July 20, 2008
Swanson TV Dinner, circa 1965
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PLACES TO DINE AND SOME GREAT
PLACES TO REST YOUR HEAD by John Mariani
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: La Zarza
FROM THE WINE CELLAR
: Serendipity--Five Wonderful Wines
for Summer by John Mariani
CLASSIC PLACES TO DINE AND REST YOUR HEAD
by John Mariani
written about new restaurants
in London, it's worthwhile to chat about
some established places and to suggest how to stay put in London
without breaking the weak U.S. bank.
Bar & Restaurant Smithfield
26 St John Street
020 7251 0848
It is easy enough to
why St. John is one of Londoners' most popular restaurants, even
though it's not easy for most Londoners to get there, since it's
located over in the old meat district. No pun intended but the place is
bare bones, rehabbed out of a Georgian townhouse attached to a
smokehouse, with walls of white tiles and brick beneath 20-foot
high skylights in the atrium. The front room is piled
with charcuterie and breads, bottles of
wines, and a blackboard menu as an addendum to the seasonal menu. The chairs are basic,
the tables simply set, and the menu changes all the time depending on
what's good in the market. Service, by cheery British girls, couldn't
be more amiable, and trust them to tell you what's best that day. And
the prices are more than digestible for Yanks--Starters run from $12-$22, main
Trevor Gulliver, Chef Fergus
Henderson (formerly an architect), and Jon Spiteri opened the place in
1994, with the simple and very direct idea to offer good English meats
and fish, along with plenty of offal, headcheese, terrines, and old
British desserts. It might have been a gamble at the time, but
the sterling quality of their ingredients and the provenance of their
meats carried them not only to enormous favor but also right through
the Mad Cow scare without a tremor. Year after year now, St. John
consistently ranks at or near the top of both foodie and critics' polls.
I suspect those rankings have more to do
with affection for St. John and for Mr. Henderson (right), who is truly one of the
nicest people in the food world, and author or two fine books based on
the menus at St. John's--Nose to Tail
Eating and Beyond Nose to Tail.
But I also understand that many people might eat here and wonder what
all the fuss is about. The food is very, very simply
prepared--always of top quality--so if you're looking for culinary
creativity, this is not the place for it.
It is the
place for starters like grilled
langoustines, rolled pig's trotters ansd thick bacon, and good
potted beef, as well as now famous roast marrow bone and parsley
salad--food as Anglo as one can find in London, which is otherwise
restaurants these days. These are hearty dishes, accompanied by
slabs of good crusty country bread and butter, and a winelist that
trying uncomplicated vins du pays at
day I dined at St. John recently they had calf's liver, perfectly cut
and cooked rosy pink, with
plenty of sweet caramelized onions; a pigeon and trotter pie was all
nothing more, but the braised hare was delicious and a guinea fowl with
Jerusalem artichokes impeccably cooked golden brown and succulent. A
green salad came in handy for the digestion after the heaviness of this
fare, but it did not stop us from ordering the crumbly Eccles cake with
Lancashire cheese, the steamed date sponge pudding with butterscotch
sauce, or the rice pudding and jam. We could hardly have been happier,
and bantering with the waitress added to a feeling of good,
The days when London food was considered
dreary ended more than a decade ago, but I can easily imagine that the
kind of food served at St. John, if not prepared with close attention
and respect, could easily tend towards the dull. As it is,
his staff treat every ingredient so that, in the words of the great
British food writer Jane Grigson, "What each individual country does is
to give all the elements, borrowed or otherwise, something of a
national character." St. John is as proudly British as can be.
St. John is open Mon.-Sat.
15 Lowndes Street
020 7235 5800
Upon opening in 1995 in Knightsbridge,
Zafferano immediately became one of the first modern Italian
in London, and it got a very tony crowd right from Day One; they have
never gone away. Since then Zafferano has won a Michelin star, for it's
the kind of Italian restaurant Michelin inspectors love--very posh,
very slick, and extremely expensive: A two-course
dinner will run you about $69, three courses $89, and four $109; lunch
for three courses is $89. Then add in a highly marked-up winelist, and
you're dining at the top
end of London restaurants.
