Virtual Gourmet

  July 16, 2023                                                                                            NEWSLETTER

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Part Two

By John Mariani


By John Mariani

By John Mariani



Part Two

By John Mariani

    From low to high on the hog, Louisville has more food options than ever.



2622 Frankfort Avenue


Open for lunch and dinner Tues.-Sat.


        Red Hog sounds like a BBQ joint, but it’s more of a fabulous sandwich shop whose meats are from its on-premises butcher run by Kit Garrett of Blue Dog Bakery & Café. They also make all their own breads, soups and stocks, and it shows in dishes that sound humble but rise to excellence out of an open kitchen with wood-burning oven and grill.      
You could make a meal of the charcuterie ($22 for a selection), but when I saw “Grilled Cheese Sandwich” ($11) with aged cheddar, provolone, chipotle mayo and caramelized onion, I went for it and sank like a six year-old child with pleasure. So, too, the Cuban sandwich with green chili ($16) is a winning combo, and the larger the appetite the more you’ll like the Fat Tony ($16), mounted with mortadella, salami cotto, city ham, provolone, mayo, hot pepper tapenade, lettuce and onion.
         At happy hour, drinks are five bucks, and you can nibble on  the excellent pimento cheese and jelly ($8) or house fries ($9). Running a bakery pays off in providing superior warm chocolate bouchon with banana jam and peanut butter mousse ($12) and cheesecake with blueberries and rhubarb sauce ($12), ending off with French press coffee.
        You can eat inside or take it to the patio, where the Frankfort Avenue neighborhood gathers most nights. 




1327 Bardstown Road


Open Tues.-Sun. for dinner


         After leaving Sorrento, Italy, and working in London and Swiss kitchens, Rocco Cadolini emigrated to New York, where he managed Elios restaurant for ten years, before opening his own ROC in Tribeca and a pizzeria in Brooklyn. Now, relocated to Louisville, he has set the bar for Italian cuisine in a city whose offerings in that genre have been largely traditional.
         Located in what had been Emma Lou’s Café, ROC is now fronted with a charming pergola and outdoor dining area. The dining room is not large, and it’s packed every night, with a popular bar crammed with  Kentucky bourbon bottles to the side. This means ROC can get very loud inside, so, if it’s good weather, try to snag a table outside. And make reservations in advance.
         Cadolini and his wife Staci seem to know everybody, and everyone listens to what he’s enthusiastic about among that evening’s offerings. That may be grilled octopus with potatoes, celery and a spicy marinara ($21); truffle speckled French fries ($ 12 ); or chicken parmigiana sliders ($20). 
The pastas are requisite to order, not least the luscious gnocchi (left) alla sorrentina ($19), the cavatelli with broccoli di rabe and sausage ($19), and the unusual pappardelle with shrimps and a pistachio sauce ($21). My favorite main course was the breast of chicken with funghi porcini and mashed potatoes ($22).
         Among the desserts ($12) there is an excellent tiramisù and a panna cotta.
         ROC’s wine list is one of best in the city, with 500 labels and about 2,000 bottles, including some rarities among the Italian selections. I should add that ROC’s prices are somewhat lower than you might expect at a time when other restaurants are charging $30 for pasta dishes.




325 West Main Street


Open nightly


         Because Jeff Ruby’s is a small chain of upscale steakhouses, the first opening in 1981, I would not ordinarily include it in a round-up of Louisville’s restaurants, but it is the big deal, big splurge place in town with a kind of brazen old-style Las Vegas décor (which is, I’m told, being altered somewhat).
         The Louisville branch opened in 2006, and there’s no questioning the commitment to first-rate ingredients spread over a broad menu that offers everything from sushi—with more than 15 variations—to 14 cuts of steak, including Japanese, American and Australian wagyu.
        The lavish presentations start off with colossal tiger shrimp cocktail ($24) and wagyu meatballs ($18). For entrees, chef Zac Young does a fine blackened miso cod with red pepper romesco and charred broccolini ($47) and a massive pork porterhouse with polenta cakes and heady black pepper jus ($33). Share one of the huge desserts, like a moist three-layer carrot cake with warm caramel cream cheese icing ($15) or the or the warm ricotta donuts ($14).
         The wine list has won justified awards for its breadth and depth.
         Up front there’s loud live music that makes the decibel level in the main dining room even higher, so try to get a table out of the way.
         Big as Jeff Ruby’s is, and as crowded as it can be, both the kitchen and the service staff have timing down to the minute, so you won’t be waiting long before you start eating heartily.







