Thursday, September 20, 2018

Pizza Night in Jersey

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Pizza Town
Route 46 , Garfield , New Jersey
"The First Place I ever had a Calzone!"
  My first memories of PIZZA were from Bella Pizza in East Rutherford, New Jersey. I was a young boy and this Pizzeria just opened on Park Avenue. It was a standard Pizzeria like many others found all over the New York-New Jersey metro area, serving solid pizza just the way the locals like it. The pizza was of a high standard as all the pizza must be if you’re going to make and sell Pizza in the heavily Italian-Populated New York and New Jersey areas. A large pie which you just ordered as a Pizza, the one that is known as Pizza Margherita in Italy is made of the pizza dough topped with tomato sauce, Mozzarella Cheese, salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. Basta!    The Pizza in America are much larger than those made in Italy and are cut into 8 triangular slices and are enough for 2 or 3 people to eat, or even four if you’re not that hungry or sharing a Pizza just as a snack in-between meals. I can still remember the price of the pizza at Bella Pizza in East Rutherford back in the 60s a whole pie cost just $1.50 and a slice was .20 cents. So if you wanted what they call in Napoli and all over Italy the Pizza Margherita, you just simply ordered a Pizza, or a Cheese Pie, or simply a Pie, meaning it was with Tomato, Mozzarella , and Basil and no other toppings. And if you wanted extra toppings, you just say a Pepperoni Pie, or half mushroom half pepperoni, or a Sausage Pie or whatever. That’s the way it was and more or less still is with ordering Pizza at your standard pizzeria. Nowadays most pizza cost between $2.25 and $2.75 a slice and about $16.00 to $20 and even more for a whole plain pie.    Anyway, as most kids did and do, we loved eating pizza, and on most Friday nights it was Pizza Night for many families in Jersey. Mom didn’t want to cook that night, the kids loved getting pizza and looked forward to it as a special treat on Friday nights, as we knew it as Pizza Night and we just loved it. We’d have pizza, Coca-Cola and some sort of sweets, a cake or Ice Cream for desserts after we ate our Pizza. Yes Friday Night Pizza was always a much loved treat as a child growing up in Jersey in the 1960s and 70s. We’d listen to WABC Radio and Top 20 Hits, R&B, and Rock-N-Roll and all was fine in the World, we had all that we needed. How I miss those sweet days of youth and a simpler time than today. Back then you had everything you needed in life. We had Radio and TV and we still do today. We had Cars that were beautiful unlike some of the ugly ones of today. We had the Telephone, no cel phones or internet, we didn’t need them. We all had a Football, a Basketball, a Baseball Bat, Baseball, and Glove to play Baseball, Basketball, and Football as all healthy American boys did back then. We didn’t have Video Games but we had Aurora Racing Car sets, maybe Electric Trains, and wonderful Board Games like; Monopoly, Candyland, Chess, Checkers, Stratego, and Battle Ship. And one of the most wonderful things we had back then in the 60s & 70s was great music unlike the Crap they call music today, we had Great Top 100 Hits, wonderful R&B sounds of Motown and The Philly Sound, we had The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Rock-N-Roll, what do the kids have for music today? Sadly, just Crap Rap and the other garbage they think is music. Yes it’s quite sad what has happened to music in the past 20 years. But yes we had everything we needed; Radio, TV, cars, a stereo, Sports, great music to listen to, and Pizza, we always had Pizza, we still do.    