Is it worth it? Not so much anymore,
that many other fine Italian restaurants have opened all over London,
but few run prices this high. Certainly Cecconi, The River Café,
are in the same bracket. But other Italian restaurants, like
Assaggi, and Via Condotti deliver consistently good
food at lower prices, with less swank. With the U.S. dollar weaker than
ever, you must choose between high polish and plainer surroundings
without giving up good taste.
day a guest and I arrived without a reservation for lunch, the hostess
was quite accommodating, saying that they were in fact completely
booked but that if we were out by 1:30, we could have a table, which
was fine with us. There was no attempt to rush us, and I must say there
is a temptation to linger in the lush ambiance of the renovated
Zafferano. The clientele also offers a good glimpse of the
Knightsbridge and Belgravia swells, all dressed up for lunch before or
after a day's shopping at Harrod's nearby, some with well-scrubbed
children in tow.
The winelist is very rich both literally
and figuratively, so it is not easy to find a good bottle under $75
here, with most of the better wines well in excess of that.
The menu offers lots of old favorites
but with enough stylish dishes to balance things out. Thus,
gnocchi with Speck and
taleggio cheese made for a good starter, and matagliati with saffron
and shreds of braised pork cheeks was hearty
enough for a main course. Venison comes pan-seared, with polenta
and mushrooms, but was pretty tasteless, lacking any gaminess you
expect in such a dish. Equally bland was halibut in a potato crust--now
something of a cliché--with balsamic-drenched onions.
I will go back to Zafferano for a full-blown
dinner some time but not before the dollar rises enough to allow me to
do so or if my
English aunt (should I acquire one) takes me there for a bite some day.
Zafferano is open for lunch
and dinner daily. On weekdays lunch runs $59 for two courses, $69 for
three, and $79 for four. On Sat. & Sun. for lunch and each evening
for dinner the tab will be $69, $89, $109.
. . .
And the Best
Hotels in London
22 JERMYN STREET
22 Jermyn Street
by John Mariani
Togna, like his father before him, runs 22 Jermyn Street with a studied
nonchalance that raises the bar for boutique hotels to the point where
you feel pampered in the nicest, rather than the most contrived, ways.
You get to know the small staff within moments of your arrival,
requests are acted upon immediately, and the efforts of the concierge
and manager to help you out around town go far beyond those of jaded
concierges at large hotels who may well have acquired their new Rolex
watch as a gift from a grateful restaurateur who garners plenty of
from the hotel.
The rooms at 22 range from the cozy
is a nice word, too) to the spaciousness of a city flat, 13 suites and
double rooms, all done in the best of taste, fitted out with fresh
flowers, fresh fruit, stacks of newspapers and magazines, and access to
whatever you need for business transmissions. Some have fireplaces. One
has a fold-out double bed, ideal if you've brought a child or two to
town, and there is a splendid Penthouse Suite. Located in a
townhouse, it is a very quiet space, set just beyond the circus of
Piccadilly and the traffic-riddled streets that surround it.
Jermyn Street itself is, of course, a length
of fine men's haberdashers, shoemakers, and shirt-and-tie boutiques in
London--Church's, Charles Tyrwhitt, Daks, Lobb, and many more-- along
with the darling Paxton & Whitfield cheese monger, the
back door of Marks & Spencer, and the ever-packed, decidedly
immutable Wilton's restaurant. Mr. Togna (Tone-yah)
and his staff will happily advise you on entrance to any of these
places, and he seems to have both the clout to get you a difficult
reservation in a fine restaurant as he has the good sense to dissuade
you from going to a highly-touted but truly awful one.
There is no dining room at 22, though room
service is available, and breakfast is served. Mr. Togna's own London Restaurant Guide--six pages
of recommendations he has personally and regularly dined at--is
invaluable and far more up to date than any of the published books on
the subject. He also seems to have better taste than most of London's
restaurant critics. There is also a Children's Newsletter that
you in touch with everything to entertain children of any age in London.
