink and ring of international flags, Radio City Music Hall and stunning limestone and glass skyscrapers, it is the epitome of High Art Deco.
            Over the decades there have been many fine restaurants, including the Rainbow Room and the Sea Grill, within its 22 acres, but in the past year all previous ones have been replaced with brand new ones by the Center’s current owners, Tishman Speyer, including Le Rock, which is located in one of the finest buildings to the north of the ice rink.  Its façade has some wondrous bas-relief sculptures.
        Le Rock is owned by Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr, who three decades ago ran the kitchen at Balthazar, then opened their own acclaimed Frenchette’s in TriBeCa, which toed much the same line of brasserie fare. Le Rock is much larger, with 130 seats (the space was previously Brasserie Ruhlmann), now with terrazzo floors, pastel colors of blue and dusty pink, burled wooden tables, green leather banquettes, beautiful verdigris metalwork and a cast iron bronze bar.
            A press release calls Le Rock “quietly grand,” but all those hard surfaces and very tall ceilings make it intensely loud and conversation is difficult, especially since the space is almost always jammed with two or three turnovers a night. Buffering would help, as would tablecloths. And turning off the booming music would, too.

            Hanson and Nasr, together with chef Walter Stern, offer a fairly long menu largely made up of brasserie/bistro classics you’ll find elsewhere in town, but a good  number you almost never do. I’m told the original menu, upon Le Rock’s opening last summer, was all in French, though now it’s mostly in English. It wouldn’t hurt, however,  to give translations for unfamiliar dishes like cervelle de canut (a Lyonnaise cheese spread; $8)  and tablier de sapeur (fried tripe; $8).
            The menu is categorized under “Cette Semaine” (“this week”), an assortment of small bites that when I visited included those two dishes above along with wonderful Moroccan crispy pastries popular along the French Riviera called barbajuans ($13), stuffed with pumpkin, rice, leeks and padano cheese.  One is advised to pop them in your mouth (once they cool down) or risk a spurt of hot juices down your chin.
            The ramekin of creamy chicken liver mousse with a glaze of Port jelly ($8) goes well with the first-rate baguette bread from Frenchette’s, also ideal for spreading on the ivory-colored brandade of cod ($8) that is admirably not at all fishy. Best of all, the amuses are the marinated sardines escabèche ($15), which, again not fishy, are some of the most flavorful I’ve had in a very long time. The flesh slips off the bone and tantalizes the palate in one bite.
            Next are the appetizers, none of which is large enough for sharing. Agnolotti ($24) were tender, buttery little packets of  trumpet mushrooms and chopped chestnuts. Escargots bourguignons ($26) were about par for the course, as were rather pricey grilled leeks vinaigrette ($26). But the onion soupe gratinée ($26)—a requisite dish for every brasserie/bistro—was surprisingly bland, pale in color, with little indication of the onions being caramelized to a deep, dark brown.
            Main courses are heartier still. The best I tried was the fat boudin blanc, juicy white veal sausage over tangy-sweet braised cabbage ($38). I sampled two fish dishes, both nicely cooked, including a cod with truffled salsify noisette ($52) and a delicious halibut cooked in vin jaune (“yellow wine” from the Jura) cream sauce that suffused the flesh ($56).  Poulet roti espelette ($42) was first brined , then dusted with espellette peppers, pimento, mushroom powder and sugar that caramelized the skin to a mahogany color, served with irresistible panisse chickpea fritters .  
Desserts, by Mariah Neston and Michelle Palazzo, do a slight turn on classic profiteroles ($16) that makes them even better than usual in texture and the flavor of the ice cream. I would never suggest that the soupy hazelnut soufflé I was served that night ($20) always comes that way, which was a shame because the flavor was fine.
            The wine list has about 200 labels that include a lot of interesting regional bottlings collected by sommelier/wine director Jorge Riera (who should upgrade his way-too-casual dress), though I wish there was a balance of wines below $100 with those way above that price.
            Service at Le Rock from the greeting to the leaving is very friendly, though, like just about every restaurant these days, the staff seems stressed by having too many tables and not enough waiters.
            Le Rock is, for the moment, a big hit and should continue to be, given its location within the urbane heart of Manhattan. (Reservations are tough to come by at some peak hours, but walk-ins are welcome.)   
In a post-Covid world, the enthusiasm of people to dine out in a space like Le Rock is a wondrous antidote to those who would wait in a long line to get into a Brooklyn taqueria. As always, New York proves that sophisticated dining of the kind so many lament is dying is a vibrant part of its civic soul.


