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THE WAY WE ATE: AMERICAN
CAFETERIAS by John
NEW YORK CORNER:
PATROON CELEBRATES TENTH ANNIVERSARY by John Mariani
FROM THE WINE CELLAR: Laurent-Perrier
Champagne Sails Ahead by John Mariani
THE WAY WE ATE: AMERICAN CAFETERIAS
by John Mariani
What’s happened to the great
tradition of the American roadside cafeteria?
Well, for one thing many have stripped away the school lunchroom and
blue collar associations by re-naming them “family restaurants” while
keeping the metal cafeteria lines and the steaming trays just out
of the dishwasher and the array of American fare that can send you
reeling with indecision. Since none of it costs very much, you
can pick up more than you know you will eat, and take the rest home,
with a big smile on your face.
Back in 1977 my wife and I spent a 14 week-long honeymoon
driving across the U.S., and, after learning that any restaurant with
more than two stars in the Mobil
Travel Guides was not worth eating in, we discovered the
wonderful array of cafeterias in the Midwest and west, which even then
were links in huge chains with names like Furr’s, Piccadilly,
Morrison’s, Bickford’s, S&W, Britling, Blue Boar, and Luby’s.
They all offered consistency of product, hospitality of the most
genuine kind, amazingly good prices, and, even, regional foods, which
might include Italian lasagna, Greek salads, Mexican platters,
Hungarian goulash, Swedish meatballs, Canadian bacon, and London
broil—the whole melting pot of culinaria Americana.
yellow-red-green Jell-O molds, the icing topped mile-high cakes, the
sizzling fried chicken, the big slices of apple-cherry-pecan-ice box
pies and the German chocolate cake were always available and always
unstintingly fresh, for the simple reason that the high turnover
guaranteed that the cooks back in the kitchen were turning out the food
on a minute-to-minute
Cafeteria, Louisville, KY
These days at Luby’s (which took over the Morrison’s chain) you can
find blackened tilapia, even sole “almondine,” and they now have a
“nutritional consultant” who recommends you remove the skin from your
fried chicken, ask for gravy on the side of your mashed potatoes, and
eat broccoli without the cheese sauce—advice that defeats the whole
purpose of going to a place where a little excess is part of the whole
deal, like buying a 1967 Mustang fastback and keeping it under 40 mph.
Now, you know damn well what put
so many cafeterias out of business: fast food, which wasn’t better,
just cheaper and nowhere near as healthy. But there’s more to it
than that: Cafeterias had long been associated with the
stay-at-home American families that rewarded themselves with a nice
meal out, a place to go after church, even all dressed up. The
cafeterias were antiseptic
for all the right reasons, downright corny
by design, and part of an American pre-war ethos that become quickly
dated in the 1950s, when a place with a décor of wagon wheels
and a staff dressed in gingham quickly gave way to a teen culture of
bluejeans, ducktails, and chrome-rich cars that looked out of place in
a parking lot filled with Oldsmobiles and Packards.
Sholl's Cafeteria, Washington, DC
No rock-and-roll movie ever had a cafeteria as a
setting; no motorcycle
gangs ever rode up to a Luby’s; and even well into the 1950s, no black
families were allowed to eat in a cafeteria—even if black cooks
prepared all the food and black waiters cleared tall he tables.
Instead, the soaring, cantilevered California style of space age design
luncheonettes and drive-ins with names like Norm’s in Long Beach and
Googie’s on Sunset Boulevard were where
Annette Funicello and Frankie
Avalon would be found, not pushing a tray along the line at something
called Piccadilly’s. “American Graffiti” revolved around a diner
in Petaluma; “All American Burger” in Brentwood was the setting for
“Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Aloha,
days, though, the cafeterias of the Midwest and west retain at best a
nostalgic charm, even if the décor is now closer to Denny’s than
Bickford’s. I have to admit, it’s been a long time since my wife
and I picked up a plastic tray at a cafeteria, moving slowly along the
stainless steel tubes, delirious with the options before us, and coming
to the end to be greeted by a pretty girl who throws in a “Y’all have a
good day now” with the modest check.
