Virtual Gourmet

  JUNE 30,  2019                                                                                            NEWSLETTER

Founded in 1996 


Poster for Fiestas Primaverales by E. Mirabet-Valencia, circa 1929


By Geoff Kalish

By John Mariani

By John Mariani


By Geoff Kalish


    While usually considered primarily a ski and snowboard destination and not a gourmet mecca, the Manchester area offers a range of excellent dining options, as well as opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fly fishing for trout and a spectacularly scenic golf course that more than meets the needs of the most jaded golfer.
    Moreover, with its “old fashioned,” well stocked book store named Northshire (below; 4869 Main Street) and designer outlet shops running the gamut from Armani to Orvis,  Manchester Center offers enough upscale, bargain-priced shopping to more than take up any apres sports time.
    As to lodging, there’s a number of hotels, motels and the historic 195-room Equinox Resort (left), located on 1,300 acres and dating from 1769, which has hosted four American Presidents (Taft, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Harrison). In fact, Robert Todd Lincoln (son of Abraham and Mary) enjoyed his 1864 summer visit so much that later in life he built an estate, Hildene, only a mile and a half away, which offers a self-guided tour, as well as twice daily guided tours of the home, gardens, farm, an authentic Pullman car and 12 miles of walking trails.
     Of the many upscale dining establishments in and around Manchester, the Chop House in the Equinox Resort (3567 Main Street, 802-362-4700) and The Silver Fork (4201 Main Street 802-768-8494), just outside Manchester Center, are  gourmet-worthy favorites. On a par with top New York City steak houses, in price as well as quality, the Chop House (below is a rectangular room of 12 tables fitted with starched white cloths and featuring a large marble fireplace, muted lighting and a rather hushed sound level.  My wife and I recently enjoyed appetizers of braised, tender locally raised Waygu beef, served with three zesty homemade sauces and a crisp Bibb lettuce salad, as well as main courses of a generous portion of moist U-8 scallops, and a perfectly broiled medium-rare prime New York strip steak, accompanied by a bottle of sensibly priced, plummy Turley “Old Vines” Zinfandel. And, if you go, be sure to try the creamy homemade ice cream for dessert. (The restaurant is open daily for dinner only. Expect dinner for two to cost $140-$150 excluding wine, tax or tip.)
    Since The Silver Fork restaurant has only six tables in one eclectically decorated room, advance reservations are a must. Cooking is conducted by acclaimed chef Mark French, whose affable wife, Melody, runs the front of the house. Some worthy choices from a very extensive, frequently changing menu, with numerous daily specials, include appetizer orders of Lobster “Caribbean” Risotto, loaded with fragrant saffron, and a Caprese salad prepared with local heirloom tomatoes and creamy burrata cheese, as well as main courses of tangy tamarind BBQ shrimp and dewy cod stuffed with crab. And from a very well-priced list of wines by the glass or bottle, a lemon-scented 2017 Jermann Pinot Grigio and/or berry-flavored 2015 Grady Family Zinfandel make excellent accompaniment to most menu items. Also, be sure to save room for the thick, rich bread pudding soufflé; it’s decadent. (The restaurant is open for dinner only, Monday-Saturday. Expect dinner for two to cost about $100, excluding wine, tax, and tip.)
    Also of note, the Equinox Resort’s Marsh Tavern (left), where Ira Allen, the younger brother of Ethan, first proposed confiscating Tory property to equip the “Green Mountain Boys” at the start of the American Revolution), offers top-notch, family-oriented classic New England fare like veal pot roast, cast iron roasted chicken and grilled salmon in a spacious, contemporary setting. And for those wanting to taste a range of wines made from local Vermont grapes (like St. Croix and Marquette), there’s the Whale Back Winery (200 Old Lake Road, Poultney, 802-287-2256, open Wednesday-Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.), about a half-hour car ride from Manchester Center. It’s owned by the Brown family (Dean and Amy and their two daughters Jacinda and Sadie), who recently refurbished the barn housing the winery for Sadie’s wedding).

