Virtual Gourmet

  January 8,   2012                                                                                               NEWSLETTER

HOME    |    BOOKS    |    CONTACT    |    ABOUT US



by John Mariani

The Leopard
by John Mariani


by John Mariani


by John Mariani



    Austin has always had good food but in the last few years restaurants have moved upscale without betraying the city's casual Texas swagger. The fact that it's a college town means the bar scene, largely along Sixth Street, is tied into beer-fueled Mexican, Tex-Mex, and barbecue eats.  As shown in last week's Part One on Austin,  the music scene adds another dynamo to these same bars and eateries, and the overall economy, buoyed by the headquarters of Dell and the public weal of the state capital, is doing well enough to encourage everything from high-end dining to upscale sushi.   

       Those in search of local 'cue  keep Stubb’s Bar-B-Que (801 Red River Street) on speed dial, and it's famous for its Sunday gospel brunch;   My own favorite is Iron Works BBQ (100 Red River Street), whose ancient structure still shows signs of the terrible 1935 Austin flood (holes in the floor are covered with license plates); these days it’s decked out in Texas kitsch, and has hosted Kevin Costner, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bob Dylan, and Jay Leno. I find Iron Works’ sliced beef brisket and beef ribs to be exemplary of Texas smoking and grilling;  their hot sausage and smoked turkey (left) have the perfect pungency that requires a side of fine, creamy potato salad and the sweet pinto beans, along with a bottle of Shiner Bock beer plucked from an ice chest.
 (Wherever you go, do not let anyone drag you to either of the local County Line BBQ places, which are as awful in service as they are for 'cue for the masses.)
    Of course, if you've got wheels, it is a requisite pilgrimage to visit Kreuz Market in Lockhart, TX, for what many consider the paragon of Texas-style 'cue.
Mexican restaurants abound in Austin, led by the very beautiful Fonda San Miguel (2330 W. North Loop), here since 1975, serving a classic style of Mexican fare.  Far more downhome is El Chile Café & Cantina (1809 Manor Road), which does a mix of Mexican and Tex-Mex, and is especially good for its antojitos (appetizers) like mildly spicy tilapia ceviche with lime juice, tomato, onion, and cilantro; grilled quesadillas with chorizo and Chihuahua cheese; and a terrific tortilla soup in a rich chicken broth with avocado, queso fresco, tortilla strips, and laced with cream.
    Garrido's (360 Nueces) is a more modern take on Mexican food, with highly personalized cooking via Chef-owner David Garrido. It's a very handsome, very sunny restaurant during the day, and he's clearly using the very best ingredients in dishes like his bocaditos of shrimp tostadas with chipotle-horseradish and the pork tostadas with goat's cheese, pepitas, watermelon and a hot-and-sweet chipotle glaze.
    He offers a whole slew of delicious tacos, including many for breakfast and lunch, while his dinner entrees are expressive of why he's one of the most talented chefs working in the modern Mexican style. Pork carnitas (for two) with tomatillo salsa, guacamole and rice and beans is plenty of good food, and there is a Gulf red snapper pan-seared and topped with guajillo-caper butter, served with polenta and vegetables, and five different kinds of enchiladas.  Bring friends, have a margarita, get poco loco
   For contemporary American food with very canny European underpinnings,  I highly recommend the very popular Parkside (301 East 6th Street), with a hip downstairs raw bar serving up small plates, from ten species of oysters to a grilled cheese sandwich, and marrow bones.  The main dining room menu features an appetizer selection of classic steak tartare; Texas quail with capers and tomato;  fried calamari  with smoky paprika, and addictive hot crab fritters you dip into a garlicky sauce ravigote. Chef-owner Shawn Cirkiel’s nightly specials offer the most creativity, and the main dishes get hefty in size but not in price (nothing runs above $25), with items like braised beef cheeks and buttered spaetzel,  and grilled venison with farro grain and tender Brussels sprouts.