1200 Harbor Boulevard Weehawken, NJ


By John Mariani




        There are reasons why Blu on the Hudson should not be as excellent a restaurant as it is. For one thing, it’s in Weehawken, New Jersey, set within a massive complex of mundane new buildings through whose parking lot and dark walkways it is easy to get lost.  Next, the restaurant is vast—30,000 square feet—with 350 seats (and 500 to be added upstairs for banqueting). Last, but not least, the menu seems way too eclectic for the kitchen to handle.
        There’s no question that Blu has its atmospheric and panoramic appeal: It’s right across from the Manhattan skyline with fine views of the midtown skyscrapers, and the interior is a well-sectioned series of spaces that include a huge white marble bar, a beautifully decorated separate sushi restaurant (left) and a very comfortable lounge area with fireplace, and modulated lighting throughout, as created by Blu Hospitality Group led by Kosta Gianopoulos and designer Peggy Leung.
So, once you get into Blu, you’ll be impressed by what you see after being cordially received by the hostess station and general manager Tom Blume.
        My guests and I were at Blu on a midweek night, so it’s impossible for me to tell if the kitchen can keep up with weekend crowds that can number 600 and up. The noise level was pleasantly civilized, though some booming bass lines in the background suggested they’d be turned up high at the bar.
        But the proof of any restaurant must still be in the pudding, and somehow, Executive Chef Juan Carlos “JC” Ortega (formerly at Manhattan’s Blue Fin and Blue Water Grill) manages to turn out not only an ambitious menu that runs the gamut from raw bar and sushi bar (in collaboration with K Dong, who owns Hinoki Greenwich) to pasta and steaks to desserts. There‘s even a caviar program. But Ortega’s crew manages to turn out superb renderings of most dishes thereon.
        What I most admired was the attention to detail and the finesse in dishes like nori tacos containing various fish tucked within paper-thin seaweed sheets ($12-$20), or the Lincoln Harbor roll ($25) of bluefin, spicy King crab, avocado and wasabi-yuzu in which all the flavors and textures coalesced so well.
        Among the hot appetizers the well-spiced Basque-style shrimp in a creamy pil pil garlic and chili sauce with a toasted baguette ($23), and the grilled octopus with lemon potatoes, kalamata olives and olive emulsion ($25), exemplify Ortega’s careful seasoning that sparks almost all his dishes.
        The pastas are made in house, and I’ve not had better potato gnocchi with a spicy vodka and tomato sauce with ricotta ($27) in ages, while gemelli macaroni comes with a hefty, chunky braised veal shank sauce and aromatic basil ($29). These are well worth sharing for two people as a first course.
        The beef at Blu is largely USDA Prime, along with some wagyu, and has plenty of richness from the fat in the meat, including the 16-ounce bone-in strip impeccably charred and cooked to a perfect rose-red inside ($55).
        I’ve grown tired of seeing branzino on every menu everywhere, but the way Ortega treats the fillet ($37) to retain juiciness and the addition of artichokes, tomato, mussels and a brisk lemon sauce distinguishes this from so many others. Veal parmigiana, which now seems to be trending on a lot of menus, is about par for the course, but was too heavily herbed,  with the mozzarella only barely starting to melt ($44).
        Lavish desserts ($14) created by pastry chefs Erika Martinez and Sue Mun may lack imagination but are classic renderings of people’s favorites crafted with flair, including a fine tiramisù; flourless chocolate s’mores; and a delightful carrot cake with candied pecans and butterscotch sauce. Every one was delicious.
         Oddly enough, with all this largess, Blu does not serve bread and butter at the start of a meal. I asked for some, and was glad I did, because the bread was very good, served with two butters.
         As you’d expect from a place with a huge bar business, there are all sorts of new wave cocktails created by beverage director Jeremy Le Blanche, and sommelier Adam Greer has put together an exceptionally inclusive wine list with an amazing number of good bottles under $70.
         Now that I know how to get to Blu on the Hudson, and navigate the labyrinth to the front door, I would happily go again, certainly for the grand view but even more so for the terrific food, wine and service they have somehow managed to pull together on such a scale.