Well sorry, I got off topic, but it’s all part of the story you see. In Italy when it comes to Pizza it’s a bit different than the way Pizza is done in America. Pizza was born in Napoli where it is revered into a high religion and is to made just so. The Pizza is much smaller and is made for one and they do not make slices unless you are in Rome or other parts of Italy where they make Pizza that is made in large pans ahead of time and then cut into squares and heated up when a customer orders some. That’s Pizza Taglio, and most Pizza made in Italy is Neapolitan Pizza that is made to order. As we’ve said they are individual sized (about 12” round) for one person and made to order and are cooked in hot wood burning ovens to strict standardized specifications. A Pizza Margherita made in the true Neapolitan fashion is made with fresh tomato puree, olive oil, salt, fresh garlic, basil, and mozzarella placed on top, then the pizza cooks in the hot wood burning oven, and is ready in just about 4-5 minutes. Pizza Margherita was created by Raffaella Esposito in 1889 where he was working at Pizzeria di Pietro. He made the Pizza and named it in honor of Queen Margherita of Savoy who was visiting Naples (Napoli) at the time. American Pizza on the other hand is made with a cooked sauce and we tend to put more sauce and cheese than they do in Italy .    Now, my own experience eating Pizza in Italy. Well the first pizza I first had in Italy was Pizza Taglio (pan Pizza) and not the Classic Neapolitan Pizza, which is by far the dominant pizza in all Italy, and though there is Pizza Taglio which is sold in square slices, it’s a mere fraction as far as its presence goes, which is just about 1% of all Pizza consumed in Italy is Pizza Taglio, the rest being classic Neapolitan. Anyway, there’s very good pizzeria that makes Pan Pizza close to the train station in Rome. Like other pizzerias that make Pizza Taglio in Italy, there’s an array of different pizzas with different toppings that are already made and are laid out before you. You choose which type of pizza you’d like, tell them the size you want, they cut it and weight it to determine the price by weigh. Yes the pizza is a bit different in America, but it’s dammed good, and America makes the world’s best pizza outside of Italy. And as far as Pizza goes in America, everyone knows that the best Pizza in the country is made in New York, and especially in Brooklyn with great shrines to Pizza in the form of; Tottono’s in Coney Island, Grimaldi’s, and DiFara Pizza by Pizza Maestro Dom DeMarco. Then you’ve got John’s on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village and the first Pizzeria ever to exist in the United States Lombardi’s on Prince Street, established in 1905.    Anyway, enough with the technicalities of Pizza, sometimes things are analyzed too much, just eat it and enjoy. We loved eating Pizza on Pizza Night or any time of the week when we were lucky enough to get it. And there is one particular time that I always remember. We went on a trip with our local church to the big beautiful Riverside Cathedral in New York one time, and it was a very special trip. When we came home, the Priest and other church officials made a little Pizza Party for us in the church basement. They ordered a bunch of Pizzas for all the kids (Grownups too) and it was a very special thing for us, as pizza always was and even so to this day. Yes there’s nothing like when you’re a child and they have a Pizza Party for you, we just loved it. And so these are my memories of Pizza.   Excerpted From "MANGIA ITALIANO" Memories of Italian Food        by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
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Typical Large Pie for PIZZA NIGHT in The 60s
Growing Up Italian in America, Italian Food, Italy, and more, 
in best selling author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke's 
latest book, Mangia Italiano - Memories of Italian Food.
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The Latest From Daniel Bellino "Z"

