Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Big Guns of Italian Wine in Town





Giuseppe Tasca D'Almerita and Daniel Bellino Zwicke, Vittorio Fiore with Marilisa Allegrini, and Angela Macullan at Winebow Tasting 2008



Some ot the "Big Guns" of ITALIAN WINE where in Town and at the Winebow Portfolio Tasting on September 16th & 17th. First-Off was Vittorio Fiore, one of the Greatest Italian Winemakers of this time or anytime. Vittorio was Show his renowned Super Tuscan Wine "Il Carbbonione"
Vittorio produces Il Carbbonione on his beautiful wine estate Podere Poggio Scalette high up in one of Greve's highest vineyards where you can see the whole Chianti Classico wine zone from this vantage point. It is a beautiful sight where I have been forunate on two occasions to spend time tasting wine with Vittorio and his sons while nibbling on the wonderful homemade Salami and Prosciutto that son and Vineyard Manager Jyuri Fiore makes with the help from great old friend "Dante." Dante is a wonderful old village farmer who knows how to make fantastic Salumi, among other things. He's a absolute gem!

Il Carbbonione is made of 100% Sangiovese. The 2004 vintage that Vittorio was pouring at the tasting was absolute perfection, strong but not too concentrated, exhibiting nice Black Cherry and earthiness in ,the mouth. Vittorio says it is one of his best vintage ever, "I agree completely."

Merilisa Allegrini (another Heavy Hitter) was on hand as well. Showing all the great Allegrini wines, including; La Grolla, La Poja, and thier 2003 Amarone, which as usual is one of the regions top producers of famed Amarone.

Giuseppe Tasca d' Almerita was present. Giuseppe and his family make one of Sicily's most famous and renowned wines "Rosso del Conte" Rosso del Conte is mad of 100% Nero d'Avola. This wine along with "Duca Enrico" is the greatest and most prestigious in all of Sicily. When tasted, I had a incrediable explosion of Ripe Red Fruit flavors in my mouth. The wine was phenominal, smooth, silky, and perfectly balance as Rosso del Conte usually is. This is one of Italy most consistenly wonderful primium wines. "Always Great!"


reported by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why Don't More New Yorker's Do New Orleans??? !!!





"Arnaud's" it's awseome !!!
A "Muffuletts Sandwich" from Central Grocery.
Me and my "Muffuletta"


"Why Don't More New Yorker's Go Down to the "BIG EASY"?? "New Orleans" is the Bomb!!

This Question i Ask, truly Misti fies Me !!!!

I have traveled the World over! Been almost everywhere you can imagine, from; Cambodia, Saigon, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Bangkok, Thailand, Phuket, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janiero, Brazil, Havana, all over Europe from the whole of Italy on more than a dozen trips, to Paris, Monaco, Brussels, all over the united States, "you name."

Yes, I've been all over the World and love and adore many places. New Yorker's are great travelers. They travel the World more than any other Americans, yet for some reason they don't do new Orleans much, other than Frat boys and Girls looking to get "Their Wild-On" during Mardi Gras. but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the real New Orleans. The New Orleans of "Great Restaurants," wonderful food, awesome architecture, Cool People, Great vibe, and the greatest Music Scene on the planet. "Yes, I've traveled the World, and i can tell you that New Orleans is one of the "Coolest" most wonderful cities on Earth, "though you hardly ever hear people say." It is!

Why don't New Yorkers go there, instead of lame places like St Thomas and Aruba???
I love the town. been there 5 times, and I'll keep going. I constantly extol the virtues of "The Big Easy," and not a one of all the people i know who travel a fair amount has ever been there. I'm on a perpetual effort to promote this city i Love, especially since Hurricane Katrina, for the people and the city of New Orleans can use our help. They need people to go down there and spend money in their restaurants, hotels, and bars. The people of New Orleans love to and are used to having people come to their city for a good time. They'll welcome you with open arms.
Yes I'm a great advocate of New Orleans and constantly tell people about how great it is. Even before Katrina. "So America, and New Yorkers, you gotta check it out. "It's truly one of the Worlds great Cities."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

TRIPPA, TRUFFLES & SAUVIGNON





"GREATEST SUMMER TRUFFLES EVER!!!""""

