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John Mariani

John Mariani is an author and journalist of 30 years standing, having begun his writing for New York Magazine in 1973. Since then, he has become known as one of America’s premiere food writers (a three-time nominee for the James Beard Journalism Award) and author of several of the most highly regarded books on food in America today. He has been called by the Philadelphia Inquirer, “the most influential food-wine critic in the popular press.” He is the Publisher of Mariani's Virtual Gourmet Newsletter and award-winning author of How Italian Food Conquered the World.

In 2012 Saveur Magazine won as ASME award for its “Italian-American” issue for which Mariani wrote the lead article. He was host for the TV series “Crazy for Food,” which played on national PBS stations.

His first book, The Dictionary of American Food & Drink (Ticknor & Fields, 1983) was hailed as the "American Larousse Gastronomique" and was chosen "best reference book on food for 1983" by Library Journal. After a decade when the book was declared a "classic" of American food studies, Hearst Books issued a completely revised edition in 1994. In 1999 Lebhar-Friedman published a revised, expanded version entitled The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink, whose fifth edition has just been published by Bloomsbury.

His newest book is a Christmas novella called "The Hound in Heaven," available through

Entries by John Mariani

Giving Dallas Its Due

(0) Comments | Posted May 4, 2015 | 10:59 AM

(Photo by Rick Turner)

I've spent a good deal of time rolling my eyes whenever my friends and colleagues in the food and travel media show their ignorance about Dallas by referencing stereotypes that might just as easily be applied to...

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Eating, Sleeping, Surfing and Zoning out on Maui

(1) Comments | Posted April 27, 2015 | 11:13 AM


We were moving on to the west side of the island of Maui, to Kapalua and Lahaina, but before we settled in there, we had a day to kill and took a drive just a little northeast of Wailea to Paia, a wonderfully...

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What Is American Food? Find Out at NYC's Lincoln Center Kitchen

(0) Comments | Posted April 24, 2015 | 11:05 AM


Naïfs still ask, "But what really is American food?" The easy answer is, anything Americans eat, from Maine lobster to chile con carne. But nothing is that easy. Assuming that, like everything else, American gastronomy gobbles up influences from all its immigrant cultures,...

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Lexington, Kentucky: Blossoms in Springtime

(0) Comments | Posted April 20, 2015 | 10:35 AM


If it's springtime in America, there are few places lovelier to be than Lexington, Kentucky. The city by that name is well worth visiting, but it is in the surrounding hillsides that you find the soul of the place, especially between April and...

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Austria's Wine Future Looks Brightest in Burgenland

(1) Comments | Posted April 10, 2015 | 11:04 AM


Of all the regions of Austria that grow wine grapes--Wachau, Kremstal, Kamptal, Donauland, and others--the most exciting innovations are coming out of Burgenland for wines at the Qualitätswein level as set by the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, created in 1986. On a recent...

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New York's TBar Steak & Lounge Top Tier on the Upper East Side

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2015 | 2:02 PM


As the Willie Nelson song goes, "Ain't it funny how time slips away?" I've known restaurateur Tony Fortuna for many years as one of the true gentlemen of the profession, so it was with surprise that upon hearing he owned TBar I...

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Mondavi Family Winery Shows Multiple Personalities

(0) Comments | Posted April 3, 2015 | 10:36 AM


At a recent tasting at the Charleston Wine + Food Festival, hosted by Rob Mondavi Jr., the various personalities of its family members was evident in the range of labels it produces. But while the style of the winery's labels may differ, the...

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Finally--Great Italian Food Near Carnegie Hall

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2015 | 10:39 AM


The two-month old Masseria dei Vini is a restaurant whose neighbors keep telling owners Giuseppe "Peppe" Iuele, Enzo Ruggiero and chef-partner Giuseppe Coladonato how glad they are finally to have a fine Italian restaurant because there's nothing else like it in its neck...

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Charleston Celebrates Its Culinary Clout

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2015 | 5:12 PM

Photo by Andrew Cebulka

For ten years now Charleston has been holding an annual Wine + Food Festival that has become one of the stellar events of the springtime and one that brings a great number of visitors and millions of...

