Paul Newman (1925-2008)
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A Few Words
About Paul Newman by John
WHAT'S NEW IN SAN
FRANCISCO, Part Two by John Mariani
by John Mariani
FROM THE WINE CELLAR: With
French Wine Sales Down, Producers Look to a Young American Master for
Help by John Mariani
FEW WORDS ABOUT PAUL NEWMAN
by John Mariani
certainly never knew Paul Newman, though our paths crossed in press
interviews years ago. But, like just about everyone else, I thought he
was one of those few movie stars I'd really like to have known,
out with, had dinner with. His legacy as an actor is forever secure,
his munificence as a philanthropist exemplified the virtues of
charity, and his entrepreneurship in making supermarket foods--as a way
to raise more money for his charities--a quarter of a billion
dollars--was as unexpected as it was and novel.
In fact, Newman, who always looked like a guy
who'd rather drink beer than wine--with a chaser, as he did in "Hud" (left)--was very devoted to the good
things of the table, as the book cover above indicates.
His food products were, by and large, better than
most others that come in bottles and packages, his devotion to organic
food under his own line was applaudable (he said he wanted to produce
the kind of unadulterated food his father enjoyed eating in 1925), and
he had just
marketing wine, too.
Indeed, his ability to combine the pleasures
of his art with the pleasures of the table were manifest at a
restaurant he owned called, punningly, the Dressing Room,
adjacent to the Westport Playhouse to which he and his wife Joanne
Woodward devoted so much time and effort and support. The two-year-old
Dressing Room is exemplary as a
casual but serious American restaurant, headed by chef Michel Nischan,
whose dedication to seasonal, sustainable food is manifest in every
served. Newman often dined there.
Of course, the scene that leaps to mind
about Newman that involves food is the hilarious, if stomach-tugging,
challenge his title character accepts in the film "Cool Hand Luke,"
a prisoner in a brutal Southern work farm, he insists
he can eat 50 hardboiled eggs within a given time limit. The bets
go down and Luke begins to knock back the eggs, one at a time, first
without a moment's hesitation, then, lying on his back, being force-fed
actor George Kennedy. Newman plays it for laughs, then for suspense,
pretending at one point he won't be able to carry on. His fellow
prisoners walk him around, massage that impeccable six-pack stomach now
bloating up with eggs. In the
agonizing end, he does it, and he did it just to prove
he could do it, flashing "that ol' Luke smile" Newman had a patent
on whether he played a a pool hustler, an alcoholic lawyer, a closeted
husband, or the most lovable outlaw in the west.
Newman did it all and gave much of it
away. He got paid well for the pleasure he gave us onscreen, but
the money he made from that most basic of needs--food--he gave to those
need. Paul Newman was the complete American, as charming a
leading man as he was a rascal, as honest as he was morally
conflicted. That he
loved life seems obvious in every frame he filmed, and we all basked in
that blonde-then-silver-streaked, blue-eyed, lanky beauty of his.
So tonight, when you're eating well,
toast his achievements with a glass of good wine. And tomorrow for
breakfast, have a hardboiled egg or two.
WHAT'S NEW IN SAN
FRANCISCO, Part Two
by John Mariani
Last issue I wrote of
three high-end new restaurants in the Bay Area (click
here). This week I go downscale a bit but with savory results.
414 Jessie Street
Chez Papa Resto is an offshoot
in spirit but not menu of its sister restos, run by the Maktub Group--Chez
Papa Bistro, two Chez Mamans, and Coluer Cafe. Its
location, in a courtyard across
from the old U.S. Mint, is a little hidden, but the place seems to
have caught on for both lunch and dinner. The décor
differs a good
deal too--an L-shaped room with a high ceiling lighted by black
chandeliers, with gauze curtains, bare rosewood topped tables, an
antique glass Chef's Table, and a flamboyant orange banquette;
one wall is covered with
horsehair, another in grass. Black predominates--not the most
convivial color for a bistro.