We had another great plate of "Taglierlini with Truffle" the other day at Bar Pitti.
The Black Summer Truffles from Umbria have been so good this year, that they taste almost as good as the "White Alba Truffles" of the Autum and Winter Season.
It was quite funny when my friend Pat "P" and I took owe first bites, i said, "Patty Boy," these Truffles are as good as the "Whites." He agreed, and the words were barely out our mouths when Govanni came over and aske us how our Pasta was and added that they were "Stupenious" this year. "Just as good as the White Truffles." We told him that we just said the same thing, and at about a fourth of the price at $23.00 a plate, they were an absolute "Bargain."

We had a plate of Vitello Tonnato and "Trippa Fiorentina." both were tasty as ever.
If you haven't had any of the Norcia Summer Truffle, run on down to "Bar Pitti" and get a plate. "they're Amazing!!!!" We drank a bottle of "Macari Sauvignon Blanc,"
as everyone seems to be doing these days and we were as "Happy as Peas in a Pod."

by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

Watch for Daniel Bellino Zwicke's upcoming book, "La Tavola" to be released November 2008 by Aardvark Global Publishing and read about the Adventures of the Table of
Italian-American New Yorkers.

Monday, August 11, 2008

SUNDAY SAUCE ....... Daniel Bellino Zwicke




SUNDAY SAUCE
Meatballs

and the "Meatball Parm Sandwich" you make on
Monday after the Sunday you make the sauce.








SUNDAY SAUCE


One of the great traditions of the Italian American enclave in the U.S. is the ritual of Sunday afternoon when the entire family gets together for Mama’s or Nona’s famed “Sunday Sauce.” What is it? Well there are a number of variations on the theme. Most Sunday Sauce’s are made with Italian Sausage, Braciola, and Meatballs. Some people make theirs with pork ribs, beef neck, and possibly chicken thighs and backs. These meats are slowly simmered for several hours with tomato, minced onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. I generally like to make my Sunday Sauce with sausage, meatballs, and pork ribs. Other times I’ll make it with sausage, ribs, and braciola. An old tradition in some families is that mother or grandma would start the sauce early on a Sunday morning, get it simmering away for a couple hours on top of the stove, then put it in the oven for a couple hours while everyone goes to church, the sauce slowly simmers and when you get back home, the sauce is ready.
The Sunday Sauce that my mother would make was with sausage, meatballs and beef braciola. My memories are vivid watching my mother stuffing the braciola with garlic,
parsley, Pecorino, and pignoli nuts, then sewing up the bundles with a needle and thread so they would hold together while simmering in the gravy (many families all over the New York and around the country simply call Sunday Sauce “Gravy”). Another fond memory was helping my mother roll and shape the meatballs.
As for me, my Sunday Sauce will vary depending on my mood. One thing I love to do when making the sauce is the addition of pork spare ribs, which not to many people use, I love it.
Whenever people eat my sauce, they go nuts for the ribs and some are surprised cause they might never have had them in a sauce before. They didn’t know that you could use pork spareribs. The ribs are traditional with some but not everybody. It is quite a shame for those who don’t add the ribs because they give the sauce some wonderful flavor and they are incredibly delicious to eat after braising in the sauce for a couple of hours. Whenever I make the sauce and I’m dishing it out to friends and family, I always make sure that I have my fare share of the ribs. Pork ribs cooked in this manner, simmering in the sauce are oh so succulent and tasty. They are far beyond compare. “They are Out-of-this-World!!!” The friends, one-by-one, go nuts for them. “Yes they are most than tasty!”
And what to serve with the Sunday Sauce you ask? It should be a short macaroni; rigatoni, ziti, or gnocchi are best.
The rituals of cooking, serving, and eating Sunday Sauce is a time honored one. It is a beautiful thing. If you mention the term Sunday Sauce to any number of millions of Italian-Americans, the wheels start turning in their heads. Thoughts of how tasty it is, all the different components; the meatballs, sausages, braciola, (maybe ribs, beef or pork neck), the pasta, and the gravy itself.
They think about sitting at the table with friends and or family, people they love. They think about the antipasti that will start the meal and about some good Italian Wine, maybe a nice Chianti. They think about the warmth in the air, loved ones, Dino, Sinatra, and of course, the
Sunday Sauce itself. “It’s a beautiful thing!!!” If you’ve never done it, “Try it!” If you haven’t cooked one for some time, plan a get-together soon. “Sunday Sauce, it brings people together,” in a most delightful way.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Totonno's Pizzeria Napolitano




"BEST PIZZA in NEW YORK" Who?

