Virtual Gourmet

  NOVEMBER 22,  2015                                                                                             NEWSLETTER


"Thanksgiving" by Doris Lee (c. 1935)



By John Mariani


By John Mariani

By John Mariani


By John Mariani


By John Mariani

Chicago Speakeasy 1931

    One new restaurant and one new chef show how Chicago's restaurant is evolving by stressing great ingredients rather than show-off technique.

C Chicago
20 W Kinzie Street

   With the opening of C, David Flom and Matt Moore (below) again prove themselves among Chicago’s savviest restaurateurs, not by bankrolling feverish chefs to mount extravagant, 20-course meals but by focusing on a simple question: What do people really want to eat?  If the answer is good, solid, well-prepared food in a comfortable ambiance, with finely trained servers and a good wine list, then at both their very popular Chicago Cut Steakhouse and now C Chicago, Flom and Moore have raised the quality level to a plateau whereby the ingredients speak for themselves and the kitchen treats them with the utmost respect in the same way the service staff treats their guests.
   When Cut opened, in a Chicago market saturated with steakhouses, Flom and Moore added a breathtaking panorama and décor overlooking the river, with widely separated tables within a civilized atmosphere where women felt every bit as much at home as men who frequent steakhouses.  Cut was a steakhouse in a finer tone, and it draws a wide swathe of celebrities, many of whom have become friends with the owners.
   The seafood-centric C replicates the Cut model in a gorgeous but not frilly dining room designed by Mark Knauer—set on two levels like a luxury liner, with a grand bar, Kelly green upholstery, a stunning metal shark sculpture, and a display of seafood on ice. It’s a look that signifies that this is not a fast-paced raffish spot like Shaw’s Crab House, or the old-time mariner appeal of the Cape Cod Room.  Instead it’s as modern and refined a dining room as you’ll find in America right now, a place where when you walk in you say, “Yes, this is where I want to eat.”
   There’s been a change of chef—Dean Zanella, formerly of Chicago Firehouse—since I dined there in October, but I’m told the menu will stay largely the same.
    Our party of four ate lavishly but at the end felt satisfied not stuffed, and that’s because the food here is not overloaded. O
ctopus à la plancha was dressed simply with shaved fennel and Calabrian sauce vierge, while lustrous tuna tartare came with a colorful avocado roulade and wasabi tobiko roe.  In early autumn  C had the extraordinary Spanish prawns called carabineros (these actually from Moroccan waters), but they are not due to return to the menu until spring. For now, big, fat Scottish langoustines of marvelous quality will do.
   The cliché “surf and turf” is refreshed here by using seared A5 Miyazaki beef on a plate with butter-poached lobster in a citrus demiglace.
    The whole fish selection is enough to cause high anxiety, for what is one to choose from such an array? Have the impeccably prepared Dover sole, or the dorade royale, or see how they render turbot—a hard fish to get right in this country—by baking it in an aromatic salt dough. You won’t go wrong with any.
    Side dishes showed every bit of the same commitment to first-rate ingredients, from roasted golden beets with espelette yogurt, sorrel, almonds and fennel tuile to a warm farro salad with charred corn, heirloom tomatoes, mustard and whipped feta.
    Desserts stay the course with Key lime pie, pineapple finançier, chocolate vacherin and strawberry cheesecake.
    C’s wine list is exemplary for the comprehensive way it goes with this food.
    Once you’ve dined at C you will realize all over again what good food cooked with care can achieve, for that care takes enormous talent and attention to detail, and every detail from décor to service makes C the most admirable restaurant to open in Chicago in the last couple of years.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.




