Monday, January 7, 2013

PJ CLarke's A Favorite of The Late Great Frank Sinatra

Are you a True Downtowner who has found themselves for one reason or another on the Upper East Side and needed a good place to have a drink and grab a good Burger. You need a good joint, not a obnoxious Sports Bar with 20 annoying Flat Screen TVs. You're not from BumFu_k Iowa, so Applebee's or Tj McFunsters just won't do. You're a Downtowner, you need a inexpensive, unpretentious, non-contrived place with a Cool Vibe. Well for years now, my Go-To all-around place on the Upper East Side (for the Rare Times I'm in that neighborhood) is without question PJ Clarke's. The ambiance is beyond compare, wonderfully well worn, charming, and awash in History.
    PJ Clarke's was one of Sinatra's Favorites along with the 21 Club, Jilly's and Patsy's on 56th Street. And speaking of Sinatra who recorded a wonderful version of "One For My Baby" which was written at PJ Clarke's on a Cocktail Napkin by the great Johnny Mercer in 1941.
    When I go to PJ Clarke's, I'm thinking of a Burger, a Beer or Bourbon Old Fashion, and an order of Onion Rings. With all the rage of Burger's these days, PJ Clarke's has been serving one of New York's tastiest Burgers for close to a Hundred Years. Even Jackie Kennedy loved PJ Clarke Burgers and ate them often. And Nat King Cole proclaimed after eating a tasty Bacon Cheeseburger that it was the Cadillac of Burgers. "You know Nat, I agree." And combined with the wonderful ambiance, History, and allure of the place, PJ Clarke's just ca not be beat. Try it!

by Daniel Bellino Zwicke


One of Sinatra's favorite joints .....
Johnny Mercer wrote One For My Baby a Sinatra Favorite on a Cocktail Napkin at PJ Clarke's  .....
Jackie Kennedy often brought John F. Kennedy Jr. for a Saturday lunch Burger.......
Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman) orders a Burger here in The French Connection ...
Author Charles Jackson was a regular at PJ Clarke's and in the movie version with ray Miland, PJ Clarke's was used and called Nat's Bar in the movie ...
On June 20, 1958 Buddy Holly proposed to his fiancee there ...
Johnny Depp gave a gift of a Guitar to Keith Richards and Keef played on the spot Brown Sugar ....
PJ Clarke's was a Favorite of Ted Kennedy, Richard Harris, Jake LaMotta, and Dick Clark, all of who love the burger ...
Regular Liza Minelli loves the PJ Clarke Burger as well ...

Sunday, January 6, 2013


When Will Totonno's Re-Open ?
Closed Since and Because of Hurricane Sandy

The two biggest stories and concerns of The New York Culinary Restaurant Foodie scene, whatever you want to call it, for the New Year of 2013, is # 1 when will are beloved Totonno's on Neptune Avenue, Coney Island re-open? And maybe # 2 might be, what's going on with the former Rocco's space on Thompson Street in Greenwich Village, taken over by Parm Team of Rich Torissi and Mario Carbone? Well we don't know much as of this moment. They say Totonno's will be open by mid-January, I wish but wouldn't count on it. We'll see.
   As for The Parm Boys Carbone & Torrisi their spot in the old Rocco's space, I can see they are making progress. A new store-front is almost done. Inside who knows. It's time for Mario to get his name on one of their restaurants. This new one will be named Carbone and if their first two places ( Torrisi Italian Specialties and Parm) are an indication, Carbone will be well received, it should be updated Red Sauce Food and Restaurant, and will most likely be a huge hit. I've got a feeling these guys will Hit  Another Home Run.
   Well, we can't wait to go out to Totonno's and have some more of their superb Pizza. And we're looking forward to Carbone and what those guys are up to and all that. Hoping for the best, as always.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Yes "The Coolest Restaurant In Town" It's The Minetta Tavern, "nothing can touch it" in The Cool Department .. This Gem of a Restaurant has  "Thank God" been preserved by Restaurant Master Genius Keith McNally who acquired the space which luckily no-one had foolishly messed with any of the marvelous 1930s Greenwich Village Decor. McNally just spruced the Tavern up and inserted renowned Chefs Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson as Co-Executive Chefs. Keith added his special touch "He's a Master" and the rest is New York Restaurant History .  As with most of McNally's establishments Minetta Tavern quickly became the Hottest Restaurant and Hardest Table in Town, filled with: A-List Celebs and all the right people needed to make any place "Thee In-Spot" in town, the place every wants to be. Everyone in the know. In doing so, Keith McNally and his Minetta Tavern quickly became the # 1 Hottest Restaurant in town and dethroned Graydon Carter's "Waverly Inn" as the Top Celebrity Central Restaurant in New York, and a few years down the road, Minetta Tavern still is "The Place to Be."

