Tuesday, November 26, 2013


First it was The "McRib" then TWINKIES, Now SUNDAY SAUCE ... All Great Food Things we all love .. New York writer Daniel Bellino Zwicke; authjor of "La TAVOLA" The Big Lebowski Cookbook GOT ANY KAHLUA ? The COLLECTED RECIPES of The DUDE and this Christmas Seasons Hot Book of The Moment "The FEAST of The 7 FISH" is about to Pulish another .. His long awaited book SUNDAY SAUCE on just that subject, Sunday Sauce aka "Gravy" will be out soon .. It's rumored the Kindle Edition of Sunday Sauce will be out November 30, 2013 and the paperback edition of SUNDAY SAUCE will be published Decmber 5 th and will be available on AMAZON on that date, just in time for Christmas. And a great present SUNDAY SAUCE will make .. It's filled as usual with Daniel with wonderful heart-warming stories of New York Italian-America, its characters, the Food, the Kitchen, restaurants, caffes, Pizzerias, Italian Pastry Shops, Pork Stores and everything that is wonderful about Italians and specifically as related to the food of Italy, as well as Italian-American Cuisine which Mr. Bellino points out is legitimate and deserves and demands respect .. This book SUNDAY SAUCE is sure to please and a "Must Have" for Italian-Americans everywhere as well as there American brethren of other persuasions, no matter, just about everyone loves Italian .. Filled with Meatballs, Sausage, Espresso, Maccheroni, and all the tasty Italian Favorites .. The book is filled with the favorite Italian-American dishes, but is centered and themed around the most Supreme Italian-American Dish of All "SUNDAY SAUCE" aka "GRAVY" or as some just call it "SAUCE"  ....
You been waiting, it's almost Thanksgiving, the wait is almost over, Sunday Sauce, Get It"

Fans of Daniel Bellino-Zwicke and His renowned books of Sunday Sauce, The Feast of The 7 Fish, Italians, New York Italian, and The ITALIAN-AMERICAN Lifestyle can pick up any other titles by Mr. Bellino that they might not already have, like" "La TAVOLA"
THE FEAST of The 7 FISH "Italian Christmas"


Sunday, November 24, 2013



TripAdvisor makes a major Faux Pas when with their Top 10 Pizza Cities of U.S.  The Faux Pas, TripAdvisor puts the "Undisputed Raining King of American Pizza 4th" and as if they are even more out of their minds rank San Diego # 1, Las Vegas # 2, Boston # 3, and The Champ New York # 4  ... It doesn't take much of a Genius to realize that this is one of the 21st Centuries biggest Media Blunders of all. So bad in fact, "It's a Joke," an absurdity that is beyond belief and has "Seriously Hurt TripAdvisor" and given them a major Credibility Issue.  A business that is built on credibility and giving "Advise" as per their "Name," TripAdvisor is in TROUBLE ..
Below:  "THIS IS INSANITY" !!!
The Top 10 Cities for Pizza, as determined by TripAdvisor:
  1. San Diego, California
  2. Las Vegas, Nevada
  3. Boston, Massachusetts
  4. New York City, New York
  5. Seattle, Washington
  6. Austin, Texas
  7. San Francisco, California
  8. Indianapolis, Indiana
  9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  10. Phoenix, Arizona
At issue here is not whether San Diego, Boston, and Las Vegas has better Pizza then New York and that they have bragging rights. "Hell No!" They don't, anyone in their "Right-Mind" knows that no city can touch New York in their superiority as far as Pizza is concerned, New York is America's undisputed Champ, we have some of the Best Pizza on Eart, and this include Italy. The only city that comes close to New York is New Haven, Connecticut, but even as great as New Haven and the towns pizza is, they are a distant second to New York, Chicago? Fougettabout IT! Chicago, that "Deep Dish Stuff" That's NOT Pizza, it's Deep Dish something, not Pizza. The balance is completely off to be called "real pizza."
The issue here, with TripAdvisor's Major Foul-Up  is when you go to Tripadvisor for "Advise" on Hotels, Restaurants, and other travel related questions to determine what is the best, and for accurate descriptions, opinions, and ratings, "Is Tripadvisor accurrate and reliable? The answer is, "Sometimes," just be careful and look to others like Yelp and articles and other info on places you are seeking accurate info and advice about. Don't solely count on TripAdvisor. This "Pizza Debacle" is a major "blunder" and one that will take Tripadvisor a good long time to recover from.

Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Farewell Good Friend !