Chez resto Papa is open
daily dinner, Mon-Fri. for lunch, and Sat. & Sun. for brunch.
Dinner starters run $8-$22, entrees $22-$30.
With just 70 seats (more outside), it's a good
size for a
French eatery where the food toes a traditional line, via Chef David
Bazirgan, who's done stints at Elizabeth Daniel and Baraka. He offers a
dozen of appetizers and about 8 main
courses. Pastis is featured on the drinks list, along with two
dozen wines by the glass, and a 150-selection list of French and global
wines, whose prices tend to be on the high side.
I very much enjoyed an heirloom tomato and
yellow watermelon salad with tangy feta, drizzled with lemon and dotted
with pine nuts and opal basil. Port-glazed sweetbreads with
hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, snap peas, and a garlic emulsion--really a
tasteless foam--were fairly bland. Really very good was Papa's foie
two-ways--a terrine with cherries, and fresh, seared with strawberries
lovely Banyuls wine reduction. And I had quite a smile on my face
every time I took a bite of the bubbly, caramelized pissaladière onion tart with
anchovies and Niçoise olives--as close as you'll come to those
you'll find along the French Riviera.
Of the three entrees I tried two were
outstanding--juicy, flavorful, grilled New York strip steak with a
sauce Béarnaise, though the frites
were pale, not golden, and
overseasoned with herbs; and a dark, winey lamb daube braised in
Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine, with a little lick of rosemary oil.
unexceptional, was roasted monkfish with a bouillabaisse fûmet,
buttery la ratte potatoes,
clams, calamari, and a garlicky rouille
I finished off with Pastry
chef Yuko Fujiian's classically excellent, rum --rich baba
with ice cream.
Chez Papa Resto is a place
everybody seems to like for good reason--honest food, friendly
greeting, amiable service, and a nice tucked-away location off the
beaten track, not unlike being tucked away behind some official
building off the Place Garibaldi in Old Nice.
1199 Valencia Street
cannily cashing in on San Franciscans' continuing love affair with
casual Mediterranean fare.
As I noted last week,
this is not a bad thing,
but it is a predictable one, and I would like to see many in the genre
do something a bit different from every place else. Pizzas and
Nonetheless, Beretta has been a winner since opening this year in the
District, and Chef-owner Ruggero Gadaldi, who
also runs Antica and
Pesce in Russian Hill with partners Adriano
Paganini and Deborah
Blum (below), was
able to turn an old, dated
restaurant into a new, very gregarious example of the freewheeling,
very casual, but, sadly, indescribably loud restaurant now called
Beretta. OK, I'll take a crack at it: Beretta is about as loud as
taking your lunch hour near a guy working a jackhammer.
The walls of the 70-seat room are white and
brown, with some charming, flowery stenciling, the ceiling tin and hung
chandeliers. The place appears to be well broken in, and, given the
decibel level, it sure doesn't need the throbbing piped-in music
that makes conversation doubly difficult.
there are 13 wines by the glass, the number on the list is only little
more than two score and could use some bolstering. There is also a
thriving bar scene here for good reason--they don't take reservations
for parties less than six, and the bartenders are very serious about
Beretta features pizzas, a dozen of
them, and since my measure of good pizza is the margherita, here made
with very creamy burrata
mozzarella, that's what I ordered, and it was very good
in flavor; the crust was a bit too fashionable thin, though, and lacked
the charred bubbling a true margherita
Beretta is really about small plates of antipasti, and here you can go
crazy with your guests by ordering nothing but antipasti and making a
good meal out of it. Our table was particularly happy with the warm,
marinated chubby cerignola
olives tinged with citrus to nibble on;
toasted, olive oil-rubbed bruschetta
of robiola cheese and
rabe made a fine combo,
and we loved another bruschetta of
fava beans with sharp, salty pecorino
shaved on top. Tasty but undercooked, eggplant caponatina with burrata missed the mark;
sautéed gnocchi with fresh porcini
should have been wonderful, but for all its ingredients,
lacked richness of flavor. Porcini mushroom risotto cooked with hearty
Barbera wine was pretty
good, the rice tender, the wine flavor coming through.