There's always a big debate on who makes the "Best Pizza in New York City." It's never ending, and with the World of Youtube and Blogs, the coverage that Pizza and the Pizza Parlors of New York is absolutely "Astronomical." Hundreds of people comment on Pizza and New Yorks Pizzerias every single day. Who has the "Best Pizza Overall," who has the "Best Slice" in town, who makes the best Coal Oven, the best wood, or the best gas fired Pizza? Who? Firt-off, when it comes to, which city in the United States of America makes the "Best Pizza," this is the "Easiest Thing on Earth." There is no contest!!! It's "NEW YORK." Everbody knows it. For Pizza, when it comes to the "BEST," there's no place else!!! There's ONLY "New York."

So, who has the "Best Pizza in New York." Now that's not so easy, but there's Lombardi's, Totonno's, Di Fara, Patsy's, and John's (Bleecker Street). Well, "I Love them all, but I have two that are most dear to me, and they are "John's," of which I have been going to for over 25 years, and Totonno's that I discovered about fifteen years ago.

They both make absolutely "Perfect Pizza." They both have "Monster Coal Fired Ovens" that reach temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees and give the crust that perfectly cripy blistered finish that any "Great Pizza" must have. The Clssic Pizza Margherita has a perfect balance of ingredients of dough, tomato, mozzarella, olive oil, and Pecorino Romano and cooked to "perfection."

"Totonno's Pizzeria Napoltano," I won't argue with anyone that it might be the Best of New York.

If you wonder why we use the words "perfect" and "best" so many times in this report, its just that no other words would fit when you are talking about; John's Pizzeria, Totonno's, Lombardi's, Patsy's and "New York Pizza." They're perfect and they are, the "Best" Pizza in the country. "Take that Chicago."

Thursday, July 31, 2008

KEITH RICHARDS LIKES IT !!! Artichoke Pizza




"Artichoke Basille's Pizza Taste Like Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup"


Well, I finally made it over to Artichoke Pizza. I wanted to like it, "I really did." I sorry to report, It's on par with Chicago Deep Dish, Mediocre to Good at Best. Just as Chicago Deep Dish "Artichoke Pizza can't hold a candle to the Best of New York, places like Tottono's, John's, Lombardi's, and Patsy's. These places make some of the best Pizza in the "World" Forget about these places, "Artichoke Pizza" is inferior to most "Runof the Mill" Pizza Parlors. The Pizza is very flawed. First off, the crust is awful, way to dense as it is not "proofed" long enough and feels like a ball of lead.

I arrive there, and sure enough, there was a line. The place looked pretty cool, "Nice Decor." I was excited and hoping for the best, like a reaally good to great slice of Pizza. Unfortunately, I was highly disapointed. I waited about ten minutes and got my slice, "The Artichoke." Man it was big. It looked really impressive. If found a place to sit on the "Stoop" of the building next door and bit in.

What a "Suprise." I couldn't beleive it. "It tasted "EXactly like Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup," something I Loved, but handn't tasted in years, "Cream of Mushroom Soup." If nothing else, "Artichoke Pizza" brought back memories of my childhood.

I have to say, I know these guys are trying hard, but this Pizza Just Can't Cut the Mustard. It's mediocre, and I've got to say, "These Guys are Lucky as Hell to be putting out just a fair product, and making a small fortune doing it.

FACTS ABOUT "Artichoke Basille Pizza" Americans and Keith Richards

1) the "Artichoke Slice" taste like Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
2) Keith Richards likes it. "We Love Kieth, but what does he know about Pizza?"
3) Many people like "Artichoke Pizza" In fact many Love it.
4) Many Americans also like such awful garbage like; "Hip Hop," Soup Operas, and
Sitcoms. That doesn't make them good.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Old New York in its Old Time Bars

I guess many have gone by the wayside but you are still able to find "old New York" in a few wonderfully preserved Old Bars. Mostly all of these wonderful Landmark establishments are below 23 rd Street. The "Landmark Tavern" standing on the corner of 46th Street and 11th Avenue is the one exception.

