Virtual Gourmet

  JULY 14,   2019                                                                                            NEWSLETTER

Founded in 1996 



By John Mariani


By John Mariani


By John Mariani


By John Mariani


    In a country with an inordinate number of beautiful cities and towns, Lucerne stands out even in Switzerland.  Most of its allure is the sheer location of the city within sight of the Alps and on the banks of the crystal blue Lake Lucerne, which appears to have been pushed into the cityscape by a water god’s huge index finger.  The silver-white clouds seem meticulously painted in each morning, then smeared into fiery orange and deep violet at twilight.
    As the central Switzerland capital of the German canton of Lucerne, it is a small city, with only about 82,000 people, compared with Lausanne’s 140,000 and Zurich’s 1.5 million residents. For that reason, and because the local government rigorously maintains the historic appearance of a city whose buildings are painted in a form of whimsical graffiti, Lucerne appears largely immutable, not least the famous 14th century wooden covered Chapel Bridge that spans the River Reuss. Sadly damaged by a fire in 1993, much of it had to be replaced and replicated, but you can still see the 17th century painted scenes in the supporting woodwork, which I trust are now well protected from the ravages of time.
    The Chapel Bridge (left) is Lucerne’s most endearing landmark—with two others downriver, the Spreuer Bridge and the Mill Bridge—along with an adjacent watch tower, but there is hardly a street or plaza that appears when you curve past a church that does not hold considerable architectural and artistic interest.
    The city has been Catholic for centuries, so in addition to the usual excess of small churches, including the sober-sided Jesuit St. Paul's (right), whose interior is gussied up as of the 17th century with an effusive baroque interior you would never find in a Protestant church.
    One of the city’s beloved landmarks is the “Lion of Lucerne” monument by Bertel Thorvaldsen, in memory of the Swiss guards slain while defending the Tuileries in Paris in 1792. There is a museum devoted to Richard Wagner, who lived in Lucerne for six years, which includes the Erard grand piano on which Wagner completed “The Mastersingers of Nuremberg” and other works.
    The History Museum is devoted to the artifacts of the cultural-historical and folkloristic past of the canton, while the
Glacier Garden takes you all the way back to the last Ice Age 20,000 years ago and beyond to a time 20 million years ago when the area sprouted palm trees as a subtropical ocean region.
    The website for the Museum of Art Lucerne (left) poses the question, “Do  the names Hodler or Vallotton mean anything to you? These gentlemen are two of Switzerland’s best-known artists [and] they and their artist compatriots are the focus of the collection of the Museum of Art Lucerne.” So be it, but the very modern museum has a great deal more to offer to those open to learning about Swiss art from the Renaissance to the present day.

    Usually the idea of visiting a Museum of Transport (below) sends me in the other direction, but I found myself astounded by the richness of a collection sprawled over acres and several floors, with many interactive features, that gives an in-depth history of everything from the earliest river boats and massive steam locomotives to horse drawn carriages and a fantastic array of automobiles that includes dozens of the finest Italian sports cars. Inside there are flight simulators, exhibits of space exploration and aviation movies, and outside a  number of historic airplanes. There is also Switzerland’s largest cinema screen showing 3-D documentaries on the achievements by man in the field of transportation that have taken us to the moon and back. It is not a museum to be missed.
    As everywhere in Switzerland, the arts count heavily in a civilized society, and Lucerne holds arts festivals throughout the year, including summer’s Lucerne Festival for classical music whose musicians are chosen from around the world to join the city’s Festival Orchestra. In June the “B-Sides” pop music festival takes place, showcasing alternative music and indie rock; the following month brings in The Lucerne Blues Festival.
    The best way to get around and to visit these attractions is with The Visitor Card, which gives you free use of buses and trains within the city,  as well as a range of discounts for cableways, mountain railways, museums and excursions in the Lake Lucerne Region.

