Virtual Gourmet

  July 2,  2023                                                                                            NEWSLETTER

Founded in 1996 


Katherine Hepburn in "Sylvia Scarlett" (1935)




By John Mariani


By John Mariani

By John Mariani


By John Mariani



By John Mariani

Goat's cheese-stuffed ravioli at Augustine's Salumeria


        Not for the first time will I argue that the best Italian restaurants are more often than not run by individuals who put their names and reputations on the line every day and night they’re open. The menus are their own, their purveyors work with them, their staff has longevity and their presence in the kitchen and dining room is as dependable as the consistency of the food.
        Such trattorias are still a rarity outside New York City, but in Westchester County—immediately north of the Bronx line—there are two admirable examples whose owners are doing the kind of food that distinguishes them from those that play it safe with menus that rarely diverge from old standbys. It is the array of nightly specials that are clearly where the chef’s heart and soul lie. Add to that a sincere interest in every guest in premises of modest size, and you come as close as possible to trattorias in Italy.


8 Church Street
White Plains NY914 948-3281


         While restaurants have had a disturbing tendency in White Plains to come and go, La Bocca, under the care of Calabrian-born chef /owner Tony Spiritoso (right), has been quietly successful for seventeen years now, and for many years before that at Spiritoso in Yonkers.  You can always tell a restaurant’s clientele is overwhelmingly regulars, for everyone in the room seems to know Tony and he loves nothing better than to tell you the night’s specials, which is the way to go.
        The name of the place derives from Rome’s
La Bocca Bella Verità,  a marble image of an open-mouth pagan god who, if you stick your hand in and tell a lie, will bite you. The two rooms, one, with a 60-seat wine cellar décor, for private parties, and the other with bar, seating 80, are endearingly rustic, with archways and brick columns, white tablecloths and Venetian carnival masks.

      The menu is quite long, but I like to go with Spiritoso’s six nightly specials. It’s a fine idea to start off with a platter of his Sapori d’ Italia selections ($18) of meats and cheeses to go with the abundance of breads presented, along with an excellent wine list that contains some of Spiritoso’s own favorite Calabrese bottlings. The antipasti also include polenta alla bolognese ($18), which is unusual anywhere. For the time being there might be summer’s zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta ($16) or the moist and sweet eggplant atop olive-oiled bruschetta (left), which is also a bed for tomato and Parmigiano slices ($12).
         Our table shared four sumptuous house-made pastas (and took some home), including fettuccine with morel mushrooms, slivers of prosciutto and cherry tomatoes all quickly stewed together ($29) and rigatoni with a robust, out-of-the-ordinary goat’s meat ragù ($34). I usually don’t order ravioli stuffed with lobster meat because the frozen meat is usually so dry and tasteless, but Spiritoso coaxes full flavor from his lobster, with a tender big ravioli in a creamy tomato sauce ($25). Malfadine is a perfect summer’s pasta of wild fennel and shrimp ($29).
         Go easy, because the main courses are very good, not least a grilled rack of lamb with fingering potatoes and broccoli di rabe ($41) and superb swordfish—another item you rarely see on Italian menus—with black olives, green beans and roasted potatoes ($38). Only chicken alla scarpariello was somewhat disappointing, not browned enough and needing more seasoning and herbs ($31).
         In season, Spiritoso may well decide to prepare whole roast pig, rabbit, quail, venison or boar. A Bar Menu offers individual size pizzas, panini, and selections from the salumeria.
         If uninspired, the desserts ($9-$11) are quite good, including a cannoli, Italian cheesecake and chocolate pistachio cake.
         Novelty is not what Spiritoso is after. Consistency coupled with rigorous attention to tradition and detail is. And he’s repaid by having a loyal clientele who recognize him for just those qualities.


Open for lunch and dinner daily.


