Virtual Gourmet

  May 21,   2017                                                                                            NEWSLETTER


"Nightlife" (1943) by Archibald Motley



By Gerry Dawes


By John Mariani

By John Mariani



By Gerry Dawes

Photo: Gerry Dawes


    At Asia Madrid Fusión 2017, held in January at Madrid’s Palacio de Congresos, I went to photograph Barcelona Chef Albert Raurich’s presentation and I became interested in the culinary historic timeline for the dishes he serves at his restaurant Dos Pebrots in the up-and-coming neighborhood of el Raval. Raurich´s timeline stretches from the Paleolithic and Neolithic eras to 1929, with many dishes inspired by the foods of ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire.

    A few days later in Barcelona I made an 8 o’clock reservation at the restaurant, but my fiancée and I first returned for lunch to an old favorite where I had eaten scores of times, El Quím de la Boquería, one of the world’s greatest market bars. After scoring a couple of taburetes (bar stools), I began to realize that Chef Quím Marquéz (below), his ingredients, cooking style, and his cooking crew, which now includes his son, Yuri, had moved to another dimension.  We sat to a multi-course meal of five-star, world class dishes.

    Knowing that at Quím I usually drink rosat cava sparkling wine, Quím’s staff immediately poured us flutes of the excellent Cava Juvé y Camps 100% Pinot Noir Rosé Reserva Brut, a delicious methode champenoise wine that makes a fine match for the food you are likely to be served here.

    Our first dish, a favorite of mine, was gambas al ajillo (shrimp with black garlic from China), at Quím a modernized version of one of Spain's most ubiquitous dishes; it comes on a plate instead of in the traditional cazuela (clay casserole dish), the shrimps spread across a pepper-flecked pool of addictive, slightly picante seafood, garlic and Cava juices that sent us to the breadbasket a couple of times to mop it all up.

    A dish new to me here, but one that seems to be making the rounds in Spain, was a superb ceviche de corvina, with passion fruit, mango, onions and aji amarillo. Next was huevos fritos con chanquetes, a classic served in a small paella pan—two fried eggs topped with pan-tossed tiny whitebait, with the yolk of the eggs as a divine sauce. 

    Believe it or not, Quím also has a place in Hong Kong, so it is not surprising that he has picked up some Chinese cooking skills, as in the crispy fried dumpling filled with rabo de toro (oxtail) with a soy-infused dipping sauce.  My weakness for leeks and romesco sauce was indulged with calçots con vieras, chipirones y romesco, young tempura-battered  onions resting at an angle atop scallops on a bed of baby squid and julienned carrots and onions, with a romesco schmeer on the side, all served on a thin black slate slab, 

        On another slab of black slate, Quím served us our last course, his modernized version of roasted costillas de ternera (veal ribs) with rounds of roasted potatoes, Maldon salt with dollops of black Chinese garlic aïoli alongside.  For dessert, with the last sips of the wine, we enjoyed a cheesecake with passion fruit.                                                                                                 Photo: Gerry Dawes

Open daily.
    Only a few hours later, we walked over to Dos Pabrots and met with Chef Raurich.  He  didn’t say anything about the pig tits, but how many restaurants in Spain have a ceramic pig, feet to the sky, whose underbelly is lined with four sliced off, grilled Ibérico pig tits, tetas de cerda Ibérica, as a star course?  We took a seat at table by the bar and began to peruse the long menu—carta dos ets albert raurich versión VI—on whose flip side is Raurich’s culinary timeline. 
Since there were 34 dishes, plus seven desserts, I began to mark candidates for ordering with my pen.    

