Showing posts with label BATALI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BATALI. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Carbone Going Corporate


Thompson Street

The juggernaut, as the New York Times recently called then, The Torris Boys (Major Foods) is going corporate. "Watch Out Boys and Girls," that means exclusiveness, cachet, and overall cool factor goes down. Major expansion, they going corporate, McDonaldesque if you will. Well not quite, but you know what I mean. The so called Torrisi Boys, Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and partner Jeff Zalaznick who own and operate; Carbone, Parm (2 locations), Torrisi Italian Specialties, and ZZ plan on major expansion in the next couple of years with a large bakery/ restaurant downtown, that will partner with Melissa Weller and feature fresh baked; Bagels,Danish, Bear Claws, Challah Bread, yeast based and other baked goods. Jeff Zalaznick states, "It's going to be our version of Barney Greengrass."
     The partners whose Parm Restaurant on Mulberry Street next to their first place Torrisi Italian Specialties has been super successful from day one and quickly spawned a sister Parm at Yankee Stadium. The Torrisi Boys (Major Foods) plan on opening several more outposts of PARM all over New York, in; Battery Park, 2 in Brooklyn of which one be near to The Barclay's Center and another in Williamsburg, the Upper West Side and who knows where else? The New York Times says they plan on building Parm into a citywide Shake Shack style franchise. "Good Luck." Corporate, make a ton of money, but majorly lose cachet and so-called cool-factor. You can't have it all boys. They probably do.
    Most well-heeled New Yorkers hate chains a corporate conglomerates when it comes to restaurants. Many giant nation-wide food chains who've made it big in a large part of the country thought they'd come in to New York and knock-em-dead. Not! Discerning New Yorkers tend to like small independent restaurants, not corporate like Applebee's and Bennigans. When you see restaurants like Red Lobster and Olive Garden doing well around Times Square it's tourists and the less well healed New Yorkers going to them, the rest of us hate chain restaurants. 
    So it will remain to see what happens with Parm, Carbone and the now much smaller Major Foods (Torrisi Boys) empire. With a good number more Parm Outlets open, will the original loss it cachet and hot-factor? Who knows? Probably. And what of Carbone, the flagship of the corporation which has from day one and to this point (March 20, 2014) been uber-hot and still New York's Hottest Restaurant Ticket in Town? Time will tell, and ...



Mulberry Street

Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin



Monday, January 27, 2014

Italian WIne Time New York Brunello


January 27, 2014
Benvenuto Brunello

"Going to Tasting and Brunello Seminar in an hour. Will report back later or tomorrow ..
Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

Monday, October 21, 2013


Trattoria GUGINO
Tribeca NEW YORK

With Antonio (Palm Bay Imports)
and Author
Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

Been invited to a Wine Dinner tonight by Cinzia Travaglini to be held at Gigino Trattoria in Tribeca (New York, NY) ... Can't wait! Will be dining with Cinzia Travaglini, Chef Luigi, Antonio from Palm Bay and other restaurant wine people who have been lucky enough to get this rare and coveted invitation .. I don't know who the other guest are ..  Will report back tomorrow on the evening, the food, wine, and guests, etc..