    The Troon-managed Equinox golf course (below), originally developed in 1927 and revised by Rees Jones in 1991, provides 18 holes of golf in a spectacularly scenic setting, framed by the Green and Taconic Mountains (the norther ranges of the Appalachians). In fact, the view from the tee box of the 14th hole of the tall, white triangular steeple of the First Congregational Church of Manchester, alongside the golden dome of the Bennington County Courthouse (dating from 1822), with a backdrop of the deeply forested mountains, is one of the most photographed settings in the state and often found on postcards from the area.
    In addition, as might be expected, the 14th tee box has been the site of many wedding ceremonies, and,  according to Director of Golf Craig Luckey, it is “even a spot where people have strewn ashes of departed loved ones.”
    And then there’s the almost mesmerizing view back up the fairway of the majestic mountains from the 6th and 7th greens. As for the actual golfing experience, the course, with its hills and dales and elevated greens, offers more than an adequate challenge for golfers of all levels.
    And for before or after golf, there’s Dormy Grill adjacent to the pro shop, serving  typical breakfast fare as well as soups, salads and a choice of hot or cold sandwiches and a fried seafood basket, Buffalo wings, haddock tacos, and, of course, a New England Lobster Roll.


By John Mariani

108 West 74th Street (near Broadway)

    It goes without saying that many Middle Eastern countries share a food culture based on longstanding traditions that involve breads, beans, rice, lamb and myriad seasonings that show up as readily on a Persian or Syrian menu as a Lebanese or Israeli one. Yet, within the individual food cultures of the region there are as many distinctions as similarities, and Leyla, a new restaurant on the Upper West Side, offers an array of dishes you won’t easily find elsewhere in New York.
    Together with Executive Chef Met Kaba and General Manager Murat Akinci, partners Huseyin Ozer (who also runs nearby Bodrum, which is more Pan-Mediterranean) and Berna Erbilgin Gundogdu have taken the ground floor of a brownstone building and transformed it into a bar, a U-shaped dining area and an outdoor garden patio.  Turkish artifacts are arrayed throughout, from beautiful Ikat  wall textiles to rustic baskets and shelves of Middle Eastern cookbooks. Soft lighting brings out all the colors of these very comfortable dining areas and the tables have globe candle lights. Do ask for a table in or near the garden to avoid the noise up front.
    The menu is of sensible size, with much of the food coming forth from a ceramic oven that produces addictive pide flatbreads (below); best to choose the “3 Cheese Pide” with halloumi, kashar and mozzarella, drizzled with truffled honey ($11). The lahmacun is also terrific, topped with minced meat, sumac, onion, parsley and tomato ($11).
    The mezzes and salads include a wonderfully smoky eggplant “caviar” with charred onion, bell pepper and garlic on toasted sourdough bread ($12), and Leyla’s unusual version of a Greek salad with ezine cheese, pomegranate and lemon dressing  ($14), big enough for two people.  Muhammara ($8) was new to me—a puree of sweet red peppers and crushed walnuts, flecked with red pepper flakes and mixed with pomegranate molasses and ground cumin—a very savory dish that balances out heat, acid and sweetness together with a delightful texture.
    Non-mezze starters—and you could make a hearty meal from only the mezzes and starters—include braised beef tongue with housemade pickles ($14), a very juicy dish I could eat often, especially since it’s not easy to find in restaurants. Karides güveç ($17) is a platter of plump, tender shrimp that take on just enough sweetness from bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and shiitakes.
    If you go on to the main courses, you cannot fail to try the erişte, a hand-cut Turkish pasta riddled with small lamb cubes, sumac, cumin, and a rich brown  butter-yogurt sauce ($23). Our table of four fought over it to the last spoonful.  Equally as delicious was frekeeh risotto with an abundance of summer’s asparagus, mushrooms, string beans and zucchini ($21). Leyla would not be Turkish without a luscious lamb shank (below), cooked for hours and enriched with mushrooms and sided with orzo risotto ($27).  Branzino comes infused with raki and is cooked with caramelized onions, pickled za’atar and green olives ($25).
    There were four of us and four desserts, so we ordered all of them, from a böregi puff pastry layered with a rich vanilla custard ($10) and “pistachio mud heaven” ($13) to a sweet tahini flatbread ($9)—almost as good as a Nutella pizza—and kesem maraş ($8) made from mastic resin ice cream from Maraş, Turkey.
    The reasonably sized wine list, with many bottles under $60, is geared to the flavors of Leyla’s food, and contains some rare Turkish wines. I particularly liked a Kavaklidere Syrah 2012 ($50), from a winery that began in Ankara in 1929.
    Leyla, which, by the way, means “dark beauty,” has quickly won quite a local crowd, and it has the feeling of being a neighborhood restaurant. It’s certainly close enough to Lincoln Center and the Beacon Theater to make for an early dinner, and right now that leafy garden patio is an enchanting draw for some of the most exciting food of its kind in the city.