Room rates are currently running $400-$900
Saint James's Place
020 7493 0111
by Mort Hochstein
When I checked
into The Stafford, a discreetly located hotel just a few blocks away
from Piccadilly, just off St. James Park and a short stroll
from Buckingham Palace on one side and Fortnum and Mason on the
other, I was greeted by staff members who seemed to
know me even before being introduced. In my room, I found personalized
stationery with my London address and phone numbers, even a batch of
personalized business cards. From the welcome at reception
to such touches in our rooms, the Stafford exudes warmth and
an attention to detail that makes the hotel very special.
The Stafford looks like many of the finer, small
hotels of London, a simple entrance, a doorman, small. well-staffed
reception and concierge area and pleasant sitting rooms off the lobby.
What appealed to me was the instant feeling that I would be happy to
stay here again and again, and that this truly was the
comfortable small London hotel I’d been looking for over the years.
The Stafford’s American Bar,
with walls and ceilings overflowing with
miniature airplanes, plaques, autographed photos, club ties,
cricket bats, gloves, football helmets, baseball caps,
company and military insignia, all donated by guests,
reminds me of the bar at Club 21 in New York. I don’t think I ever saw
the lounge area unoccupied, and the bar at night was always jammed with
smart Londoners, their conversations rife with talk of weekends
country homes, yachting trips, and the escapades of nobility.
Winding our way through the main
house, we proceeded to the brick paved courtyard, flanked on one side
by a bloc of carriage house accommodations, flowers on balconies
and tables for outdoor dining. Our accommodations were the
kind you hate to leave, bright, airy room, huge beds with
layers of pillows, marble fireplace, and marble bathroom with tub and
stall shower, elegant, comfortable chairs, computer
accessories and wireless Internet, CD player, more electronics than a
home office, and good views of a special corner of London.
The real joy of The Stafford for me was its
wine cellar, a seemingly endless warren of dusty cells stretching under
the courtyard, rich in rarities from an era when London importers
received wines in casks and bottled and labeled them on
demand for their customers. Gino Nardella, the veteran Stafford
sommelier, told me there were 20,000 bottles in his caves; I was
so impressed by the sheer variety of legendary labels and
numbers, many, many of them going back to the late 1800’s, that I
would have believed him if he had told me there were twice that number.
from the ancient to the new, Chef Mark Budd’s menu is hardly the
sort of antique-laden list you might expect at a hostelry of this age.
At lunch there is, of course, always a serving trolley with lamb en crôute or roast beef, but
not wholly tied to tradition. Given a challenging list to
chose from, we started with grilled Orkney scallops ($34), large
wonderfully sweet; fat spears of tender asparagus, dressed in a
black-truffled sabayon sauce, and a half dozen native Colchester
oysters ($32), a very special species, served on ice with a light
and oyster juice jelly and dotted with oscetra caviar. The Colchesters,
new to me, were firm and fleshy almost meaty, succulent
and tasty, and redolent of the cold waters northern waters
where they have rested the night before.
We also shared roasted Bresse chicken ($56), a
bird plated with braised lentils and spring vegetables, foie gras and
truffle ravioli, and Wild Scottish turbot ($70), a delightfully firm-
fish, accompanied by Calacanaise, a seldom seen sauce from
Brittany, composed of crème fraîche enriched with
morsels of oyster and shrimp. Our third main was the least
fussy, a simple, if you can apply that term to one of the
great treasures of the sea, Dover sole ($70), grilled just to the point
tenderness,and allowed to stand by its flavorsome self sans
accoutrements other than just a little tartar sauce on the side that
With all that richness, we had little
appetite for dessert. We sipped our evening coffee, nibbled at a
few cookies, dipped spoons in sherbet and happily retreated
to our comfortable rooms in the Mews, there to rest happily,
preparing for the next day when we would explore the shops and
museums, galleries and parks, all within walking distance of this
Current room rates are $650-$800.
Mort Hochstein, former editor and
producer for NBC News and the Today Show, and former managing editor of
Nation's Restaurant News, has written on wine, food and travel
for Wine Spectator, Wine Business Monthly, Saveur and other food
and wine publications.