By all means go for the artisanal
salumi or any other charcuterie at Beretta, and the fritto misto of
fried fish was light and delicious. After that there are nightly main
course specials, like meatballs in spicy tomato, or saltimbocca alla
romana, and cioppino--San Fran's own version of Ligurian ciuppin--on Fridays.
Desserts include house-made gelati
and sorbetti, to be enjoyed
nice glass of Moscato d'Asti or a vin
Beretta is open for dinner
nightly, for lunch Sat. & Sun. Antipasti run $3-$15, pizzas
$11-$14, main courses $11-$18. No reservations for less than six people.
1911 Fillmore Street
can describe the decor of SPQR, which takes its name from the Roman
signature Senātus Populusque Rōmānus
("The Senate and the People of Rome"), as near monastic--a storefront
in a small, long room with bare white walls hung with a few posters,
and a white marble bar backed by shelves of wines and liquors. Like
Beretta (above) it is
blisteringly loud, but service is amiable and the
food comes out with dispatch. Chef Nate Appleman (below) also runs the very
successful A16 in the Marina,
whose name refers to the Autostrade
number on the way to Naples and whose food is featured there.
SPQR is more clearly Roman, focused on the hearty cooking of
Here, again, the small plates idea informs the
menu, starting with a page-and-a-half of antipasti that include bocconcini balls of
mozzarella with spicy tomato sauce; cauliflower with
garlic, parsley, capers and lemon; potatoes with pancetta bacon, fried
chilies, lemon, and pecorino cheese; and local anchovies with cucumbers
and pickled onions--every one well worth ordering and fighting over,
for these are small plates. Pile them on the
table, order a bottle of not-very-expensive Italian wine, and you'll be
out the door without spending very much at all, since the antipasti are
$8 each or $21 for three.
Then there's the slightly more expensive "antipasti
grande," a part of the menu I did not find quite so savory as
what precede it, like the fried chicken
spiked with Calabrian chilies, garlic, and lemon. They were O.K. but
not really a match
for most Buffalo wings you find at a good sports bar. Grilled pork ribs
tender, savory with fennel and rosemary, but fatty. Fried
sweetbreads with celery, garlic, parsley and lemon was a good dish, but
petrale sole--a fine local fish--didn't gain much from beans, olives,
and cherry tomatoes.
Next comes the pasta section, with plenty of
appetite-raising choices, like trombette
with a romanesco sauce and ricotta
salata; the best
was a lusty cannelloni of pork sausage with
ricotta, spinach, and pecorino; the least of them was a weak carbonara,
whose tossing of guanciale,
eggs, black pepper, and pecorino somehow lacked the
toothsome bite this Roman dish should have. At least two of
those pastas I tried were overcooked.
Desserts are, sensibly, light--a soupy budino of
rice with strawberries and pistachios, and a honey granita with
bright nectarines, Sicilian almonds, and ricotta--two desserts you
hard put to find made this well in Italy today.
SPQR's name may sound a bit
official, but SPQR lacks any sense of pretense--no
reservations are accepted. It just wants to serve good Roman
fare at good American prices.
Dinner is served nightly,
lunch Mon.-Fri., and brunch Sat. & Sun.
230 California Street
Beretta and SPQR, Perbacco is a very large space, two floors, with a
mezzanine, 1913 brick walls, marble bar, huge kitchen, and
a marble floor--which put me more in mind of a grand dining hall in
Milan than a contemporary ristorante
in Liguria, where Chef/owner
Staffan Terje and Umberto Gibin, whose experience include working in
Fifth Floor, Masa's, Scala’s Bistro, Chianti, and Poggio,
have put their culinary focus. Don't miss that reference to "bar" in
the logo--you can eat as well as drink there--for it's an important
element here, and the whole production has been carefully crafted
to be big, very loud, and somewhat frantic, so it is not a place I'd
recommend for a romantic or business meal. Size and success can
also put a strain on the kitchen.