Excerpt from Daniel Bellino Zwicke's "SUNDAY SAUCE"
Due for November 30, 2013 Publication
Tagliolini with Salsa Segreto. Secret Sauce? We lost our beloved Old-School Italian Red-Sauce Restaurant Gino’s of Lexington Avenue a couple years back. Gino’s opened in 1945 by Neapolitan Immigrant Gino Circicello was a Gem of a Restaurant loved by its many loyal customers who kept the place packed and vibrant night-after-night. The place was perfect; Great Food and good wine at reasonable prices coupled with excellent service by friendly attentive waiters inside a homey comfy dining-room that everyone loved, from its cozy little Bar at the front of the restaurant, its Phone Booth (one of the last surviving in New York), and the famed Scalamandre Zebra Wallpaper that is as much a part of Gino’s as the tenured old waiters and the popular Chicken Parmigiano.
Among all the tasty dishes with the Pasta with Salsa Segreto, “The Secret Sauce,” it was as tasty as can be, and a perennial favorite with Gino’s legendary clientele, including the likes of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Joe DiMaggio, and a string of luminaries to long to name. Gino’s had many wonderful dishes that were soul satisfy, unpretentious, but tasty as heck. They were all the usual suspects of Italian Red-Sauce Joints everywhere; from Baked Clams Areganata, to Shrimp Cocktail, to Spaghetti With Clam Sauce, Lasagna, the famed Veal Pamigiano, “the entire menu.”
I used to go to Gino’s with my cousin Joe, my sister Barbara came a couple times, as my brother Michael. But it was usually me and Cousin Joe and if anyone else tagging along. Now I love my pasta as all good Italian-Americans do, but my cousin Joe? He had me beat. The guy loves his pasta, and wanted it practically every day. I believe we tried the Secret Sauce on our first trip there together. I think with Tagliolini, but you can have it with Spaghetti, Rigatoni or whichever pasta you like. Well we loved it from the very first, and would get it every time we went. Often we’d get Baked Clams and Shrimp Cocktail, followed by a Half Portion each of Tagliolini with Salsa Segreto, and as our main we might split a Veal Milanese with a “Nice Bottle of Chianti.” We’d finish the meal with Espresso and a couple of Desserts, maybe a Tira Mi Su and a Chocolate Tartufo.
So the Secret Sauce, what’s in it you want to know? Yes I identified the Secret ingredients one day, I made it, and it tastes exactly the same, and that’s as tasty as can possibly be, a 10 out of 10, you can’t get any better. It’s quite simple and you’d be amazed, but that’s the essence of all Italian Cooking, simply tasty. The Secret of The Secret Sauce is, “I shouldn’t tell you but I will.” I should be charging you $100 just for this one recipe but I won’t. “I hope you know what a bargain you people are all getting; my Sunday Sauce, Clemenza’s Sunday Sauce, my Lentil Soup recipe, Marinara Sauce, and so much more.” I’m getting robbed. But here you go, The Salsa Segreto (Secret Sauce) from the former Gino’s Restaurant on Lexington Avenue across from Bloomingdales is Butter and Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese added to a simple tomato sauce as you toss the pasta (your Choice) with the Sauce. Basta! That’s it! The Cat is out of the Bag. Enjoy!



"Please Godfather"

Bonasera asks The Godfather 
DonVito Corleon (Marlon Brando)