I think I’ve got to make the time
before they all go away.
ARETSKY'S PATROON KEEPS GOING AND GOING AND GOING
by John Mariani
The name itself seems to celebrate a
different time. A patroon was a Dutch landholder of privilege when New
York was known as New Amsterdam, and ten years ago this finely
conceived restaurant was designed to appeal to both those venerable
lions of New York finance and media along with the wave of young
publishers, ad men, and investment bankers whose expense accounts knew
Patroon is located at 160 E. 46th Street (near Lexington
Avenue); 212-883-7373; www.patroonrestaurant.com.
And if anyone can be said to be a patroon of
the New York restaurant world it would be the restaurant's owner, Ken
Aretsky (right), whose prior
stewardship at `21' Club helped sail that moribund establishment
through the early 1990s. Aretsky comes from a family of
restaurant suppliers--not least seltzer!--and, after trying his hand at
stockbroker, was drawn back into the restaurant business with his first
Manhattan venture, in 1978, called Oren and Aretsky, a big
hit in the 1970s, not least among the athletes and singles crowd of the
Upper East Side. He then opened the more soigné Arcadia, which
culinary clout, then was called to take over the running of the
less-than-it-once-was `21,' which surprised Aretsky because, he said, "I had never eaten there because
I thought they would have never let me in."
With the closing of the archaic steakhouse
Christ Cella in 1995, Aretsky had the chance to open a new kind of steakhouse-American restaurant, which he and his
partner named Patroon. It had a definite clubbish feeling, including
a smoking lounge upstairs (when customers could smoke inside), and
black-and-white sports photos. Patroon was certainly designed to
attract the kind of New York powerbrokers who dined at `21,' The Four
Seasons, and the numerous old-line steakhouses in the east Forties, and
Aretsky built his base by being at Patroon schmoozing night after
night. He knew many of them, he got to know many more newcomers.
was, however, one little glitch: Just as Patroon opened Aretsky was
arrested on charges of stocking contraband--Cuban cigars!--many owned
his customers, and he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges
"mislabeling tobacco products," paid a
$5,000 fine, and agreed to three years' probation and community
service, which turned out to be something he truly enjoyed--visiting
schools and helping kids get into culinary studies.
[A small digression here: When I
first heard this story, I was reminded that Gen. Alexander Haig,
Secretary of State under Reagan, was once asked how, being such a
staunch anti-communist, he could smoke Cuban cigars with such
impunity. Haig snapped back, "I consider it to be a form of
burning down their crops."]
13 years later, with all the cigars gone, the
look of Patroon has achieved a kind of modern classic status, a highly
polished décor with plenty of room and leather banquettes, a
warm greeting and a service staff that, unlike those at so many of the
nearby steakhouses, offers more than a "How ya want'cha steak cooked?"
attitude. They know the menu well and they know the much-improved
winelist well, too.
Though always correctly applied to
Patroon, civilized is a word that is so quickly vanishing elsewhere in
York dining. So it's a feeling of sheer comfort when you come through
the doors here and get treated like a regular, even if it's your first
time, and like an old friend if you haven't been back in a while. You
don't get blasted with disco music, you don't see people dressed as if
they just came from (or belonged in) the zoo, and you get a finely set
table with good lighting.
The style of the food has not changed radically,
though chefs have come and gone--the current occupant of the kitchen is
Bill Peet, formerly at Lutèce, Café des Artistes, and
and the steakhouse appellation is now far too strict for a menu that
runs from Dover sole with lobster sauce to dark beer braised
short ribs. That Dover sole I had cooked à la
meunière in good butter, and the short ribs fell off the
fork's touch into that deep, dark beer braising liquid.Nor
have the prices changed much in years: the excellent
28-day dry-aged sirloin was $44 in 2004 and it's $44 today; there's
also a remarkable $27 lunch and $39 dinner.
