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September 27, 2001
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Food for Survival

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WHY WE DINE

Given the events of September eleventh, going on the air with something as trifling as a restaurant review seems to be—pardon the puns—in the utmost bad taste. Seeing the horror and tragedy first hand, then living with its depressing aftershocks has psychologically battered all of us to the point where normalcy and enjoyment still seem remote. In the midst of guilting myself for my trivial pursuits, and trying to find some inspiration for another commentary, I received an e-mail from John Mariani –one of America’s foremost food writers and the restaurant critic for esquire magazine. In it-- he eloquently expressed his conflict-- on the night of the bombings no less—on whether to dine out that night at one of New York’s finest restaurants. What motivated him to do so was remembering the story of Winston Churchill who, after hearing the entire city of Coventry had been destroyed by German bombs, said with deadly seriousness—“well, let’s have lunch. Everything always looks better after lunch”. Such sentiments should carry weight with all of us, not only because sitting down to a meal requires the harried mind to re-focus attention on a most essential human ritual, but also because it helps us return to a normal need that invariably involves the strength and comfort we draw from our fellow man. Mariani also quoted a passage from the diary of Anne Frank in which the family, isolated and terrified for months, fantasize over what wonderful, pastries, stews, fine wines and good restaurants they will return to once they rejoin the outside world.

Once we survive the inevitable rigors and horrors of life, all of us must return to the table….. And whether it is simply for sustenance, or fellowship, or allowing ourselves to fall in love under the spell of candlelight or a brilliant sunset, it is there that we regain the fortitude to continue living our lives to the fullest. So, like John Mariani, I will continue extolling and criticizing our food culture, sometimes whimsically and sometimes with vitriol…because only by indulging in life’s passions will we defeat the forces that seek to destroy all that we hold dear.

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Archives

Nov 24, 2010 | Thanksgiving 2010 - Another Beanie Reveal
John Curtas delves into family history to discover the real story behind Grandma Schroader's Sour Beans.

Nov 19, 2009 | Valentino -- You don't know the truffles I've seen
According to Food Critic John Curtas, no other Italian restaurant in Las Vegas has performed at such a high level for so long.

Oct 1, 2009 | Blow It Up
In at least one part of town, our dining critic John Curtas says the food used to be a lot better.

Sep 25, 2009 | Social Media Meltdown
For our dining critic, John Curtas, social media has started to intrude on dining out.

Sep 2, 2009 | Discovering LOS ANTOJOS
Our dining critic John Curtas finds a new affordable favorite.

Aug 20, 2009 | Chinois R.I.P.
For John Curtas the recent closing of Wolfgang Puck's first Las Vegas restaurant brings back memories.

Aug 3, 2009 | Food, Inc.
John Curtas turns movie reviewer today - but the subject is in his usual area of expertise. Hear his review of "Food, Inc."

Jul 16, 2009 | The Steak That Saved Las Vegas
Dining critic John Curtas finds some steak aged for EIGHT MONTHS and he tells us how it tastes.

Jul 2, 2009 | Bang for Your Buck
Everyone's food budget is tighter these days. But if you still want to dine out now and then, our dining critic John Curtas has a few tips on restaurants now giving you more bang for your buck.

Jun 19, 2009 | Whassup with Wazuzu
Explore Dining Critic John Curtas' love/hate relationship with Wazuzu. If you want to spice up your dinner go for at least a "4 or 5."

Jun 12, 2009 | Two Farmer's Markets
Fresh, locally produced food has become a big trend across the U.S. Our food critic, John Curtas, says there's more of this trend in Las Vegas than you might think.

Jun 4, 2009 | MandM Soul Food
John Curtas tells us about one of his favorite dining spots - a surpsingly affordable one.

May 28, 2009 | Checkpoint Charlie
While fine dining has seen a downturn in Las Vegas in recent months, our dining critic John Curtas says at least one dining legend intends to stay put. Charlie Trotter is standing pat in Las Vegas. John Curtas reviews Resturant Charlie.

May 8, 2009 | Food Festival Frenzy!
It's a time of many food festivals in Las Vegas. John Curtas has an overview.

May 5, 2009 | Peppermill Coffee Shop and Fireside Lounge
A landmark Las Vegas restaurant gets a visit from John Curtas. He takes you to the Peppermill.

Apr 23, 2009 | Thai Me Up Thai Me Down
Thai cuisine is starting to show up in more places in Las Vegas. John Curtas has some recommendations

Apr 9, 2009 | A Gourmet Corner - In Spring Valley?
Food Critic John Curtas takes a trip to the strangest gourmet corner in town.

Apr 2, 2009 | Pip's is a Pip
If you're looking for good dining near Aliante, our dining critic, John Curtas, has found a new place to go.

Mar 26, 2009 | Stripped to Its Bare Essentials
Dining on steak at Planet Hollywood! John Curtas takes you along.

Mar 19, 2009 | Hachi is absolutely amazing!
John Curtas has a find - a Japanese-fusion restaurant on the west edge of the city.

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