Perbacco is open for lunch and
dinner Mon.-Sat. At dinner starters range from $8-$18, pastas
$10-$12 for appetizer portions, $15-$17 for full portions; main
Up front, I have to say that I dined at
Perbacco a year ago, so service and a few lapses might have all been
improved upon. But I note that the majority of dishes I tasted then are
still on the menus now, so I think my report still carries weight.
There's certainly good food to be had here:
not least a dish of rock shrimp fried crisp, with green beans, olives,
fennel and a sharp lemon aïoli.
Semolina-dusted Petrale sole comes
with a squash salad, raw tomato, and more of the same aïoli, and
(confit) of duck leg with roasted peach, arugula, and mosto cotto
(cooked wine must) is rich and delicious. Brandacujun, a Ligurian-style brandade of
salt cod and potato gratin had the proper
richness, texture and wallop of garlic.
were not nearly so successful--several were bland, some overcooked,
some barely warm, like the agnolotti
dal plin with roast veal
Savoy cabbage in a sugo d'arrosto
sauce, which should have been piping
hot. Ricotta gnocchi were too
soft, and the sauce of garlic and basil detracted from
their delicacy. Desserts, like the hazelnut cookies called "ugly but
good," and the sweet corn panna
cotta with blueberry compote were
An Italian restaurant can be too big for
its own good, and I think Perbacco has that problem. Fewer
customers, a slower pacing, and more care would make it one of San
Francisco's better Italian restaurants and certainly a rarity for its
by John Mariani
Guardia Place (near Bleecker St)
Tiam is one of those
wonderful restaurants I have somehow managed to miss until now because
never-ending number of
new places constantly opening on a weekly basis in New York. Now that
I've "discovered" it, along with thousands of faithful regulars who
pack the place every night, I want everyone to know that this serves
the best Thai food I've had in New York, and I am as enthusiastic about
it as I am about the Cambodian food at Kampuchea
on the Lower East
Owner Andy Yang also has a Rhong-Tiam on the
east side on Fifth Street, but I have not been to it so can't
compare the two. The Greenwich Village version on La Guardia Place,
shy of Bleecker Street and NYU, has an outdoor patio that is very
pleasant this time of the year; inside is a long room bisected by an
ivy planter and anchored by a red Vespa; the banquettes are gaily
the floors tiled, the color and lighting conducive to conviviality.
Yang calls his food "Bangkok style," which, as
a native of that Thailand capital, he emphasizes with a complexity of
rather than so much chile-induced killer heat. To my palate this
certainly seems to work well, for Yang's cooking does reveal far more
than the usual shot of searing pepper you get in so many less
I make no claim to know which is more "authentic,"
but, despite my fondess for hot food, I do appreciate the levels of
spices achieved at Rhong-Tiam, starting in appetizers like the crispy
roll with carrot, onion, bean threads, and pork with a chili-plum
sauce. His duck spring roll is equally as good, and the chicken wrapped
in lemongrass as aromatic as it is savory. The so-called "Thai
nacho" is made from those funny, crispy shrimp chips that instantly
puff up when
fried, the bed for coconut shrimp and a chicken dipping sauce; I
could have eaten a dozen of the fried (or steamed) chicken and shrimp
dumplings with a ginger vinaigrette. By the way, many, many dishes here
offer vegetables as fillings or components of a dish as alternatives to
meat and fish.