For starters I recommend the grilled
smoked prawns or, while they last the end of summer, the heirloom
tomatoes with a roasted tomato vinaigrette (below, right), pickled Bermuda
onions, and mâche lettuce. Grilled baby octopus is tender
and sweet, with orzo, tomato, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, and pea
shoots for more texture and Mediterranean flavor, while the plump
crabcake gets its bulk from pure, jumbo crabmeat and little binder,
with a lemon and tarragon aïoli and baby green salad.
I really loved the more-than-ample grilled
lobster brushed with herbs and butter and served with sizzling onions
and a rich lobster sauce, and the steak, impeccably cooked, is as fine
a piece of beef as I've had in New York recently. Peet clearly takes
much care with vegetables like the fat grilled asparagus and the crisp
golden Vidal onion rings that are as sweet as candy. The whipped
potatoes must incorporate a whole cow's butter, and they are terrific
as a result.
You shouldn't miss dessert (don't eat everything
before hand; take it home with you), for you won't want to miss the
luscious profiteroles with chocolate sauce, a classic crème
brûlée, or the apple tarte Tatin that comes warm to the
table with plenty of whipped cream or ice cream.
is a menu that makes no leaps and
bounds beyond what can reasonably be called classic New York fare, but
for all that, it is also a menu impossible to tire of because
the range is solid in meats and seafood, dependent on the seasons, and
composed of dishes just about everyone loves.
Through thick and thin Patroon has kept its
faithful, and Aretsky, still the consummate restaurateur, is always
there to greet you, meet you, and ask about how things are going.
He's one of those guys proud to be called a saloonkeeper, and he's not
going anywhere soon.
Open Mon.-Fri. for lunch and dinner; Sat. & Sun. for private
events; $27 lunch and $39 dinner, and a la carte, with starters at
dinner $12-$29 and main courses $23-$44.
FROM THE WINE CELLAR
Laurent-Perrier Sails Against the
Tide to New
by John Mariani
Rosé with the Champagne house's new USA President, Bertrand de
Fleurian, at Mr. Chow in TriBeCa is one of the more luxurious things
I've done this past week, and Monsieur de Fleurian (who has moved to
Mamaroneck, NY) is a suitably bubbly companion for chatting about the
state of Champagne during the global recession, which has hurt sales
alliance of Champagne houses with Hollywood and show biz has been going
on for a long while, sometimes with great success, then with disaster, as when Cristal's
managing director told The
Economist he viewed the rappers' choice of Cristal with “curiosity and
serenity,” and when asked if the association would taint the brand's
image, shrugged, "That's a good question, but what can we do? We can't
forbid people from buying it. I'm sure Dom Pérignon or Krug
would be delighted to have their business"--a statement that justifies
a special place in the history of Gallic hauteur and faux pas. Guess
which bubbly the hip hop world switched to overnight? D-P and Krug, merci beaucoup!
Laurent-Perrier has been careful to make no such mistakes,
becoming the exclusive Champagne to be served at the Oscars®, since
1996, and the Emmys as of 2001. A year later L-P partnered with
the Professional Golfers' Association of America and was awarded a
Royal Warrant by the Prince of Wales--quite a coup, since the Prince
and the late Princess Diana had long been associated with Bollinger R.D.
else, L-P had a rough year in 2008-09 but weathered it better than
most, and their highly regarded Champagnes are no longer on
allocation. Also problemmatic has been the sharp rise of the euro
against the US dollar. "We have adjusted our prices accordingly," days
de Fleurian. "In fact, our prices are lower than two years ag0, even
with the strength of the euro." As a result, I
that if L-P can hold the line on prices--and remember, the euro has
risen sharply against the dollar this year, which doesn't help--it will
be in a very good position as one of the great marques that did not try to
out-supply its competitors in the good years.
Last of all, de Fleurian is very
excited by this year's harvest in Champagne, which will soon be ending.