We drank, we ate, whe talked we enjoyed .. A private tasting dinner with Cinzia Travaglini. Actually I thought there were going to be more people. Basically it was just me and Cinzia Travaglini tasting me on Travaglini's current vintages of fine wines. We were joined by ANtonio from Palm Bay, Travaglini's Importer, and then when we were finished eating, Chef Luigi joined our table as well. Cinzia started us out with her Nebbiolo Coste Della Sesia .. Travaglini is the unquestionable King of Gattinara, a small zone in northern Peidmonte .. The zone is only about 200 acres of which Travaglini comprises have of the entire zone. Gattinara is made mostly of Nebbiolo at 90 to 100% .. Gattinara may have up to 10% of Bonarda and Vespolina grapes, but all of the Travaglini Gattinara wines are made of 100% Nebbiolo ... Travaglini are Kings of Nebbiolo of which about 97% of their entire vineyards are planted to the grape, along with a very small amount of Uva Rara, Bonarda, and Vespolina .. Yes they are masters of Nebbiolo of which they have been growing since the 1920's ...
So Nenniolo and Gattinara are the thing of Travaglini .. They are the biggest as well as the most famous Gattinara with their signature Trademarked Gattinara Bottle .. OK, so we started out with the Nebbiolo Coste della Sesia which blew my mind. I absolutely loved the wine. It was in perfect balance, full of flavor, yet light in weight, the perfect combination in an Italian Wine which are among the most food friendly wines in the world. And that's what we were doing, food and wine, and yes friendliness too. This wine Coste della Sesia was an absolute marvel of a wine, that is very reasonably price and half to a third the price of the Travaglini Gattinara's which are at their price points quite reasonable for wines of the highest of quality. This is thought of as an entry level wine, but it is anything but. Yes I loved this wine that was perfectly in balance in flavor, tannic and acidic elements along with the correct weight and wonderful flavor of ripe berry fruits with a nice twinge of licorice, just lovely. Cinzia poured me just a little, but it was so good I had to ask for a little more, and then more a thrid and forth time. That's when you know a wine is good.
After the lovely Nebbiolo we moved on to the Gattinara's, thee wine of Travaglini .. We ordered some grilled Clamari and a Pizza Margherita and Chef Luigi sent us some special bread and a platter of Salumi. We all flipped for the Pizza which we all thought was the equal of the finest Pizza from Napoli "The Pizza Capital of The World." Well after all Chef Luigi is from Positano in the area near Naples on the gorgeous Amalfi Coast. We drank the Gattinara 2007 which as well as the Nebbiolo before was absolutely wonderful and a wine in perfect balance. Just delisous. It was then on to the Gattinara Riserva 2006, another winner, and then a very special and rare wine.
The special rare wine in question was il Sogno, which was a special project created by Cinzia's father Giancarlo Travaglini in 2004 ... Giancarlo wanted to make a dry table wine using the appassimento method of drying grapes before the fermentation process as with the famed wines of Amarone and the lesser known Sforvato of Lombardia. Giancarlo picked some of his best Nebbiolo Grapes and set them out to dry on matts. Unfortunately Giancarlo passed away in November of 20024 when the grapes had only been drying for 1 month. Cinzia and her winemaker husband continued the project.  They finished drying thr Nebbiolo grapes, fermented them and made the wine that tey called il Sogno "The Dream." 
So Cinzia poured me a glass of il Sogno, and again my mind was blown. The wine an absolute gem had all sorts of wonderful flavors running through my mouth. It was delisious, it had power, but not too much as some big AMarone sometimes do. The wine was a delight and I'm looking forward to putting it on my own list.
We also drank the Gattinara "Tre Vigna," The Three Vineyards .. The fruit for Tre Vigna comes from 3 very special small vineyards on the Travaglini Estate. These 3 different vineyards have different geographical vineyards on the estate and bring different characteristics to the wine to make up one complete and wonderful structure of a wine, 
Travaglini Gattinara "Tre Vigne"
 So we drank the fine wines from Cinzia Travaglini, we had perfect Pizza, Antipasti, followed by some wonderful Tagiatelle con Tartufo and Brasato di Manzo (Braised Beef), and finished up with some tasty desserts. It was a fine night and a dinner that along with the many wonderful private luncheons and dinners I have had over the years with some of Italy's most prestigious winemakers, like Cinzia, I remeber them all, and I will always remember this one, absolutely Wonderful!

Daniel Bellino-Zwicke


Looking Down From GUGINO'S
October  21, 2013
Tribeca, NEW YORK, NY

Monday, June 10, 2013


Torrisi Boys "Carbone Team" scrap Lobster Club idea to open "ZZ" Clam Bar, the  Carbone-Torissi Boys Trilogy is complete .. The so-called Torissi-Boys team of Rich Torissi, Mario Carbone and Jeff Zalaznick will now each have a restaurant named after themselves.
 Looks like Mario Carbone got his way on this one. Rumor has it that Mario was never in to the Lobster Roll idea. Zalaznick was hot on jumping on the Hot Lobster roll Band Wagon, Mario Carbone not so much, and we don't know how Rich Torissi felt on the subject. We're sure they all talked it out and in the end all decided against the Lobster Roll Joint in favor of  The Clam Bar which should complement their presence on Thompson Street in Greenwich Village along with, of course their hugely successful "Carbone" at 181 Thompson. Sure Foodies and most of New York is anxious to see the new joint ZZ Clam Bar and hoping for the best, and the Clam Bar should be a consolation prize for those trying to get into Carbone, but can't. Well, maybe not, the Clam Bar is to have just 12 seats itself. Should be interesting ....