Park Hyatt Hotel
800 North Michigan Avenue

    The name NoMi, for North Michigan, has taken on a bit more resonance recently with the appointment of Satoru Takeuchi (below) as executive chef at the restaurant.  NoMi has always sounded Japanese and always had a large offering of sushi and other Japanese dishes on the menu.  Now, under Takeuchi, there is greater emphasis on such fare  without abandoning the American and European dishes that give the menu such breadth.
      “For me, it’s important that a diner – no matter how developed or un-developed their palate is – can taste each ingredient that they see on the description and on the plate,” says Takeuchi. “I’m not one to over- complicate dishes.  I want the quality and unique tastes of each product I’m using to shine through.”  This is encouraging at a time when even Japanese chefs are under media pressure to become fussier and fussier with more and more ingredients.
    My friends and I began with a lavish NoMi platter of sushi and sashimi ($45)
—all the right temperature, beautiful texture and thickness, perfectly seasoned rice—a variety that (on any given night) might include magoru tuna, sake salmon, hamachi yellowtail, and madai snapper (each also offered by the piece). Hamachi tataki followed with daikon radish soubise, the lemony pepper paste called yuzu kosho, basil-like ohba pistou, marinated leek and ponzu.  There was also a wonderful, lightly glazed chicken teriyaki with rice cracker, grilled leek, shichimi togarashi made from seven peppers, and sesame.
    Then came the western-style dishes, the first via Italy with a Midwestern ballast—corn agnolotti with rich mole-glazed pork belly, creamed corn  and a pickled Fresno salad.  Yorkshire porcelet as tender as any I’ve  ever had came with a mustard-flavored spaetzle, chanterelles, spinach and mustard pork jus, while King salmon (farm raised, unfortunately) was pan seared then matched with braised green pea “française,” Nueske’s ham, orange carrot purée, and a drizzle of hazelnut oil.  Skirt steak picked up its flavors from a broccoli purée, broccoli di rabe, charred broccoli, glazed white pearl onions and pepper beef jus; grass fed, the beef hadn’t much taste on its own.
    Greg Mosko’s desserts were, as expected, very much in the generous Midwestern style—apple and pomegranate sautéed apple, caramelized and creamed white chocolate,  tangy spiced apple cider, cinnamon cake and walnut—quite a display of goodness all on one  plate.  But there was also a rich flourless chocolate tart, decadently dense, with dark chocolate ganache, blackberries and both a citrusy gel and finger lime to bring up the brightness of flavors.  Loveable in every way was a plum sheep’s milk cheesecake with sesame graham cracker, yuzu gel, fresh plums, coconut dacquoise and a touch of shiso.   
The term “fusion food” has gone out of fashion, but that may be because chefs like
Takeuchi perform their magic of stylistic marriage so flawlessly that eccentricity takes a back seat to pure, good taste.


Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


By John Mariani

           Who am I to judge?
        “This has got to be the worst TV show ever!”  That is the statement made by Philip Rosenthal himself in the middle of his new PBS series with the grotesque title “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having,” in which he and a jerking, hand-held camera crew visit various cities à la Anthony Bourdain on CNN but without that series’ production budget.
        According to his biography, Rosenthal’s principal claim to dubious fame involves writing episodes of
Everybody Loves Raymond.  Nothing in his on-line résumé in any way suggests he would be even an adequate host of a globe-trotting food show, and in episode after episode he manifests everything that is now so appalling about the “hey-anybody-can-do-this” world of food TV.  Granted, the majority of the shows on Food Network are unwatchable—largely repeats of Guy Fieri supermarket contests, useless competitons, and “Pioneer Woman”—but “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having” is one you watch in awe of the ineptitude, the ignorance and the hyperbole that characterizes this kind of show.
        In Paris Rosenthal, dressed like a guy going to Starbucks after a sweaty jog, traipses around the city (“Look at French people!” he remarks) to spend a moment here, a moment there.  He sits down at the great (but empty) restaurant Arpége and goes on about the glory of a single dessert, all the while tossing out “wow” and “awesome” and other hyperboles with the abandon of a carnie hustler.
    He visits a chocolate shop but says nothing but “wow,” a cheese shop where he goes ga-ga over the 100 varieties arrayed, and then, for no reason one can imagine, goes jogging around Paris for several of the show’s 54 minutes.
        He sits with expat American David Liebovitz, who contends that good croissants should never be curved, which is idiotic since the word “croissant” means crescent.  They take a bite, then it’s off to the next stop. 
    One gets the feeling this cheapo production was made in one day, with Rosenthal having culled all his knowledge of Parisian gastronomy from recommendations on Trip Advisor.
        In Barcelona he spends five minutes talking to his mother and father by Skype about cancelling their Verizon account!  In Italy he describes his attempt at making pasta as, “Schmucko is going to try his hand at making this beautiful delicate thing.”
        In a show about Los Angeles, a trip to a Korean eatery is with comedian Martin Short (right), whose reaction is nothing short of horror, saying, “I want to wake up in the morning and live.”  Rosenthal goes to Langer’s deli with Norman Lear and exclaims, “Holy crap! It’s like a bar mitzvah!” with repeated exclamations of “Oh, my God!”   In a show set in Hong Kong he spends a chunk of time by going to a holistic medicine store, and wonders, “How can I sleep through the night without going to the bathroom?” He plays the schlemiel, like Adam Sandler with even less wit.
        Unlike Rick Steves’ superbly produced, tightly edited and extremely informative travel shows on TV, Rosenthal’s looks as if made by a guy with some money to spend on a lark. 
What viewers probably realize is that PBS pays for very few of the productions it broadcasts.  (“Downton Abbey” is a co-production of Carnival Films and Masterpiece Theater.) To get on PBS an individual must mount his own production, get his own sponsors, then just give it  all over to PBS to broadcast, with no cost to the network.  Which explains why, among the very good shows it broadcasts, there are so many amateurish ones, particularly on food and travel.
Rosenthal’s show is slicker than some, but more banal than most.  You see a lovely shot of a piece of pastry or a slice of cheese but learn nothing about it.  The show is more like a packet of cheap colorized postcards you’d buy from a souvenir shop than a learning experience, which is what PBS is supposedly about.
        So, is, as Rosenthal says, his show the worst show on TV ever?  It’s certainly right up there. . . . but it  still has a long way to go to beat “Master Chef Junior.” Ba-da-boom!