visit to a Thai restaurant can go on for long
without soup, noodles, and salad. I highly recommend the Thai beef
salad, with all the ingredients and spicy-citrus-sweet flavors
melding perfectly. Tom Kha is
a delicious, tangy-sweet coconut and galangal soup with
either shrimp or chicken, and it has as much of a cleansing effect on
the palate as it does a tantalizing spirit. That old standby of
Thai restaurants, pad Thai, is well rendered here, not clogged
up with too many noodles or a cloying sauce, and the "Drunken Noodle
Beef" with rice noodles, basil leaves, garlic, hot birds'-eye chile,
onions, and bell peppers is a triumph of complexity pulled together
Our table of four happily plowed our way through
all these dishes and had not even hit the seafood or meat main
courses, not to
mention the lovely green curry fried rice. And portions, though
meant to be shared, are not small here. We kept going though,
I believe, by the way Thai seasonings make the appetite roar. So we
launched into fried red snapper with tamarind sauce, and
coriander-and-curry scented tiger shrimp, and a dish of chicken
with cashews, an explosive roasted chili paste, scallions and bell
peppers. Then there's "Andy's omelet special"--a pan-fried egg with
noodles and minced meat. Damn good!
Were we stuffed? More or less, but immensely
satisfied, assured that, even in a casual setting like Rhong-Tiam, Thai
food can assert itself among the best in New York.
By the way, Mr. Yang has very fine taste in
jazz, which he plays at a cordial level in his restaurant.
Rhing-Tiam is open daily for
dinner, and for lunch Mon.-Sat. Appetizers, soups and salads, $4 to
$14; noodles and rice dishes, $9 to $13; entrees, $11 to $26; desserts,
$3 to $8.
FROM THE WINE CELLAR
French Wine Sales Down,
Producers Look to a Young American Master for Help
by John Mariani
It isn’t yet une grande panique, but the French
wine industry has shaken off its malaise and shifted to a fighting
stance for their share of the global market. Sales of their wines are
down almost everywhere, even in France itself. While global consumption
of wine from 2001-2005 rose 4 percent, France’s dropped by 11 percent.
Exports to the U.S. dropped 12.5 percent this year so far.
French still drink 52 liters per
capita--compared to the Italians’ 46, and Americans’ less than 9
liters. But while worldwide wine consumption is expected to soar 10
percent within the next two years, France’s is going in the other
direction. When Australia toppled France as the largest wine exporter
to the U.K. around 2003—by history, tradition, and taste, a huge market
for French wines--a collective shiver went down the Gallic spine.
The requisite solution, therefore, is to
export more French wine to other markets. For the task of selling
Americans on the charms and affordability of French wines, Sopexa USA's
Wines of France
promotional arm has thrown $2.6 million into a new
“umbrella campaign” to
hold 700 tastings at more than 300 points of sale throughout the
the charge is a 33-year-old
North Carolina woman who doesn’t speak French. But Sheri Sauter
Morano (left), from Durham,
does speak with the authority of being one of the
youngest of only 278 Masters of Wine in the world—the most prestigious
order of educators and wine industry consultants—and only the second
American woman to achieve the distinction since 1953. Her job now
is to show and tell American winedrinkers why French wines are neither
intimidating nor overpriced.
“The producers realize they have a
problem with perception and image among American consumers,” says
Morano, who bears a blond resemblance to Laura Bush. “The French want
to break down the ideas that their wines are old-fashioned or should be
saved only for special occasions. The producers were stunned by
Americans’ reaction to France’s refusal to join in the Iraq war: people
were pouring French wines in the gutter—after having already paid for
them. And there’s no question the strength of the euro makes all
European goods more expensive.”
a result, French producers are trying
to find ways to cut their own costs (glass bottles alone have risen up
to 20 percent in the last year) and to pass savings on to the consumer.
“I have no problem with wines that come in a box or have screwtops,”
says Morano. “I applauded when Mommessin said they would put their
Beaujolais into aluminum cans (right),
which are lighter, easier to ship, and
keep the wine fresher.”