Open for lunch and dinner Tues.-Sat.




By  John Mariani


To read previous chapters of GOING AFTER HARRY LIME go to the archive




 Ploughman's lunch

         For the time being David felt no need to go back to the National Archives. He was simply looking forward to dinner with Katie and a discussion of how to proceed. He couldn’t offer her much support in her quest but eagerly wracked his brain as to how he might help her come to one decision or the other.  It then occurred to him that if they could get in to see someone from MI6 who might share a dossier on Philby or any of those names he’d copied from the American and British archives, it would at least make for something of a coup on Katie’s part. As for himself, David ‘s only interest was in where the leads went and how he could make it easier for Katie to follow them.
          In his hotel room David made a call to Gerald Kiley at Interpol in New York.
         “Cheerio,” said Kiley answering the phone. “What’s up, David?”
         “Sorry to report, not much,” said David. “I haven’t found much in the archives. Katie spent the day with one of  Greene’s old writer friends.  I’ve no idea what she might have found. Anyway, Gerry, I know this is a long shot, but do you think there is any way I could talk to an MI6 agent, even a bureaucrat, who could show me dossiers on a few people of interest?”        
“David, I know a few names, but, even if I vouch for you, there’s no way they’re going to share that stuff with you. You are no longer a cop and you are no longer on a case. And from what you tell me Katie doesn’t even have a confirmed assignment from her magazine. They’re not going to talk to you.”
         “Not even out of professional courtesy?”
         “That and a couple of euros won’t get you on the subway.”
         “They’re not using the euro here. They still use pounds and pence. And it’s called the Underground, not the subway."
         “Whatever. British intelligence isn’t going to talk to you. But, listen, I know you’re not going to want to do it, but why not call your old pal Frank English at the F.B.I.? Maybe he has a contact with an ex-British intel guy.”
         David rolled his eyes and sighed audibly. Frank English had once been a professional and personal friend of David when he was on the NYPD, but English had seriously broken his trust with David during the Capone case and it had soured the relationship. Nonetheless, English had tossed David a bone in the Vermeer case. Maybe he’d do it again.
         “I guess it’s worth a try,” said David. “Maybe patch things up somehow. Thanks, Gerry.”
         “Anytime. Bring me back one of those good English umbrellas.”
         “See what I can do.”
         It was seven o’clock in London but two in Washington, where English worked, so David made the call.  He got an answering machine and David thought, like a high school kid asking for a date, of hanging up without leaving a message.  But English’s phone would already have recorded David’s cell phone number, so David said, “Frank, David Greco. Listen, I’m in London snooping around on a project with Katie Cavuto and I could use your help.  Can you call me back tomorrow any time after nine your time? Appreciate it.”
         David went downstairs and Katie was already there, dressed in black slacks, white blouse and a camel-colored blazer. She was wearing what David used to call Chelsea boots when he was a teenager in the Sixties.
         “Looking very, what’d they used to call it? Mod?” he said.
         “Maybe a touch. Picked up the boots this afternoon at a place on Sloane Street.”
         “So where are we eating?” he asked, not really caring what she chose, even Indian.
         “How about an English pub with good food?”
         “There is such a thing?”
         “According to this book on the best pubs, quite a lot,” she said, opening a thick chunk of a paperback book called The Good Pub Guide. “This one here—Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese—is supposed to date back to the 17th century. Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle all were customers.  Wanna try it?”
         “If the beer’s not too warm, why not?”
         Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese was located on Fleet Street and when David and Katie arrived around eight, the place was packed. Spread over four levels with fireplaces and bars and dungeon-like vaults downstairs, it looked just as all American visitors hope a London pub will. Katie and David took a snug corner table against the wall. Somewhere a parrot was making noise. David seemed lost in the beer and ale options, Katie asked about wines by the glass but ended up ordering a Guinness—her first—and David joined her.