Leyla is open nightly for dinner and for brunch on Sunday.





I’m assuming most Americans’ Fourth of July parties will include a lot more hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken wings than filet of sole, so here are some very good bottlings that go well with that beloved trio and won’t cost much either.

Cameron Hughes Lot 639 2017 Arroyo Secco Rosé ($13)—As an aperitif this lovely award winning rosé is made from the Valdiguié grape planted in California’s Central Coast. In southwest France the varietal has gone by different names and more or less disappeared, while in California it used to be called Napa Gamay. It’s a brilliant rose color and comes in at an easy-to-drink 12.8% alcohol. 

Argyle Pinot Noir 2017 ($27)—It’s not easy finding a Pinot Noir of this quality under $30, and Argyle makes it entirely from its own estate grapes from the Lone Star, Knudsen and Spirit Hill Vineyards in Oregon’s Dundee Hills in the Willamette Valley. It has body but is not heavy or overly alcoholic (14%), meaning you’ll savor the fruit and peppery notes that will go so well with beef franks on the grill and buttered corn on the cob. 

Franciacorta Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine ($34)—Northern Italy makes the best DOCG sparkling wines in the country, tending towards drier examples like this well-priced blend of 88% chardonnay and 12% Pinot Nero, which gives it more complexity than a blanc de blanc. It’s a good wine to toast just about anything festive and would be excellent with fried shrimp or other shellfish. 

Fall Creek Vineyards Terroir Reflection Series 2017 ($35)—This Texas Hill Country Tempranillo, at 14% alcohol, is tailor-made for burgers over charcoal and spicy chicken wings. The winery’s notes insist it is a “fruit bomb ... with new saddle leather,” but it’s a more subtle wine than that and sells for a very reasonable price. 

Marco Felluga Russiz Superiore Collio Cabernet Franc ($25)—Made from 100% Cabernet Franc grapes in Friuli and aged for 12 months in small oak barrels, this has more complexity than you might expect from a varietal better known as part of a Bordeaux Blend. It is a silky wine, with a fine 13.5% alcohol, and would go as well with steaks or sausages as with tortillas and hot sauce. 

Symington Family Estates Quinta Do Ataíde 2015 ($23) —The export of better and better Portuguese wines from the Douro region, made with the Touriga Naçional grape, is now in full swing, and this wine simply cries out to be drunk with an array of foods, from octopus on the grill to skirt steak and short ribs. It’s got good heft at 14.5% alcohol and can stand up to any topping you’d put on a burger. 

Erse Etna Rosso 2016 ($25)—Sicilian wines have come very far in the last decade, as proven by this splendid, solidly knit, volcanic red wine from Etna, made from 90% Nerello Mascalese, 8% Nerello Cappuccio and 2% Minella-Carricante. In this region red and white wines were often blended together, so while you find a lot of Sicilian sunshine in the bottle, its harshness is tamed down. Very good with franks and beans that have some sweetness to them.



FOOD WRITING 101:  Avoid Asinine Alliteration and

Conspicuously Creaking Consonants at All Costs.

"Sometimes, despite dire dictums to the contrary, more is decidedly more. Spare us the long, lea, lonely lines of Prairie architecture, the basic slabs of Brutalism and the tiny cluster of heritage microgreens perched on a platter that could easily hold a large pepperoni pizza. Bring on the gilded excesses of Versailles, the overwrought Chinoiserie of Brighton Pavilion, the piled-high plates of Aunt Pat’s Thanksgiving…and the eclectic exuberance of Wild Mango in Legacy Village.-- Beth Segal and David Petkiewicz, "Wild Mango: Lush and luxurious culinary adventures in Lyndhurst," (June 07, 2019).