The sugars and acidity are very good, the summer was warm, and there
almost no rain over the last few weeks, all of which bodes well for
both a good vintage and a good supply. Market-wise, "We are
concentrating on the east and west coasts in the U.S.," says de
Fleurian, "Washington, New York, Chicago, Miami, and California. We
will be doing beautiful windows with our Champagnes in winestores, and
next year our bigpromotion will be `Laurent-Perrier Rosé
Back in frewheeling 2007 Champagne and
sparkling wine sales in the USA were booming--up 4 percent over the
previous year. Then la merde
hit the fan: Sales plummeted, according to one distributor by 50
percent for non-vintage Champagne and up to 85 percent for vintage and
prestige cuvées. According to an article in Decanter.com this
month, shipments could drop by more than 60 million bottles this year,
noting that "Volumes have not been this low since the post-millennium
hangover in 2001." Stanislas Henriot,
president of his family's namesake la
marque, told the press, "It's been brutal."
Thus, the occasion to sip
Laurent-Perrier Rosé with squab wrapped in lettuce leaves,
sole-stuffed jade water dumplings, and "gambler's duck," seemed an
affable way to hear what's going on. De Fleurian (below) is a level-headed optimist,
convinced that when the economy turns around, Champagnes will be the
first choice with which to celebrate it. He sees great
growth in China, some in Russia, and believes the U.S. will rebound
quickly when the price is right. Champagnes selling at retail for under
$100 will be the best positioned, and fortunately
Laurent-Perrier has a non-vintage Brut and a Demi-Sec at
$49, a vintage Brut 1999 at a remarkable $70, and Ultra Brut
(with no dosage) at $85; the
Cuvee Rosé we drank that evening is $100. Then there is Grand
Siècle (a 50-50 blend of chardonnay and pinot noir made from
three vintages) at $200 and the Alexandra Rosé at $450, made
from 80% pinot noir and 20% chardonnay, commemorating the
marriage of L-P owner Bernard de Nonancourt's daughter in 1987.
The house of Laurent-Perrier dates
back to 1812, acquired by the Nonancourt family in 1939 (another
melt-down of a year), and largely the marque
ihas been known for its devotion to a dominance of the finest
chardonnay in their wines, although its Cuvée Rosé Brut
was made from 100 percent pinot noir. It also was the first to
introduce the pas dosage
style, that is, adding no sugar liquid to the second fermentation,
resulting in a bone dry Champagne. The company also makes
Champagnes under the labels Salon, Delamotte and Champagne de
brands, and exports to 120 countries.
The big Champagne houses,
many owned by conglomerates, have long been savvy about marketing their
products as luxury goods while trying to expand consumption of a wine
too often regarded solely as a celebratory indulgence. From the
moment James 007 Bond announced his preference for Taittinger in the
Ian Fleming spy novels and films, Champagne marketeers have scrambled
to get Bond to drink their brand onscreen, and 007 has proven amazingly
amenable over the years, quaffing everything from Dom
Pérignon to Bollinger.
As we finished the second bottle of the Rosé, which went very
well with the more savory Chinese food, though not when sweet
hoisin-type sauces entered the mix, I realized how well
Champagne--specially a full-bodied example like L-P's--can be drunk
with pleasure throughout a meal, perhaps opening a sweeter Demi-Sec
with dessert. It's certainly a good way to get people to drink more of
A BLOCK AWAY, SIX DRUG DEALS WERE GOING DOWN
to the NY Post, Parks
Department agents slapped a 10-year-old girl in Riverside Park with a
$50 ticket for selling lemonade without a permit. Clementine Lee
had been selling lemonade on a hot day for 50 cents a glass when three
agents swooped down on her and demanded, "Where's your permit? Where's
your permit?'" saying that the couple didn't have the right to sell on
Parks property. Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe
later conceded that "The agent used extremely poor judgment" and didn't
properly enforce the rule, and that the agent would be
"re-trained on rules and regulations" and reassigned.
DEY ARE RELEASED, PLEASE HAF
ERIK AND BIRGIT BRING US BACK A NICE MACHETE AS A SOUVENIR, JAH?
"This is a love song. It's a Haitian love song, played on three drums
and an electric slide guitar that never sounds quite on key. No
question, you can dance to it. . . . . `Sure,' [Tourism Minister
Patrick Delatour concedes], `Cap-Haitien is something of a wreck. It
could use some paint. But on the other hand, you can sell
as a tourist product,' Delatour says, ever honest, ever the optimist.