    The menu is composed of seven columns: elaboración final (the name of the dish), productos principales (main ingredients), técnica principal (roasting, braising, frying, etc.), origen de la elaboración (period from which the dish originated; Al-andalus 10th Century/ancient Persia 1500 B.C., etc.), herramiento (utensils, including hands, used to eat the dish: a small carpenter’s "toolbox" contains silverware, wooden spoons, chopsticks and skewer) and, finally, precio (the generally reasonable price in Euros of each dish).  A note on the menu says “If you do not understand this menu, ask a waiter, who perhaps may understand it."
Photo: Gerry Dawes

    We ordered a bottle of Raventós i Blanc de Nit, a superb Champagne-quality rosat  sparkling wine from the newly minted Conca del Rìu Anoia D. O. and I began to zero in on our choices.  The menu recommends that if you do not have mucha hambre (are not very hungry), you should order only 5-6 plates, so we figured half a dozen dishes would be perfect.

     The parade of dishes began with nicely done but too bland puerros ancestrales, three two-inch sections of leeks roasted with beer and vinegar, purportedly from ancient Egypt.  Then came lovely, high quality beberechos con salsa verde, steamed cockles with a green sauce made with parsley, garlic and white wine,said to date “from the first week in May of 1723.” Mollete de Barbate, a David Chang-esque bun stacked with almadraba tuna from the waters off Barbate de Franco (Cádiz province, where the famous tuna roundup takes place), came with cucumber and tomato dressed with Spanish pimentón, garlic, vinegar and cumin. 

                                                                                                                             Photo: Gerry Dawes

    I was looking forward to the roasted cebolla negra, a Neolithic era-attributed “blackened onion” with garum, the legendary fermented Roman anchovy-fish sauce,  but I was disappointed because the dish begged for a more flavorful roasted onion and a more assertive garum.  And we didn’t eat the hay underneath the onion because it  tasted like, well, hay.  I brought the gentrified garum up with Raurich later and he promised the next time he will serve me a “brutal” version.  

    One of our best choices was guisantes con jamón, tender young peas in a jamón Ibérico broth with a perfect egg yolk spooned into the dish to further enrich the soup, whose inspiration supposedly goes back to the time when the wine God Bacchus was known as “the little pea.”

   Photo: Gerry Dawes   
To round off our journey through Raurich’s culinary history, I ordered the tortilla unilateral de piñones, whose creation was inspired by a recipe from the 1st Century BC.  I chose this “one-sided tortilla” (omelet) with pine nuts, perifollo (chervil), garum and honey, which he had demonstrated at Madrid Fusión.    A server then came to our table with a pad to protect the surface, a hot cast-iron two-handled skillet, a pair of palillos (chopsticks) and the ingredients to whip up table-center the tortilla unilateral de piñones, which was delicious, as well as being one of the most visually attractive dishes we tried. 

        We were not done, however.  Unordered, but sent out by Raurich, the tetas de cerda Ibérica Maldonado confitadas arrived, served on an upturned, feet-to-the-sky, ceramic “Ibérico” sow with the gelatinous looking rounds of sliced-off  grilled tits confit, four of them, each strategically placed where they might have been on a real pig.  Maldonado is a quality producer of jamones Ibéricos de bellota, hams produced from free-run Ibérico pata negra pigs allowed to graze for two months under the oaks in the Dehesa de Extremadura D. O. of western Spain.  I am sure Maldonado´s jamones Ibéricos de bellota must be stupendous, but these were tetas, acorn-flavored or not.  Excepting the Sherry glass with a side chaser of Ibérico broth, this dish supposedly dates back to the Romans, where it must have been the rage at orgies, sliced off real pig carcasses.     Photo: Gerry Dawes
    It is tempting to guess that the decline of the Roman Empire began precisely with the presumed rise in the popularity of this dish. 

Raurich had been Ferran Adrià´s Chef de Cuisine at el Bulli from 1997 to 2007, and for the past decade he has been doing creative cooking at his Asian food-themed,  open-kitchen Dos Palillos (Chopsticks), which he owns with his Japanese wife-sommelier, Tamae Imachi, and is located just around the corner from Dos Pebrots. 