    As remarkable and varied as these cultural attractions are, however, if you removed them all from Lucerne, you’d still have a city whose principal appeal will be along the waterfront promenade and throughout the streets and plazas in the old part of town. You can take a one-hour yacht cruise (left) on Lake Lucerne (there’s an audio guide in 11 languages) and a boat across the lake and a tram up to the magnificent Bürgenstock Resort (which I shall be writing about soon).
    Zigzagging across the Reuss River on Lucerne’s three bridges brings you to different neighborhoods, each with its own compact charms. Streets might be broad or narrow, but their connecting passageways and few grids always make the next turn a surprise. You may find a block of buildings with their facades gaily painted, including the Old Town Hall overlooking the Kornmarkt, built early in the 17th century.  To the left there is a building called the Am Ryhn House in which the Rosengart Collection shows its Picasso holdings. Nearby is Stag Square, where Goethe stayed and wrote at the Goldener Adler hotel, though now very modern and without a trace of 19th century décor. There is a Wine Market with very pretty buildings, and outdoor food markets are held with weekly regularity.
    Everyone walks in Lucerne—I never saw a taxi or Uber car—and that makes it a marvelously quiet city, day and night. You have to listen carefully to hear the babble of the water break on the Reuss that quickens the flow from the widest part of the river. It’s the kind of gentle, calming rippling well worth remembering long after you’ve left Lucerne, when you find it hard to fall asleep.


By John Mariani


The Evelyn Hotel
7 East 27th Street (near Madison Avenue)

Photos: Evan Sung

Coddled egg with truffled mousseline

        At a time when the New York food media go giddy over ramen shops, tacquerias and pizzerias, there are certain high-end restaurant openings that cannot be ignored, especially if the chef has the name recognition of Jonathan Benno, first as chef de cuisine at Thomas Keller’s Per Se, then as executive chef at Lincoln Ristorante at Lincoln Center. At both places, refinement was the order of the day, along with an attention to precision, color and invention without pretension. So his appearance at a restaurant in The Evelyn Hotel with his name on the door made it requisite for the New York media to pay court. He won three stars from the Times.
    At the hotel Benno runs three places—a casual trattoria named Leonelli Taberna, a bakery named Leonelli Focacceria & Pasticcieria, and his fine dining spot and bar, Benno. It’s a big operation within small spaces, the last up a few steps and through a separate doorway. The greeting by Manager Andrea Verardo will be affably cordial, as is the staff. The chef de cuisine is Justin Skribner.
    At Lincoln Ristorante Benno’s menu was dedicated to modern Italian cuisine, but here he is drawing on classic and modern Mediterranean and French concepts as well, all based on the finest ingredients he can obtain, whether from Montauk or  Monterey Bay. There are five sections to the menu— Vegetables & Grains, Seafood & Meat, Pastas, Mains and Desserts—available at three- ($105), four- ($135) or five-course ($155) options, with added wine pairings available. You may choose from any of the categories in whatever order you wish.
    Dinner begins with filaments of grissini breadsticks while you peruse wine director Aaron Rock’s 20-page wine list, rich in Nebbiolos, Brunellos and Bordeaux, with 20 labels from the 2005 vintage. Rock is as knowledgeable as he is passionate and will guide you to the right wine in your price range.
    Among the starters, a coddled egg sounds a little dull until you taste Benno’s with buttery fingerling potatoes, young leeks, porcini mushrooms and a lush black truffle mousseline. So, too, the addition of mustard seed and marigold adds to the flavor and texture of a fluke crudo, whereas the yellowfin tuna is of such superb quality that the accompanying cucumbers and radish register only subtly. A salad of roasted beets is really an amalgam of sunchokes, amaranth, radishes, pomegranate, garnet yam and vadouvan yogurt.
    The pastas could be the star items on the menu, from a risotto with celery root, red walnut, black truffle and castelrosso cheese, and cansoncelli ravioli from Veneto with roasted artichokes, black truffle, brown butter and pecorino romano, to garganelli verdi with a rich veal and porcini ragù and a spaghetti of the roasted grain called gran arso tossed with clams, sea urchin and scallion.  A large raviolo comes with vegetables, ricotta and brown butter, while Sardinian malloreddus is in a hefty sauce of braised lamb, tomatoes, capers and oregano. Agnolotti del plin, a kind of Piedmontese ravioli, is stuffed with duck foie gras and juniper for its aromatic character.