    Cirkiel (above) has also opened a terrific new pizzeria nearby, called Backspace (507 San Jacinto). Taking his inspiration--and following through--from the original pizzaioli of Naples itself.  Cirkiel had at great expense a handcrafted pizza oven (right) shipped over (it took forever), and he and his crew have really learned how to work that fiery furnace to produce impeccable pizzas with the right thickness, cornicione edge, and crackling, bubbly, charred surface with a fine balance of ingredients on top, none of which betray Neapolitan traditions. So, you will find the classic margherita, along with toppings of fennel sausage, white anchovies, ricotta, and other items, the highest priced pie at $15.  There is also good Italian salume and cheeses along with antipasti like oven-roasted ratatouille and lamb-and-pork meatballs with asiago cheese. 
    I'd tell anyone considering opening a new pizzeria in America that he need not fly to Naples to find out the secrets. Instead, fly to Austin and hang around Backspace for a few days. Cirkiel knows what he's doing.
    Congress, an elegantly comfortable fine dining restaurant that received the Austin Statesman’s first ever five-star review and was one of my picks for Esquire's "Best New Restaurants 2011,"  is owned by Chef David Bull, who draws on the huge Texas cornucopia to create dishes like grilled sweetbreads with spring radish and smoked poppy seeds in a buttermilk crema, and beef tartare with fried oysters, truffles, and Parmesan cheese.  There’s a seven-course tasting menu at $115 that will tell you everything you need to know about Bull’s talent.
    “Texas has always been the underdog in the world of cuisine," Bull told me, "and still today conjures up visions of BBQ, taco stands,  and tumbleweeds.  Yet it has one of the most diverse traditions and history from a unique melting pot of people, ideas and ingredients. Especially where we are in central Texas, we are a far cry from limiting ourselves to the typical stereotypes, and our chefs have been cooking at the level of L.A., New York and Chicago for many years. Central Texas has such a wealth and abundance of great product it makes my job a lot easier to look here first when creating a new dish.  We have direct access to some of the best beef and game in the country, along with our own coastal seafood. We get terrific Axis venison and antelope from Broken Arrow Ranch in south Texas, red snapper and an array of oysters from the Gulf of Mexico, and our local peaches and figs and squash are first rate. There are also the Hill Country wineries—about 30 of them now—making some fine varietals.
    “Texas has had deep culinary roots with our neighboring Mexico, but there is also a solid tradition of German cooking, cowboy chuck wagon food, Italian, Native American, and an increasingly strong influence of Asian cuisine, all continuing to enrich our food culture and way of life."
     Like just about every city in America by now, Austin has its gastropubs, a neologism that the  new Fifth Edition of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language includes and defines as "A bar that serves food considered to be of high quality," which is good enough for me.  The most popular of Austin's entries is Haddington's (601 West Sixth Street), named by owner Michael Palombo after an early 20th century ship that figured into his family history. The place is clearly as much a bar scene (right), complete with Brit pub-like décor, as it is a place to eat well. Accordingly, the place is blazingly loud--and I sat in what was said to be a quieter room. Noise seems to be the nature of the beast, from New York to L.A., so let me turn to the food, which ranges from an outstanding green tomato bisque with goat's cheese custard to fabulous sweet potato tortellini with a wild mushroom ragù, spinach and Parmigiano. I also enthusiastically recommend the little pots packed with creamy duck liver mousse and well-textured pork rillette, and the pulled Niman Ranch pork shank with cheddar polenta, mustard braised greens, and an heirloom tomato and endive salad. Odd that, at least on the night I visited, the traditional fish and chips were limp and bland.
    There are also bar snacks and American farmhouse cheeses, including some from Texas, and, if you call ahead, Chefs Christ Turgeon and Brian Burkart will do a "whole animal roast" or pig, lamb or goat. (Note well: Turgeon and Burkart replaced the chef who was there when I dined at Haddington's some months ago, but the menus are still very similar.)
    The wine list is solid, the beer list is too, and there is a whole screed of cocktails with names like Stranger on the Highway, Duck Fat Sazerac, and the Devil's Mustache.