    Raurich is a serious student of food and the history of food.  He is also an amusing, fun-loving guy with a great sense of humor.  High on the wall at the exit end of the restaurant, he has placed a photograph of the main players at chef Ferran Adrià’s el Bulli, the famous, now-closed cocina de vanguardia restaurant north of Barcelona that was often touted as the best in the world.  Looking like a rather roughshod band of fishermen is the crew of now culinary superstars that made el Bulli into a legend: Raurich, the late el Bulli co-owner Juli Soler, Ferran Adrià, Oriol Castro, Mateu Casañas, Eduard Xatruch (these last three are chef-owners at one of Barcelona’s best new restaurants, Distfrutar), and Albert Adrià, the genius behind the highly acclaimed Tickets, Bodega 1900, Pakta, Hoja Santa and more. 

    The sow tetas not withstanding, I found the concept at Dos Pebrots fascinating, a trip down a little-known historical culinary trail that Chef Raurich is blazing and that, no doubt soon, admiring chefs will begin to imitate.  Raurich’s ideas and execution are terrific and the history-based dish ideas will continue to grow as he expands his intellectual pursuit of long-lost culinary concepts.  Dos Pebrots is indeed a trip back in time, with some very refined modern creative touches from the mind and talent of a great chef. 


Open Wed.-Sun. 1 p.m.-11p.m.


By John Mariani




To run three successful restaurants in NYC is remarkable enough, but when two are very fine dining and one the epitome of casual chic, all located on the posher streets of mid-town Manhattan and the Upper West Side, the achievement is all the more extraordinary.  Il Gattopardo, in a former Nelson Rockefeller townhouse across from the Museum of Modern Art, and The Leopard at Des Artistes near Lincoln Center rate among the city’s best Italian restaurants, while Mozzarella e Vino, just doors from Il Gattopardo, has been a draw for New Yorkers and out-of-towners who have just visited the museum or been buying their Armani and Ralph Lauren outfits on Fifth Avenue. All are run by Gianfranco and Paula Sorrentino and Chef Vito Gnazzo (below), who bound between the three restaurants daily and keep a civilized level of familiarity with their legion of regular guests.  I wrote about The Leopard a few months ago, so let me now concentrate on Il Gattopardo and Mozzarella e Vino.


13-15 West 54th Street (near Fifth Avenue)



    Named after the great Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s 1958 novel of Sicilian life, Il Gattopardo is spread on two floors of the Rockefeller Beaux Art townhouse; upstairs is the main dining room, downstairs a vast party room, and in their streamlined minimalist décor both make good stylistic neighbors to MOMA across the street. The lighting is soft and glowing in the dining room, the walls free of artwork, and the comfortable chairs, double tablecloths, thin wineglasses, fine china and fresh flowers maintain the metropolitan level of sophistication.

    The mostly Italian wine list exceeds 300, all selected by the affable

    Gianfranco himself, and you’ll find plenty of well-priced wines under $50. Vito  Gnazzo, from Salerno, had worked at the renowned Antica Osteria del Ponte outside Milan, then at the equally esteemed Rex in Los Angeles. At Il Gattopardo he shows a further refinement of cucina Italiana, beginning with lustrous crudo of branzino (right) with cucumber, celery and lemon-olive oil dressing ($24) that is perfect for these springtime evenings.  He also does a very southern salad of pickled eggplant, cherry tomatoes, spring onions and toasted croutons ($18).  Particularly imaginative is Gnazzo’s finely sliced silky veal loin that has been smoked in house and set over organic greens with asparagus tips and oven roasted tomatoes in a balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing ($24).

    The winsome star-shaped fagottini pasta covers organic spring greens and buffalo ricotta in a fresh tomato sauce seasoned with fresh marjoram ($26), while plump potato gnocchi shares the bowl with sweet chunks of penniolo tomatoes from the area around Vesuvius and nubbins of scamorza cheese ($26). My favorite pasta on a recent evening was firm little cavatelli (left) with grains and herbs in a deeply flavorful shellfish broth ($28).