    But there’s every bit as much flair and innovation in the main courses, starting with yellowfin tuna with fingerlings, a confit of tomatoes, picholine olives and a pistou, along with lobster with peas, carrots, chanterelles and mustard sauce.  Skate, too rarely seen on menus, shows its mettle with sliced almonds, butter and a lovely, light peeky toe crab mousse and acorn squash. Another neglected species, sea trout, is poached carefully in olive oil to become lustrous, with Moroccan olives, butter endive, sweet currants, pink-fleshed cara cara orange and grapeseed-based arak liquor—not just an imaginative dish but the makings of a classic to come.
    Pig’s trotter is made into a garlicky sausage, served with beans and quail eggs, and Benno uses a Long Island Pekin duck to combine with foie gras, a complex mix of North African seasonings called ras el hanout, turnips and a pistachio-date brik pastry, perhaps the heartiest item on a menu that ranges far and wide around the Mediterranean.
    Desserts by Lindsey Bittner are deceptively simple, though never simplistic, like apple sorbet with dates, pears with goat’s cheese and saffron, almonds and pear brandy sorbet. There is also a selection of cheeses available.
    This splendid cuisine and wine deserve an equally refined dining room, but sadly it is done all in browns and beige, with off-white rough brick walls, blue and maroon chairs and banquettes, the tables uncovered, the lighting flat, the tiled floor without visual interest. Tablecloths and a few gallons of paint might help to brighten the place, but for now, the décor does not match Benno’s cuisine.
    Still, by diverting slightly from the Italian food he prepared at Lincoln Ristorante and the overly detailed food at Per Se, Benno has come wholly into his own and sets a standard for New York chefs everyone else should try hard to meet.


Benno is open for dinner, Tues-Sat. 