213 Halstead Avenue
Mamaroneck NY


         Just one year ago Marc Taxiera and Breanne Myers opened this cozy, two-room trattoria across from the Mamaroneck train station, doing a reverse commute from their home in New York. Within months the Michelin Guide included it as a “Bib Gourmand,” indicating (without a star) a restaurant with good food and moderate prices. Since then, the wait for a Friday or Saturday reservation can exceed a month.
         Fortunately, lunch and weeknights are pretty easy times to snag a table and to truly relax, especially if good weather allows the front windows to open.
         Chef Taxiera, formerly of the Russian Tea Room, is deadly serious about Augustine’s being a place for self-expression (the name comes from his grandfather), hence, adding “salumeria” to its name because of the salamis, sausages and cheese made fresh daily, all of which are a great way to start a meal.
        At lunch there are a number of generous Italian-style sandwiches available, like slow-roasted Italian beef ($20) and “Italian Festival style” of grilled sausage and peppers ($18). You might even begin with a platter of fried potatoes smothered with Parmigiano fonduta and bits of bacon ($10).  Taxiera and Myers, who are married, shop the local markets as well as Union Square Market, so right now, as a delightful starter, they are doing zucchini flowers stuffed with goat’s cheese ricotta and graced with a Calabrian chile aïoli ($20).
        But the real stand-outs are the unusual pastas in very hearty sauces, like the paccheri macaroni, rich with slow-roasted pork, tomato, soffrito, chili and crispy garlic ($27) and the mafalda with stewed beef, red wine, tomato and whipped goat’s cheese ricotta ($28). The Puglian ear-shaped pasta orecchiette ($27) is equally sumptuous, bulked up with that house-made sausage, spring onions, peas and a lovely green spring garlic pesto.
        You don’t often see a rabbit ragù on New York menus, but here it teams wonderfully with entwined gemelli pasta tinged with cinnamon and curry ($27). Ripiena ($28) is the pasta of the day, and recently it was a dazzling amalgam of tender pyramid-shaped ravioli filled with goat’s cheese ricotta and lemon zest, tossed in garlic scape butter with summer’s sweet asparagus.
         Main courses are, wisely, simpler—fish of the day, pork chop with sweet potatoes ($34); lamb t-bones with pomegranate molasses ($40), along with a farro risotto ($30) made with Tuscan cavolo nero, mushrooms and tomato.
         You might think the kitchen would go easy with desserts, but the exceptionally rich chocolate tart topped with a candy bar ($15) was enjoyed by three of us down to its last crumb.
se, not just for stocking many unfamiliar wines but offering so many good choices under $50.
         Brianne, who has been
General Manager at BLT Steak and Loring Place, is always on premises, not missing a beat at the bar or overseeing the dining room, although she needn’t fret over a very well trained, amiable staff.


Open for lunch Wed.-Fri., dinner Tues.-Sun.; brunch Sat & Sun.