"Pete's Tavern" in Gramercy Park on the Corner of Irving Place (street named after resident
Washington Irving) and 18th Street claims to be the longest continually running bar in New York. They opened their doors in 1864 and have been serving liquor ever since to this very day. They did not even stop during Prohibition as they were a Speakeasy disguised as a Flower Shop.

"Fanelli's Cafe" on the corner of Prince and Mercer Streets in Soho claims that they have been serving food and liquor since 1847

McSorley's Ale House has been operating at 15 East 7th Street since 1854. There are just two options of things to drink here, McSorley's Light or Dark Ale of which they have served the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and John Lennon. They make great Liverwurst and Onion Sandwiches and you can get a nice plate of Grafton Cheddar Cheese served with Saltines and Hot Irish Kustard (Mustard).

"Peter McManus" on the corner of 7th Avenue and 19th Street in Chelsea is often overllooked when it comes to great old New York Bars. The decor is old and as well preserved as any of the others. they make good burgers and Cheese Steak Sandwiches.

The "White Horse Tavern" at 567 Hudson Street is a old Greenwich Village favorite that since they opened their doors in 1880 has served Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, and Dylan Thomas who after drinking a "Record" 18 Whiskies, was rushed to St. Vincents Hospital where he died from Alcohol Poisoning. "Yes he drank himself to death."

The "Old Town Bar" has been operating at 45 East 18th Street since 1892 and had Teddy Roosevelt who lived just a few blocks away as a regular.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"Raoul's" New York's Best Bistro


Raoul's, "COOL"

Best Cool French Bistro in New York

When it comes to Bistros in New York City, there is one that stands alone. No other can touch it. "Raoul's" on Prince Street in Soho is far and above any other Bistro in all of New York. The total combined elements of Ambiance, Food, Music, Service, and combined Vibe, just can't be beat. Raoul's is just plain "Cool." They serve some of the best Foe Gras in the city, along with a famous "Steak au Poive" and other Bistro Classics, along with the cool well-worn decor and the a great blend of music like; The Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, Edith Piaf, and Best of All, "No Hip Hop."

At "Raoul's" they know what they are doing. They should, they've been doing it for some 30 years, and the way the do things, we're sure they'll be around for a long time to come.

RAOUL'S 180 Prince Street, Soho NY, NY (212)966-3518 www.raouls.com

Pricing: on the Expensive Side

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

$1.00a Slice Pizza on St. Marks




Sign in front of 2 Bros. Pizza, 32 St. Marks Place, "Inflation Fighters" $1.00 a Slice or 2 Slices and a Soda for just $2.75 "How can you beat That?"
A 2 Bros. Pizza $1.00 slice.

$1.00 a Slice Pizza On St. Marks Place Makes a Big Splash

2 Bros. Pizza on St. Marks Place is making a big splash in the East Village. At a $1.00 a slice, you'd have to go back to the mid-80's to get Pizza this cheap.
People Love it. Almost everybody you ask will admit that it's no Lombardi's, John's or Tottono's. What it is, is a pretty good slice, and at $1.00 a slice it just can't be beat. It's not great, but many have had to take a shot for just a "Buck" per slice you just got to try it at least once. Almost everyone poled liked it and said that it taste much better than they thought it would. As one guy put it, it's pretty dam good, far superior to commercial Pizza like Domino's, Papa Johns, or Pizzahut, and at just $1.00 a slice and $2.75 for 2 slices and a soda, a great inflation fighter.

Several people surveyed said, "It's just the ticket when your drunk and out drinking in the East Village." But you don't have to be drunk to like it. It even taste good when you're sober, and the price is oh so sweet.