Blu on the Hudson is open nightly.


By  John Mariani


To read previous chapters of GOING AFTER HARRY LIME go to the archive



Martins: Have you ever seen any of your victims?

Harry Lime: You know, I never feel comfortable on these sort of things. Victims? Don't be melodramatic. Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax—the only way you can save money nowadays. — The Third Man


  Professor Passamore picked up a lined pad.
  He told the two Americans that Hungary Pharm was taken over by Gorgo Toth almost immediately after the Soviet Union broke up. Prior to that the company and production facilities, like everything else in the USSR, was run by the Soviet bureaucracy, and, like everything else, was as inefficient as any in the satellite countries.  Little but basic drugs were produced, to be shipped wherever the bureaucrats—always corrupt—decided, meaning shortages and over expenditures were rampant.
The Soviet era lasted from 1945 to 1991, and Toth seems to have been appointed director of the company sometime in the late 1950s.  Before that, Passamore said, there was no record of Toth being involved with the pharmaceutical industry, nor was there any reliable bio of the man that would reveal he had any training in pharmaceuticals.  Requests for interviews by various business and pharmaceutical journals were always turned down.
         “He must have been in very tight with the Soviets,” said the professor, “so that, when Hungary got its independence, Toth was in a good position to maintain his directorship and somehow obtain the funding to buy the company.
         “That sounds like a very expensive proposition,” said David.
         “Yes and no,” said Passamore. “The official retreat of the Russians from their hegemony over their former satellites was swift, but those Hungarians who had cooperated with them during the occupation stood everything to gain by keeping their ties to the Russian bureaucrats.                     
“Fortunes had been made during the occupation, among both the Russians and the Hungarians, and, as a private company, Hungary Pharm started out as a near monopoly in Hungary. There’s certainly none larger or more dominant. Toth must have not only received favors but tremendous backing from the former communists, for whom a privately held pharmaceutical company was a gold mine. It’s possible Toth didn’t pay a penny for the whole damn thing.”
         “Do you know anything more about this rumor that Toth was actually British?”
         Passamore raised his palms and said, “Nothing very solid. I do know that on a couple of occasions where people I know in the industry said he didn’t seem to speak Hungarian very well but would on occasion speak English to his foreign colleagues. A friend of mine who met him said he spoke impeccable English, so much so that my friend asked where he’d learned it. Toth just said he’d attended school in England as a young student and picked it up easily.”
         “But people said his Hungarian wasn’t very good?” asked Katie.
         “So I hear.”
         “And no one ever said anything about him working for British intelligence during the war?” asked David.
         “Not that I’ve ever heard. Toth’s a mysterious fellow, I’ll say that, and he isn’t considered particularly ethical within the industry.  Of course, there’s little competition in Hungary, so Toth controls the prices so that he can undercut his competitors and push them out of the market for certain drugs.”
         Katie was both encouraged and flustered by what she’d heard. Toth sounded like he could have been Neame, who in turn could have been Lime. If he was, then her story was taking a whole new direction, possibly on the trail of a former war criminal. She even thought that, if Toth turned out to be Neame but not Lime, there was a story there as well, though it would be a harder sell to Alan Dobell than what she’d originally proposed. And going to Hungary was going to get expensive.
         Katie and David thanked Professor Passamore for his time, and exited the building to cloudy skies they had learned always promised a light rain.
         “Let’s walk a little before we go back to the hotel,” said Katie. “Walking always helps me to think.”
         “Me, I like to pace in circles,” said David.
         “Okay, then let’s walk in circles.”
         David chuckled, "That sounds like what we’ve been doing with this story.”