NEW YORK CORNER
166 First Avenue
by Edward Brivio
Photo by Bobby Pirillo
new addition to the ever-growing roster of top-notch East Village
restaurants is La Zarza with
its snug interior and well turned-out
Spanish and Argentinean specialties. The dusky, den-like dining room
features a predominance of dark, chocolate-brown wood, from the
“railroad-tie” walls and tongue-in-groove floors, to small, sturdy
tables and trim, comfortable chairs. Candlelight only adds to the
downtown boite setting. Exposed stone
walls, as well as brick ones, add a bit of the grotto to the already
rustic yet relaxed ambiance. Space is tight--one way to hold down
prices for its mostly young, neighborhood
clientele--and the winelist is quite affordable
($56 is the highest price bottle).
Start with the quince-glazed,
short ribs, all deep, dark brown, falling-off-the-bone, beefy goodness,
or paradigmatic empanadas
porteñas (do they make them this good in
Buenos Aires?)—just thin, deep-fried, crackly crust and savory filling,
the chicken was good but the spicy beef is what you should order—or
ceviche of langosta (Maine
lobsters do profit from a
lime juice bath), the flesh was firm enough to register as cooked, but
not having been subjected to heat left it as fresh and supple as the
sea. Popcorn, however, no matter how well- and home-made, did not seem
to me a worthy or suitable accompaniment.
We loved our waitress, professional,
friendly, but not overly chummy, and with a good grasp of the menu.
When asked which she would recommend, the Patagonian rib-eye, or the
grilled skirt steak, she quickly spoke up for the humbler cut of beef,
and by-god she was right. The skirt steak was perfectly grilled,
tender, and with an intense beef flavor. I’ve never had a more
flavorful steak. All that was needed were a classic chimichurri sauce
and a handful of grilled asparagus. Don’t miss the paella de la Zarza -- shrimps,
clams, mussels, scallops, chicken and lobster
with a wonderful, pronounced chorizo flavor. Most diners were
sharing theirs, and there certainly was enough for two, but we finished
it all –the rice was so tasty-- as well as the steak.
It won’t be easy, but make sure to keep
a little room for dessert. We didn’t, but still couldn’t pass-up either
dulce de leche crème
brûlée, or panqueqes--just about
perfect, wafer-thin crêpes filled with dulce de leche.
The small, thoughtful wine-list is full
of bargains (for a second, I
thought I was back in Rome). Our choice, a Finca el Caprio, 2005 Zumaya
crianza, for just $39, a big fresh mouthful of 100% Tempranillo fruit
with enough structure to keep it interesting, was emptied all too soon.
There is a Sangria menu as well.
Appetizers: $8 to 14;
entrees: $16-25; desserts: $7.
Edward Brivio is a freelance writer
living in NYC.
FROM THE WINE CELLAR
Serendipity--Five Wonderful Wines
have no idea how many
wines I taste each year, but most of the time
I’m tasting several of the same region or varietal for the purposes of
this column. And when I dine at home I will usually pick from
those groups I wine I really liked.
But the most satisfying thing about drinking
wine is the discovery of a wonderful bottle you had not expected much
from or you knew nothing about. Particularly in summer when I’m not
ready to break out a bottle of Lafite-Rothschild to go with the
hamburgers and hot dogs out on the grill, I like to pick rather
willy-nilly a bottle that I’ve never tried.
If it turns out to be awful, down the
drain it goes. If it turns out to go well with food on the grill, I’m
content. And when I find it is much better than I expected, I am
downright exultant. Indeed, these are really the wines I want to tell
people about—none of them very expensive. Here are five I’ve
really enjoyed this summer.
Pacific Rim is far too general a name to
encourage high expectations, but I found this Washington winery turns
marvelous single vineyard rieslings, particularly their 2007
Solstice Vineyard (right)
from Yakima Valley. According to the biblical
language on the label, “15,000 years ago, the Missoula Floods ripped
across the Pacific Northwest. Colossal walls of water
carved the landscape with ten times the strength of all the world’s
rivers. Volcanoes erupted with lava and ash. The soils of the Yakima
Valley were born.”