    For main courses, it would be difficult to find a better rendering of pan-seared veal loin (right), here scented with wild fennel pollen (from Gnazzo’s own farm) served with buttery fingerling potatoes and woodsy porcini mushrooms, graced with a light reduction of the meat’s juices ($50).  If you like rabbit, you will be enthralled by the braised leg with roasted artichokes and fingerling potatoes ($43). One main course that never leaves the menu is the very popular Neapolitan meatloaf ($30), suffused with flavors of long-cooked vegetables and seasonings, served with chive-dotted mashed potato and garlic-rich spinach.   

    There is no reduction of quality and creativity in desserts at Il Gattopardo, by Pietro Macellaro, which goes way beyond the usual with a semifreddo of pear and ricotta di bufala with hazelnut biscotto ($14); mousse di cioccolato with a Aglianico wine heart  jelly ($14) and marvelous rum-soaked “Babbá del Re” with fresh panna montata and strawberries ($14).  Pastiera, the homey traditional Neapolitan cheese cake ($14), never leaves the menu for good reason.

    Ristoranti serving alta cucina of this quality are rare even in Florence, Rome and Naples, so to have Il Gattopardo and its sister restaurant, The Leopard, within a mile of one another is exemplary of NYC’s Italian restaurants at their finest.

Open for lunch, Mon – Fri.; brunch Sat & Sun; dinner nightly



33 West 54th Street (near Fifth Avenue)

   M&V, as I shall call it, occupies the former premises of Il Gattopardo, a long skinny room that opens up to a patio outside that is highly desirable this time of year.    
     As its name suggests, the focus here is on an array of Italian cheeses and wines, all imported, along with excellent Italian charcuterie, best enjoyed as a tasting of many that may include provola, burrata, smoky scamorza, eggplant-stuffed mozzarella, basil-scented mozzarella, various prosciutti, bresaola, Speck, mortadella, and rare culatello.

    Prices for such samplings, served on a rustic wooden board, range from $9 for two to $17 for four. You might also consider
the array of panini sandwiches ($13-$15 that include Prosciutto San Daniele, robiola cheese and grilled eggplant on ciabatta bread; artisanal focaccia with natural untreated ham and wild greens on extra virgin olive oil; ciabatta bread with grilled eggplant, green zucchini, yellow squash and tomato,  and more. 

        You should also consider the items from the friggitoria list—fried dishes, including rice ball arancini, fat panzarotti pasta filled with potato, mozzarella and salami, and golden fried zucchini. You won’t find them better anywhere.

 Pastas and other main courses have increased since M&V opened four years ago, and, on a night when Chef Gnazzo plucked victory from the prospect of defeat—a holiday in Italy delayed a shipment of mozzarella and other cheeses!—he served us as splendid an array of dishes as you’d find anywhere around town, starting with an abundant seafood salad of calamari, mussels and shrimp over organic friseé and arugula with oven-dried cherry tomatoes and an extra virgin olive oil, lemon and parsley dressing.

    Also bright and seasonal was a citrus and avocado salad with fennel and Gaeta olives, with a fresh mint dressing;  then came a lavish plate of the day’s ravioli,  filled with ricotta and served with organic tomatoes.  Rarely am I impressed with buckwheat pasta, but M&E’s buckwheat fettucine with cherry tomatoes and basil sauce had just the right tenderness along with a true nutty flavor that went well with the dressing.  So, too, a warm organic farro salad with roasted vegetables and prosciutto di Parma was the kind of homey dish you’d come across in a tiny mom-and-pop trattoria in Naples.

    We ended off with a rich torta di mascarpone “tiramisu” style.

    Drop in for a snack and glass of wine, stay for a meal of cheese and meats, or spend the night feasting.  M&V aims to please on any and every count, and with spring in fill bloom an outdoor table is pretty sublime.


Mozzarella & Vino is open Mon.-Sat from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sundays from 11:30 to 5.