By John Mariani

323 East 79th Street (near 2nd Avenue)


   People love true bistros because they are small, often family-owned neighborhood eateries, where the food is always simple and full of flavor, with certain classics dependably on the menu. Even the particular look and typography on the menus seems almost sacrosanct.
Bistros are never dark, so that you can see everyone coming and going. The pace is fast, the wines are regional, and the greeting warm. There’s usually Edith Piaf or Charles Aznevour singing in the background.
   You bring to a bistro whatever mood you're in, and then you shake it free or stir it up. When you feel gregarious, a bistro buoys you. When you feel blue, the gaiety of the place and the first aperitif brings you back from the brink. The waiters all have stories to tell, but, you think, never about you. And because bistros all share so very much in common, they make you feel hungry and happy and at home, wherever you are in the world.
    Now a quarter-century old, Quatorze Bis (the name is from its original address on Fourteenth Street, and “bis” means the second one) is as bright and cheery as ever, always full, seven days a week, largely with an Upper East Side crowd of regulars who are never disappointed because little ever changes within this cocoon-like bistro. 
    Its deep red façade is typical, as are the French posters inside, the tables are clothed in white, the chairs are sturdy. The wineglasses are imprinted with the restaurant’s name. A small marble-topped bar is up front, next to the hostess station.  Mirrors open up the space.  There is a peppermill on every table.  Quatorze Bis does lack the traditional brass railings and lace curtains of Parisian stereotypes, but beyond that it’s easy enough to think you are in some favorite arrondissement where everyone is speaking French and tourists are few.
    The waiters are amiable and brisk, they tell you the specials, which are also scribbled on little blackboards on your table, and there are plenty of decently priced wines to go with the hearty food served here. 
    You sit down and the busboy brings sliced bread and a generous slab of butter.  The wine comes, you peruse the menu, unable to choose among so many classic dishes, from seafood sausage to duck confit.  Our party began with a velvety duck mousse in a ramekin with toasted bread that hit the spot on an autumn evening.  Light and refreshing was the celery rémoulade, with a tangy mayonnaise.  A dish that bistros like Quatorize Bis have served for decades—a creamy, cheese-rich Gruyère and onion tart—seems suddenly to have been re-discovered by a lot of contemporary restaurants; QB’s is still one of the best.
    How much more classic can you get than boeuf bourguignon? QB’s version is textbook perfect, hefty in its mixture of long-simmered beef, onions, red wine and seasonings, with a true Burgundian soulfulness.
      There is a fish of the day, which may be had simply grilled, sautéed à la meunière or amandine.  My friend chose the last, which turned out to be mahi mahi that evening, beautifully cooked and showered with almonds tossed in brown butter.
    One of the signature items at QB all these years has been its choucroute garnie (below), which right about now is exactly what I want to eat as we nudge towards the end of November.  It was a splendid platter of Alsatian sausages—the waiter suggested I get them grilled, and he’s right: too often choucroute sausages merely get cooked with the sauerkraut and lack much dimension.  These were delicious, with a real snap to the skin, cuddled in the tangy, winey sauerkraut.
    For dessert there is hot apple tart, an old-fashioned chocolate mousse, crème caramel, poached pear, and my constant go-to in a bistro: plump, ice-cream filled profiteroles of puff pastry lavished with dark chocolate sauce.
    It is inevitable that the one thing that always changes in restaurants is the price, and it’s daunting to see what twenty-five years of increases in the cost of living, salaries, and ingredients can do.  In looking at an old QB menu from 1990, I found the choucroute was $16, today it is $32; then a grilled sirloin with Béarnaise and pommes frites was $22, now it’s $45; desserts used to be $5 or $6, now they are $12.50 to $14.50.   Zut alors, que peut-on faire?
     It may well be twenty years since I was last at Quatorze Bis, and I’m sure there have been some decorous changes, but I really didn’t notice because the gaiety and bonhomie of the place is exactly as I remember it, as is the food.  That’s a rare thing anywhere and in ever-mutating NYC something to be cherished.