That’s a lot for a vineyard to live up
to, but I thought this was one of the best American rieslings I’ve
tasted in a long time. With 13.5 percent alcohol and only 1/14
percent residual sugar, this is a semi-dry Riesling whose light
sweetness buoys the fruit in the wine, without that fruit punch
cloyingness you find in so many New World rieslings. At $32 a
bottle it’s a steal, and if you don’t drink it this summer, it will
only get better with time.
And for an informative, entertaining, and
humorous look at the varietal, check out Pacific Rim’s website www.RieslingRules.com
for their booklet on the subject.
Bianchi is a winery in San Rafael,
Mendoza (below), that shows
how quickly modern Argentine wines have developed,
in this case with help from California winemaker Bob Pepi, who founded
Pepi Winery (since sold) and now owns Eponymous. The Enzo Bianchi 2003
is simply labeled “Red Wine,” a big blend of Cabernet and other
varietals, with plenty of tannin (it’s aged in oak 21 months) and dark
fruit that makes it an ideal wine for any red meat cooked on the grill,
particularly seared beef.
Two other cabernets, from California,
impressed me for their richness, their complexity, and their
brightness. Winemaker The 2004 Hess
Collection Mount Veeder ($50) comes
from the coolest southern-most section of Napa Valley, whose volcanic
soil and scarcity of water forces the vines to achieve an intensity
vines from hotter, wetter microclimates rarely show. Dave Guffy likes
to “walk the vines,” meaning he keeps a focus on their healthiness and
how the grapes are developing during the harvest. Hess makes It’s a
tight wine but it blossoms quickly, and seems almost chewy with fruit
at 92 percent cabernet sauvignon, 5 percent petit verdot, 2 percent
cabernet franc, and 1 percent merlot.
Softer but just as rich is Charles Krug
Peter Mondavi Family 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon ($27) made in
vineyards. The balance of toasty coffee notes and black cherry flavors.
At 14 percent alcohol, it won’t blow you away, and the mix of 79
percent cabernet sauvignon, 9 percent petit verdot,
6 percent syrah, 2
percent cabernet franc, 1 percent merlot, and 1 percent carignan gives
it all kinds of lovely nuances.
Lighter on the nuances but still a very
good example of cabernet franc, the 1997
Beringer Third Century ($75)
is winemaker Ed Sbraglia’s commemoration of Beringer’s three centuries’
history. The wine has a touch of cabernet sauvignon in it to give it a
little heft, but this is a superb example of the soft, pretty
medium-bodied charms of cabernet franc, a wine that is as much of an
enhancement with hamburgers and hot dogs as it is grilled chicken and
Mariani's weekly wine column appears in Bloomberg Muse News,
from which this story was adapted. Bloomberg News covers Culture from
art, books, and theater to wine, travel, and food on a daily basis, and
some of its articles play on the Saturday Bloomberg Radio and TV.
A 413-pound prison inmate in Bentonville, Arkansas,
lost 100 pounds eating prison food at 3000 calories a day. He thereupon
filed a federal lawsuit contending that he felt faint after exercising
and that “about an hour after each meal my stomach starts to hurt and
growl. I feel hungry again.”
time I sucked down Scott Conant's baby goat was in 2000 at City Eatery,
a hapless restaurant on the Bowery that probably never should have
existed. In fact, he's pretty much written it out of his
résumé. The goat, however, was stupendous—crackling
clumps of dark meat, so flavorful that a tiny shred filled the mouth
like an exploding M-80."—Robert Sietsema, "Getting My Goat," Village Voice (6/24/08)
FEATURE: I am happy to report that the Virtual Gourmet is linking up
with three excellent travel sites:
* From July 25-27 the inaugural Crested Butte Land Trust Wine & Food
Festival will showcase hundreds of wines and cuisine with
seminars ($30 each), dinners, and a grand tasting in Crested Butte,
Colo. Chef events incl. Andrea Frizzi of Il Posto (Denver) and Tim
Egelhoff of Timberline (Crested Butte); Elise Wiggins of Panzano
(Denver) and Leo Novak of Rustica and Fete Catering (Crested
Butte); Richard Sandoval of Tamayo, Zengo and La Sandia (Denver)
and Chef Mike Marchitelli of Marchitelli’s Gourmet Noodle
(Crested Butte); Tyler Wiard of Elway’s (Denver) and Chef Jason Vernon
of Soupcon (Crested Butte). A full schedule and event info is
available at www.crestedbuttewine.com.