`How many people in Sweden have ever seen a city in wreck?'--Amy
Wilentz, "Love and Haiti and the Whole Damn thing," Condé Nast Traveler (Sept.
WARNING: "The State Department warns U.S. citizens to exercise a
high degree of caution when traveling to Haiti. . . .There were violent
confrontations between opposing candidates' supporters and armed
attacks on polling stations in a handful of Haitian towns during the
April 19, 2009, Senate elections. . . .U.S. citizens traveling to and
residing in Haiti despite this warning are reminded that there also is
persistent danger of violent crime, especially kidnappings. The
incidence of kidnapping in Haiti has diminished from its peak in 2006
when 60 Americans were reported kidnapped. In 2008, 27 Americans
were reported kidnapped. As of July 2009, one
American had been reported kidnapped this year. Most of the
Americans were abducted in Haiti's two largest cities, Port-au-Prince
and Cap Haitien. Some kidnap victims have been killed, shot,
sexually assaulted, or physically abused."--July 17, 2009 Report.
* In Chicago, at Old Town Brasserie every
Tuesday night, guests can enjoy any bottle on the wine list at
half-price with the cuisine of Chef Christian Phernetton.
* On Sept. 29 in NYC, The Oak Room is running a
drink special to coincide with Netflix’s Central Park event celebrating
the 70th Anniversary of MGM’s classic film "The Wizard of Oz." Inspired
by the four central themes within the movie (Home, Heart, Brains and
Courage), head bartender Orlando Rivera has crafted a delightfully
whimsical and potent collection of shots as playfully imaginative as
Dorothy herself. Call 212-758-7777;
* For the
month of October, Klee Brasserie
in NYC, celebrates
Oktoberfest with a special menu. to feature traditional favorites
including the Grilled Kobe Beef Bratwurst, Oktoberfest Wiener
Schnitzel, house-made suckling pig strudel, and daily rotating sausage
specials. The bar will also be offering domestic and German
Oktoberfest brew specials. Call 212-633-8033.
now through October 15, Hakubai
Restaurant in The Kitano New
York, features its Fall
Early Bird Dinner, priced at $69 pp. available each evening for orders
placed from 6 – 6:30 p.m., and seating is available until 8
p.m. Call 212- 885-7111. Visit www.kitano.com.
* From now
through November, in San Francisco,
the Grand Cafe Brasserie and Bar celebrates
the theater with a 3-course dinner and complimentary parking for $39,
with wines +$15 and the Bar offers show-inspired cocktails and nightly
plats du jour. Call (415) 292-0101or visit www.grandcafe-sf.com.
* On Sept.
27 in Boston, Clio restaurant will begin serving
a Sunday Supper featuring exciting variations on fried chicken by
chef Ken Oringer, from southern to Korean, each with traditional
accompaniments. $35 pp. Call 617-536-7200; www.cliorestaurant.com.
* On Sept.
28 in Winnetka, IL, Restaurant Michael presents
its first ever “Break the Fast” dinner beginning just after sundown: a
3-course prix fixe menu for $39 pp. Call (847) 441-3100 for
reservations. www.restaurantmichael.com. . . . On Oct. 6
Restaurant Michael hosts its first “Wine Maker Dinner” with special
guest, Hugh Davies of Schramsberg Vineyards, 6 courses paired with 7
wines. $85 pp.
* On Sept.
30 in Fort Lauderdale, FL,
Ireland’s Steakhouse at
the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure will host a Stags’ Leap Winery
with Southern Wine & Spirits Estate Director Chad Robinson
wines and food by executive chef. $79 pp. Call 954- 349-5656.
* Now through Sept. 30, Lavendou
Bistro Provençal in Dallas
celebrates its 13th anniversary with a special 3-course Anniversary
Menu created by owner Pascal Cayet and Executive Chef François
Soyez. $38.95 pp. including one glass of champagne. Call
* On Oct.