Open for lunch and dinner daily.





By John Mariani


      You’re not likely to find it in schoolbooks, but the real reason the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 was because they ran out of beer. In the Mayflower’s log is found the notation that the Pilgrims landed where they did because "We could not take much time for further search, our victuals being much spent, especially beer.”
      Before long, however, they were making beer from maize, spruce or birch. By 1637 the Colony had two licensed breweries. Temperance vied with drunkenness almost as soon as the Puritans settled in. Taverns and churches were opened in equal numbers.
      At the first Thanksgiving dinner in the autumn of 1621, the Pilgrims probably drank sweet wine made from wild native Labrusca grapes and with their Indian friends feasted on oysters, cornbread, eel, goose, venison, watercress, leeks, berries and plums. Turkey was not specifically mentioned but was most probably part of the meal.
     The early colonists certainly drank wines based on native grapes like Concord and Catawba, but European wines were quickly imported. In 1632 Gov. John Winthrop of Massachusetts decreed that Governor’s Island in Boston Harbor be devoted to wine production.
The colonials would certainly have had access to European wines. In fact, Capt. John Smith, in his Sea Grammar of 1627, recommended all incoming ships from Europe bring onboard “fine wines.”
      The British already had a long history as importers and exporters of Portuguese wines and the technique of making Port wine by adding brandy to red wine was the work of a Liverpool wine merchant in 1678. As a result, many Port companies, like Cockburn, Sandeman, Croft, and Taylor Fladgate, have British names, as do many Madeira and Spanish Sherry companies.
      The colonists would also have ample access to locally produced cider, both fermented and unfermented, and ginger beer, as well as imported brandies and “London Dry Gin,” so-called because it was made near London. 
Rum, a product of the Caribbean, was widely drunk. By 1657 it was also being made in New England, which was part of the highly profitable Triangular Trade of shipping rum to Europe to make money to buy slaves in Africa who were sent to the Caribbean to work the American sugar plantations to make molasses as the base for rum distillation.
      So, if one wants to be very traditional about celebrating Thanksgiving in the style of the pre-Revolutionary War colonists, you have a wide range of beverages to choose from.  This year I’ve decided to serve an array of libations at my Thanksgiving table based on pre-1776 models and menus.
      Therefore, when my guests arrive I will serve them cocktails (beverages that date back before 1800) made with either London Dry Gin like Beefeater ($19) or a rum like Bacardi Gold ($25). I’ll mix the gin with quinine tonic, for quinine was discovered to be essential onboard British ships to prevent scurvy. I’ll make a rum punch with citrus fruits and spices, a beverage known in print at least since 1625.  An ad in The Salem Gazette for 1741 noted that orange juice was becoming preferred to lemon juice in the fashionable punches of the day.
     The colonists favored fortified wines, that is, wines that could travel the seas because they were stabilized with the addition of brandy, William and Humbert make a superb Dry Sack Oloroso Solera Especial ($25), made from a blend of oloroso and Pedro Jimenez Sherries,  and a Dos Cortados Palo 20 Years Old Especial Sherry ($45), from the palomino grape,  of a kind that would have been served at a good feast anywhere in the colonies.       