* All' Angelo in
Los Angeles introduces an "angelic" deal --Wine & Dine menu, a
4-course dinner prix fixe offered for just $39 every Mon.-Thurs.,
accompanied by a rotating Wines of the Week, 6 wines by the glass for
$6 each. Call 323-933-9540. . . . Also, on July 28
All’Angelo will hold a
wine dinner showcasing the wines of Luigi Coppa
at $150 pp. Visit www.allangelo.com.
* On July 26 in Beverly Hills, CA, Two Rodeo and LearnAboutWine present STARS of
France - the second in this summer's premier three-part series,
celebrating the finest wines from around the world. Sommeliers will
pour over 40 top-flight French wines and champagnes from Bordeaux,
Burgundy, Rhone and Loire Valley. Fine French cuisine will be served
Recording artist, Rosey; to benefit the T.J. Martell
Foundation. $99 for first 50 guests to register online
(www.learnaboutwine.com); $140 at the door.
* From Aug. 4-Sept. 14 Patina
Restaurant Group announced that they will host its first national Peach
and Plum Festival featuring a range of peach and plum varieties in both
sweet and savory forms, as well as in beverages. For
participating restaurants visit www.patinagroup.com.
* NYC’s Tabla
announces the arrival of its new Street Cart, an outdoor, take-out food
stand located in front of the restaurant on Madison Avenue at 25th
street. The cart offers an array of Chef Floyd Cardoz’s New
Indian “street foods,” such as sold from the street carts commonly
found in Chef Cardoz's native India, the stand will be open Mon. – Fri.
* From July 31-Aug. 3 in Steamboat, CO, this year's Wine Festival at Steamboat, sponsored
by The Porches, celebrates 500 wine tastings, pairings, gourmet
dinners, seminars and culinary competitions, with featured guests
incl. Christian Chambers, Synergy; Stephen Kautz,
Ironstone Vineyards; Doug Krenik, Master Sommelier; Susie
Mayr, Folio Fine Wine; Chris Rowe, Old Bridge Cellars; Ann
Thrupp, Fetzer Vineyards; Mark Chandler, Executive Director, Lodi
Winegrape Commission; Dave Philips, Owner, Michael David
Winery. $65 pp. Visit www.steamboatwinefestival.com.
* From Aug. 7-9 the Beaver Creek Wine & Spirits Festival features
culinary demos, a wine auction that benefits local charities, chefs
incl. Michael Cimarusti, Providence, LA; Joseph Manzare, Globe and
Zuppa, SF; Marco Stabile, Ora D’Aria Ristorante, Florence,
Italy; and Christoph Wagner from Lech, Austria.
* From now until Aug. 31, The French Riviera’s Château de la Tourhas offers
a summer promotion pavkage, a 2-night stay in a Deluxe Room with sea
view; choice of either buffet or continental breakfast, welcome
gift and bottle of Champagne, dinner for two in the Chateau’s
Restaurant “Le 10,” incl. wine, and 2 round-trip boat passes to one
of the Lérins Islands (Îles de Lérins).
€775 (approx. $1,220).Visit www.hotelchateaudelatour.com.