3 in Washington, DC, Acadiana will host a Bourbon
Tasting of 10 small batch, single barrel bourbons previously only
available in Kentucky. Lunch will be provided. $75 pp. Call
Oct. 4-9 and 11-16, 36 of Santa
Monica’s top restaurants will be participating in the first-ever
fall dineLA Restaurant Week in
Los Angeles County, the largest county-wide food experience of the
year. Altogether 250 restaurants will be participating throughout the
county during the two weeks, providing consumers an opportunity to
experience a selection of specially priced, 3-course menus. Coall
* On Oct 5
- 15, Industria Argentina, Libertador
and Azul restaurants in NYC will host the First Annual
Argentinean Wine and Food Festival, featuring winemaker dinners, menu
and bar specials, beer pairings and wine flights. Four-course
winemaker dinners $55 pp. Argentinean beer pairings $10 pp. Call
212-965-8560 for more information.
* From now
until Oct. 17
in San Francisco, Chef
Staffan Terje of Perbacco
presents the first in a series of traditional menus from the provinces
of Piedmont: Cuneo. À la carte or 4 courses for $45 with
three choices per course. Wine pairings by the glass. Call
415-955-0663 or visit www.perbaccosf.com.
* From now
Nov. 25 in Avon, CO, The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch's Spago
by Wolfgang Puck will be offering a nightly half-price "Cellar List" of
25 revolving wines, hand-selected by Master Sommelier Sean Razee,
and a 5-Course Tasting Menu for $48 pp, $68 with wine
pairing. Call 970-343-1555.
Thurs.-Sun. evenings between now and Oct. 25, at Peninsula Grill in Charleston, SC, Chef
Robert Carter is offering a prix fixe menu in honor of the 33rd
Annual Fall Tours of Homes & Gardens, served in the outdoor
pp. Call 843-723-0700 or visit www.peninsulagrill.com.
* On Oct.
1 in Washington, DC, the Willard InterContinental Hotel and Café du Parc Courtyard holds
its Vendanges Fall Wine Festival with French
regional wine purveyors featuring 40+ styles of French wine and
du Parc's Chef de Cuisine, Christophe Marque, presents authentic French
festival dishes incl. country charcuterie and cheeses, Toulouse
lamb and Monkfish brochette, savory and sweet crepes. Music provided by
The Gypsy Strings, Dancing and Grape-Stomping. Tix start at $20. Call 202-628-9100.
* On Oct. 2 in Dallas,
Nana at the Hilton Anatole
will host its monthly Friday Night Flight featuring St. Francis
Winery. The wine and food trio will highlight the winery’s
acclaimed “Old Vines” Zinfandel. $20 pp. In addition,
Nana has unveiled Half Price Wine Night every Thursday for bottles
under $200 with purchase of dinner.
* On Oct. 3 in South
Salem, NY, Le Château
invites patrons to enjoy dinner and dancing with music for 3 courses
at $46. The musical entertainment is Café Musette,
with French singer, Maureen Mola. . . . On
Oct. 31 Le Chateau invites patrons to enjoy a Halloween costume
party and buffet dinner. There will be music and
dancing, hosted by DJ, Sean “Big Daddy.” $90 pp incl. wine, champagne
and beer, if booked by Oct. 17, $95 afterwards. Call 914-533-6631; www.lechateauny.com.
* On Oct. 4
in NYC, Eleven Madison Park will host the
16th Annual Autumn Harvest Dinner to benefit Share Our Strength. Chef
Daniel Humm and Wine Director John Ragan welcome Grands Chefs Relais
& Châteaux, accompanied by their sommeliers, for a 5-course
dinner with wines. Danny Meyer will host the evening. Chefs
Boulud & Daniel Johnnes, Daniel, NYC; Gary Danko
& Renee-Nicole Kubin, Gary Danko, San Francisco
Laiskonis & Aldo Sohm, Le Bernardin, NYC; Patrick
O’Connell & Scott Calvert, The Inn at Little Washington,
Washington, VA; The
evening will incl. a silent auction of wine, luxury, epicurean &
travel packages. $500 pp. Call 212-889-0905.
