Virtual Gourmet

  JANUARY 14, 2024                                                                                           NEWSLETTER

Founded in 1996 


Cher, Vincent Gardenia, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis,
Feodor Chaliapin Jr, Julie Bovasso, Louis Guss
and  Danny Aiello in "Moonstruck" (1987)



Part Two

By John Mariani


By John Mariani


By John Mariani


By John Mariani


Part Two

By John Mariani

San Pedro Creek Culture Park Plaza


         The expansion of San Antonio over the past few years has been remarkable for what seems a central vision of how to connect the neighborhoods and utilize its waterways on which to build a future. The inner city’s River Walk has, after the Alamo, been the city’s principal tourist attraction since the 1950s, though the restaurants along and near its banks tend to be touristy Tex-Mex bars or chains like Rainforest Café and Bubba Gump Shrimp.
      But, for more than thirty years now, Biga on St. Mary’s Street has been San Antonio’s premier fine dining restaurant under chef-owner London-born Bruce Auden, who was one of the pioneers of New Texas Cuisine back on the 1980s.
       Originally opened in 1991, Biga relocated in 2000 to larger quarters done in southwestern colors of sand, terracotta, avocado, stone and sun- bright orange, its tables of marble, its metal rod chairs a throwback ‘50s design and its ceiling lights in straw baskets. With executive chef Martin Stembera, Auden continues to use local ingredients with a rigorous technique that makes his sauces and marinades key to sensuous dishes like habanero jerk scallops ($22); seared Hudson Valley foie gras set on brioche French toast with tangy-sweet apple-pear-berry chutney, duck cider jus ($30). Just right for colder weather was a hearty roasted butternut squash soup heated with poblanos and sweetened with  pumpkin seed raisin relish ($12).
         Adding a slice of Brie to a salad is nothing new, but I haven’t enjoyed it in a long time, here enhanced with apples, toasted, walnuts, grape tomatoes, shaved red onions, and a spicy vanilla bean balsamic vinaigrette ($13).
         American red snapper was impeccably cooked and served with a buttery coconut curry spiced with serrano peppers, tomatoes, corn, broccoli and, to gild the lily even further, pearled cous cous and scallion oil ($45).  Spiced South Texas antelope and quail, came with a goat’s cheese tart, Brussels sprouts leaves, chestnuts, cranberry orange chutney, juniper sauce ($54). Perhaps my favorite dish—as  much for the deep, essential flavor of the meat and juiciness—was a Berkshire pork chop with roasted sweet potatoes, char red broccolini, cranberry chutney, Egyptian dukkah of spiced almonds and a lashing of vermouth jus.
         Auden just skirts doing too much to a dish by making sure every ingredient complements every other, so there is nothing to overpower the principal flavors. It’s a tightrope he manages to walk well. Given his championing of Texas and southwest products, however, it’s odd that he brings in lamb all the way from Australia.
     One dessert he can never remove: the Biga Sampler of sticky toffee pudding, chocolate mint pots de crème and gingerbread cheesecake ($16).
         The wine list at Biga is good, but it would be nice to see an array of the better Texas bottlings. 

