The 5th Annual Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival will take place this year from Dec. 9-13, with a star-studded, epicurean extravaganza hosted on the resort island playground of Palm Beach. Join James Beard Award-winning chefs, Food Network personalities, authors, winemakers, mixologists and a plethora of local talent in an unforgettable series of dinners and parties that will saturate your senses in the most anticipated culinary event of the season. Chefs include Michelle Bernstein, Daniel Boulud, David Burke, Clay Conley, Scott Conant, Dean Max, Michael Schwartz, and many more. John Mariani is proud to be Honorary Chairman. For info click here.
WHERE TO EAT IN MIAMI RIGHT NOW
by John Mariani
NEW YORK CORNER: PATSY'S
by John Mariani
MAN ABOUT TOWN: THE PIERRE HOTEL AND LE CAPRICE
by Christopher Mariani
WHERE TO EAT IN MIAMI RIGHT NOW
By John Mariani
Thanks to an increase of rich South Americans, free-spending Russian zillionaires, and euro-giddy Europeans, South Florida doesn’t really have much of an off season any more, which in turn leads to more restaurant openings and more consistent service. But the chilly weather is upon much of the USA, and it snowed in NYC this week, so you might be thinking of a Miami escape. If you’re planning a trip there this fall or winter, here’s where you’ll want to eat.
KITCHEN AND BAR
Photo by Mark Raskams
If you like loud and you like late—5 AM on weekends--Gigi, in Midtown, is the place to get it, along with remarkably tasty casual dining, from snacks like grilled corn with tofu to buns filled with crispy chicken skin and aïoli to BBQ ribs with hoisin sauce. There are raw seafood offerings like tuna with yellow watermelon and celery, and noodle bowls like Caribbean shrimp pad Thai. And you've got to order the cornbread with honey-bacon butter, which deserves the contemporary foodster cliché "awesome." It’s all cement walls, floors, closely set tables, and big windows. Spend an hour here and you’ll see that everyone at every table seems to know at least one person from another. And it's open daily, serves breakfast, brunch--which is big here--you named it. They aim to please, and they even keep the wine prices low. Billecart-Salmon Brut Champagne at $56 is a great deal.
This new Midtown
hit has one of the city’s best-balanced American menus
via Chef Alejandro Pinero, whose approach to his
ingredients gives the restaurant its name. It’s a
grand space, lighted to show off its guests, with a
mangrove rib-cage wall, cypress benches, and open
pretzels accompanied by wholegrain mustard and orange
blossom honey; pigs in a blanket served with spicy
mustard; and fried chickpeas in herb-infused oil—is as
good across the board as hearty main courses like BBQ
grilled quail with Brussels sprouts, cipollini onions,
and mustard-horseradish cream; and wreckfish served
with cannellini beans, escarole, chorizo, and clams. Oh, and the
“wet fries” are drizzled with bone marrow gravy. For
dessert? Key lime crème brûlée.
Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel
4525 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
Photo by Brett Hufziger
Two hundred twenty million dollars have brought back Miami Beach’s art deco glitz to the Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel, designed in 1956 by the weirdly great Morris Lapidus as a place where, in those ring-a-ding days, Frank, Dean, and Sammy ran boozy riot and Nat King Cole and Streisand played the Café Pompeii. This being Miami Beach 2011, current management knew it needed a big deal, first-rate steakhouse at 1500˚, but by hiring Brazilian-born chef Paula DaSilva also gave the city its best new restaurant of any kind in years. It’s big, it’s splashy, it’s got a poolside patio, and faux-zebra fabric banquettes—perfect place for a Guess? Jeans photo shoot.
DaSilva bases as much of her menu as possible on the bounty of Florida farms and waters, so start off with a ceviche of Florida wahoo with peppers, onions, cilantro and lime juice. The 1950s-style grilled peach salad with blue cheese, candied pecans, and truffle vinaigrette looks as delectable as Esther Williams on a plate. For a steak, go with the Brazilian cut of Prime sirloin called picanha, and for dessert, the Homestead blueberry shortcake with ginger mascarpone cream and Florida corn ice cream will give you sweet dreams.