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Feast Seven Fish Italian Christmas Cookbook Recipes

luca brasi


Sonny "  "What the Hell is this?" !!!!

Clemenza :   "It's a Siciian Message ... It means Luca Brasi swims with the Fish"






Starring :  AL PACINO

Learn How to Make The FEAST of 7 FISH

"EVERYTHING You Ever Wanted to Know About The FEAST of The 7 FISHES  but was AFRAID to Ask"



The BEST BURGER in Town is The CHEESEBURGER 4 Charles Prime





With Cousin Joe Macari

4 Charles Prime

4 Charles Street


Recipe How to Make a Proper NEGRONI


     "We also had; Oysters , SHRIMP COCKTAIL, 

 Mashed Potaoes, Fries, and Dessert


Greenwich Village







The Cutting of The BURGER



Cousin Tommy Macari


September  17, 2018










and More ..


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Chet Baker Jazz Chicken Dinner

Chet Baker

Came up with a new one the other night. It was at one of our dinners that we have a couple time a month, when we cook, drink wine, and listen to some great music on Vinyl .. Vinyl Records that is, and some great music, not like any of the crap they make today, but great artist of the 20th Century like; Frank Sinatra , Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Albert King, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and greats like Chet Baker. What's that? You never heard of Chet Baker? You're forgiven, many have not.

Chet Baker was one of the 20th Cenury's greatest and most unique Jazz Artist. He played Trumpet and had a positively unique singing style that was Super Cool and all his own. Baker played with Jazz Greats Charlie Parker and Jerry Mulligan before forming his own band and going out on his own in 1953, when he recorded and released Chet Baker Sings ...
Chet Bakers most famous recordings are; My Funny Valentine and Let's Get Lost ...

OK, back to the Chicken and Chet Dinner ...  So my friends and I were having one of our little dinner parties at Chris's place on Thompson Street (Greenwich Village) .. As we usually do, we decide what we were going to eat, we buy the food, get some wine and cook dinner. As always the elements of our little dinner parties are; the food, some very good wine, and lots of great music, some on vinyl, some on CDs ... No matter what we make, we usually always have some nice cheese to start the meal with. We decide on some music, and crack open our first bottle of wine. This night, Chris had already decided on chicken, which we all agreed would be great. He made some buttered carrots and Couscous to accompany the Chicken. Chris picked up a nice bottle of Au Bon Climant Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara that was quite nice, and I brought a bottle of Fausto Maculans Brentino ...

Chris was cooking the chicken, and we were listening to Eric Clapton, Ron Wood, and Pete Towsend's Raibow Concert LP .. A great album that's a bit obscure, but can you imagine, Clapton, Pete twonsend and Ron Wood all playing together? Friggin amazing. I myself had never heard of this concert and live recording album until Chris turned me on to it. It's awesome. Chris had some Zeppelin playing when we sat down to dinner, and I told him we had to tone the music down while eating. Like most civilized people I can't listen to loud music when eating so I requested a slow down. Chris asked what I wanted? He had been playing some Chet Baker when I arrived at his apartment, so I said I could go for some more Chet. He obliged.
The chicken was quite tasty, the wine was flowing and Chet sounded just fine. 

The next day I sent Chris a Text thanking him for the CHICKEN and CHET , and so it's been coined. Everytime we have a Chicken Dinner now, we must also have some Chet, Chicken and Chet, it's our latest thing .. A dinner theme to add to our already famous Chianti Rolling Stones and Newport Steaks (dinner), as well Pork Chops Vino and Soul ... 

Oh and by the way, dessert is always Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and all is well with; Chianti Steak or Chicken, The Rollign Stones and Rock N Roll, R&B, Chet Baker and Peanut Butter Cups .. What more could one ever ask for?

by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke


Chet Baker









Saturday, September 1, 2018

Sunday Sauce Italian Gravy

Or is It SAUCE ???
This is a Great Debate, and there is really No Right or Wrong, either term is correct, it all depends what geographic location that yoru family is from in America or the Old Country of Italia. Whether your family is from Napoli, Sicily, Calabria, or live in New York, Chicago, Boston, or Philly, the most important thing of all is not what you call it, Sauce or Gravy, but how the product taste, it has to be beyond good. 
Amother factor that varies, is what you and your family put into your Sauce. The most popular is a Sauce (Gravy) made with Sauasge, Meatballs, and Braciole (Braciola). Some families, like mine love to put Ribs in their Sauce, some put Pig Skin Braciole, some Lamb or Pork Neck, and some families even put chicken into their Gravy, which I myself do every now and then, especially if the local grocerry store has Chicken Thighs on sale. And speaking of sales, we always stock up on Maccheroni (Pasta) and Tomatoes whenever they are on sale as well.
For recipes on How to Make SUNDAY SAUCE  alla CLEMENZA from the Francis Ford Coppola  film The Godfather , how to make Dolly Sinatra Meatballs and Spaghetti Sauce, the Bellino Family Sunday Sauce, and Mamma DiMaggio's Sunday Gravy, get a copy of  Daniel Bellino "Z" s SUNDAY SAUCE , When Italian-Americans Cook.
Sunday Gravy
Another Family Recipe