If such talk sounds sacrilegious among
the tradition-bound French, it is not likely to effect the most famous
crus of Bordeaux and Burgundy, which are always in short supply, always
allocated, and priced according to overwhelming demand for very little
“Those wines always sell,” says Morano.
“My job is to address the everyday French wines that are regional vin
du pays, grass roots wines. I try to appeal to a wide swathe of
Americans with different tastes, so I’ve picked out 40 wines are think
are innovative and good value. The American palate is at a fragile
point right now, because there are so many wines in the market, some
very fruity, others with high alcohol levels, others from people have
never heard of.”
To this end Morano will visit seven U.S.
cities to speak with media and retailers. Her appeal to the average
winedrinker is through her blog at www.wines-france.us, where she
reports on her own travels, offers wine and food advice, and answers
questions from readers.
I had a chance to taste the kinds of wines
Morano is promoting, with Thai appetizers at New York’s Rhong Tiam
restaurant (see review above),
whose spicy, sweet and hot flavors presented an interesting
challenge. Morano first popped a sparkling wine, a slightly sweet
Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé from Lucien Albrecht, whose
through the food’s flavors. At $24 it is a delightful bubbly.
Another Alsatian wine, Pierre Sparr’s simply
named One 2007 ($13) was a delicate, floral blend of pinot blanc, pinot
gris, muscat, riesling, and gewürztraminer, which struck me as
for Thai or any other spicy food. Somewhat more subtle and quite
refined was Laurent Miquel’s Viognier 2007 ($13), a varietal Morano
describes as “a beautiful woman wearing a flowing sundress and Chanel
her if she chose wines that
played up to the American palate the way wines of New Zealand and
Australia have so successfully. “No, these are French wines,” she said,
“and I try to explain that wine is both an art form and a beverage. I
don’t want to recommend wines to Americans that taste like those they
may already know. I ask them, `What is this wine saying to you?’
Because for me a wine from the south of France should taste like it’s
from the south of France. Otherwise, French wines will never find that
important balance of terroir and distinction that is crucial in the
American market right now.”
To read Ms. Morano's blog for Wines of France, click here.
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.
THERE’S A HAIR IN MY SOUP, A BAND-AID IN MY POTATOES, AND A CIGARETTE
BUTT IN MY MEATLOAF!
In Osaka, Japan, the restaurant chain Senba Kitcho admitted that
its units regularly served food recycled from customers’ plates if the
food looked untouched. Chain president Sachiko Yuki announced he
was halting business and apologized for “betraying the public’s trust
for food security and safety.”
BLOCK THOSE METAPHORS!
“”Har gu should be thin, opalescent, rice skins through which you can
just see three small prawns making love, their arses bulging against
the dumpling walls like stolen babies stuffed in a pillow case.”—Giles
Coren, “Ping Pong,” The Times
* On Oct. 6 in DC, Taberna
del Alabardero’s October wine dinner will be “The Battle of
Tempranillos by Executive Chef Dani Arana and Sommelier Gustavo
Iniesta. $125 pp. Call 202-429-2200.
* London’s Capital
Hotel in Knightsbridge is offering a “Wet Shave and Whiskey”
experience for gentlemen staying at the hotel on business. The package
incl. a single room at with full English, a wet shave at Andreas of
Knightsbridge, anda glass of 12 year old Glenfiddich in the Capital’s
Art Deco Bar to enjoy either before or after dinner. £225
pp. Contact email@example.com or call (800)
* On Oct. 6 at the Stadium Club at Giants Stadium
in East Rutherford, NJ, current and former NY Giants players and
chefs from Metropolitan Area restaurants such as Tao, Oceana, Patsy’s,
Destino and Scalini Fedeli , with ShopRite and Kraft are hosting the Second Annual Taste of the Giants
benefit to help fight hunger.