*                                            *                                        *

         Now sightseeing in London was out of the question. Katie and David had to make a decision on how to proceed to somehow find out more on Gorgo Toth before telling Alan Dobell about this new, very weak turn of evidence.  Katie could hear her editor saying, “You want me to send you and David all the way to Hungary on a wild goose chase after some pharmaceutical kingpin who you think is Harry Lime on the basis of a scrap of paper scribbled with the name of a drug that doesn’t exist?”
         Katie hadn’t even reported in on her encounter with the Philbys and how they’d been told by both Russian and British intelligence that they were imposters, just actors trying to make a buck off impressionable journalists. Without her tape recordings all Katie had were her notes and David’s corroboration of what they heard from those two people in a run-down Moscow flat.
          For his part, David knew that he could never bring such flimsy evidence to a New York district attorney and get an indictment, and without that, there would be no more flying around in search of evidence to bolster the case. Still, David didn’t dare suggest Katie back off her investigation. For his part, it hadn’t cost him anything but a plane ticket to London and he’d gotten to spend all his time with a woman who fascinated him in a way no other woman had since the death of his wife a few years back in a plane crash at LaGuardia Airport. She’d been a flight attendant, helping others get off the burning aircraft.
          Until they figured out a strategic plan, David felt that visits to Southey and Lentov might reveal something he could use to get closer to the truth of things, not least if both Southey and Lentov had manipulated Katie and him, perhaps even been part of a continuing Anglo-Russian conspiracy to keep Philby dead. But then, why would Lentov even suggest they fly to Moscow to meet with a man Lentov knew had died years before? How did Lentov even know Philby was alive?
         On the other hand, David had absolutely no doubt the couple Katie and he had interviewed in Moscow were the Philbys. Otherwise, why would Kim Philby pass the info on Neame in what was surely a coded form? It was on this strong assumption of Philby’s being alive that David was convinced Lentov had told the two Americans the truth.  David believed a half hour with Lentov would confirm his assumptions. 
If only David were still on the NYPD, he would have somewhat more access to FBI and CIA files, but those were completely closed off to him now. If only he could corroborate the connection of Neame to Toth, which, as a detective, was of far more interest to him than one between Neame and Harry Lime. The latter was how this whole damn thing began, but exposing a former war criminal as the head of a major European drug company was for David a far more important story.
         During his days at NYPD David had seen the ravages of the drug lords destroy entire neighborhoods and countless families. The Mafia was no better than the Mexicans and the Russians, and Albanians had grown just as vicious. Yet, when he arrested them he was always surprised at how, outside of court, the drug dealers brushed off any suggestion they were involved in anything truly corrupt.  They argued that, just as with the bootleggers of Prohibition, they were providing a product to people denied it by law, and it applied as much to cocaine-fueled Wall Street bankers as to crack-addicted street gangs. Some of the mobsters even insisted they were helping clean the streets of the real criminals, the bastards who would slit your throat for drugs, even kill a cop for them. The rich guys who sniffed cocaine along with Champagne, well, they were hurting nobody but themselves, so what was the problem?
         Then David recalled that was exactly how Harry Lime defended his own actions, which were responsible for simply wiping a few “dots” off the map. And in the bargain making tax-free income, which, he said, was “the only way you can save money nowadays.”
         Katie was turning over the same questions in her mind, and it troubled her most that her trip to Moscow might have been nothing but a scam. But it also didn’t seem possible to her that the people she met in Philby’s flat were just actors and that Lentov had set the whole thing up. And, if so, how did the Russians know she and David were coming to cover a story for McClure’s? Lentov seemed the most probable informer. But why would he want to help the Russians, who would have had him shot had he not gone over to the British.
         That left Joseph Dawes and Joseph Southey. Dawes, whose contact had been provided by a McClure’s editor, merely filled Katie in on the relationship of Greene and Philby. Frank English had given David the contact with Southey and Southey the connection to Lentov. Certainly, Southey still had old friends in MI6 whom he might share information with, like two Americans looking for Kim Philby. Southey had scoffed at the idea Philby was alive, but that might have been a lie to keep the Americans away from Moscow.
         Someone told the Russians they were coming and exactly the reason. And the Russians had every reason to keep Philby dead. Let sleeping dogs lie and dead ones stay dead. Then Katie’s thoughts reverted to Kovalyov telling them that other journalists had tried to find Philby to no avail and that Lentov was probably the one egging them on to do so.
         Katie finally drifted off to sleep, soothed by the sound of light rain on the window and the not-too-distant tolling of Big Ben.