         On my visit I stayed at Hotel Valencia (150 East Houston Street), which is very centrally located to everything downtown and of a unique design throughout, with graceful wrought iron staircases and shadowy hallways. Many rooms overlook a splendid courtyard that has the cast of a posh hacienda. The hotel’s restaurant includes the Naranja Tequila and Mezcal Bar, with extensive offerings of those Mexican spirits, while its dining room, Dorregos, set with folkloric chinaware, has an international menu whose Argentinian specialties are the most popular.
         Nineteen Hyaku (1900 Broadway; 210-429-0771) is the city’s newest big deal restaurant, with an expansive menu of Japanese dishes and the kind of vibe you find in those big Asian places in Las Vegas and New York, where the food is secondary to the scene. Not so at Nineteen Hyaku, where the focus is very much on omakase-style meals that show the seriousness of the owners, Carpenter Carpenter Hospitalty and commitment of executive chef Ruben Pantaleon. It’s a stunning space, the light from hanging paper gloves giving it a glow throughout a vast dining room that is not as loud as I’d expected (though the swanky bar is).
        There is an extensive array of nigiri sushi ($5-$18) and makimono rolls ($10-$22), along with chilled hiyashita like the one of agave akami with red tuna, ginger, agave soy, lime zest and fish roe ($17). But I found the hot apps and main dishes the most savory, like the duck confit temaki cone-like hand rolls ($10) and miso-glazed eggplant ($17) with shishito peppers; the chewy buckwheat soba noodles ($19) in a salty kaketsuyu consommé with luscious smoked pork. Excellent fried rice with duck confit, vegetables and egg ($18); and wagyu hot stone-cooked beef with black garlic kizami ponzu ($45).
         Turn over the menu and you’ll find a long list of signature cocktails, a wine list that needs improvement, a fine column of sakes including “luxury” brands like Ginga Shizuku “Divine Droplets” ($192).
         The owners of Nineteen Hyaku obviously knew that San Antonians had a sophistication level to make the restaurant much more than a curiosity or sake place. The food is every bit as important and far more delectable.
Much is expected over the next few years in developments that will line the San Pedro Creek Culture Park, on the western edge of downtown, a remarkable achievement by which the city took a creek many locals did not even know existed and turned it into a manifestation of the indigenous people who first settled here.
        Beautifully paved and landscaped as a paseo (walkway), the river now winds through a 3,905-square-foot ecosystem-based landscape whose 1,800 feet of walls are done with twelve large murals by local artists and whose construction is focused on modern water control. Tall office and condo buildings are appearing in the neighborhood, which will change the city skyline, but fear not: By law, no building’s shadow is allowed to fall onto the Alamo. It wouldn’t hurt, though, to tear down the huge sign reading “ROBERT E. LEE HOTEL.”





301 Halstead Avenue
Harrison NY
914 835 6199


       Most Italian restaurants in the U.S. play it safe with a menu of long-time favorites but pay little attention to regionality. It’s a rare thing to find a restaurant serving two versions of salt cod called baccalà, polenta with funghi porcini as an antipasto ($18); penne limone with bacon, parsley and cream ($25); fusilli alla calabrese with red hot ‘nduja and charred radicchio ($30); gnocchi al cinghiale with wild boar ragù ($31); and Tuscan cacciucco di mare ($36).
         That’s what Dean and Odelya Vivolo have been doing for twenty-two years at their namesake trattoria in the New York suburb of Harrison within a former classic 1940s diner that is one of the most charming spaces in the county, beautifully lighted, with 60 seats, a trim line of booths next to train car-like windows, black-and-white photos of Apulia, pretty tile floors, a long bar with swiveling stools and a rear dining room set with white tablecloths and table lamps, good stemware, a glass of cut lemons and limes and cans of fine Calabrian olive oil with good warm bread.  (The tacky plastic packages of butter are wholly unnecessary.)
        Odelya is up front while Dean is in and out of a kitchen of eight cooks requisite to deal with a long regular menu and about ten specials each night. The bartender takes her job very seriously and does it very well.
         Dean bussed tables and caught the fever at his father’s La Riserva in Larchmont. He then dutifully attended the Culinary Institute of America, going on to cook at New York’s illustrious San Domenico, La Panetière in Rye and in Rome. All that experience shows in the precision of technique used to prepare deceptively simple dishes the right way.
“I see my job as a choreographer,” he says, “to make everything work together, to jump in and put a smile on someone’s face. This business is like a dance—everything has to be beautiful, in time and flow gracefully.”
         When I dined there three days after Christmas, Vivolo was packed, clearly with a number of regulars. Zeroing in on the unusual items, I found the quality of the ingredients and the perfect temperatures of each dish admirable.
         That polenta with funghi porcini was such a welcome surprise, rustic but sumptuous, woodsy and tasting of its cornmeal base. Eggplant rollatine with creamy ricotta and spinach ($17) came with all the flavors both intact and complementary. And the baccalà, set in a radicchio cup as a special that night, delicately baked with tomato and capers, was delici
Trattoria Vivolo does serve four pizzas, and though the margarita was tasty, it was more a flatbread than a charred, puffy, bubbly crusted, yeasty Neapolitan pie. 
Every pasta I tried was out of the ordinary: for once lasagna al forno bolognese ($29) had not only the richness of béchamel and light tomato but the delicate pliancy of baked pasta sheets that did not get compromised in the process. That spicy hot n’duja (a Calabrian condiment) added measurably to the tangy dried tomatoes, charred and tender radicchio and herb sauce atop fusilli pasta.  Another pasta that takes a specific amount of time in boiling water to get right is orecchiette di Troia, an ear-shaped Puglian pasta, here with sausage, hot cherry peppers, breadcrumbs for added texture, abundantly graced with garlic and fresh basil ($26). The potato gnocchi were plump but light, just the right size, and the lusty wild boar ragù and generous shavings of Parmigiano were perfect for a cold December evening.
         A must-have is the plate of fat, lovely, pink grilled gamberi ($42) dressed in golden olive oil and lemon. The signature vitello Vivolo ($36) was made of tender, flavorful veal scaloppine with tomatoes, artichokes and the scent of fresh rosemary.
        A nice meaty branzino was perfectly rendered with its skin seared, its flesh exposed, cuddled with sweet grape tomatoes, and suffused with garlic, olive oil and lemon ($39). A side order of sauteed, garlic-rich escarole, once an Italian-American staple, comes back to verdant, bitter-salty life at Vivolo ($12).
        Of the main courses, only one was oddly disappointing: tasteless boneless chicken rustica with sausage and rosemary seemed pre-cut from a package ($30). And a demerit for listing “bay scallops” from somewhere—China? South America? —other than Peconic or Nantucket, rarely available, very expensive, and then only in short season. 
You will by this time in the meal not be hungry, but, New Year’s resolutions aside, you owe it to yourself to have one of
Trattoria Vivolo’s desserts, like the sundaes of delightful vanilla ice cream, strawberries, cannoli cream, shaved dark chocolate, whipped cream, crushed biscotti; and Bomba Baci, chocolate ice cream, chopped hazelnuts, crumbled chocolate cookies, whipped cream and chocolate syrup, topped with Baci kisses.
         You exit so many Italian restaurants simply stuffed. But you exit Vivolo feeling wholly satisfied by the food and warmed by the hospitality of the place. And you’re already happily thinking about your lunch tomorrow, because you’re undoubtedly taking some of  Trattoria Vivolo’s food home with you.