* Keswick Hall in
Charlottesville, VA, is currently celebrating the history of the grape
in Virginia with The Wine Escape package: 2 nights’
accommodations, plus a wine tasting, a local vineyard tour, and a
5-course dinner at the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, Fossett’s by
Executive Chef Craig Hartman. Available thru November 2008. Rates start
at $1175 on weekdays and $1235. Visit www.keswick.com or call
* On Aug 2 & 3 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) will present the 5th
Annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans, pitting
20 chefs, each nominated by the governor of the state he or she
represents, against one another for the title of “King or Queen of
American Seafood.” For details, visit
* On Aug. 8, Harbor
View Hotel in Edgartown, MA, will hold a Spanish wine event
with the wines of Rioja paired with a 4-course dinner, with
remarks by Rioja Brand Ambassador and Sommelier Lisa Carley.
Also, a silent auction featuring rare wines, and a Chocolate +
Rioja dessert extravaganza sponsored by Richart Chocolates! $125
pp. Go to:
* The 16th Annual
Winemakers’ Celebration in Monterey Wine Country is
Scheduled for Aug. 9, at the Historic Custom House Plaza in downtown
Monterey. The festivities exclusively feature 45+ Monterey County
wineries/ Silent auction, and a chance to win a 5-day stay at the
Pueblo Bonito Resort in Cabo San Lucas. Tix: $35 pp or $40 at the
event. Designated driver tickets $15. Call 831-375-9400, or
visit online at www.montereywines.org.
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, ForbesTraveler.com 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." To go to his
blog click on the logo below: THIS
Concordia Eco Tents, St. John, USVI
Las Vegas is the new on-line site for Virtual Gourmet
A. Curtas., who since 1995 has been commenting on the Las Vegas food
scene and reviewing restaurants for Nevada Public Radio. He is
the restaurant critic for KLAS TV, Channel 8 in Las Vegas, and his past
reviews can be accessed at KNPR.org.
Click on the logo below to go directly to his site.
Tennis Resorts Online:
A Critical Guide to the World's
Best Tennis Resorts and Tennis Camps,
published by ROGER COX, who has spent more than two decades writing
about tennis travel, including a 17-year stretch for Tennis magazine. He has also
written for Arthur Frommer's Budget
Travel, New York Magazine,
Travel & Leisure, Esquire, Money, USTA Magazine, Men's Journal, and The Robb Report. He has
authored two books-The World's
Best Tennis Vacations (Stephen Greene Press/Viking Penguin,
1990) and The Best Places to Stay in the Rockies (Houghton
Mifflin, 1992 & 1994), and the Melbourne (Australia) chapter to the
Wall Street Journal Business
Guide to Cities of the
Pacific Rim (Fodor's Travel Guides, 1991). THIS WEEK: A Report on The Four Seasons
Jackson Hole. Click on the logo
below to go to the site.
MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly. Editor/Publisher: John Mariani.
Contributing Writers: Robert Mariani,
Kooker, Suzanne Wright, John A. Curtas, Edward Brivio, Mort
Hochstein, Suzanne Wright. Contributing
Photographers: Galina Stepanoff-Dargery, Bobby Pirillo. Technical
Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.
John Mariani is a columnist for Esquire, Wine Spectator, Bloomberg News and
Radio, and Diversion.
He is author of The Encyclopedia
of American Food & Drink (Lebhar-Friedman), The Dictionary
of Italian Food and Drink (Broadway), and, with his wife Galina, the
award-winning Italian-American Cookbook (Harvard Common
Any of John Mariani's books below
may be ordered from amazon.com by clicking on the cover image.
newest book, written with my brother Robert Mariani, is a memoir of our
years growing up in the North
Bronx. It's called Almost
Golden because it re-visits an idyllic place and time in our
so many wonderful things seemed possible.
For those of you who don't think
the Bronx as “idyllic,” this
book will be a revelation. It’s
about a place called the Country Club area, on the shores of Pelham Bay. It was a beautiful
neighborhood filled with great friends
and wonderful adventures that helped shape our lives.
It's about a culture, still vibrant, and a place that is still almost
the same as when we grew up there.
Robert and I think you'll enjoy this
very personal look at our Bronx childhood. It is not
yet available in bookstores, so to purchase
a copy, go to amazon.com
or click on Almost Golden.
© copyright John Mariani 2008