Among the "21 Things You Should Never Eat on an Airplane" by Holly van Dare of Daily Meal, these are among the no-no's:
  Sparkling water
∙ Tap water
∙ Sushi



Wine Column Sponsored by Banfi Vintners


   Wine is a joy year-round but in cooler weather one grape varietal has really taken center stage in my daily activities – that most Italian of grapes, Sangiovese, and its ultimate expression – Brunello di Montalcino.
    From mid-September through mid-October, the Sangiovese grown for our various styles of red wines are be harvested, culminating with the top selection for Brunello di Montalcino.
    Second, cooler weather here means it is time to start enjoying more red wines and especially Sangiovese based wines.  That includes Banfi’s cru of Brunello, Poggio alle Mura, literally the cream of the crop of our Sangiovese vineyards. Alongside our Poggio alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino, this year we introduced two more wines from the cru Poggio alle Mura – a Rosso di Montalcino and a Riserva of Brunello.  Rosso is sort of like the younger brother of Brunello, also made from 100% Sangiovese grapes but usually a selection from younger vines and the wine is aged only two years compared to the four required for Brunello.  The Riserva, on the other hand, is an even more selective harvest of Sangiovese, and ages for an additional year before release.
    What is so special about this cru Poggio alle Mura?  Well, it is the result our over 30 years of ongoing research at my family’s vineyard estate, Castello Banfi.  When we first began planting our vines there in the late 1970s studies from the University of Bordeaux indicated which strains of many varietals we should plant, based on the soil type and microclimate of each vineyard.  But when it came to the region’s native Sangiovese, there was only local lore, no scientific research.  So we took it upon ourselves to figure out this vine, and set off on three decades of incredibly detailed research.
    We started with 600 apparent variations on Sangiovese, because it is so susceptible to variations in weather and soil, and narrowed that down to 160 truly genetically different clones.  We planted a vineyard with two rows of each type, made wine from each of them, and charted the differences – remember, you only get one chance a year to make wine, so this took time.
    It took about ten years to get some concrete results, though we continue to experiment today and always will – you never stop learning in science and nature!  Once we determined which were the best, complementary clones that could be planted together to make the best Brunello, we chose to plant them in what we determined to be the optimal vineyard sites.  Coincidentally, the best soils and climate conditions are in the slopes surrounding the medieval fortress today known as Castello Banfi, known since Etruscan times as Poggio alle Mura – the walled hilltop.  Hence the name of our most special “cru” of Brunello, representing a synthesis between tradition and innovation.
    Though the focus of this study was our Brunello, all of our Sangiovese-based wines, including the super Tuscans SummuS, Cum Laude, and Centine, benefitted from this work.  And that’s the third reason for celebrating Sangiovese this month, for the range of wonderful reds that usher us into autumn!  One wine in particular was inspired by our research – the BelnerO, a Sangiovese dominant blend with what I like to call a kiss of Cabernet and a whisper of Merlot.  We grow the grapes a little differently for BelnerO than for Brunello, make the wine with less oak aging and released it earlier from the winery, providing a counterpoint to Brunello and a lovely terroir-driven wine in its own right.
     If you know Italians, you know that by nature we are multi-faceted, varying in mood, and always passionate.  As a nation, we span from the hot sunny beaches of Sicily near the African coast to the rugged mountains and Alpine ski slopes of Trentino-Alto Adige in the north.  Sangiovese is grown in almost all of Italy’s regions and reflects the unique nature of each; it is most famous (rightfully so) in Tuscany, yet even there it reflects the nuances of each hilltop, valley and subzone.  It has something a little different to say in Brunello than Chianti, Morellino than Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montalcino than Super Tuscan blends.
    Here is a smattering of Sangiovese-based wines that you may wish to get to know better, reflecting a spectrum that appeals to every occasion, every taste, and every budget.  We can assure you that the conversation will never become boring.