Open for lunch and dinner Tues.-Sun. 



By  John Mariani





        Over a dinner of manicotti and osso buco with a bottle of Barbera at Mario’s, David started as usual by asking about “the lawyer guy,” as he called Katie’s off-and-on boyfriend, whose name he refused to remember.
         “As a matter of fact,” said Katie, “he just joined a law firm in Boston.”
         “That mean you won’t be seeing him anymore?”
         “No, it just means I’ll be spending more time driving or flying to Boston when I do get to see him, which was little enough when he was here.”
         David felt not the slightest regret hearing that. He knew his attitude was at least puerile if not selfish, but then he could never figure out why Katie had been with the lawyer guy for so long with no hint of a change.
         They were on the last of the wine when Katie said, “I’m in a rut, David.”
         “I can tell,” he said. “Miss the old derring-do, right? You and me against the world, clawing our way out of exotic cities under threat of death.”
         “Maybe so.”
         David asked for the check. “I can see why you feel that way. I did for a while after I retired. Missed the guys, of course, didn’t miss the hours or the bureaucratic bullshit. But being a cop was exciting. Not, I might add, as exciting as following you around the world, but putting bad guys away had its highs.”
         Katie wrinkled her nose and said, “We did have some high old times, didn’t we,” sounding as if they were not likely to come again.  “It’s not like I have some kind of death wish, but it was thrilling to get out of those places with our heads still attached. Adrenalin rush, I guess.”
         “Adrenalin goes away. You’re just feeling like you’ve had your glory days. You won some prizes, and you’re afraid you won’t be getting into anything where you’d win some more.”
         “Hey, I don’t give a rip about prizes,” said Katie. “You deserved them as much as I did.”
         “I was paid well by the magazine. And I can’t write worth a damn. I know you don’t care about the prizes, but it’s the kind of story that got you those prizes that you care about.”
         “Yeah, and they don’t come around very often.”
         “You—we—have had three in what, four years? How many reporters get anything close to that number? Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Something will come along.”
        “I hope so.  Otherwise I can see myself becoming an editor at McClure’s or Newsweek or maybe the Times. Write a column. I don’t know.”
         “Maybe you can write my memoirs as a crack mob detective,” he said, suddenly realizing he’d love that to happen. “I actually got a lot of good stories.”
         “Maybe it will come to that,” said Katie, who sounded like she considered such a project as a last resort. “Well, hey, meanwhile I’ve still got a good job and I still enjoy putting the bad guys in jail too, even if they’re mostly white collar criminals.”
         “I always thought that was a dumb phrase,” laughed David. “Most of the Mafia guys I dealt with, like John Gotti, wore a white shirt and a suit every day of their lives. Gotti even got his hair cut every single day, doing a little business in the barber chair. Even the low-class hoods wore suits, though they were getting a little more slovenly at the end. Started to get into black leather jackets and designer jeans.”
         Katie let David pay the check, saying she’d get it next time, and they said goodbye to the owner and waited outside for the valet to get David’s car.
         “So when do we see each other again?” he asked.
         “Whenever,” she replied, which was way too vague for David. “You know where to reach me.” Which was way too impersonal for David.
         David drove her home—she only lived ten minutes away—and they kissed on both cheeks at the door.
         “So call me,” said Katie. “I get hungry every night at seven.” Which sounded very sweet to David.