By John Mariani

"Penicillin cures, but wine makes people happy."--Sir Alexander Fleming, English Bacteriologist


STONESTREET ESTATE VINEYARDS ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 ($45)—A very vibrant wine on all counts—bold fruit, moderate tannins, non-invasive acids and admirable alcohol level (13.5%)—that shows how refinement is reached at higher altitudes in Sonoma’s Mayacamas Mountains, up to 2,400 feet. Aging is in 32% new French oak for 18 months, in bottle for another year. Winemaker Lisa Valtenbergs and the Jackson family that owns Stonestreet (the family’s middle name) should be very happy with achieving this kind of elegant balance in their Cab.


CLOS DU VAL ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2015 ($32)—Clos du Val won my affections long ago as a California producer whose French bloodline showed in the finesse of its Cabernets. And while I am not a big fan of their current Pinot Noir, I was delighted to find their Chardonnay ripe without being cloying, with just a touch of oak, so that it may remind you of the better Chablis now being made in Burgundy.  The grapes are all from Carneros, where fickle weather in 2015 made for a small crop but also helped concentrate the flavors that evolved into good sugar and complexity. 


CASTELLO DI ALBOLA CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2012 ($17 )—Chianti Classico has no bigger fan than I, and this Riserva proves why.  The estate, in Radda, dates back to the 1840s and breeding shows in the layers of flavor, that wonderful Chianti fruit, the little bite of acid and the softening backbone.  There is a fine bouquet when opened and sniffed, and the wine lasts a long while on the palate. It’s made to be drunk with just about anything that lives on land.


EMBLEM CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 ($35)—“Emblem is the latest chapter in our family story that spans for generations crafting world-class wine in the Napa Valley.”  So reads the back of the bottle of this stellar wine, which really shows that the inspirational example of Robert Mondavi lives on in his son Michael’s vineyard.  A high percentage of new French oak and 15 months aging helps emphasize the dark fruit and subtle sweetness, added to by blending with Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, and Petit Verdot.  The wholly sensible 14.4% alcohol also makes this a splendidly adaptable wine for a wide range of summer’s dishes, and at $35, you won’t find a better Cabernet.


ASKOS MASSERIA LE VELI SUSUMANIELLO 2015 ($20)—This IGT red from Salento in Puglia indicates the fast-rising level of quality wines in Southern Italy.  Puglia has a temperate climate and breezes from the sea, which the Falvo family takes advantage of to produce this soft, charming non-traditional wine made in an air-conditioned ancient storage cellar, where the wine spends 9 months in barrel and three in bottle, with 14% alcohol.  Susumaniello is a native variety believed to be of Dalmatian origins, and this is a rare example, very good with very simple grilled food this summer.


ETUDE PINOT NOIR 2014 ($30)—Grown on the cool Carneros estate of Grace Benoist Ranch, this Pinot Noir has the velvetiness and acid that helps define the varietal, as opposed to the hot, treacly stuff that comes from so many other estates in California.  Sixteen different clones go into the  blend, and, as winemaker Jon Priest notes, “There’s no better vehicle with which to study or practice the craft of winemaking than Pinot Noir. It is the most challenging, unforgiving and quixotic of all wine grapes, and yet the most delicate and transparent.” It takes a lot of effort and care to make a fine Pinot Noir, and Etude has long experience in doing just that.


CULTIVATE PINOT NOIR 2014 ($28)—I am equally impressed with this lesser-known estate’s Pinot Noir from grapes grown 49% in Santa Barbara County, 47% in Monterey County and 4% in Sonoma, where Pinots can get way too hot.  Instead this is a very fruit but not cloying example, ideal fort summer, light to medium in body and has a pleasing alcohol level of 14.1%.  I might nitpick and ask for a tad more acid, but I could drink this all summer long with delight.


LA MANELLA ROSSO DI MONTALCINO 2012 ($30)—I’m not sure I’d pay much more than $30 for a Rosso di Montalcino (Brunello’s little sister),  made from 100% Sangiovese, but this is one of those solidly made, well-knit, extremely versatile Tuscan reds that is as good a match for pizza and pasta as it is for beef, pork and veal. The Cortonesi family began its winery in the 1970s but didn’t bottle its first vintage till 1990, and it makes a good, if not truly great, Brunello, so this Rosso di Montalcino is a real feather in their cap.