By John Mariani

    All those who love Italian wine, style and culture have lost one of the most influential advocates. Dr. Lucio Caputo, founder and president of the Italian Wine & Food Institute, a non-profit organization established in 1983 to promote and improve the image of Italian wine and food in the United States, passed away last week at the age of 84, after  succumbing at last to cancer, having survived it twice before.
    Caputo was the epitome of the tall, handsome, impeccably dressed Italian gentleman, with a sly wit that belied his serious professional demeanor. As a promoter of Italian wine, fashion and textiles, no one did more for those industries in so short a time.
    Born in Monreale, Sicily,  Caputo received a doctorate in law, a degree in journalism and a doctorate in political science from the University of Palermo. He served as a correspondent then editor of the Giornale di Sicilia, one of Italy’s major daily newspapers, completed courses in public relations and was admitted to the bar and began a legal career with a major law firm.
    After completing his tour of service as a lieutenant in the Italian Air Force, Caputo joined Italy’s Foreign Trade Institute in Rome, and in 1964  was appointed deputy director of the Institute’s London office, traveling extensively throughout Europe, Africa and Asia, where he was able to defuse a dangerous trade war between Italy and the People’s Republic of China.
    Appointed Italian Trade Commissioner in New York in October 1967, he opened the new office in the World Trade Center, then in 1981 moved it uptown to Park Avenue, where it became the largest trade center of any foreign country in the United States, with a stunning enoteca wine library designed by the architect Piero Sartoro —complete with a Giorgio di Chirico painting, “Le Muse Inquietanti” (below)— that served as an invaluable resource for Italian winemakers and exporters for showing their products to an American wine media that at the time had little knowledge beyond the few imports of Chianti, Valpolicella and Soave then dominating the market.
        At the same time Caputo also promoted Italian fashion and textiles, but wine was his passion, and by inviting wine journalists to Italy on press trips he exposed them to the enormous variety of his country’s wines when Italian viticulture had taken leaps in quality and consistency, championed by a new generation of vintners who included Angelo Gaja of Piedmont, Marchesi Piero Antinori of Tuscany and Mastroberardino of Campania.
    Owing to his efforts, Italian wines came to dominate  the U.S. market for imported wine, bringing it from the insignificant presence of about 360,000  hectoliters for a value of about $37 million in 1974 to the dominant position of 2.5 million hectoliters for a value of $244 million in 1983.
    In 1982 Caputo left his government position and moved to the private sector as president of Ital Trade USA corporation.  The next year he founded the Italian Wine & Food Institute, a non-profit organization for the enhancement of the image and prestige of Italian wines, gastronomy and food products in the U.S., and in 1985 started the “Gala Italia,” a star-studded, headline-winning event that brought together some of the most illustrious names in Italian wine, food, fashion and entertainment. It has been held annually ever since.
    In 1984 Caputo left the Ital Trade USA corporation to become president of the International Trade Center, specializing in international promotional activities and public relations and in consulting services to large corporations based in New York and operating worldwide. He also became the U.S. representative of the “Ente Autonomo Fiere di Verona,” promoting the Fair’s wine, marble and furniture trade exhibitions to the U.S. and Canada and bringing American delegations to Verona to participate in these exhibitions.
    For years, he organized Italian promotional campaigns in department stores throughout the world, including Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, The KaDeWe Group and Harvey Nichols.
    On the morning of 9/11, Caputo was inside his office on the 78th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center when the first plane hit the building, escaping with his life but losing his office and all of his working records. He immediately relocated to Midtown Manhattan and was up and running soon afterwards.
    In recognition of his outstanding work in favor of Italy, the president of the Italian Republic awarded Caputo the title “Cavaliere Ufficiale” in 1972,  “Commendatore” in 1981, “Grande Ufficiale” in 1996 and “Cavaliere di Gran Croce”—the highest decoration in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.
    He was a tough negotiator and could afford to be one. Whenever Italy balked at increasing his budgets at the New York Trade Commission, Caputo would shrug and say he’d quit.  Given the extraordinary success Caputo had in promoting Italian products, the bureaucrats couldn’t say no. He was worth every penny they paid for his services.
    Yet such sterling achievements and such professional honors do little to assess Caputo’s personality, one I came to know more than 40 years ago when he invited me on one of those press tours of Italian vineyards. We quickly became fast friends, and, while his English curiously never improved much over those decades, he became the most American of Italians, once telling me he had no desire to work again in Italy because of the dreary inefficiency of its bureaucracy.
    His sense of humor among friends and colleagues was every bit as effective as his lawyerly skills in persuading you to agree with his side of a dispute, and his refinement—he always kissed a woman’s hand upon greeting her—and gentility were as genuine as his intellect.
    I remember him once, back in the early 1980s, inviting a group of Sicilian winemakers to New York to meet American wine media for a tasting. Shockingly, most of the wines were oxidized, but afterwards the Sicilians complained that they had always made their wines that way and that the Americans simply could not appreciate them. Upon hearing such ignorant boasting, Caputo—in Sicilian dialect—told them, “Go out and buy a good bottle of Bordeaux or Burgundy and taste what wine is supposed to be. If you ever want to sell your wines in America, you have to change your attitude immediately.”
    That was pure Caputo: direct, informative and insistent that his highly conservative compatriots get the point as quickly as possible. What happened within the next decade, of course, is that Sicilian winemakers took his advice and today produce high quality wines all over the island.
    There is an old Sicilian proverb that goes, “Cu nesci arrinesci”—who leaves succeeds—which for me sums up the character of Lucio Caputo, who left behind what was safe and secure to tell the world how wonderful it was.



By John Mariani

Richard Vernon and Sean Connery in "Goldfinger" (1964)

    The newly appointed editor-in-chief of Esquire magazine, Michael Sebastian, recently told the press that he wants to get away from the idea that the magazine’s reader is “a middle-age white guy who likes brown liquor and brown leather.”  Which should send chills down the ad department’s spine working on those Scotch and bourbon accounts!
    True, Millennials may drink more vodka—which the U.S. Standards of Identity defines as “neutral spirits so distilled, or so treated after distillation with charcoal or other materials, as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color”—but overall, whiskey is second and rum third (though white rums dominate that category) in total volume and sales. (I have no figures for the sales of brown leather.)
    Brown spirits are doing very well indeed. According to The Distilled Spirits Council,  2018 marked the ninth straight year of record spirits sales and volumes, at $27.5 billion, up 5 million cases from the prior year, with higher priced “premium” and “ultra-premium” spirits growing faster than the overall industry. According to the council’s chief economist, David Ozgo, the key drivers were American whiskey, up 6.6 percent;  tequila, up 10.2 percent; Cognac, up 14.2 percent; Irish whiskey, up 12.0 percent; and single malt Scotch, up 9.4 percent.
    Which leaves me to consider some current releases in the brown spirits category. Spirits companies are constantly coming out with new products to engage both the confirmed drinkers and to attract newcomers. Sometimes this means little more than the same old booze in a brand new bottle, or the alleged discovery of some very old demi-johns sitting up in a warehouse attic—of which there seems to be a near-endless supply if there’s a market for it.
    Here are some of the more interesting whiskies and other brown spirits I’m enjoying this summer and will well into fall.