5-9 in NYC, Festival Sud de France, presents a
week of open houses at the Maison de la Région
Languedoc-Roussillon. Expert lessons on the region, food and wine
pairing, wine blending and a “Sparkling Friday” will bring a taste of
the Mediterranean to the city. $25 pp. Call 646-688-7170
* On Oct.
6, in NYC, Wines
from Spain will host its 16th annual
Great Match: Wine & Tapas at the Metropolitan Pavilion. This
year, 10 NYC chefs, incl. Maneet Chauhan of At Vermilion, Angelo Magno
of Milonga, and Steven Gutterman of Eatery Restaurant, will
prepare signature dishes to pair with 200+ recently
released wines, with proceeds to New York Cares. $50 pp. Call
1-888-946-3919 or visit www.greatmatch.org.
* On Oct. 7, in Washington, D.C., the Roof Terrace Restaurant at the Kennedy
Center will host a wine dinner with local winery, Sugarloaf
Mountain Vineyards, with Chef Vatche Benguian's 4-course dinner and
guest speakers Mike McGarry, Sugarloaf owner, Carl DiManno, Sugarloaf
winemaker, and Lucie Morton, a viticulturist. $95 pp. Call
* On Oct.
10 & 11, the 8th Annual
Taste of Atlanta
features 80 restaurants at Tech Square, incl. Chef Linton Hopkins’
Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch Public House, Nirvana
Café, L’Thai Organic, One. Midtown Kitchen, Dogwood and Cellar
56, et al. The area will also offer live cooking demos and a
Farmers Market. Visit www.tasteofatlanta.com. $30 at the gate.
* On Oct.
11, the Wölffer Estate
Vineyard Annual Harvest Party at Wölffer Estate in Sagaponack, NY. This year’s
Harvest Party festivities will incl. a harvest lunch paired with
award-winning Wölffer Estate wines, live music performed by local
artists, grape picking and stomping, barrel rolling races and much
more. Call 631-537-5106, or visit www.wolffer.com. $75 pp; Wine Club
members $65; $35 for children 4 to 20, under 4 admitted
* On Oct.
11 in Venice CA, the
1st annual Taste of Abbot Kinney
offers food, wine and spirits tastings from 15 of the
celebrated boulevard's diverse restaurants and gourmet shops, incl.
Joe's, Primitivo, Lilly's, 3 Square, The Tasting Kitchen, Wabi
Sabi, Elvino and more. Ticket holders will also receive discounts
at participating stores. $60 for food only; $85 for food, wine and
spirits. Call 310-397-8820 x105; visit
www.tasteofabbotkinney.com Proceeds go to Inside Out
* From Oct
12-18 the DIWALI celebration at Vermilion
(Chicago & NYC)--the
Indian New Year and Festival of Lights-- will incl. a traditional
6-course regal Indian "Nawabi" ($45, vegetarian option offered)
which highlights the goat biryani; traditional decor,
signature Diwali Cocktails Chaat & Kabab selections
(celebratory Indian street foods). Festivities peak on Oct. 17, the day
of Diwali when the most traditional "Diwali Couple" also gets dinner on
the house. Call Chicago 312-527-4060, NYC 212-871-6600),
FEATURE: I am happy to report that the Virtual Gourmet is linking up
with five 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." To go to his
blog click on the logo below: THIS
WEEK: THE CHEAPEST TIMES TO VISIT EXPENSIVE SPOTS ...KEN BURNS
CELEBRATED BY TETON MOUNTAIN LODGE ...HAIFA WANTS MORE RESPECT
...SPAWATCHER GETS GUNKED AT MOHONK MOUNTAIN HOUSE
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: Palm Springs Updatye. . .
Autumn Tennis Deals. . . TRO Specials.
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
An engaging, interactive wine
column by Niclk Passmore, Artisanal Editor, Four Seasons Magazine; Wine
Columnist, BusinessWeek.com; email@example.com; www.nickonwine.com.
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, Bloomberg News, 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 2009