We will then sit down to dinner, where I will serve a New York State Finger Lakes Riesling like Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Semi-Dry Riesling 2014 ($15) to go with the cream of watercress soup we’ll begin with.  For the turkey course, which will have as many sweet as savory flavors in the stuffing, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes, I’ll serve a Virginia wine from a European varietal--Barboursville Vineyards’ elegant Octagon 2012 ($55), a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon, made from vineyards on land that was once the 870-acre plantation of Gov. James Barbour, whose mansion was designed by Thomas Jefferson.
      Then will come the cheese course—a sharp, aged Vermont Cheddar from Cabot Cheese in Montpelier, with glasses of either a Taylor Fladgate Late Bottle Vintage Port 2007  ($75),  which will carry over nicely with the traditional desserts of apple pie and pumpkin pie.  Then, after coffee, for those still in a celebratory mood, I shall bring out snifters of a fine, well-aged dark rum, like Plantation 8 Year Rum from Jamaica ($25) or sophisticated flavor of Cruzan Single Barrel Premium Extra Aged Rum ($20) from St. Croix. 
    I might also choose an aged Kentucky bourbon, America’s only indigenous spirit (even if  bourbon really wasn’t made until after the Revolutionary War; nor was Kentucky one of the original Colonies.) In any case, one of the lighter, easy-to-drink bourbons is Basil Hayden ($45), 80 proof, which is currently offering a Limited Edition (100 units) Drinking Shoe set of four leather-wrapped rocks glasses in a custom gift box and a pair of custom-made Basil Hayden leather moccasins made by Quoddy, at  $399.  Or
Angel's Envy Bourbon ($169) finished in Port barrels and released at cask strength--a whopping 127.9 proof! Of course, the Anglo-Scots brought Scotch whiskey to America, and the array in the U.S. market is bigger than ever.  My absolute favorite (at least for the moment) is Oban 14 Single Malt Whiskey ($75) which I find has an exquisite balance of grain, smoke, peat, and spice that flows over the palate.
     If there are any beer drinkers at the feast, they can choose a pale ale or stout over lager, which was not made in America until about 1840.       
     Dining this well, with these wines and spirits, it is easy to be thankful for what the American colonists set in motion nearly four centuries ago.



Officer Kenneth Lee Sheka attending the annual Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas get-together was arrested for firing his gun at a wall after his waitress said he needed to stop touching her. "From the El Paso Police Department report: Officer Kenneth Lee Sheka, was engaged in a conversation with a female server near the hospitality area. Their conversation became inappropriate when Sheka began making comments of a sexual nature and ultimately touched the female inappropriately as she walked passed him. The female told him not to do that again and continued to walk away, escorted by another male, when SHEKA pulled out a pistol and fired one round into a nearby wall."  Fellow conferencegoers subdued Sheka, who was put on leave without pay until the criminal investigation is complete.



"We drink our rosé and moan about how full we are and wonder if it would have been unprofessional to slip Keanu a number as we listen to fireworks exploding out of sight, and we enjoy being miserable together.”—Jessie Kissinger and Anna Peele, “3 Restaurants, 1 Night,” Esquire (Nov 2015).



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

   I'm proud and happy to announce that my new book, The Hound in Heaven (21st Century Lion Books), has just been published through Amazon and Kindle. 
     It 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 back 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: AMALFI COAST

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).

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, Edward Brivio, Mort Hochstein, Andrew Chalk,  Dotty Griffith and Brian Freedman. Contributing Photographers: Galina Dargery,  Bobby Pirillo. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.

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