CAMUS VSOP COGNAC ($49.99)—Five generations of the Camus family, dating to 1863, have locked in the brand’s reputation. The current scion, Cyril Camus, has broadened his brand through Chinese distribution. Located in the Borderies cru area,  which comprises only five percent of the region’s AOCs, Camus uses eaux-de-vie from that region as well as from the other five Cognac crus. The VSOP has even more individuality and character, particularly in its aromatic and fruit notes.

MICHTER’S 10 YEAR SINGLE BARREL STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY ($160)—For several years now Michter’s has been a pioneer in experimenting with new styles of bourbon and rye, and this one just came on the market this month. They even have a “Master of Maturation” (Andrea Wilson) who gives the final sign-off on Master Distillers Pam Heilmann and Willie Pratt’s production. There is some corn and malted barley in with the rye to add complexity, and that decade in barrel has given it layers of nutty, faintly sweet flavors that make it an  end-of-the-evening pleasure. Like most of Michter’s labels, this is a limited edition and will not be re-issued this year.

ADMIRAL RODNEY HMS PRINCESSA RUM ($50)—In more ways than one, this is quite a mouthful, a blend of rums aged between five and nine years in former bourbon and Port casks. It is named after Admiral George B. Rodney, who broke the French line at the Battle of the Saints off Jamaica in 1782, giving England control of the Caribbean sea lanes. Though not his ship, the HMS Princessa was crucial to the success of the attack. It’s a rum from St. Lucia, which is itself something of a rarity—the island only has three distilleries —and it has a rich mahogany color and sweet underpinnings. The blend is a little younger than the label’s two other rums and therefore a bit lighter on the palate.

D. GEORGE BENHAM BARREL FINISHED GIN ($44)—I know: Gin is usually a clear, colorless spirit, not brown. But this remarkable gin is actually a lovely gold color, not unlike what the original gins from the Netherlands looked like. The English lightened gin up, and since then the spirit is almost never aged. So Benham, out of California’s Sonoma County, comes as a happy surprise, for it really does have much more flavor than the usual gin, aging at least three months in 5-year-old Zinfandel wine barrels.  As someone who is not much of a gin or martini drinker, this is one I could happily sip or mix with quinine and thoroughly enjoy all summer long.

WARRE’S OTIMA 10 YEAR OLD TAWNY PORT ($23)—I am also well aware that Port is not a brown spirit, though its deep reddish-brown color counts for something, and it’s a wine to be savored on its own, although it’s the ideal complement to cheese. As a tawny, it needs no decanting, and its decade of aging has really rounded out its considerable pleasures of big fruit, modest tannins, light caramel and warmth of character. Warre’s was the first British Port established in Portugal, and their products are known for their freshness. And what a great price for such a marvelous Port!




Following a fight with her boyfriend, Serina Wolfe of Buffalo, NY, used her boyfriend's credit card to get revenge after they'd had a fight by tipping a waitress in Clearwater Beach, FL, $5,000 on a $60 check. Wolfe was charged by police with grand theft.


"Alluringly sweet with currants, allspice and cinnamon. . ."
"The lamb’s job is to be obligingly tender. . . "

"The meat has been seasoned just forcefully enough. . . " 

"The butternut squash that has been languorously baked in its own juices with nothing but sugar. . . "
Pete Welles, "At Lokanta, Sheep’s Head Soup and Other Turkish Delights," NYTimes (7/3/19)




 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." 

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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