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Remembering GINO S of Lexington Avenue

Remembering GINO'S

Dinner at GINO'S

Lexington Avenue, New York NY



Excerpt of Daniel Bellino-Zwicke 's latest Cookbook, SEGRETO ITALIANO

Secret Recipes & Favorite Italian Dishes, from Broadway Fifth Press



Segreto? It’s secret in Italian. I got the idea for the book one day. Well not the idea, but inspiration I’d say. I was thinking about one of our all time favorites restaurant, the food, the ambiance and all the fun we’d had there over the years. Many wonderful meals with family and friend, no foes. Dinners with Cousin Joe, Sister Barbara, Brother Michael, and Jimmy. Oh, the food was wonderful, all the great Italian Classics of good old Italian-American Red Sauce Joints of which this one, was one of the best. The classics, like: Baked Clams, Stuffed Artichokes, Spaghetti & Meatballs, Linguine with Clam Sauce, Chicken Parmigiano, Veal Marsal & Milanese, Chicken Cacctiatore, Ossobuco, Cannolis, Spumoni, and-on-and-on. I think you get the picture. Lots of good, affordable Italian Wine, the affable waiter, the phone booth, and the Zebra Wall Paper. If you were a regular their, from the last sentence, you the place I’m talking about. Yes Gino’s! Our beloved Gino’s of Lexington Avenue. Sadly they closed a few years ago. But we still have the memories of so many festive meals. Happy times, good eats.

      I discovered the wonders of Gino’s and first brought my cousin Joe there in 1999. The place was thrilling in that, when you walked in, you felt your were in the perfect place. Gino’s is charged with energy by its wonderful clientele, well-healed regulars who have been going there for years, they know the Maitre’d, the waiters and other customers, and likewise the waiters, bartender, and maitre’d know them. The first time you walk in, you feel that, and want to be a part of it. We did. Back then, Joe and I used to go out to eat together all the time, at least once a week. Joe knew about food, but not to the extent that I did. Joe would come in every week or so, and his driver would drive us around town. He’d pick me up early evening for a night of feasting and good times. We’d often eat at a couple different place. We’d have our main dinner and maybe a little bite to eat when we first went for cocktails to start the night off. As I said, Joe loved eating, and knew quite a bit, but as much as he knew, it wasn’t a third of what I knew about food, wine, and restaurants, and especially the restaurant, bar, and night club scene in New York. I was teaching Joe the ropes, so-to-speak, and Joe was an eager student. We had quite a lot of fun those few years, with dinners at Gino’s, Elio’s (Mondays for Lasagna), Da Silvanos’s, Bar Pitti, The Waverly Inn, Minetta Tavern, cocktails at Pegu and Temple Bar, and way too many other places to name right here. We did New York, we did it all!

   Back to Gino’s. So I had passed by Gino’s any number of times, but never went in to check it out. I was a downtowner, and that’s where we did most of our eating, with an occasional trip midtown or other local if a place peaked our interest. So I did finally walk into Gino’s one day. I had to check it out. When I did, as I’ve already said, I walked in the door and immediately felt the energy of the place. Gino’s was packed, full of life and vibrant, and I knew I wanted to be there. I didn’t eat there right then and there, I was scouting the place out, but I knew I would be back. So I called Joe up and told him all about the place. It sounded great to Joe, this type of place was right up his alley, as it was mine. So Joe said yes, let’s check it out on our next night out.

  Our first ever trip to Gino’s was a few nights later. Joe packed me up at my place in Greenwich Village. I got in the car, as usual, we had a little discussion on what we’d be doing. We mapped out the night of eating and drinking, good times. We talked and decided to head over to Otto Enoteca for a bottle of wine and some Salumi before heading up town to Gino’s and our main dinner of the night. Joe loved Otto, and I was a fan too, so we headed to Otto.