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Ralph Lauren Opens Polo Bar and NY Celebs Flock to It

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2015 | 11:43 AM


Growing up in the Bronx in the same era as did Ralph Lauren, I never thought our paths would cross until he announced he was opening Polo Bar, set adjacent to his new flagship Fifth Avenue store.

Of course,...

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Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Lake Como, Italy, Lives up to Its Name

(0) Comments | Posted March 17, 2015 | 3:50 PM


A great resort is an amalgam of ten thousand details, most of them never even noticed by a visitor too busy taking in the most obvious of them. For beyond the architecture of a grand hallway, the panorama from one's terrace, the...

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Austria's Burgenland Is Full of Wildlife and Wine

(0) Comments | Posted March 13, 2015 | 11:29 AM


As I write this, there are still several inches of snow on the ground in New York, but when you read this, the wildflowers may well be bursting from the rich soil of Burgenland in southeastern Austria, and the grape vines getting...

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Paris Offshoot Racines Takes Delectable Root in New York

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 11:25 AM

Translations of French into English can be awkward when it comes to restaurants, like those failed attempts opened by celebrated absentee chefs Alain Ducasse, Louis Outhier, Jacques Maximin, and Claude Baills. One enchanting exception is Racines, the year-old offshoot of two Paris wine-centered restaurants of the same name (on Rue...

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NYC's Hunt & Fish Club Is a Lot Swankier Than It Sounds

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2015 | 10:32 AM


The hoary axiom about the three most important things for success in business--location, location, location--does not seem to apply to NYC steakhouses, for from the number of packed dining rooms it's clear you can stick one anywhere--uptown, downtown, Lower East Side, West Village,...

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The Trattorias of Milan

(0) Comments | Posted March 2, 2015 | 1:33 PM

2015-02-27-MILANMATARELLEOSSOBUCO.jpg Osso Buco alla Milanese at Al Matarel
A few weeks ago I wrote about staying and dining in some of Milan's finest hotels and restaurants, promising I would report back on the city's trattorias. So, here goes.

First of all, since...

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NYC's Cull & Pistol Oyster Bar One of the Best Restaurants in Chelsea Market

(0) Comments | Posted February 23, 2015 | 1:18 PM

The diversity of restaurant styles in New York never ceases to amaze me. Once upon a time the city's ethnic restaurants fit into pretty standard categories--haute cuisine classic French, Italian-American, Sichuan and Hunan, teppanyaki, and so on. But variations on all culinary genres keep NYC first among American cities when...

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Flames Bar & Grill in Briarcliff, NY: One of the TriState Area's Best Steakhouses

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2015 | 10:13 AM


I have been happily dining at and writing about Flames since Nick Vuli opened it in 1992 as a paragon of a steakhouse whose quality of beef and other food exceeds that of far better know, much pricier competitors in NYC. In all...

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A New Chef at The Modern in NYC Keeps the Flame Bright

(1) Comments | Posted February 9, 2015 | 10:12 AM

Back in 2005 when The Modern opened adjacent to the newly designed Museum of Modern Art, I named it the Best New Restaurant of the Year. Ten years ago I described The Modern as restaurateur Danny Meyer's masterpiece, with a glass-rich décor by Peter Bentel, a bar dining area packed...

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The Worldwide Market for Wine and Spirits Looks... Tentative

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 11:17 AM

These are neither the best of times nor worst of times for the global wine and spirits markets, but it is a time of uncertainty about the economy, politics and societal changes that make predictions about the future more difficult than it's been in a long time.

For while the...

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Caffe dei Fiori Brings Spark to New York's Upper East Side

(0) Comments | Posted February 2, 2015 | 11:29 AM


Those downtowners and Brooklynites who enjoy dissing the restaurants on the Upper East Side of Manhattan have obviously never dined at Le Cirque, Daniel, Café Boulud, JoJo, The Mark, Orsay and other first-rate restaurants in that stretch of territory--and those are just...

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