                                                                *                *            *


        Katie was just typing up the final draft of a story when the phone rang at her office. She didn’t want to pick it up and ruin her concentration, so she let the recording tell the caller to leave a message.
         “Katie? You there? Pick up the phone. It’s Joey.”
         Katie hit the button.
         “Joey, you’re home? When’d you get in? The Jebbies finally gave you a vacation?”
         It had been five years since Joseph Evangelista had left for the Philippines.
         “No, I’m back for good,” he said.
         “For good? What are you talking about? They drum you out of the corps?” she asked laughing.
        There was a slight pause, then Joseph said, “Something like that. Listen, are you free tonight, tomorrow, soon. I’ll explain everything when I see you. I’m staying at my parents’ place.”
         Katie said she was on deadline that evening but could meet him the next day, Sunday.
     “You want me to come over to your parents’ house?” she asked.
         “Would you mind if I came to your apartment instead?”
         “Not at all. You need me to pick you up?”
         “No, no need. What’s good for you?”
         “Any time at all. You want to meet at Mass?”
         There was another pause, then, “If it’s okay with you, I’d rather just come by around one o’clock.”
         That sounded odd to Katie, who also sensed that Joseph was not entirely happy to be home.  What could have happened?
         “Okay, I’ll be waiting for you at one. I’ll make lunch.”


                                                           *                         *                        *



         Katie’s garden apartment was on the northeast shore of the Bronx,  just a stone’s throw from Long Island Sound. She had grown up just a few miles west in the Pelham Park section, where her father, a distinguished judge, and her mother, a schoolteacher, had grounded her enough in the borough’s rich history that she’d never thought much about moving away, not even to Manhattan.  The Bronx was in fact making a quiet comeback after the crack wars of the early 1990s killed off many of the sellers, users and gangs. Now, once beautiful neighborhoods like the Grand Concourse and University Heights were being slowly gentrified, and the Bronx Zoo and Botanical Gardens were increasingly thronged with tourists from both inside and outside of New York. 
Katie’s neighborhood, called Country Club, had never suffered a decline and housing prices had never dropped; indeed, they were always rising, owing to so few families ever selling their homes to outsiders.  Katie thought she might very well move maybe a block or two away from her current apartment to one of the big 1940s houses that hugged the shore.
         Joseph Evangelista grew up south of Katie’s neighborhood, in the shadow of the Throggs Neck Bridge that arched over the East River and Long Island Sound, itself a safe neighborhood of solidly middle-class brick houses.
         His relatives knew many of Katie’s relatives, went to the same parish church and met at all the usual baptisms, graduations and weddings
          Joseph’s decision to join the priesthood was a vocation he embraced with a fervor tempered by the intellectual demands of the Jesuits at Fordham, who, along with asserting the importance of Christian service, always insisted he question his motives for whatever he chose to pursue.
Philippines, Katie had wondered how much he might have changed. Had he become more worldly, distant, by living so far away? Was he getting enough intellectual stimulation teaching Filipino high school students? Had he risen through the ranks and distinguished himself enough to perhaps one day serve in the Vatican or as the president of a Catholic university?
         Anything was possible, she thought as she prepared lunch while waiting for Joseph to arrive, but there was nothing in his voice on the telephone to suggest that he was happy in his life.  Perhaps it was just jetlag, but it sounded more like disillusionment. She would have heard if anyone in his family was sick or had passed away.  She wondered instead if Joseph, like so many of his priest colleagues since the 1960s, might have fallen away from his vocation, even from the Church itself. It pained her to think that might be so, even if in the back of her mind, she’d long harbored the thought that her friend was perhaps not as committed to the priesthood as he himself had once believed.