    Well, we went to Otto, drank a little wine, had some Testa, Mortadella, and Prosciutto, and it was on to Gino’s. Back in the car, and Ziggy (our driver) drove us up to Lexington Avenue, across the street from Bloomingdale’s to Gino’s. We were excited as we walked up to the restaurant and through the door. The place was packed and super-charged. We loved it. The Maitre’d greeted us with the first of many warm welcomes. We were In Like Flynn. We sat down at a nice table in the middle of the restaurant. We were happy campers. As happy as can be, for we sensed a wonderful meal ahead. Our hunch would turn out to be just right. A waiter came to our table, greeted us a warm welcome, gave us a wine list and menus, and asked what type of water we wanted. As always, we got a bottle of flat water. Joe gave me the wine list as he usually does and told me to pick something out. I looked over the reasonably priced list and picked out a tried and true wine from my good friend Luigi Cappellini in Greve. The wine, a bottle of Verrazzano Chianti Classico. The waiter went to get the wine, and Joe and I looked over the menu. We were happy to see a great old school Italian menu. The Red Sauce kind of a good old classic Italian-American joint, of which there used to be many, but at this point of time, far fewer. They had; Shrimp Cocktail, Baked Clams, Hot Antipasto, Clams Posillipo, Spaghetti Vongole, Lasagna, Canneloni, Veal Parm, Veal Milanese, Eggplant Parmigiano, Shrimp Fra Diavolo, Veal Marsala, Scampi, and all the usual suspects. We were in heaven, and it was heard narrowing down what to eat.

     One dish really caught our attention, and especially Joe, who although I love my pasta, Joe had has me beat, he’s the pasta freak. Freak in a good way that is. The dish was Pasta Segrete (Pasta w/Secret Sauce), and us intrigued.

    The waiter brought the bottle of Chianti, opened it, and we were on our way. I ripped off a piece of bread and ate it. So, we decided on the menu. We ordered a Shrimp Cocktail and Baked Clams Oreganata to start. We would share these two antipasto items, then move on to the Primi, the pasta course. We decided on, and just had to have the Pasta Segrete, a half order each. We both love Veal Milanese (Frank Sinatra’s favorite), and as we were having antipasto, and pasta, as well as a couple desserts, we decided on one Veal Milanese to split for the main course, thus leaving room for some tasty desserts we knew Gino’s would have. We talked with the our waiter about the menu, and he agreed that we had chosen wisely, and that one Milanese would be fine, so we could eat dessert and he’d help us pick the two best later.

     So we drank wine, and nibble on the bread, chatted and waited in anticipation for the antipasto to arrive. I love Shrimp Cocktail since childhood and don’t always eat it all that much these days, so it’s always a special treat. The Baked Clams and the Shrimp Cocktail came and were a great way to start the meal. The wine was great. Hey it’s Castello Verrazzno!

    So now, we were really excited. This mysterious Pasta Segrete was about to come out. You can get the Secret Sauce with whatever Pasta you like, Spaghetti, Raviolis, Tagiolini, Penne, Gnocchi, or Rigatoni. Joe and I both love Rigatoni, so that’s what we went for, two half portions of Rigatoni Segrete. Well, the waiter brought us our Pasta with Secret Sauce. Guess what! It was outrageous, we loved it. Joe went crazy, and could stop talking about it, and it was just a couple weeks before he’d have to go back and get another “Fix.” Yes the Pasta with the Secret Sauce did not disappoint. We loved it, and would be back for many more bowls.