Other activities include a tour of the Giants locker room, walking the
field, and participating in live and silent auctions featuring sports
memorabilia, vacation packages and other unique items and
experiences. General admission tix $250 pp, limited number of VIP
tix at $400. Contact 973-316-1665.
* On Oct. 9 in NYC, Macelleria
features “Buy It Cold and Serve It Up Hot, Baby!” with a 4-course
dinner at $100 pp, with Suzy Sirloin, a working meatpacker
whose family has been buying, butchering and selling beef since the
1800s. Call 212-741-2555.
* Hakubai Japanese
Restaurant, located in NYC’s Kitano Hotel New York offers a
“Fall Early-Bird Special Dinner” menu focusing on fresh, seasonal
ingredients for a special rate of $69 pp. for orders placed from 6 –
6:30 p.m valid from Oct. 15 – Nov. 15. Call 212- 885-7111;
* Malt Advocate
Magazine’s 2nd Annual
WhiskyFest comes to San Francisco on Oct. 10,
showcasing over 250 of the world’s finest whiskies with samples,
custom whisky-based cocktails and seminars led by distillery managers
and master blenders. A gourmet buffet complimenting whisky, with
proceeds to benefit Food Runners of San Francisco. $150 (VIP)
$110 (General Admission); Visit
* On Oct. 17 the Rancho
Bernardo Inn in San Diego holds its Second Annual “Beer
vs. Wine” dinner at El Bizcocho, with a long-simmering issue:
which goes better with fine cuisine—beer or wine? Steven Rojas,
recently appointed chef de cuisine at El Bizcocho at the Rancho
Bernardo Inn, has created a special 6-course menu paired with
wines selected by Sommelier Barry Wiss and beers chosen by Stone
Brewing Company’s CEO Greg Koch. Results will be tabulated and
announced at the end of the dinner. $125 pp. Call 858-675-8550.
* On Oct 18 Chillingsworth in
Brewster, MA, will hold its The Annual Game Dinner: $150 pp. . . . On
Nov. 15: Beaujolais Nouveau dinner; Visit
* On Oct 18 in Charleston , SC, chef Callie White will cater an al
fresco dinner overlooking Middleton
Place’s “Butterfly Lakes.” The musical group Cary Ann
Hearst, and bestselling authors spinning tales of the South. $150
pp, incl. a full day admission to the Charleston Garden Festival.
Call 843-266-7494. www.charlestongardenfestival.org.
* On Oct. 19 in Portland, OR, Nicky USA holds its 8th annual Wild
About Game & Wine Celebration at the Resort at The Mountain in
Welches, pairing game chefs for a cooking competition and educational
cooking demo; also a culinary marketplace with food & wine tastings
and cookbook signings, incl. Vitaly Paley, author of The Paley’s
Place Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Pacific Northwest;
Paul Bosch, chef at the Resort at The Mountain will prepare a game
dinner buffet. Call 800-669-7666; visit www.theresort.com.
* During the 3rd week of October in Chicago and Schaumburg, IL, Shaw’s Crab House is hosting its
20th Annual Royster with the Oyster Festival , with the Oyster Slurping
Contest, culminating Oct. 17, with the famous Tent Party in
Chicago outside of Shaw’s Chicago location. Call 312-527-2722 (Chicago)
or 847-517-2722 (Schaumburg), or visit www.shawscrabhouse.com
*From Oct. 23-26 the 2008 Kohler Food
& Wine Experience in Kohler, Wisconsin features Top Chef
Season 2 Winner Ilan Hall and Top Chef Season 3 Winner Hung Huynh
award-winning local and international chefs, cookbook signings, et al.
Call 800-344-2838 or www.KohlerFoodandWine.net.
* From Oct. 23-25 Eats3
Scottsdale will showcase over 40 of Arizona's best independent
and unique culinary talents, on Scottsdale's SouthBridge, with over 200
wineries from across the globe and cocktail creations from nationally
acclaimed mixologists. Proceeds go to support Food & Wine's
Grow for Good and Scottsdale's own Waste Not organizations. Visit
ww.Eats3Scottsdale.com or call 480-275-8888.