    I noted that Austin also had a high-end Japanese restaurant. It’s called Uchi, which I somehow missed when it opened n 2003 and which Patricia Sharpe, food editor of Texas Monthly, then insisted was the most exciting restaurant in Austin.
    I was, therefore, determined to get to Uchi's much larger offshoot, Uchiko (4200 North Lamar), opened in 2010, so I gathered up some friends and arrived at a sprawling restaurant packed to the gills, its interior made to resemble a vast Japanese farmhouse, complete with a long sushi counter (below).  Behind the stoves (or sushi bar) are cooks trained by chef-owner Tyson Cole, who had himself trained for more than a decade with sushi masters in Tokyo, New York, and Austin, where he had risen up the brigade at restaurant Musashino. "Ingre­di­ents and flavors from all over the world are easily acces­sible now," Cole says in his website. "The cuisine I create is play­fully multi-cultural, mixing the Japanese tradi­tion with tastes that inspire me." He is avidly devoted to sustainability, too, and insists on knowing the provenance of all ingredients he buys.
    The  food at Uchiko is, apparently, very close to but somewhat more extensive than the menu at Uchi, and there are always daily specials.  Our group cast our nets widely, from "Cool Tastings" of sushi and sashimi--the yellowtail sashimi with Thai chili and orange was superb--to agemono fried dishes like tempura onion rings with togarashi pepper and white soy. The "Hot Tastings' included chicken with sweet rice, banana leaf, and Thai chili vinaigrette, while the yakimono items had an irresistible grilled Kurobuta pork belly with pecan soi.
    The many sushi and sashimi offerings by the piece range in price from $2.50 to $18, and the makimono rolls $9-$14.  I was intrigued by and thoroughly enjoyed the "P-38 Japanese yellowtail" with avocado,  spicy yuzu kosho, grilled negi scallions, and cilantro, wondering as I ate it if the P-38 mentioned was the World War II fighter plane that shot down Admiral Yamamoto, the reluctant planner of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Hard to imagine.
    Cole's food shows the influence of western ideas on Japanese cuisine, with a bit of Peruvian influence from Nobu Matsuhisa, but in its dash and its expansiveness, Uchiko is blatantly, proudly a Texas-style sushi bar, and the fact that it turns out such exceptional quality for so many people each night is testament not only to Cole's professionalism but to an American belief that if you want to do something badly enough you can do it very well indeed.

Part One of this story may be found by clicking here.



by John Mariani

The Leopard at des Artistes
1 West 67th Street (near Central Park West)