     We finished the Pasta, grudgingly so, as we didn’t want the experience to end, “It was that good!” We waited a few minutes for the Veal Milanese. It came out, and we could tell just by looking at it, that it would be great. For those of you who might not know, Veall Milanese is one of Italy’s most famous a classic of all dishes. It’s a Veal Chop that’s pounded thin, breaded with breadcrumbs and fried and tipped with a Salad of Arugala and Tomato. The dish is simple, simply delicious when done right. Veal Milanese was one of Frank Siantra’s all-time favorite dish, along with Spaghetti Meatballs, and Clams Posillipo. Frank used to get it often at his favorite of all restaurants, Patsy’s of West 56th Street, just 10 blocks from Gino’s. Both old-school Italian Joints were amongst Frank’s favorites. Patsy’s was Frank’s # 1 favorite, but Gino’s wasn’t far behind, and Ol’ Bue Eyes ate there many times over the years. Anyway, the Veal Milanese was just perfect and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, life is good at times like these.

     We finished our Veal Milanese, and it was now time to think about desserts. I love sweets and so does Joe, so he said we gotta get two. The waiter told us the Tiramisu was “The Best in Town,” and the Cheesecake was really wonderful as well, so we went with his suggestions. Throw in a couple cups of Espresso and some Anisette too, and we were still in heaven.

   Needless to say, our meal was fantastic. We loved it. We loved Gino’s and would be back for more.

 Daniel Bellino-Zwicke





and More ..


Thursday, August 23, 2018

It's BLT TIME !!!


A Nice BLT

"It's That Time of The Year"


Yes it' BLT time. BLT Season. August and September is the time of the year, and the only time I eat BLT Sandwiches, and usually just at home and ones that I make personally for myself. I usually don't trust others to make me a BLT. Why? That's easy. not many people can make one better than me. Well, not in most diners or lunchenettes or other restuarants, it's sad but most make a crappy BLT with colc toast, crappy tomatoes and horrible overcooked bacon that has been sitting around for hours. "Not for me." The BLT is a Thing of Beauty, and should be treated as such, and when made right, it's one of the World's Great Sandwiches. And it's got to be made with, first and foremost nice Ripe Juicy in Season Tomatoes, with good quality Bacon that's cooked crispy, but not overdone, you need nice fresh Crispy Lettuce, and toast that's hot and made of good quality bread that's toasted after all your other ingredients are ready. And the toasted bread should be slathered with good quality Mayonaise like Hellman's . Make sure to season your tomatoes with good quality Salt and you're all set. Don't settle for less.

Look at thse TOMATOES

If you don't have Tomatoes like these?

Your BLT won't be Good

The bread should be white and toasted; Pullman or packaged sandwich loaf works best. This kind of bread has a soft, tight crumb that will soak up some of the tomato's juices, and toasting it helps prevent it from becoming overly sodden. The bacon must be smoked, to adequately offset the tomatoes' sweetness. I like a medium-thick cut, and I take care as I cook to avoid a result that's desiccated or leathery; the latter impedes biting through the sandwich's layers with ease and tasting all the ingredients in each mouthful. Crisp Iceberg  or Bibb Lettuce lends the right note of freshness, and the tomatoes should be absolutely ripe and sweet. Mayonnaise is not optional; its creaminess tempers the tomatoes' acidity. Cut your Sandwich into Triangles andd you're all set.

Enjoy !

Learn How to Make





Ingredients :

1/2 pound BACON
8 Slices White Bread
Fresh Iceberg or Bibb Lettuce
8 slices Fresh "RIPE" in Season Tomatoes
Real Mayonaise

  1. Cook bacon until crispy, then drain on paper towels.
  2. Toast the 8 slices of bread.
  3. Spread 1 tablespoon mayo on each slice of toasted bread. (More or less, to taste).
  4. Add 1 slice of lettuce to 4 pieces of mayo-spreaded toast.
  5. Sprinkle Tomatoes with Salt and add 2 slices of tomato on top of lettuce.
  6. Arrange 3 slices of bacon evenly on top of tomato. (Break bacon slices in half to fit, if needed.).
  7. Add 1 slice of lettuce on top of bacon.
  8. Put the remaining 4 pieces of mayo-spreaded toast on top to finish the sandwiches.
  9. Enjoy!