Photo Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
    The place has the most wonderful ambiance imaginable, with tons of energy (from the Crowd), and Very Good Solid Bistro-Steak House Fare, along with two of the top Burgers in Town.     And speaking of the Burgers, take it from an expert "Me" The Minetta Burger is Superior to The Black label Burger which all the "Followers" think is the better of the two "Not." !!! Hey they're followers.    Yes Minetta Tavern is The Coolest Restaurant in town, with wonderful Cool, warm and exciting ambiance, excellent service, and dam good Eats. Check it! 

  Daniel Bellino Zwicke



Photo Daniel Zwicke



Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 10.11.22 AM



Sunday, December 30, 2012


The Perfect Newport Steak? What? I make it. Not everyone can. Number 1, you have to start with a Great Steak, a Newport Steak. A Steak not known to many. Well if you're fortunate to live in New York's Greenwich Village, you might know about them. Then again, you might not, cause just because you live in The Village, doesn't mean you know of this little thing of wonder, The Newport Steak. The Newport Steak is a thing of wonder, especially if you love Steak but don't want to shell out about $19.00 a piece or more to get one. That's uncooked from the butcher, a nice Prime Sirloin Steak that is. Now a Newport Steak on the other hand will cost you about $7.50 on the average, or roughly 2 1/2 times less than a Sirloin, and you do not give up on taste or quality. It's just as good. Maybe better.

The Perfect Newport Steak
Bordeaux and Chianti
"And You Can't Hear But 
Are Playing in The Background
"BLISS !!!

   It is said that The Newport Steak was created by Jack Ubaldi, an Italian immigrant who owned a Butcher Shop in New York's heavily Italian Greenwich Village some time around 1947. The Newport Steak is actually most commonly known as Tri Tip Steak and comes from the Bottom Sirloin portion of a cow. The Tri Tip is not well known nor much in demand. Well not among the masses, but we "Smart Ones" know better. We always get equal or better quality of anything, but always pay less. Thus the case of a Tri-Tip or if as we call it in New York's Greenwich Village "The Newport Steak" In California, Californians know it as The Santa Maria Steak.
   Anyway, Mr. Ubaldi, wanted to sell this lesser known cut to his customers, but didn't want to sell it as Tri Tip, he wanted a catchyer name. A name that would help sell this wonderful little steak, that was oh so tasty and cost far less than Sirloin, T-Bone, Porter House or Rib Steaks. He wanted a name that in the name itself would sell the steak. One day jack Ubaldi was looking at a pack of Newport Cigarettes and noticed that the logo of Newports was more or less the same shape of the Tri Tip Steaks that he cut. Right then and there Jack Ubaldi named his cut of Tri Tip 
"The Newport Steak" the name caught on and they've been selling Newport Steaks at Florence Meat Market on Jones Street in Greenwich Village ever since. They're are a couple other spots in the area where you can get a Newport Steak. Ottomanelli's down the block at Bleecker and Joes Streets sells them, as well as Pino's Prime Meats on Sullivan Street, and is a place where I often pick up a Newport Steak or two, along with ones from the original Florence Meat Market.
     Well, I picked up a couple the other night and cooked them for me and a friend. As usual, they came out perfectly. We had a Couple good bottles of wine as well, in a nice bottle of Villa Sesta Chianti and a fine Bordeaux. And if that wasn't good enough, and don't you think it should have been? We listened to The Rolling Stones while I cooked those "Tasty Steaks" some Roast Potatoes and Carrots. Those steaks, yes they were Perfect. Not many people can cook a Steak as Good as Me, "No Brag Just Fact." Yes it's Fact, I can cook a Steak Better than anyone of ever met or eaten a steak cooked by another, and that includes Steaks I've had at Sparks Steak House, Peter Luger and other places renowned for their steaks. If you knew me, you'd know I'm telling the truth. Ask anyone who has ever eaten a Steak that I've cook, "They tell you."
  Any way, yes the Steaks were perfect. My mouth is watering now just thinking about them. Dam, I tell you, Those Newport Steaks were "So Dam Good" they were practically "Orgasmic" I kid you not. Ask my Pal Chris, or my Buddies Raoul or Jimmy S, they'll tell you. So we had The Perfect Steak, drank Chianti, and listened to The World's Greatest Rock Band of All-Time "The Rolling Stones." And yes Boys and Girls, Ladies and Gentlemen, "Sometimes Life Can Be Blissful." Yes It Can.