“We are crazy about high-end raw fish,” he said. “And obsessed with cocktails.” 
...... Rich Torrisi, Chef / Partner ZZ CLAM BAR, CARBONE, & PARM

Picture Art-Work Property of Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

BAR PITTI and More .. In Italian-American Greenwich Village Native's Daniel Bellino-Zwicke's "La TAVOLA"

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Pete Wells, The New York Times food critic gives Carbone 3 Stars, but his Review barely rates a Fair. It was an awful Blase Review of New York's Hottest new Restaurant, Carbone. Don't get your signals crossed, Wells didn't right badly about Carbone, it's just that his writing style of this article wasn't very good, it was again, in fact Blase and harkens back to the awful New York Times Reviews of Frank Bruni .. The article had no sustenance, no pizzazz. Wells told as that the Vongole could have been more flavorful, The Tira Mi Su wasn't that good, that the Veal Parm was the way you always hoped it would be. He liked the Rigatoni and Tortellini, as well as Lobster Fra Diavolo and Scampi.
We've been waiting a few months for The New York Times to review Carbone and we gotta say, the reveiw is a disappointment. Grub Street, The New York Observer, New York Magazine, and even The New York Post put out better reviews to The Times Blase one.
Pete Wells generally writes a good review, but this one, as The Big Boys in Brooklyn would say, Fuhgettabout-it !!! You get a "Satisfactory" on this one Pete. In the end, not many will remember how poorly this review was written, but the fact that Carbone got a 3 Star New York Times review.  And I'm sure Mario Carbone and Rich Torissi could care less that the piece wasn't written very well, but that they got 3 Stars. For now on, that's all they are anyone will say, Three Stars from The New York Times. Basta!

Friday, March 8, 2013


Yes Boys and girls "Mario Batali" is no longer the only Mario in Town ! The town of Greenwich Village that is where Mario Batali has been The King Mario for some years now with such renowned restaurants as; Po', Babbo, and Lupa .. Here comes Mario, Mario Carbone that is, a former employee of Mr. Batali at Del Posto where Mario Carbone was a Sous-Chef before opening two renowned restaurants of his own, Torrisi Italian Specialties and "Parm" both side-by-side in 
Noho / Little Italy ...
Mario Carbone is now opening his namesake restaurant "Carbone" in the old Rocco's space on Sullivan Street across from Mario Batali's Roman Trattoria "Lupa." Mario Carbone with Co-Chef and Business Partner Rich Torrisi unlike Batali who mostly serves hard-core-authentic Italian Cuisine (of Italy) with Batali twists here-and-there will be serving Italian-American Classics. Mario Carbone that is. Carbone promises old New York Italian Favorites like; Baked Clams, Meatballs, Linguine Vongole (Clam Sauce), Lobster Fra D'Avlo and other Italian and Italian-American Classics. Carbone also says that they are looking to evoke 1950's Downtown New York Italian style restaurant.
Torrisi and Carbone have done a fine job with their two previous restaurants Parm and Torrisi Italian Specialties and we're hoping they will continue, and expect they will at "Carbone." These guys are loved by their followers, yet disdained by some and have already receive quite a bit of negativity on the Internet it seems from the mainly fans of Rocco's who don't want to see these guys at Rocco's and in the neighborhood. I for one used to go to Rocco's and loved the place. I also like what Torissi and Carbone are doing, and I'm looking forward to Carbone being quite good. If I can't have Rocco's, I'll take Carbone, and am hoping and betting this Mario is gonna be a Winner in The Village, and Greenwich Village Italian and the long honored history it has. good Luck boys!

Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

Sunday, January 27, 2013




"Ronzoni Sono Buoni," if you are Italian and grew up in the New York area in the great decades of the 1960's and or 70s you know the slogan. We Italians do love our pasta, we're weened on it! Pasta is the main staple of our diet. Many are fanatical about and love it so, they insist on having it several times a week. I'm one. Pasta, can be covered in a wide variety of sauces,  in some soups like; Pasta Fagoli (Pasta Fazool), in Minestrone's, with Pasta and Peas, and Pasta con Ceci (Chick Peas). Yes, we are weened on it. Mommy gave me, my bothers and sister Pastina coated in a bit of butter and Parmigiano when we were just toddlers  and every so often I have to pick up a box of Ronzoni Pastina, as I love and crave it still, and of late as with many my age, you start craving things you loved as a child, thus my stints with PASTINA ."Ronzoni Sono Buoni," it means, Ronzoni is So Good, and that it is. This brand of  Pasta, born in New York City at the turn of the 20th Century has been a mainstay of not only Italian-Americans of the East Coast but, for all. For years before the surge of many a imported pasta product in the U.S., Ronzoni, was not the only game in town for Macaroni, there was the Prince and Creamette, as well, but Ronzoni dominated the market and though I don't have stats, I would wage to say that 85 to 90 % of all commercial pasta sold in the New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia areas was Ronzoni, the pasta in the bright blue boxes, Ronzoni Sono Buoni. God I wonder how many plates and bowls of Spaghetti, Ziti and other Ronzoni pastas I ate over the years, starting with Pastina as a toddler  and moving to Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce or Meatballs, Baked Ziti, Stuffed Shells and more. Oh “Stuffed Shells,” they bring back memories of my mother who loved them. We had them often, along with Lasagna made with Ronzoni Lasagana. You don't see Stuffed Shells around that much any more, they used to be on many a restaurant and even more home menus. There popularity has waned, but every once and a while I'll pick up a box of Ronzoni large shells, just for the purpose of bringing back those memories of mom making them and me loving them as  a child. I'll make a batch of tomato sauce, cook the Ronzoni Shells, and stuff them with ricotta and Parmigiano, bake them in tomato sauce, and "Voila" Stuffed Shells of days gone by. I do the same with a Pastina as I still love the dish so, dressed with butter and fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano, “makes me feel like a kid again!” Yum, delicious little pleasure you can whip up in minutes and bring back visions of your youth. All with some butter, Parmigiano and a box of Ronzoni Pastina. That's Ronzoni, every bit a part of my life and youth as a spring ol Slinky, Etch-A-Sketch, The Three Stooges, Saturday Morning Cartoons, and all the favorites of my youth, Ronzon Sono Buoni, “Ronzoni it's so good!”

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From an Article in the New York Times 1974

I'm sure these facts are no longer true, as many Americans now buy a lot more imported Italian pasta then they did back in 1974. In the 1950's, 60's 70's  and even into the 1980's  Ronzoni dominated the past market, not only in New York, but for the entire country. 

1  -   New York is the largest market for pasta in America, accounting for 20% of all pasta sales in
         America, comes from New York.

2  -   Ronzoni sells more than 40% of all pasta sold in New York.

3  -   Ronzoni's sales were more than $40 Million dollars in 1973.




The Ronzoni Macaroni Company is discontinuing Pastina, due to low sales. "What" ? Yes folks, it's true.  After 107 of being one of Italian-America's favorite pastas, and the one maccheroni products is always the first one we eat, as Italian mothers feed their little babies Ronzoni Pastina, dressed in a little butter as one of the first solid foods their baby will eat, thus one of Italian-America's most time honored traditions. We all Love our pastina. But no more. Not Ronzoni Pastina anyway. Yes, a sad day for us Italians. We will have to find another brand of pastina, even though Ronzoni's is our most beloved, it will be no more.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Di Fara Pizza ... A Religious Experience

Yes," Eating Pizza Made by The Maestro DOM DeMARCO
Is a Religious Experience !!!

