Five Questions

We got the dish from food columnist John Mariani

We got the dish from food columnist John Mariani

News_John Mariani_Feb. 2010
John Mariani was in Houston for restaurant visits and for the Galleria Chamber of Commerce Texas Legends Gala. Photo by Kim Coffman

How, we ask, does food columnist and author John Mariani weigh less than an NFL tackle? The man who eats for a living swept through Houston on a foodie binge last week sampling lunch and dinners at RDG, Valentino and a host of other eateries. We pulled him aside between pastas and profiteroles to ask a few questions.

Q: How would you describe the current Houston restaurant scene?

A: It's more vibrant than most cities outside of New York. I would say that the reason I come here every year is because there really are restaurants that have to be checked out. Sometimes, I won't go to New Orleans for  a year. I may not get to Atlanta. But I just always have to come here. This trip, I've missed visiting a couple of places. I may have to come back before the end of summer. There are two or three more places that I want to see.

Q: How do you fight the battle of the bulge?

A: I try to watch it as much as possible. I try to get to the gym, do all the regulation things. And when you do it for a living, it's not that . . . I mean, this suit doesn't fit like it once did. The last time I went to the tailor and asked him to let my pants out, he said, "Look, I'm a tailor, not a magician."

Q: What is your exercise regimen?

A: I power walk for three miles then I go down to the gym for the Nautilus type machines and so forth.

Q: What are your eating habits when you are not visiting restaurants every lunch and dinner?

A: When I'm at home, I have a very small breakfast and a small lunch because invariably if I'm not out at a restaurant in New York, my wife is a phenomenally good cook. She co-authored our last book. So we always eat very well at my house and always with a bottle of wine.

Q: What do you do enjoy doing during your down time?

A: Napping and reading the paper.