Recommendations for Celebrating Sangiovese 

BelnerO Proprietor’s Reserve Sangiovese – A refined cuvée of noble red grapes perfected by our pioneering clonal research. This dark beauty, BelnerO, is produced at our innovative winery, chosen 11 consecutive years as Italy’s Premier Vineyard Estate. Fermented in our patented temperature controlled French oak and aged approximately 2 additional years. Unfiltered, and Nitrogen bottled to minimize sulfites. 


Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino – Rich, round, velvety and intensely aromatic, with flavor hints of licorice, cherry, and spices. Brunello di Montalcino possesses an intense ruby-red color, and a depth, complexity and opulence that is softened by an elegant, lingering aftertaste. Unfiltered after 1998 vintage. 

Castello Banfi Rosso di Montalcino – Brunello's "younger brother," produced from select Sangiovese grapes and aged in barrique for 10 to 12 months. Deep ruby-red, elegant, vibrant, well-balanced and stylish with a dry velvety finish. 

Poggio all’Oro Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – A single vineyard selection of our most historically outstanding Sangiovese, aged five years before release, the additional year more than that required of Brunello including 6 months in barrel and 6 months more in bottle to grant its “Riserva” designation.  Incredible elegance and harmony. Intense with lots of fruit and subtle wood influence. Round, complete, well balanced with hints of chocolate and berries. Unfiltered after 1998.

Poggio alle Mura – The first tangible result of years of intensive clonal research on Montalcino’s native Sangiovese grape.  Estate bottled from the splendidly sun drenched vineyards surrounding the medieval Castello from which it takes its name.  The Brunello di Montalcino is seductive, silky and smoky.  Deep ruby in color with an expressive bouquet of violets, fruits and berries as well as cigar box, cedar and exotic spices. The Rosso di Montalcino is also intense ruby red.  The bouquet is fresh and fruity with typical varietal notes of cherry and blackberry, enriched by more complex hints of licorice, tobacco and hazelnut.  It is full bodied, yet with a soft structure, and a surprisingly long finish. The Poggio alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is deep ruby red with garnet reflections and a rich, ample bouquet that hints of prune jam, coffee, cacao and a light balsamic note.  It is full and powerful, with ripe and gentle tannins that make it velvety and harmonious; this wine is supported by a pleasing minerality that to me speaks soundly of that special hillside in southern Montalcino.

SummuS – A wine of towering elegance, SummuS is an extraordinary blend of Sangiovese which contributes body; Cabernet Sauvignon for fruit and structure; and Syrah for elegance, character and a fruity bouquet.  An elegant, complex and harmonious red wine. 

Cum Laude – A complex and elegant red which graduated “With Honors,” characterized by aromas of juicy berries and fresh spices.

Centine – A Cuvee that is more than half Sangiovese, the balanced consisting of equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  Vinified in a firm, round style that easily accompanies a wide range of dishes, this is a smooth and fragrantly satisfying wine with international character, and a perennial favorite at my own dinner table. 

Banfi Chianti Superiore – The “Superiore” designation signifies stricter government regulations regarding production and aging requirements, as compared to regular Chianti.  An intense ruby red wine with fruit forward aromas and floral notes.  This is a round wine with well-balanced acidity and fruit.

Banfi Chianti Classico – An enduring classic: alluring bouquet of black fruit and violets; rich flavors of cherry and leather; supple tannins and good acidity for dining. 

Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva – Produced from select grapes grown in the "Classico" region of Chianti, this dry, fruity and well-balanced red has a full bouquet reminiscent of violets.

Fonte alla Selva Chianti Classico – This is our newest entry into the Chianti arena, coming from a 99 acre estate in Castellina, the heart of the Chianti Classico region.  The wine is a captivating mauve red that smells of cherry, plum and blackberry with hints of spice.  It is round, full and balanced with very good acidity.  

Col di Sasso – Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Luscious, complex and soft with persistent notes of fruit and great Italian style structure.


 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.


MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly.  Publisher: John Mariani. Editor: Walter Bagley. Contributing Writers: Christopher Mariani, Robert Mariani,  Misha Mariani, John A. Curtas, Gerry Dawes, Geoff Kalish, and Brian Freedman. Contributing Photographer: Galina Dargery. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.


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