If Frank Sinatra had
ever hosted a TV talk show back in the 1950s, I bet he
would have done it sitting at Patsy’s, his favorite
Italian restaurant, which has been in New York’s
Theater District since 1944. The TV camera would bring
you through the door and you’d be greeted by Patsy
Scognamillo or his son Joe like old friends, past
walls hung with black-and-white photos of every show
biz star of the day, then draw in on a corner table
where Frank is sitting with Dean Martin, Rosemary
Clooney, Tony Bennett Don Rickles, and Ernie Kovacs,
nursing a Scotch on the Rocks and telling his pals how
terrific the clams arreganata are, how the mozzarella in carozza
will melt in your mouth, how the rigatoni sorrentino
is groovy, and the sausages pizzaiolo with peppers
Old Blue Eyes would ask Rosie to sing “Come
On-a My House,” and Dean to do a few bars of “That’s
Amore,” and then they bring the fabulous cheesecake,
drip-pot espresso, and a bottle of sambucca with
coffee beans. Frank
thanks everybody for watching and says, “See you
tomorrow night with guests Charlton Heston, Ava
Gardner, and Sophia Loren.”
fan Tony Bennett with Joe and Chef Sal Scognamillo
You miss veal francese? You get three flavorful
fillets lightly battered and sautéed in fine
olive oil and white wine and graced with lemon slices.
You love cannolis? Patsy’s makes theirs with homemade
ricotta, sugar, orange peel, citron fruit, and
Chicken contadina with red peppers and mushrooms
Patsy's is open for lunch and dinner daily. Antipasti run $10-$19; Pastas (full portions) $20-$27; main courses $27-$39; Pre-theater menu $50.
This article appeared in a shorter version in Saveur Magazine.
The Pierre Hotel and Le Caprice
It was a sunny afternoon, the cool air was beginning to show signs of autumn and the streets of NYC were filled with pedestrians whizzing by in almost every direction. The summer heat had faded and Central Park was more beautiful than ever. The trees’ leaves were just beginning to turn, displaying bright yellows and hues of deep red. The brisk air had a distinct aroma full of bark and grass and leaves.
corner of 61st and 5th
sits the Pierre Hotel, towering over the southeast
corner of Central Park. The location is magnificent.
If you are looking to experience a taste of NYC’s most
luxurious hotels, there is no finer place in autumn to
encounter such excellent service and beauty than at
To contact Christopher Mariani send an email to email@example.com
PERFECT HALLOWEEN GIFT
radio personality critic Frank DeCaro has published The
Celebrity Cookbook: A Resurrection of Recipes by 150
Stars of Stage and Screen, taken from old
cookbooks and magazines, including Lucille Ball's
Liberace's Sticky Buns,
Davis's Red Flannel Hash, Gypsy Rose Lee's
Portuguese Fish Chowder
John Ritter's Famous Fudge,
Andy Warhol's Ghoulish Goulash,
Price's Pepper Steak
, Lawrence Welk's Vegetable
Sonny Bono's Spaghetti with Fresh
being told The
Victoria pub in Leeds, England, Hussein Yusuf broke
After being toldthe wait for his food would be long and then given his money back at
The Victoria pub in Leeds, England, Hussein Yusuf broke chef Roger Mwebeiha's leg by "grinding his heel in a kick into the chef's right shin." Mr. Yusuf, described as enebriated, was arrested and sentenced to 15 months in jail.
Any of John Mariani's
books below may be ordered from amazon.com.
❖❖❖FEATURED LINKS: I am happy to report that the Virtual Gourmet is linked to four excellent travel sites:
Everett Potter's Travel Report:
I 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." THIS WEEK: BEST AND WORST AIRLINES; LETTER FROM INDIA.
Eating Las Vegas is the new on-line site for Virtual Gourmet contributor John A. Curtas., who since 1995 has been commenting on the Las Vegas food scene and reviewing restaurants for Nevada Public Radio. He is also 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).
ALL YOU NEED BEFORE YOU GO
An engaging, interactive
wine column by Nick Passmore, Artisanal Editor, Four
Seasons Magazine; Wine Columnist, BusinessWeek.com;
MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET
NEWSLETTER is published weekly. Editor/Publisher: John
Contributing Writers: Christopher Mariani, 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.
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