1262 Broadway




         New York has never lacked for first-rate restaurants within hotels—admirable new additions include Sweetbriar in the Park South Hotel, Le Cou Cou in 11 Howard, Duomo 51 in The Doubletree, Lindens in the Arlo, El Quijote in the Chelsea—and now it’s got another in the Herald Square area, within the Beaux Arts-style Martinique Hotel, opened in 1897 and recently completely refurbished.
        The Press Club Grill takes its name from the neighborhood being an historic nexus for the Times, the Herald and the Tribune and its atmosphere hearkens back to the late ‘50s and ‘60s with a menu that lists what used to be called (not admirably) “continental cuisine.” In chef Franklin Becker’s hands, it becomes a welcome return of once favorite dishes like Waldorf Salad, chicken Kiev and cherries jubilee. 
Becker, Stephen Loffredo (former owner of Zoë) and Torah Matsuoka of the Hospitality Dept. have taken two floors of the Martinique and kept to the retro theme in the most modern way, largely dependent on excellent lighting. The downstairs dining room and bar do have the cast of restaurants of mid-century New York, with big roomy booths and a mural of famous New Yorkers (right). Would that they maintained the tradition of once ubiquitous white tablecloths that would tamp down the noise, added to by music that guests must talk over.
        The upper dining area  is a handsome space with walls hung with every important personage of the bygone era, while the private dining room (above) is sophisticated with a slight air of secrecy about it.
        I’ve followed Becker’s career for two decades now, and he shows himself to be one of those consummate, experienced chefs whose command of technique means he can create or re-create with engaging discernment. He also likes to have some fun, so that a dish like jumbo shrimp cocktail ($29) is more than you assume: the shrimp poached in a court bouillon, split and filled with cocktail sauce and freshly grated horseradish.
        “Buffalo carrots” ($16) is a twist on Buffalo chicken wings. Becker says he wanted to put a vegetarian option on the menu, so he uses roasted carrots instead, with celeriac and hot sauce-Maytag Blue dressing.
“Springtime in New York” ($22) is a bright new idea, combining mushroom sable with a black truffle buttermilk dressing. “Mama’s Chicken Soup” ($16) has a charming back story: At one time Becker’s mother was ill and he became cook in the family, crafting a chicken and matzoh ball soup Mama would eat with gusto and gratitude. So will you. This is one of the most deeply flavorful versions of this Jewish-American staple I’ve ever had, with ethereally light floating matzoh balls, parsnips and a little dill.
        But before you even get to the appetizers, enjoy the rye sourdough bread ($8), a bocce ball-size loaf with a perfect balance of crunchy crust and moist, airy inside, which you slather with the house-made butter with cultured salt cut like tȇte de moines cheese in flowery spirals.
        Crab Rangoon is one of those old Trader Vic’s-style pu-pu platter stand-bys shaped like a wonton that Becker transforms with jumbo lump crabmeat, rich scallion cream cheese filled inside with a pastry brick dough shell that has been lightly fried and served with a gel version of sweet and sour sauce ($36).
        So, too, ravioli stroganoff, a riff on the 19th century beef and sour cream dish named after a hugely rich aristocratic merchant family in Russia. Becker makes it into a pasta dish resembling pelmeni dumplings with a juicy short rib filling ($28).
        There are, of course, various beef cuts available, and I ordered the hanger steak with terrific frites ($39), which was quite a bargain compared with the NY strip ($69). Sea scallops of pristine freshness were enhanced by woodsy morels, sweet peas and a spring onion consommé ($42).
        I am not sure beef Wellington is a dish that needs redemption from the buffet lines of long-gone continental banquet rooms. Named after Britain’s famous Duke of Wellington but of uncertain source and not even mentioned until the 20th century in any cookbook, it was a big show-off dish of beef filet layered with a duxelle of mushrooms or pâté, wrapped in puff pastry and served with a red wine or Madeira sauce. Becker’s is as good as any I’ve ever had, with the addition of prosciutto, but, as usual, the beef was a bit steamy, the mushrooms added little and the pastry wrap, while buttery and crisp, seemed an unnecessary stretch.
        I’m a pushover for old-fashioned gooey desserts, so I was very happy with Sam Mason's Bananas Foster crème brûlée with brown butter, rum and caramel ($16). I was skeptical, though, of cherries jubilee for two ($28), that pyrotechnic display of brandied cherries served over vanilla ice cream, a dish created by Auguste Escoffier for the 1897  Diamond Jubilee for Queen Victoria. Becker makes it even more fun by presenting a huge cherry confection shell that is melted, causing a softening flow of  vanilla-miso ice cream with toasted almonds, a witty tour de force to end a sumptuous dinner with a grand flourish.
        Last but not least in my book of nostalgic foods is Max Green's  creditable egg cream, that New York blend of U-bet chocolate syrup, cold milk and seltzer, a frothy confection I drank every year of my boyhood, and now, like my boyhood, has vanished like the corner candy stores that made them.
        The wine list, by wine director Luke Boland, is excellent in two respects: First, it is extensive and well selected; second, it has a remarkable number of bottles under $100, even below $70, at a modest mark-up; even a trophy wine like Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru 2020, on the list at $2,500, is actually less than you might pay at a wine store or on-line. The cocktails by beverage director Green all have punning names like “Page Turner” and “Hush Money” and a good dose of bitters.
        Ironically, neither Becker nor Loffredo, much less most of their  clientele, was even around in the Mad Men era, so their menu seems fresh and novel against a backdrop that is swank in a sentimental way some of us still miss.


Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.