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Christmas Eve Fish Dinner is, without question, the most important, the most festive, the most familial, the warmest and most memorable family gathering. For me, Christmas Eve Dinner surpasses every other holiday, As important and delightful as Thanksgiving of Easter or even Fourth of July might be, nothing approaches the ineffable depth and richness of Christmas Eve Fish Dinner offered a table unlike that of any other holiday.
But before I go further, let's consider the name of this dinner. Among some Italians that I have questioned it is called "Feast of the Seven Fishes," for other families, including my own, it was simply Christmas Eve Fish Dinner. There was no specific number of fish involved. Carol Field' Celebrating Italy, a most thorough study of Italian holidays, notes that Christmas Eve dinner calls for fish but makes no mention of the number of fish dishes. Moving my investigation of the Christmas Eve dinner to Google Italy, I found that it is generally called "Il Cenone della Vigilia" (The great dinner of the Eve.) No Italian site I found made mention of the number of fish. I have the sense that the notion of seven fish may be Italian American and even here only among certain families.
The next question I considered was the type of fish. Almost every reference I found and all the people I interviewed had numerous variations. Among most Italians sites two fish appeared most often, baccalà and eel. Among traditional Italian Americans the two most common dishes were baccalà (usually in a cold salad recipe) and fried smelts. In many younger and less traditionally bound Italian Americans all the old time fish were gone. The new fish platters now included shrimp and fried fish and even fish sticks. Italian Americans are not alone in modernization. It seems that even in Italy the younger generations recoil at the notion of such fish as eel.
While what this dinner is rightly called and which fish are those to be presented seems to vary from region to region and family to family a few things about Christmas Eve fish dinner, go unquestioned. Christmas Eve fish dinner was the one dinner no one missed. Christmas Eve fish dinner was at the home of the patriarch or matriarch. Every child and grandchild was present. The power of the Italian American Christmas Eve dinner overwhelmed all other cultural influences. While the fish dinner may have been rooted in Italy it spread its branches to include and embrace not only those non-Italians who had married into the family but all those of other ethnic backgrounds who were friends beyond the family. Everyone with any association to the family was invited to the Christmas Eve fish dinner.
While all other holiday dinners gathered the family while there was still light in the sky, Christmas Eve Fish Dinner began sometime after sunset. It was and is, the only festive dinner in the Italian American tradition that is shared in darkness. All other holidays in the Italian American tradition are celebrated at the table sometime shortly after noon. Christmas Eve Fish Dinner always began sometime after six in the evening.
Christmas Eve Fish Dinner differs from all other dinners by its lack of structure. Other dinners, whether Sunday Gravy or Easter Sunday follow a certain formality. For other dinners there is always a soup course, an antipasto, the pasta, the main course and then the dessert. The Christmas Eve Fish Dinner was quite different. The Christmas Eve Fish Dinner had courses, but the courses were not single dishes. For the Christmas Eve fish dinner each course was composed of several offerings. And the whole dinner was preceded by a cold table of finger foods that allowed mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews to chatter for an hour or so before dinner began. The finger foods were set on small tables in the living room. The platters included olives, slices of celery and broccoli, and a dish of crackers. There were also plates of cooked shrimp with sides of shrimp cocktail sauce. The olives were from cans and the children liked to slide the pit wholes over their fingers as they chomped on the olives. I would guess that the shrimp and the horseradish based cocktail sauce was an influence from the fashionable restaurants of the time.
After at least an hour of nibbling on the side platters the dinner bell called us to the tables. Yes, tables. In our family there were three. In our center hall style house, the dining room table was turned towards the center hall. A second and third table were butted up to the main table. The three tables continued through the center hall into the living room. Seating was determined by age. The oldest sat in the dining room section; the younger the child the closer to the living room.
There was no soup on Christmas Eve. When we sat at the table we first saw a small bowl of whiting salad with lemon and a serving of "scungilli," conch. When I was small there was a cold baccalà salad with tomato. These cold fish salads were followed by the pasta. Of course, we never heard or used the word "pasta." For us the "pasta" dish was one of three possibilities. It changed from year to year. It could be either "Clams and Spaghetti," "Mussels and Spaghetti," or "Squid and Spaghetti." The spaghetti were always the very thin "angel hair" ("capellini.")
The next course is always a serving of several varieties of fried fish. My Irish background mother prepared several fish offerings in different ways. There are three central dishes. First, she made a tray of plain American fish sticks for the children and for those at the table of a less than Italian heritage. Then, as a middle ground, my mother makes the most exquisite crab cakes that would appeal to Italian traditionalists as much as to the non- Italian in-laws. For the old timers there is always the most wonderful finger food, fried smelts with lemon. There are also fried scallops, fried shrimp, fried calamari and fried oysters.
Following the fried dishes, the table is covered with several trays of broiled scallop, shrimp and clams. Then comes the main fish platter. This platter has no Italian precedent that I know of. My mother introduced this dish about thirty years ago: stuffed orange roughy papillote. The orange roughy papillote is made by splitting the fish into two pieces and filling with a layer of spinach with tomato, garlic and olive oil. The fish is wrapped in parchment and baked.
After a rest and an interlude of conversation the Christmas Eve Fish dinner is crowned by the dish everyone waits for, my mother's tray of Christmas cookies. We began at five in the evening. After the cookies it is after 11. The culmination of the Christmas Eve Fish Dinner is Midnight Mass. Following Christmas Midnight Mass the family came home to a wonderful breakfast of eggs and bacon and, in Philadelphia, of scrapple. The special delight of the breakfast was the Christmas Bread, a wonderful brioche-like pastry shaped in a ring and decorated with multi-colored sprinkles. But Christmas bread is another page.


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