Looks like we have an "Institution" in the making.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

DUMPLING HOUSES of the Lower East Side






99 Allen Pork Dumpling (the 1st to start the Dumpling House trend)

An order of Fried Pork Dumplings at "Vanessa's Dumpling House and Vanessa's
and


"Prosperity Dumpling" the Best Kept Secret of the Lot. Shaaaaaaaaaaaa !!!"

New York's Best Cheap Eats Deal, Pork Dumplings $1.00

Know what New York's Best Cheap Eats Deal is? No, it's not "Grays Papaya" 2 Hotdogs and a Fruit Drink for $3.50, we love "Grays" and yes it is a Great Deal, but it just can't beat 5 tasty Hand-Made Pork Dumplings for just a "Buck." No it can't. This is an even better deal than the Great Cheap Street Eats in South East Asia. I have eaten all over Asia, and the Street-Food just can't be beat or it"Excellence and Variety," but if you consider that you get a great Dish for just about $1.00 allover Asia; Bangkok, Saigon, Phuket, Cambodia, all over. The food that you get is just amazing! But if you consider that New Yorkers make an average of 10 times as much as the average South East Asian and you can get an order of Pork Dumplings on the Lower East Side of Manhattan for the same amount of money you pay for a portion of Street Food in
South East Asia, then maybe the 5 Pork Dumplings on the Lower East Side isn't just the Best Food Deal in New York, but the World!




An Order of Tasty Pork Dumplings
Now (2013) 5 for $1.25
Still New York's Best Food Bargain
And The World


99 Allen Fried Dumpling was the first to start the Dumpling House Trend. Then came No. 1 Dumpling (now called Vanessa Dumpling House) and caught on like "Gangbusters" packed day and night. They never stop. In a tiny little shop, and you used to always have to wait to get an order or two. One order is enough as a in-between meal, and two orders is enough to make a complete meal that will fill you at just $2.00
No. 1 Dumpling built up some great business, packed 24/7. They had a tiny little shop and decide to expand, doubling in size to make a little dining room enough to hold about 20 people as opposed to the former narrow 3 foot wide space between wall and counter and a small counter to accommodate about 5 people. They mad the place a "Fancier" compared to what it used to be.
They didn't raise the "price" of the Dumplings but they did what the Candy Bar Companies used to do, keeping the price the same, but making the portion size a little smaller. "Yes, they kept the price at $1.00, but instead of giving you 5 Pork Dumplings like before, they cut the portion size down to 4 Dumplings for $1.00" Yes, still a Great Deal (inflation). They also raised the price of the Sesame Pancake with Beef from $1.50 to $2.00. "Yes, still a great deal.
They have added a "Peking Duck Sesame Pancake" that's yummy and a Bargain at just $2.25

Most of the hoards of people who pack into "Vanessa's Dumpling House' and wait on line, have no idea that just 2 blocks south is another great alternative to Vanessa's. It's "Prosperity Dumpling House" at 46 Eldridge Street and it's never packed. Even more important is that the "Dumplings" are just as good as the ones at Vanessa's. To top it off, you get 5 Dumplings whereby Vanessa's gives you Four, and the Sesame Pancake with Beef is $1.50 to Vanessa's $2.00
Hey, I don't want to "Split hairs" but these things mean a lot to some people out there. I'm just reporting.

So, for just $3.50, you can get a great meal of Fried pork Dumplings and a tasty Sesame Pancake w/Beef sandwich. you can't beat that. And if you want to "Splurge" on desert, you can go to one of several Chinese Bakery Cafes on Grand Street between Allen and Eldridge and have a coffee and a pastry for just $2.00 That's just $5.50 for a meal followed by coffee and desert.
That's what we call a "Cheap Date," but the quality is just as good as if you paid $100.00 a head or more. Check it out.



Daniel Bellino Zwicke


photo Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Pope of Greewich Village





The Pope of Greenwich Village. A wonderful Movie, and favorite of many, especially if you live in The Village and are Italian-American as I. Mickey Rourke and
Eric Roberts both turned in wonderful performances and this Movie is the Best Loved role for most of their fans. Burt Young was great as "Bed Bug Eddie" and Geraldine Ferrara was magnificient as crooked cop "Bunky's" alcholic Irish Mom. Frank Vincent had a small part. He cut off Paulie's (Eric Roberts) thumb.
"He took my thumb Charlie!!!!! I didn't wanna give up the poor bastard, but it was my Life Man," (Paulie to cousin Charlie) And Tony Musante who was Paulie's Uncle Pete and one of Beg Bug's soldiers.
What ever happened to Tony Musante. He was Great.