   Much has been said of the now famed Pizzeria (DiFara Pizza) on Avenue J in Brooklyn, New York the Capital of Thee Best Pizza in the whole United States of America, bar-none, even Manhattan. Brooklyn lays claim to the Top two Pizzerias in the country, the top of the list 1 and 2, number 1, The Best and number 2, the second best. Well no, I don't know if I should put it that way, as it sound s as one is better than the other, which is not ht e case, as they are both equally good, equally Great and equally the Best Pizza and the Best Pizzerias in the United States, though they are are little different than one another. The Pizza at both Totonno's on Neptune Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York  and Di Farra Pizza on Avenue J in Brooklyn are both otherworldly specimens  of some the Finest Pizza on other and the Undisputed Best Pizza in America.
   Wow, got off on a tangent about both Di Farra and Totonno's when I just intended to talk about Di Farra Pizza, Dom DeMarco the Maestro of Di Farra's and the Religious experience that it is to go there, watch Dominic masterfully make Pizza after glorious Pizza (without the help of anyone else), to watch in awe and anticipation and Salivation til you finally get yours (after about a hour or hour and a half wait), you hold it in your hand like a precious baby, and then to sink your teeth into it, savoring each wondrous bite after the other. "Yes," it is truly a religious experience, that is, if you are a great lover of this wonderful invention, created in Napoli, spread throughout the the Italian Peninsular and then across the Atlantic to America from Italian Immigrants where Gennaro Lombardi opened the First Pizzeria in America on Prince Street in New York City some 100 years ago or so.
    Back to Di Farra and Pizzaiolo Extraordinaire, Mr. Dominic DeMarco. It is Dominic that makes Di Farra what it is, it certainly isn't the Pizzeria itself which is ultra plain and even appalling to some. Mr. DeMarco's pizzas are just about as close to absolute perfection in the Pizza Making World, a world in which New York City excels and has only one rival in Naples, Italy and the whole of Italy itself. Mr. De Marco has the magic touch, with perfect dough, the perfect balance of ingredients, tomato and other ingredient ratio to cheese, and this include Mr. Demarcos judicious use of Olive Oil which is right-on and a little magic touch that whoever complains about it, just does not know there Pizza and Italian Food on a whole. We Italians love our olive oil. And those who complain are unaware that it is a condiment that adds the final last touch to many dishes before they are eaten. Dominic knows this and should not be discourage against his generous use of it by those who do not understand the proper essence of the Italian Table. So please, keep your traps shut, if you don't like it don't eat it, this countries finest examples of the Pizza Art.
     And on to the religious experience of Di Fara, Dom DeMarco and the mans artistry with Pizza. There is nothing quite like it in the entire Pizza World. There does not exist, to my knowledge any place in the world that has an elderly man making a hundred plus Pizzas a day in a place that has endless lines, day and night. Pizza that are so perfect, words can not describe  People line up for greatness and artistry, and for a couple of slices of the most marvelous pizza this side of Naples, and to watch this passionate little old man work his heart out, not getting, not allowing anyone else to make a pie at his beloved Pizzeria. The man is elderly. He's worked his whole life. He makes such a magical thing that people line up each and every day to see him and eat one of his many masterpieces. With business like this, he could hire to other Pizzaiolos to help him, doubling or tripling his business and and financial intake. He could hire two guys and make pizza aloing with them, or sit back and get three guys to do it. At his age, he's entitled to. But know, Dom DeMarco loves what he does, he loves his Pizza, each and every one that passes that counter and into thousands of appreciative hands. The man feels that no one else can make a Pizza the way he does; and wants; he grinds   
chunks of Peceriono Romano in an old hand cranked meat grinder and sprinkles on each pie just before serving, along with cutting fresh Basil onto the Pizza at the last moment after Dom's prerequisite drizzling of the Olive Oil giving two different taste and contrast on the same pie, one baked on (Cheese) and one applied at the last moment, devoid of the hot oven heat. Dom guilds the Lilly, so to speak. This is truth, not just a figure of speech.
    Yes Dom makes each and every Pizza that goes out or is consume on the spot, at DiFarra's. No one else has his skills, his passion and love for the Pizza, thus he does it all himself. And this my friends is the reason that going to Di Farra's to watch Dominic the maestro in action, all by himself while hundreds of people line up every day, waiting an hour and a half to two hours just to get a Pizza (not just any old Pizza mind you). "It's a Religious Experience." Truly! A show and there is nothing like it in the World, Dom DeMarco, a man and his Pizza, America's Best, and something to rival that other World Pizza Capital, Napoli.

by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

by Daniel Bellino Zwicke