Daniel Bellino Zwicke

Newport Steaks are Cut From The Tri-Tip mof The Bottom Sirloin


FLORENCE MEAT MARKET    "The ORIGINAL" Jack Ubaldi Created The Newports Steak here at Florence Meat Market in the 1940s ..... Jones Street (Near Bleecker)
 Greenwich Village, New York, NY

PINO'S PRIME MEATS .....  Sullivan Street, Soho, New York NY

OTTOMANELLI'S  ....  Bleecker Street between Jones and 7th Avenue, Greenwich Village

A Couple Fresh
Newport Steaks
Ready to Cook

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The McRib Back In NEW YORK

YES BOYS and GIRLS, IT'S BACK! Had One Yesterday, and My Second Today ... What?
The "McRib" It's Back and I've Had two!!  This Is BETTER Than Christmas.

WHERE?  McDonalds on 6th Avenue Between 14th and 15th Streets in New York City ...
YES! NEW YORK NEW YORK !!! We've got The "McRib" BACK ! Oh HAPPY DAY! When The McRib Comes, Oh Yes McRib Has Come !

And Guess What? The Rolling Stones are Back Too! Wow, This Is Too Much Happiness, The Stones and The McRib Both Back and All in The Same Month December 2012, One of The Greatest Months of Any YEAR EVER !

"McRib" News FLASH !!! SUNDAY, December 16, 2012 The McRib Was Spotted at McDonalds on Broadway South of Astor Place (8th Street) Greenwich Village, New York, NY

The McRib 
Is Back in New York

Saturday, December 8, 2012


  The Big Guns of Italian Wine were out on the town again. Italian-Wine Guys Charles Scicolone and were spotted at the Italian trade Commissions Gala Wine Tasting in The Cotillion Room at the famed Pierre Hotel on Fifth Avenue in New York drinking, Tasting and discussing their Favorite Italian Wines of the day, which included the likes of Sesti Chianti, Biondi Santi Brunello, Bertani Amarone, Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria, various Prosecco and other fine Italian Wines.
     Charles and Daniel are often spotted at most important Italian Wine Events in New York and Italy, including, The Annual Brunello Tasting, Vinitaly in Verona, Italy, New York Italian Wine Distributors, and The City's most important Italian-Tasting of the Year, The Tre Bicchieri Tasting in March of Italy's Top Wines of The Year.

Daniel Bellino-Zwicke 
and Charles Scicilone
at Pierre Hotel
New York, NY

Monday, December 3, 2012


  The Feast of The 7 Fish, a great new book, just in time for Christmas, and Italian-American Christmas at that. The Feast of The 7 Fish, or as it's know in its birth place of Southern Italy the "Vigilia" The Vigil is the great Italian Christmas Eve Ritual Meal of The 7 Fish that represent The Seven Sacraments of The Roman Catholic Church. Some believe the Seven Fish represent The 7 Days of Creation or The Seven Hills of Rome, but most go by the ethos that The 7 Fish represent The Seven Sacraments. So many Italians have this meal of 7 different fish on Christmas Eve, The Vigil, waiting for the Birth of The Baby Jesus.
    Many would be surprised to know that this great ritual is mostly practiced by Southern Italians and Italian Americans who the great majority are of the South. Well the surprise would come in the fact that many Italians in Italy have never heard of the Vigilia "The Feast of The 7 Fish."  These Italians are from Central Italy on up to the north. It is believed the Vigilia, the meal of The Feast of The 7 Fish was started in and around the great Southern Italian City of Naples (Napoli) and its environs and that its practiced most fervently in-and-around Napoli as well as most of the South including Apulia and Sicily.
   The Feast of The 7 Fish - An Italian-American Christmas Eve Feast by Daniel Bellino Zwicke is a wonderful knew book of this great Southern Italian and Italian-American Tradition. The book is filled with stories and recipes on the feast on a whole and individual dishes, and if you're looking to partake and make this wonderful meal, this book "The Feast of The 7 Fish" is just the ticket. It takes you every step of the way to the Feast and gives you suggestions on making The Feast with 7 different Fish in 7 courses, 7 Fish in 3 courses and various different routes to take, which make the meal simpler or a little more complex, depending on which route" you choose" to take. The book is delightful and a "Must Have" for anyone thinking of making this great meal (The Most Fabulous Christmas Meal in The World), whether it's your first time or you've done it before and are looking for new ideas and angles, Daniel Bellino Zwicke's "The Feast of The 7 Fish" is the ticket for you.

Joseph Cremona