P.S. Great Theme Song, "The Summer Wind" sung by none other than the incomparable Frank Sinatra

To see a Great Trailer of "The Pope of Greenwich Village" and Mickey, Eric, and Tony click this Link>>>>>>>
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oumCO3mOxsU

Monday, July 7, 2008

New York's Best Dogs




Best Dogs in New York! Who has them? Crif Dogs, Gray's Papaya, Nathan's?

Had a Crif Dog at Crif's Dogs on St. Marks Place today. Man it was good! Dressed with mustard and Sauerkraut. "Classic." Who has the Best Hotdog in Newyork? I don't know. I Love all three of these babys.

Friday, July 4, 2008

check out NEW YORK on $10 $20 $30 or $40 a DAY

http://newyork-on-10-20-dollarsa-day.blogspot.com/

CHIANTI CLASSICO TASTING NEW YORK 2008









The Barone Ricasoli with a bottle of his famed Chianti. it was his Great great Granfather who originaly formulated Chianti more than 130 years ago.(Top Left)

(Top Right) Conti Sebastiani Capponi with
Daniel Bellino Zwicke and Joe Macari Jr.

(Bottom) Castel Vicchomaggio in Greve as
seen from the apartment of our Terrazzo
on the Estate of Castello Verazzano, Greve




CHIANTI CLASSICO TASTING 2008


On Monday , April 21st 2008 the greatly anticipated Chianti Classic Tasting was held at 583 Park Avenue. Hosted by the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico, which is a Consortium of Professionals who are made up of Wine Producers (Proprietors and Winemakers) of the wine Chianti Classico. This group is not a Governmental Body but a private group of individuals that was created in 1924 to define the area of Chianti Classico and its wines, also called Chianti Classico and the manner and guidelines of how the wine was to be made and the parameters of what constitutes a Chianti Classico. Yes the name of the zone and the wine are the same, “Chianti Classico,’and the wine was actually name after the zone.
When the Consozvio Vino Chianti Classico was created in 1924, there did not exist any governmental bodies that now do to set guidelines and laws to which wines have to adhere to all over Italy.This is why the consorzio was created in the first place, in order to define which area was the “Classico” area and to maintain quality and consistency.
This Grand tasting held in New York on April 21, 2008 by the Chianti Consorzio was personally hosted by the President of the Consorzio, Marco Pallanti who is also the Enologist and proprietor along with Lorenza of the renowned estate of the
Castelo Di Ama in Gaiole in Chianti. As for myself, if feel that the wines of
Castelo Di Ama are overrated, grossly overpriced, and not worth the money. I actually have personally monikered the the “Gaja of Chianti” of Angelo Gaja and his wines, which are highly overrated and even more grossly overpriced, but that is all for another discussion.
Along with Dr. Pallanti the event was also hosted by esteemed Sommelier and wine writer David Lynch, who co-authored one of the Italian Wine Worlds most renowned books on the subject of Italian Wine, Vino Italiano along with Joseph Bastianich.
The tasting was made up of 40 producers of Chianti Classico of which there were over 150 different Chianti offered for tasting. The Chianti presented were both
Chianti Normale (base Chianti) and Chianti Riserva and the vintages ranged from 2001 to 2006.
Note that “Chianti Normale” or base Chianti does not infer that these Chianti are of a lesser quality. The styles are different and the base Chianti are to me and many others, actually more the true and traditional of Chianti as the weight is lighter more correct and less concentrated than the weight (body) of Chianti Reserva.
As with many subjects there is debate and differences of and agreement of what is true traditional Chianti is and what is not. I as a Wine Professional of many years who has focused mainly on Italian Wine and a great lover of Chianti and a traditionalist at heart, of course I am of the Old-School Traditional Chianti. I do feel that the laws of the Chianti Consorzio are not correct and are not for the Great Tradition of Chianti in that the wine Chianti when created by the Baron Ricasoli almost 150 years ago was created as a wine made up as a blend of local grapes that was dominated by Sangiovese as its main grape and that Sangiovese was to be the primary grape of Chianti and to give it its special character along with small percentages of other local blending grapes such as Cannaiolo, Colorino, Trebbiano, Ceiligiolo, Malvasia Nera, and Mammolo.