    Only one thing could have made me happier than the re-opening of the space known, for nearly a century, as the Café des Artistes, and that was the news that Gianfranco and Paula Sorrentino, who also own Il Gattopardo across from the MOMA,  have taken the space and made it into The Leopard at Des Artistes. Long owned by George and Jenifer Harvey Lang, the venerable spot with its incomparable Howard Chandler Christy murals of 36 nude nymphs who look very much like 1930s chorus girls romping in Central Park, had union problems that drove it out of business two years ago, and there was a good deal of worry that, like Tavern on the Green, it would never re-open.
    I do not know what the Sorrentinos, being consummate professional restaurateurs, were able to arrange with the unions, but their reclaiming this glorious space, now with its murals refreshed and softly lighted, makes this one of the most stunningly beautiful dining venues in the only city where it makes total sense. The Hôtel des Artistes, actually a residence, in which the restaurant is located is itself a fine work of NYC Gothic-Tudor architecture, originally opened as an artists' studio. Christy, known for his far more demure "Christy girls" graphic art, showed a very different side of his talent in the naughty murals that have been a fixture here since the '30s, as inseparable from the city's popular culture as the NYC Public Library lions or  Maxfield Parrish's "Old King Cole" mural at the King Cole Bar in the St. Régis Hotel.  
    At the time of the Café's closing, the NY Times wrote that its had  "stayed frozen in time, like an Upper West Side Miss Havisham," which is a complete misreading of the mad dowager in Dickens's Great Expectations who lived in a hoary darkened mansion amidst decades of rat-infested decay. Indeed, till the day the Café closed it was vibrant and gay, despite a few tatters here and there.
    Now, with a thorough sprucing up with dark woods and tile floors, the Leopard is enchanting, and from the day it opened last year, it's been flocked with old regulars of the Café, theater- and opera-goers, and out-of-town visitors who either remember the old days fondly or always wanted to go here.
    When this was the Café, the menu was of a continental mode, with some Hungarian touches that evoked the late George Lang's heritage. Now, under Chef Vito Gnazzo, those evocations are Southern Italian, and the whole menu is a careful balance of classic New York Italian dishes and new ones not readily found anywhere else--except at the Sorrentinos' sister restaurant Il Gattopardo, where Gnazzo offers a menu very close to The Leopard's.  The wine list has plenty of bottles under $50, too.
    You will sit down to good bread and grissini and a gift of crisp fried rice balls while you decide if you want to order antipasti, pasta, and main courses.  Whatever you choose, the eggplant and smoked mozzarella timballo with spicy tomato sauce is very good, as are the veal meatballs in a similar sauce. One of the best examples this side of the Mediterranean of puntarelle-- wild chicory spears, dressed with olive oil, lemon, and anchovies--was a special one night and I hope they manage to serve it often, when the greens are at their peak. 
    With  names like Sorrentino and Gnazzo, the owners and chef are going to give their all to lusty pastas like the bucatini with sardines, onions, wild fennel, pine nuts and raisins, and I thoroughly enjoyed the housemade Abruzzese spaghetti alla chitarra with a simple sherry tomato and basil sauce.  Flat, hollow macaroni called paccheri are graced with a cod and cauliflower ragù, while pappardelle are treated to an abundance of roasted rabbit meal and wild mushrooms. Rigatoni alla Norma, a Sicilian dish named after Bellini's 1821 opera "Norma," is delicious with sautéed eggplant and aged ricotta cheese.
    The stand-out entree at The Leopard, also available at Il Gattopardo (which means "leopard" in Italian), is the meatloaf, one of those dishes foodies have claimed as the new  prole food, although it's been a part of the Gnazzo repertoire for years, a very juicy and tasty meatloaf with mashed potatoes and sautéed garlic-riddled spinach.  Veal is sliced thin and served with a veal sauce and asparagus, a safe choice, and while I enjoyed the porchetta of roast pig, one night the skin was not particularly crisp.  Fish is done nicely here, especially the de-boned Dover sole, the most expensive thing on the menu at $40.
    Share a dessert, or two, or three, and you'll be rewarded with some terrific traditional sweets, including a marvelous pannacotta made with mascarpone and a luscious caramel semifreddo with an unexpected and very good bitter orange sauce. There's even a  good cannolo made with sheep's milk ricotta and chocolate chips.
    The Leopard is a happy place, and people are very happy that it is thriving.  It's good to be back within that quintessential NYC atmosphere, and the Sorrentinos are making sure that you will be coming back again and again.

Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner nightly, brunch Sat. & Sun. Appetizers, $9 to $15; pastas, $18 to $22; entrees, $24 to $46.




by John Mariani

         Back when Croatia was part of Yugoslavia, government farm policies ripped out more than 160,000 hectares of vineyards; the ethnic wars of the 1990s destroyed thousands more. Now, built up to 33,000 hectares under cultivation, Croatian winemakers have to fight their way into a global market saturated with wine when they enter the EU in 2013.  Currently Croatia exports only five percent of its annual production of 60 million liters, which helps explain why Croatians are third overall in wine consumption.
         The industry got a boost when the popular California varietal zinfandel was traced back to Croatia, as a parent to the clone called plavac mali (“little blue”), a discovery that helped focus an industry that once made 650 different wines from 130 varietals.
         Another catalyst was native son Miljenko Grgic, who left Yugoslavia in 1958, eventually to make his fortune as one of California’s premier winemakers named Mike Grgich, and later returned to help modernize Croatian wineries, not least by opening his own, Grgic Vina, in 1996. The change from producing cheap bulk wine to modern viticulture has been rapid, with stainless steel tanks introduced only in the 1990s, and the burgeoning industry is full of youthful enthusiasm.
     “I had no wine knowledge before getting into making it,” said Bruno Trapan, 32, an Istrian who invested in the business in 2004 after taking a college winemaking course two years earlier. “My grandfather planted grapes in a tiny vineyard as a hobby and I was interested. After two vintages making my own wine, I was hooked.” By 2005 he had purchased five hectares and did plantings a year later, experimenting with international varietals like syrah, never before grown in Croatia. By 2009 Trapan’s was the country’s first organic winery, now with 12 hectares producing everything from traditional malvasia to new entries like chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon.
    I interviewed Trapan and two other contemporary Croatian vintners over a dinner of lobster, crab cakes, steaks, and onion rings at New York’s Porter House. Trapan’s white Ponente Malvasia Istriana 2010 (US price n/a), never aged in oak, had a lovely, bold aromatic nose, which came from seven hours of skin contact, and an ample 13.5 percent alcohol. The 2009 syrah (price n/a) had an odd smell at first, but it evaporated to reveal a Rhone-like varietal character rather than the Australian shiraz style.
    Porter House’s wine director Roger Dagorn carries a 2008 Dingač plavic mail ($65 retail) from Croatia’s southern coast.
“The few Croatian wines I’ve tasted are not all great,” he told me, “but I’m fond of the plavac mali for its unique, Old World earthy character, which is very pleasurable to the American palate. It has good structure, body and fruit, and enough acidity to give it balance.”