KTRK reported that A Houston, TX, woman allegedly shot her boyfriend because he told her to "cam down" after she was served a cold taco from a truck and asked to have the taco reheated. When the employee refused, she flew into a rage and pulled out a gun and, intentionally or not, shot her boyfriend, who is expected to survive the gunshot wound.



 “How to Make Homemade Ice Cream with a BBQ Smoker,”, 4/10/17.



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

   The Hound in Heaven (21st Century Lion Books) is a  novella, and for anyone who loves dogs, Christmas, romance, inspiration, even the supernatural, I hope you'll find this to be a treasured  favorite. The  story concerns how, after a New England teacher, his wife and their two daughters adopt a stray puppy found in their barn in northern Maine, their lives seem full of promise. But when tragedy strikes, their wonderful dog Lazarus and the spirit of Christmas are the only things that may bring his master back from the edge of despair. 


“What a huge surprise turn this story took! I was completely stunned! I truly enjoyed this book and its message.” – Actress Ali MacGraw

“He had me at Page One. The amount of heart, human insight, soul searching, and deft literary strength that John Mariani pours into this airtight novella is vertigo-inducing. Perhaps ‘wow’ would be the best comment.” – James Dalessandro, author of Bohemian Heart and 1906.

“John Mariani’s Hound in Heaven starts with a well-painted portrayal of an American family, along with the requisite dog. A surprise event flips the action of the novel and captures us for a voyage leading to a hopeful and heart-warming message. A page turning, one sitting read, it’s the perfect antidote for the winter and promotion of holiday celebration.” – Ann Pearlman, author of The Christmas Cookie Club and A Gift for my Sister.

“John Mariani’s concise, achingly beautiful novella pulls a literary rabbit out of a hat – a mash-up of the cosmic and the intimate, the tragic and the heart-warming – a Christmas tale for all ages, and all faiths. Read it to your children, read it to yourself… but read it. Early and often. Highly recommended.” – Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author of Pinkerton’s War, The Sinking of The Eastland, and The Walking Dead: The Road To Woodbury.

“Amazing things happen when you open your heart to an animal. The Hound in Heaven delivers a powerful story of healing that is forged in the spiritual relationship between a man and his best friend. The book brings a message of hope that can enrich our images of family, love, and loss.” – Dr. Barbara Royal, author of The Royal Treatment.


The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink by John F. Mariani (Bloomsbury USA, $35)

Modesty forbids me to praise my own new book, but let me proudly say that it is an extensive revision of the 4th edition that appeared more than a decade ago, before locavores, molecular cuisine, modernist cuisine, the Food Network and so much more, now included. Word origins have been completely updated, as have per capita consumption and production stats. Most important, for the first time since publication in the 1980s, the book includes more than 100 biographies of Americans who have changed the way we cook, eat and drink -- from Fannie Farmer and Julia Child to Robert Mondavi and Thomas Keller.

"This book is amazing! It has entries for everything from `abalone' to `zwieback,' plus more than 500 recipes for classic American dishes and drinks."--Devra First, The Boston Globe.

"Much needed in any kitchen library."--Bon Appetit.

Now in Paperback, too--How Italian Food Conquered the World (Palgrave Macmillan)  has won top prize  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,  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:

Eating Las Vegas JOHN CURTAS has been covering the Las Vegas food and restaurant scene since 1995. He is the co-author of EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants (as well as the author of the Eating Las Vegas web site: www.eatinglasvegas. He can also be seen every Friday morning as the “resident foodie” for Wake Up With the Wagners on KSNV TV (NBC) Channel 3  in Las Vegas.


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. Editor: Walter Bagley. Contributing Writers: Christopher Mariani, Robert Mariani,  Misha Mariani, John A. Curtas, Geoff Kalish, Mort Hochstein, and Brian Freedman. Contributing Photographers: Galina Dargery. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.

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