         They ordered pub food: Shepherd’s pie, fish and chips and a plate of cheeses. They spoke for a good half hour about London before getting down to Graham Greene.
         “So how’d your day go?” asked David.
         “That guy Evelyn—pronounced ‘Ee-vlinn’—was very, very interesting,” she answered. “Kept me there for two hours talking, mostly about his own work, but he seems to have known Greene very well and gave me a lot of insight.
         “Like what?”      
“A lot of what he said corroborated what I knew about Greene’s paranoia, Catholic guilt, and unbreakable sense of loyalty to friends, even if the friend had character traits his other friends abhorred.”
         “Say anything about Philby?”
         “I asked him, of course, and he spoke as a writer, to the degree that all fictional characters are composites unless the author’s writing a flat-out satire or parody of a public figure. He said he believed Greene knew more  about Philby than he ever let on and both men went to their graves protecting each other—Greene far more so than Philby, whom Evelyn thought had Greene in his pocket. Anyway, since Philby was exposed so many years after The Third Man came out, Evelyn didn’t see much of a link. Certainly nothing direct.”
         David had felt that was how the interview with Dawes was going to go and hated to tell Katie he hadn’t turned up much else beyond some overlapping lists of black market criminals working in Vienna after the war.
         “The thing is this, Katie. If we keep Philby out of the investigation entirely, we’ve still got a lot of potential contestants for the character of Lime on those lists.  The trouble is, can we”—he didn’t want to say “should we”—“continue to try finding the ones on the list who got away? Or even the ones that didn’t?  I was told by the woman at the Archives that the outcomes of the arrests and prosecutions are most likely deep in court archives, somewhere not easy to find them.  And it would take weeks, if not months. We’ve got to ask ourselves how much time we can afford to pursue them.”
         Katie was finishing her Guinness.
         “Amazing how it keeps its head,” she said of the famous foam the beer produced. “Well, I guess if we eliminate Philby or put him to the side, we’d have to figure out one of those composites Evelyn spoke about.”
         “We did it all the time in police investigations, then whittle it down, toss out the ones who couldn’t possibly have committed the crime, and in the end, well, sometimes we’d get lucky, get a tip, and things started to gel around one individual we’d already looked at a dozen times. But, of course, you and I don’t have the resources of the NYPD.”
         Katie smiled broadly, maybe a little lightheaded, raised her empty glass and said, “No, but we have David Greco, NYPD’s best detective!”
         David said, “Thanks, but, even if that were remotely true, I still had tremendous resources behind me. Here it’s just you and me.”
         Which suited David just fine. A week in London with Katie. So he tried to put a positive spin on things, saying, “Listen, I’ve got a call in to Frank English at the F.B.I.  Maybe he can give us some contact at MI6. Gerry Kiley said there’s no way they’d open any dossiers for us without official approval. But let’s see what Frank says, if, that is, he calls me back.”
         It was now past ten and a light rain was coming down outside the pub. Neither of them had an umbrella but David had a raincoat and gave it to Katie.
         “You can lay it down in a puddle if you have to get across it,” he said, and she bowed her head and said, “Thank you, m’lord.”
         Getting a cab was not easy but they finally snared one and headed back to the hotel.
         “So, get a good night’s sleep, Katie.”
         “La-dee-dah, tomorrow is another day.”
         “And we get to spend it in London.  I’ll let you know if I hear from Frank.”
         Both of them dozed off in their beds thinking this had all been a nice idea, didn’t cost them much, and that, even if they’d hit a dead end, it was still  worth it.

John Mariani, 2016



By John Mariani


         The crocuses are poking their way up through the earth, it’s still light at six o’clock and there is a whiff of springtime in the morning air. Which means the foods of springtime will soon be in the markets and stalls—ramps, asparagus, shad roe, peas, strawberries, mint, baby lamb and more. And that offers the opportunity to try new wines that go with these foods. Here are some of my picks for the coming months.