I felt quite the same way about this big-bodied wine with 15 percent alcohol, from the Saints Hills Winery, founded 2006. Made in low yields, the steep terraced vineyards in Dalmatia give the wine plenty of minerality. Dingač is one of the rare, cherished appellations, dating back to 1961, when Croatia was part of Yugoslavia. Saints Hills is owned by Ernest Tolj, 40, a wealthy entrepreneur and Chairman of the Board of Eurocable Group, who named his vineyards after his children, Lucia, Roko, and Ante, and who hired controversial Bordeaux enologist Michel Rolland onboard as a consultant. 

Grgic Vina  Vineyards

         Of all the wines I tasted that evening, the Matosevic Winery Alba Antiqua 2008  had the most viticultural history behind it. Owner Ivica Matošević, 47, now considered a visionary in the wine industry, took a degree in landscaping and horticulture at the University of Zagreb, followed by a PhD in Biotechonology in Italy, focusing on the potential of terroir. Matošević returned to Croatia in 1996 at a crucial point in the industry’s redevelopment, as director for the Istrian Regional Institute for Managing Natural Protected Areas. He also bottled his own first vintage that year. In 2011 he established the association of Croatian Wine Producers to represent family estates and small producers.
His Alba Antiqua is 100 percent Malvasia Istriana, with 12.7 percent alcohol, and was very unusual in aroma, highly floral, which I learned comes from aging it in acacia barrels.
Matošević’s Grimalda White 2009  was a blend of 50 percent chardonnay, 25 percent Malvasia Istriana, and 25 percent sauvignon blanc, a very low-yield wine that showed the triple punch of those grapes, with the rich buttery taste of the chardonnay, the floral notes of the malvasia, and the vegetal flavors of the sauvignon blanc.
The Grimalda Red 2009, at a robust 15 percent alcohol, was a blend of 85 percent merlot and 15 percent teran, this last an acidic varietal that gives a coppery edge to the soft merlot.

While Porter House was filled that night with people drinking Bordeaux and California cabs, I was happy to sip malvasia Istriana with my lobster salad and the Dingač with the sliced steak. And with onion rings, that Croatian syrah really hit the spot.

Photos: Cliff Rames

John Mariani's 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.



Parents  afraid of vaccinations are contacting other parents who, according to the NY Daily News, "mail them lollipops licked by children with chickenpox," so that their uninfected child may become immune. The newspaper notes that, "Aside from the fact that this is idiotic (not to mention a waste of perfectly good lollipops), it's also illegal.


"It rolls in slow motion, edges vignetted, focus softened. And yet, the memory of my meal at Louis XV is as crisp and clean as those linens that hugged my table, as rich as the sauces and gold that gilt each plate.  What can you say to pampering and perfection?  Yes, please! Louis XV is one of the only restaurants left that argues for grandeur beyond hope and spoils with excess beyond reason. And yet it is not a relic. It is very relevant. It is a masterpiece. As I wrote earlier this year: behold,  proud, prodigal, peerless."— Ulterior Epicure.