By  John Mariani

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




      David left the hotel after inquiring where he’d find a drug store. “You mean a pharmacy?” asked the concierge, who said there was a Boots just a few doors down on Brompton Road. “They seem to be on every block. Comes in handy when you’re a concierge and a guest needs his pills.”
         David remembered seeing a lot of white and blue Boots storefronts during his time in London. He entered to find Boots to look a lot like a CVS in New York, with the pharmacy to the rear. David waited for an elderly woman to get her prescription, then ask question after question about it, which he also recognized as typical of all pharmacies everywhere.             
      Finally, a pharmacist with a Central Asian accent, maybe Indian or Pakistani, asked David how she could be of help.
“I’m trying to find out about this drug a friend of mine asked me to get for him,” said David.
        “You don’t have his prescription?” she asked.
         “Sorry, no. Actually he lives in Moscow, ran out and can’t seem to get these pills any more, so he asked if I could buy some for him in London.”
         “Well, if they’re on prescription, I can’t sell you any.  It would have to be written by a British physician, but let me have a look.”
         David had written down the name Philby had given him, EmeeniFed and HgaRX.  The pharmacist squinted and said, “I don’t recognize the name of the drug, but sometimes they are given different names in different countries. Let me check my files. Please wait a moment.”
         David looked around the store, marveling as always at the number of cosmetic and hair products a pharmacy carries. It had been a long time since he’d seen a soda fountain in a drugstore. He also noticed it did not sell cigarettes, never available in a pharmacy in England.
         “I’m sorry to keep you waiting,” said the pharmacist, returning with a slip of paper in her hand. “I checked my directories and couldn’t find anything by this name or cross-referenced to another name. Are you sure this is the correct spelling?  Do you know what kind of drug this might be for?”
         David shook his head.
         “The name HgaRX, however, is the name of a major Hungarian pharmaceutical company. I checked where it’s headquartered and found this information. Would you like me to contact them and see if they make this EmeeniFed?”
         “Could you do that? That would be great. How long would that take?”
         She looked at her watch. “I’m a bit busy now, but by tomorrow morning I can have an answer. Can you tell me how I can reach you? My name is Ms. Singh.”
         David gave her the name and room number of his hotel and his cell phone number.  He thanked her and left the store, next to which was an electronics retailer. In the window he saw several pocket recorders for sale. Brand names he knew. He went in, spoke with a salesman and walked out with a new Olympus Digital recorder, which he believed was the brand Katie had. 
Not knowing if Katie was still asleep, he went back to his room to await her call, anxious as a schoolboy eager to give his girlfriend a gift.
         Jet lag was kicking in on him now, so he lay down on his bed and started thinking of what might lie ahead for Katie and him. Ever since leaving Philby’s apartment he’d been juggling over the question of who was telling the truth or what part of it was deliberate dis-information of a kind he had to sift through as a detective. 
David found it most effective to assume that everyone in a case was telling multiple lies for self-protection, with the truth sometimes popping out between the ambiguous alibis and convenient memory lapses.  Among the New York gangsters David had dealt with he found an extraordinary ineptitude in fabricating stories, unless they had been concocted by their lawyers. The true parts always sounded more believable. Even then, the guys being interrogated had a hard time sticking to those stories, embellishing them to the point where they sounded completely phony and tripping themselves up by forgetting what they’d just said five minutes before.  It was always better either to shut up completely and cite the Miranda Act or to come right out and tell cops what they wanted to hear, which usually had a grain of truth to it.
         But questioning people like Philby, Lentov and Southey was very different. These men were trained to lie and to do it very convincingly, even under torture, which they alleviated by telling the interrogators enough true information to stop the torture, giving them time to check out the stories and names that the spy was given the leeway to reveal.  A good interrogator did not want to risk a possible source by bringing him to death’s door or drugging him into delirium, when he would say anything, most of it useless.
         In the moments before David dropped off to sleep, he tried to go back over what Southey had told him about Lentov, and what Lentov had told him about Philby.  Southey had called Lentov, what? A pig? Scum? But why was he so helpful in arranging the meeting with Lentov?
         And why did Lentov called Southey “my friend” more than once. Just being sarcastic? And what did he say about Philby having an endgame? David didn’t struggle to stay awake. He drifted off, hoping his subconscious would do some of the work for him. He fell into a dream of a drugstore soda fountain in his old neighborhood in the Bronx.
         At five o’clock his phone rang.
         “David, hey, it’s me,” said Katie. “God, I slept like a log. I can’t believe what time it is.”
         “Yeah, I fell into a deep sleep, too,” said David, looking at his watch.
         “So’d you find out anything about those pills?”
         “Not really. Let me tell you about it over dinner, okay? An hour from now?” Still foggy, David had to remind himself he was not still in Moscow, being bugged.
         “That’s fine, we can go back to that Indian place if you like.”
         “Suits me. See you in the lobby at six.”
         David took a shower and put on clean clothes, tossing his jacket over his arm.  He met Katie downstairs, right on time. She was wearing the burgundy color turtleneck he liked, with black gabardine slacks. A little lipstick. Looked like a college girl. Clean as a whistle, with that shiny hair of hers.
         They walked to the restaurant, got the same table as last time, and ordered quickly, including two Indian beers.
         “So,” said Katie eagerly. “Tell me what you found out.”
         “Well,” said David, taking out the scrap of paper he’d written the drug name on, “the pharmacist tried to be very helpful but she never heard of the drug. She did recognize that the word ‘HgaRX’ was the name of a big drug company in Hungary, and she was kind enough to say she’d call them in the morning to see if they made a drug called EmeeniFed. Said she’d let us know first thing in the morning.”
         “Hm, that’s weird. Why would Philby give us the name of a drug that doesn’t exist?”
         “The pharmacist said it might be under a different name in another country, but she couldn’t find it in her directories. We’ll know tomorrow.”
         “Well, till then,” she said, “I guess we just enjoy dinner and see what happens. And if nothing does, we might be on the next plane back to New York.”