© John Mariani, 2016


                                                    WINES FOR BEATING THE HEAT

                                                                             By John Mariani


    It’s getting brutal out there, and while I am all for chilling down (slightly) red wines, white wines seem the best choice this summer, not least for the kind of food that doesn’t require standing over a barbecue grill. Here are some to enjoy.


CLIFF LEDE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2022 ($30)—Grapes from Napa Valley’s prestigious Stags Leap District, Calistoga and Carneros, as well as old vines from Rutherford planted to a heritage Musqué clone, give this Sauvignon Blanc a great deal more complexity than is usual in the varietal. In 2022 extreme heat caused progressive harvesting through September to preserve fresh acidity and aromatics. The addition of  22% Sémillon gives added flavor and the alcohol is a robust 13.6%. If there's any wine that will be a match for asparagus this summer, this is it.


LA GRANDE DAME ROSÉ 2012  ($320)—The release of this splendid vintage has been long awaited from the marque that created the first blended rose Champagne back in 1818. Ninety percent of its Pinot Noir comes from the House's Grands Crus as well as a red wine from 'Clos Colin' in Bouzy, a Grand Cru terroir. Ten percent Chardonnay comes from Avize and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. This is a wine to serve for a special occasion to special friends who can appreciate its finesse. It’s also key to enjoying with caviar and smoked salmon.


YALUMBA “Y” VIOGNIER ($12)—Viognier is a tricky varietal because it can have aromatics that are too pronounced, but Yalumba’s “Y” series from South Australia, made by winemaker Heather Fraser from a vintage with cool nights that allowed multiple flavors to emerge in balance, gives the wines fresh, clean flavors with lovely floral notes that is Viognier’s appeal. The wild fermentation and aging on the lees provide more nuance than usual, so this is a good wine at a good price for dishes like Asian chicken salad or grilled shrimp.

BECKSTOFFER SAUVIGNON BLANC  2022 ($42)—Sauvignon Blancs should always be drunk in their current vintage, for age bestows little improvement to the essential flavors of the grape. This comes from winemaker
Andy Beckstoffer of Eleven Eleven winery, best known for his big Cabernet Sauvignons, so this white wine from his Melrose Vineyard in Rutherford is a pleasant surprise (if a little pricey), with a good deal of minerality and just a touch of sweetness and apple flavors to make it a true summer cooler, and a very good cheese wine.


MOUNT VEEDER WINERY CHARDONNAY 2021 ($50)—A year’s passage has indeed brought this Los Carneros Chardonnay to full fruition. It enjoys cooling fog from San Pablo Bay and the loam-rich soil is ideal for Chardonnay that does not require the problematic use of too much oak to achieve what the winery calls its “mountain style,” with a fine dose of acidity so often lacking in Napa Chardonnays. Still, this is a whopping 14.5% alcohol, so it’s a white wine that goes best with spicier dishes and butter sauces. Excellent with broiled or roasted lobster.


PETALUMA WHITE LABEL CHARDONNAY 2022 ($28)—Petaluma sells a much more expensive Chardonnay, but this one is well-priced and very California in style, with a lot of body, a discernible note of oak and caramel. The grapes are from Adelaide Hills and Coonawarra, pressed and put into stainless steel tanks, cold settled, then racked to stainless steel tanks or older oak barriques for fermentation with a percentage of solids to add texture and weight, matured on the lees for about six months before blending by winemaker Ben Thoman and then, after filtration, bottling at 13.5% alcohol. It’s a great choice for all shellfish, chowders and blue cheeses.


EMRICH-SCHÖNLEBER RIESLING MINERAL TROCKEN 2021 ($34)—German wines deserve more respect, not least Rieslings from the Nahe Valley, where soil and climate make for an ideal of what the varietal can be. They are also very nicely priced. The vineyards of 20 hectares were planted 60 years ago, and the family makes only single estate Rieslings from Frühlingsplätzchen, Halenberg and Niederberg, now listed as a "Erste Lage" or "First Growth." The Trocken wines are dry, with sour apple acids and wonderful aromas and with foods like sausages, pork or trout they are excellent match-ups.



"Kale Sauce Is a Way of Life: it’s whatever you want it to be" , (3/15/23)



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.



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


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