B Cellars 2020 Hudson Vineyard Syrah ($98)—Just released, this is not a wine from New York’s Hudson Valley but from Carneros in Northern California and represents a high point for a grape too often neglected, despite its prevalence in Rhône Valley wines. It’s pricey, but it’s quite lush and very expressive of the varietal character. It would be ideal with roasted baby lamb or Easter ham.


Cockburn’s Special Reserve ($20)—I am always amazed at the low prices for excellent Port, and—although I am among many bewildered by all the categories made in the region—this Reserve Port from a producer established in 1815 is a middle-ground between light Ruby Port and big, bold Vintage Port. So you get body and tantalizing fruit from a Port aged four to five years, rather than ten or twenty. It is, therefore, delicious as an accompaniment to all kinds of cheeses.


Paul Hobbs Goldrock Estate 2019 Pinot Noir ($90)—Sonoma is Pinot  Noir country and Hobbs’s Goldrock Estate, at 550 feet above sea level, is located as far west as you can go, giving its vineyards the cooling effect of the Pacific Ocean. That helps tame the over-ripeness the grape often achieves under the California sun, so this wine has more nuance and levels of fruit, tannin and acid. With a spring chicken (if such a thing exists) it is a fine choice.


Perla Terra Barolo 2018 ($45)—Made by Dalla Terra from lots in Piedmont’s La Morra, Novello, Monforte d'Alba, Grinzane Cavour and Verduno regions, this blend is a younger, lighter style of Barolo, spending 18 months in oak barrels of varying age, then microfiltered and emerging at a sensible 14% alcohol. Thus, it is a very drinkable Barolo throughout an alfresco dinner. Only 20,000 bottles are made, so this is a very reasonable price.


Open Claim Vineyards Chardonnay 2019 ($75)—Willamette Valley Chardonnays tend to be less woody and sweet than those made south of Oregon, and Open Claims is the latest winery to open in the state’s newest sub-AVA, Mt. Pisgah, Polk County. Owners Brett and Marnie Wall, along with winemaker Tony Rynders, make only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on 55 acres. Their wines are sold through allocation only because of small production. At 13.5% alcohol it is in a sweet spot where the varietal shows its mettle without intrusive flavorings. It would be superb with spring’s salmon or shad roe.


Fiddlehead Cellars 2017 ‘Sweetie’ Late Harvest Grüner Veltliner, Sta. Rita Hills ($35)—Grüner Veltliner is not among my favorite table wines,  but this dessert example from Santa Barbara by winemaker Kathy Joseph won me over. It’s a late-harvest wine, meaning the sugars are intensified, and it is delightful all on its own after dinner or with any lighter dessert like fruit pies or strawberries and cream.


de Negoce, Lot 250 “Hillside” Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon ($19)—Cameron Hughes has made a success of buying lots of wines and (often) slashing prices, and here is a wine that once listed at $65 and can now be bought for $19. The wine is from Washington State, made from “pre-assembled barrel lots of Cabernet Sauvignon from some of Red Mountains finest vineyards like Ciel du Cheval, Quintessence, and Klipsun not to mention the producer's own estate vineyard.”  The alcohol is a little high, but if you like brawny Cabs and good spice, this blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 2% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1% Syrah and 1% Petite Verdot has plenty going for it. With steaks on the grill it works well.




The world's largest coffee chain Starbucks  is launching a line of olive oil-infused drinks in Italy. Founder and CEO Howard Schultz (left) says on the company website, "Now, there's going to be people who say, olive oil in coffee? But the proof is in the cup. In over 40 years, I can't remember a moment in time where I've been more excited, more enthused."




 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.



MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly.  Publisher: John Mariani. Editor: Walter Bagley. Contributing Writers: Christopher Mariani,  Misha Mariani, John A. Curtas, Gerry Dawes, Geoff Kalish. Contributing Photographer: Galina Dargery. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.


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