* From Oct. 24-26, The Luxury
Collection Hotels & Resorts will host a "Super Vintage"
wine auction weekend at the Hotel Marqués de Riscal in Rioja,
Spain in October, with a gala dinner and charity auction of local
vintages conducted by Christie's, incl. the Riscal Superlot, proceeds
from which will go to UNICEF. $3,936 or $2500 euros/ Visit
* From Oct. 20-24 in NYC, The Kellari Hospitality Group holds
its second annual "Dionysos Festival," at Kellari Taverna and Kellari's
Parea, culminating in an extravagant party featuring limitless
wine, a special chef's tasting menu, and traditional Greek music and
dance on Octo. 24t at Kellari Taverna. Each day of the week will
feature a different grape varietal specific to the wine-producing
regions of Greece. Experts will speak about the grapes
characteristics, growing conditions, aromas, etc. Call
* From Oct. 20-26 “Palm Beach Restaurant Week” will
showcase the culinary talents from some of the island’s finest chefs
with a pre-fixed menu of $20.08 for a 3-course lunch. The
participating restaurants incl. Amici Ristorante & Bar, Café
Boulud at The Brazilian Court, Café L’Europe, The Flagler
Steakhouse at The Breakers, et al. Visit palmbeachfl.com.
* On Oct. 21, for the first time in the U.S., the 18
members of the Grandi Marchi showcase their wines at The
Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, incl. guided wine tasting and
(exclusively for media), walk-around Grand Tasting for trade, press and
a Gala Dinner. . Tix for the tasting $40 pp for the general
public; Call 877-217- 9867. Tix for Gala Dinner $250 pp. by
(305) 913-3203, or at the door. www.istitutograndimarchi.it.
* On Oct. 23 in Chicago, IL, N9NE Steakhouse and Winemaker Bob
Lindquist hold a Qupé Wine Dinner. Chef Michael Shrader will
prepare a 5-course menu with 6 wines, at $80 pp. Email
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312.575.9900; visit www.N9NE.com.
* On The Ave Hotel New York
is offering guests a “Romance Concierge”; the on-site Romance Concierge
will help guests create an intimate, personalized romantic experience
to include a 2-night stay in a luxurious suite; bath butler with
champagne and bubbles; breakfast in bed both mornings; and personalized
NYC excursions, e.g., a Carriage Ride or bicycling through
Central Park and along the Hudson River ; Romantic Picnic in Central
Park ; treatments for two at the Equinox Wellness Spa; private
night tour of the Empire State Building; dinner at Jean-Gorges.
Rate start at $399; visit
* The James Beard
Foundation’s Taste America Las Vegas™ will take place Oct. 24 -
26, with restaurateurs, journalists, cookbook authors and
sommeliers, dinners, cooking demos, educational panels. Visit
am happy to report that the Virtual
Gourmet is linking up
with four excellent travel sites:
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."
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).
Forum: The Family Travel Forum (FTF), whose motto is "Have
Kids, Still Travel!", is dedicated to the ideals, promotion and support
of travel with children. Founded by business professionals John Manton
and Kyle McCarthy with first class travel industry credentials and
global family travel experience, the independent, family-supported FTF
will provide its members with honest, unbiased information, informed
advice and practical tips; all designed to make traveling a rewarding,
healthy, safe, better value and hassle-free experience for adults and
children who journey together. Membership in FTF will lead you to new
worlds of adventure, fun and learning. Join the movement.
All You Need to Know
Before You Go
MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly. Editor/Publisher: John Mariani.
Contributing Writers: Robert Mariani,
John A. Curtas, Edward Brivio, Mort
Hochstein, Suzanne Wright, and Brian Freedman. Contributing
Photographers: Galina Stepanoff-Dargery, Bobby Pirillo. Technical
Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.
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