 Any of John Mariani's books below may be ordered from

My latest book, which just won the prize for best book from International Gourmand, written with Jim Heimann and Steven Heller,  Menu Design in America,  1850-1985 (Taschen Books), has just appeared, with nearly 1,000 beautiful, historic, hilarious, sometimes shocking menus dating back to before the Civil War and going through the Gilded Age, the Jazz Age, the Depression, the nightclub era of the 1930s and 1940s, the Space Age era, and the age when menus were a form of advertising in innovative explosions of color and modern design.  The book is a chronicle of changing tastes and mores and says as much about America as about its food and drink.


“Luxuriating vicariously in the pleasures of this book. . . you can’t help but become hungry. . .for the food of course, but also for something more: the bygone days of our country’s splendidly rich and complex past.  Epicureans of both good food and artful design will do well to make it their cofee table’s main course.”—Chip Kidd, Wall Street Journal.


“[The menus] reflect the amazing craftsmanship that many restaurants applied to their bills of fare, and suggest that today’s restaurateurs could learn a lot from their predecessors.”—Rebecca Marx, The Village Voice.

My new book, How Italian Food Conquered the World (Palgrave Macmillan) 
has just won top prize 2011 from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.  It is a rollicking history of the food culture of Italy and its ravenous embrace in the 21st century by the entire world. From ancient Rome to la dolce vita of post-war Italy, from Italian immigrant cooks to celebrity chefs, from pizzerias to high-class ristoranti, this chronicle of a culinary diaspora is as much about the world's changing tastes, prejudices,  and dietary fads as about our obsessions with culinary fashion and style.--John Mariani

"Eating Italian will never be the same after reading John Mariani's entertaining and savory gastronomical history of the cuisine of Italy and how it won over appetites worldwide. . . . This book is such a tasteful narrative that it will literally make you hungry for Italian food and arouse your appetite for gastronomical history."--Don Oldenburg, USA Today. 

"Italian restaurants--some good, some glitzy--far outnumber their French rivals.  Many of these establishments are zestfully described in How Italian Food Conquered the World, an entertaining and fact-filled chronicle by food-and-wine correspondent John F. Mariani."--Aram Bakshian Jr., Wall Street Journal.

"Mariani admirably dishes out the story of Italy’s remarkable global ascent to virtual culinary hegemony....Like a chef gladly divulging a cherished family recipe, Mariani’s book reveals the secret sauce about how Italy’s cuisine put gusto in gusto!"--David Lincoln Ross,

"Equal parts history, sociology, gastronomy, and just plain fun, How Italian Food Conquered the World tells the captivating and delicious story of the (let's face it) everybody's favorite cuisine with clarity, verve and more than one surprise."--Colman Andrews, editorial director of The Daily

"A fantastic and fascinating read, covering everything from the influence of Venice's spice trade to the impact of Italian immigrants in America and the evolution of alta cucina. This book will serve as a terrific resource to anyone interested in the real story of Italian food."--Mary Ann Esposito, host of PBS-TV's Ciao Italia.

"John Mariani has written the definitive history of how Italians won their way into our hearts, minds, and stomachs.  It's a story of pleasure over pomp and taste over technique."--Danny Meyer, owner of NYC restaurants Union Square Cafe, Gotham Bar & Grill, The Modern, and Maialino.


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,  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: Gstaad Journal; Letter from Paris.

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 Click on the logo below to go directly to his site.



Tennis Resorts OnlineA 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).

The Family Travel Forum
 - A community for those who "Have Kids, Still Travel" and want to make family vacations more fun, less work and better value. FTF's travel and parenting features, including reviews of tropical and ski resorts, reunion destinations, attractions, holiday weekends, family festivals, cruises, and all kinds of vacation ideas should be the first port of call for family vacation planners.

Family Travel Forum

                                                                    ALL YOU NEED BEFORE YOU GO

nickonwine: An engaging, interactive wine column by Nick Passmore, Artisanal Editor, Four Seasons Magazine; Wine Columnist,;;

MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly.  Editor/Publisher: John Mariani. 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.

To un-subscribe from this newsletter,click here.

© copyright John Mariani 2012