© John Mariani, 2016




By John Mariani

Salma Hayek

Let’s face it: Were it not for the margarita cocktail, tequila might still be regarded as the stuff Mexican cantinas served in western movies where gringos like John Wayne and Joel McCrea knew enough to ask for “the good stuff.” These days tequila, along with its brash cousin mezcal, are ringing up $8 billion in sales of 30 million nine-liter cases, with U.S. consumers drinking up eight million—José Cuervo is the top seller. Of that only a fraction is “sipping tequila,” meaning it escapes getting blended with Triple Sec, lime and cracked ice.
         But that category is where the competition has gotten fierce, with bottles selling for more than $100 for top tequila labels and not much less for mezcal.
         The difference between the two  spirits is that both are made from the agave plant, but tequila must use only 100% blue agave. It is not true that mezcals are by taste smoky, which many mezcal connoisseurs sniff at as being a gimmick for the American consumer who likes to think of mezcal as a more macho spirit. Today mezcal is made in more than 20 states of Mexico under strict regulations. And if you find a worm in the mezcal,
it’s still another gimmick.
      I’ve been tasting a lot of tequila and mezcal lately that is not meant (solely) for the margarita blender. Here are some I found of most interest.


DEL MAGUEY VIDA® PUEBLA MEZCAL ($40)—This is a single-village mezcal produced in San Luis del Rio, Oaxaca, located in Axocopan. Visual artist Ron Cooper, who’s lived in Mexico for 25 years, founded Del Maguy to make artisanal mezcals in an array whose master distillers proudly appear on the brand’s website. Paciano Cruz Nolasco is the man behind Vida, which is bottled at 40% alcohol. The village of Puebla is printed on the bottle, as are the other villages. It has fine floral bouquet and peppery finish.


CALIROSA REPOSADO TEQUILA ($60)—The distinction of Calirosa, evident in its name, is that the tequila is aged for nine months in red wine barrels that impart a rose color. The Real family has been making their spirits for 80 years, and, with Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo as partners, Calirosa launched in 2021. The reposado (aged for nine months; $69), an añejo (three years; $75) and a Cinco Anos Extra (five years; $200). Each successive bottling adds nuance and leathery notes, making them true sipping tequilas that would get lost in a cocktail.


CENOTE BLANCO ($43)—Cenotes (“sacred wells” to the Aztecs) are natural subterranean holes formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock that filters the water used in this aqua blue-colored tequila. It spends only three weeks in American oak barrels but acquires pleasing citrus notes. It is a very good tequila for margaritas, though its iterations as reposado ($50) and añejo  ($60) make more sense on the rocks or served neat.


AMARÁS MEZCAL ($22)—Santiago Suarez and Luis Niño de Rivera founded the company in 2010 as the world’s first carbon-neutral mezcal company, planting 10 agaves harvested from three mezcal regions: Oaxaca, Guerrero and Durango. Additionally, 20% of the net sale of each bottle is allocated to the development of internal initiatives associated with social and environmental responsibility. It is made from agave cupreata in the Rio Balsas Basin. They make several kinds, including a verde ($35), reposado ($49), an Espadin ($40), a Cenizo ($60) and tobala ($148).


TEQUILA KOMOS—Former sommelier Richard Betts began making tequila ten years ago in conjunction with the not-for-profit Komos Foundation, which repurposes byproduct waste from tequila production and turns it into adobe bricks given to the community to build housing, schools and hospitals. The bottles are handmade vitrified porcelain, also recycled, in four varieties: Añejo Cristalino, aged for 12 months in French Oak ($100); Reposado Rosa ($106), aged in French oak red wine barrels; Añejo Reserva ($180), aged for a year; Extra Añejo ($360), aged for three years in both French white wine barrels and classic bourbon barrels. Before bottling the tequila is aerated to soften the spirit.


CHINACO—Guillermo González Diaz Lombardo created Chinaco, (“warrior”), a nickname for his great-great-grandfather who was the president of Mexico in1880-1884. Guillermo’s son Germán became manager of the estate, not in Jalisco but Tamaulipas (his father died in 1996). Initially just for some friends, he set out to create a special reserve never intended to be sold. That idea didn’t last long and, under the new name “Tears of Llorona” (named after a ghost story his father told him) it became the first premium tequila sold in the U.S. as of 1983. Today the company makes a blanco ($42); reposado, aged 12 months ($42); añjeo ($80), 35 months; and a Limited Edition ($700), made from one-third of the last batch and two-thirds of the finest from two decades, with only 600 bottles sold and only in Mexico and the U.S.


"Everybody Please Shut Up About Ramps
" by Amy McCarthy, (5/2/23)



 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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