John Mariani, 2018



 By John Mariani



        It has long been conventional wisdom—not without reason—that white wines go best with seafood and vice versa. Generally speaking, both have delicate flavor, and the choice of which white wine goes with anything from filet of sea bass to mussels doesn’t seem to pose much of a problem. A medium-bodied Chablis, a slightly oaky California Chardonnay, a smoky fino Sherry, spicy Gewürtztraminer or an almost neutral Pinot Blanc—all are reasonable options. Even very sweet whites like Sauternes or Madeira can be interesting if, say, a lobster has a cream sauce that itself has Sauternes in it, à la a nouvelle cuisine cliché of the 1980s.
        But should red wines forever be banned from a table laden with seafood? Or are there instances, not as experiments, where they make very good sense to serve?
         Before I get to red wines, let’s zero in a little further on which white wines go best with which seafood. A very mild fish, like filet of sole, will show best with an equally mild, but not bland, wine, such as a Pinot Grigio or Albariño. But a species with a distinctive taste, like bluefish, needs a foil that with provide its own body, high acid and minerality, such as a Torrontes, Sancerre or Viognier.
        It’s always a good idea to marry the fish of a region like the Mediterranean with wines of the same, so that branzino goes very well with a Greek wine like Assyrtiko or Moschofilero. Mullet is a strong flavored fish and anchovies and sardines even more so, requiring a bold match-up like a Greco di Tufo from Campania or a dry Moscato.
         Oysters are by tradition paired with Chablis, largely because cheap Chablis was the standby of Parisian bistros that always served oysters. But an older Chablis Grand Cru, say a four- or -five-year-old vintage, is even better. Mussels, which are often cooked in white wine with abundant herbs and garlic, need the acid and grassiness of a Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc. So, too, do crabs. As for lobsters, I like nothing better than a big buttery Chardonnay without too much oak, more like a great white Burgundy but allowing that many California Chardonnays have their place alongside smoky, grilled lobster.
         Those recommendations sound like they pretty much cover the waterfront. So, is there any justification when a red wine might be an even better choice? Absolutely, yes.
        Let’s begin with salmon, which, when caught wild, can have a marvelous, unique delicacy that makes a big Chardonnay a rational choice, but not the best one. Since most salmon these days is farm raised and acquires the flavor of the feed they are given, it’s a better choice to opt for a light red wine. I find that young Beaujolais of the current vintage does a splendid job with salmon, although aged Beaujolais can have too much body and tannins. These are better with seafood stews like bourride and zuppa di pesce, which are well spiced.
        Bouillabaisse, on the other hand, with its big flavors of saffron and garlic and a dollop of olive oil-enriched mayonnaise called a rouille is traditionally enjoyed with a rosé of the French and Italian Riviera, the deeper hued examples the better. In southern Italy seafood might be marinated and cooked with sweet Marsala, so that makes perfect sense to serve.
         Lobster fra diavolo, which adds substantial chile peppers and flakes to the cooking sauce, is not going to hold up to any white wine, so a red is demanded, and a good spicy one, like an Australian or Sonoma County Syrah or Petite Syrah. You don’t get the amount of tannins from a Cabernet Sauvignon, but an Italian Barbera or a medium-body Merlot might work. The more herbs tossed onto grilled fish the more likely a light red will go better.
       These choices are not so much a question of what’s right, or even best, but an opportunity for those who love good seafood and good wine to experiment until finding a match-up that works for you. Then again, for those with no imagination, you could always skirt the question and just serve Champagne with everything.




"I ate my Christmas tree. It's the season's hottest ingredient. Under the fairy lights and tinsel lies a strange,  versatile ingredient. Sarah Rainey on how to use pine, fir and spruce in the kitchen." London Times (Jan. 2, 2024)


 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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