I feel, as do other respected authorities on Italian Wine, such as one of my esteemed peers Charles Scicilnoe feel that the Italian Government and Chianti Consorzio are by allowing Cabernet, Merlot, and Syhrah into Chianti, are ruining this “Great Wine” Chianti and its great traditions.
Just a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot in what is allowed to be Chianti, completely changes the feel and taste of Chianti and what, according to tradition it should be.
“It’s not Chianti anymore!” Not it if has the slightest trace of Cabernet or Merlot, and traditionalist like myself, Charles Scicilone and others will not cease our Crusade until the day that the Italian Government and Chianti Consorzio come to their sense and completely eliminate Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, or any non-native grape variety from ever entering Chianti again.” We wait patiently, but why is it taking these people so long to act. They ruin one of their own National Treasures and every year that these grapes that are not of Chianti Classico, is another bad vintage for any producer that uses them.
Let’s note that although the sacrilege of allowing Cabernet, Merlot, and others into Chianti, it is not mandatory and is at each individual producers (Wine Estate) choice whether to put these grapes in their wine or to leave them out and thus make “Real,”
True, Traditional Chianti. There are a number of Estates that make real true Chianti devoid of any trace what so ever, of the dreaded Cabernet or Merlot. Some of these estate are; Castello Volpaia, Castello Verazzno, Monsanto, Castello Querceto, and
Castel Vicchomaggio to name a few. These estates are to be highly commended and there should be more. If all the producers in Chianti had enough pride, non would ever permit a bottle of wine that they label be called Chianti if it has Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot or any non-native grapes in it. Hey if you have acres of Cabernet or Merlot planted on your estate and want to use them, “Fine.” Just don’t call the wine Chianti! Classify it as IGT and call it “Super Tuscan,” it’s OK by me, “Just don’t call it Chianti!”
If you want to make a wine and call it Chianti, make sure it is a blend. A wine that is made of 100% Sangiovese is allowed to be called Chianti, though it should not. As per the original Chianti Recipe, Chianti is always a blend, made primarily of Sangiovese with other native grape varieties such as; Mammolo, Cannaiolo, Malvasia Nera, Trebbiano, and Colorino and Chinati should always be made with mostly Sangiovese with other minor blending grapes. It should never be made solely of Sangiovese (though according to the Government it can, but what does the Gov’t. know?) but have at least one or more other native grapes, even if it’s just 2 or 3%, there “Must” be at least one other native grape varietal accompanying the Sangiovese, it should not stand alone. This must be changed in order to make true Traditional Chianti.



Daniel Bellino Zwicke April 2008


Some of our Favorites of the Chainti Classico Tatsing 2008 were:

CHIANTI CLASSICO, VILLA CALCINAI 2004 from Conti Capponi in Greve
CHIANT CLASSICO, CASTELLO BROLIO 2001 from the Brone Ricasole Gaiole

CHIANTI CLASSICO RIS. ROCCA GUICCIARDO, CASTELLO BROLIO 2005

CHIANTI CLASSICO, FONTERUTOLI 2005 from Marchese Mazzei, Castellina

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Donata Venturini Hosts LAMBRUSCO DINNER at DeL POSTO



MARIO BATALI slurps SPAGHETTI with Joe Bastianich as Mom Lidia looks on at Del Posto in Chelsea

Leonardo Locasio of Winebow with Marelisa Allegrini (Great AMARONE producer) with Sommelier DANIEL BELLINO ZWICKE at Wine Tasting downtown New York



Butcher at ALBANESE MEAT MARKET(Italian Butcher)











DONATA VENTURINI HOSTED WINE DINNER at DEL POSTO


Monday June 30, 2008. Donata Venturini of the Emilia Romagnan wine estate Baldini Venturini hosted a Lambrusco/ Emilia Romagnan wine dinner at Del Posto in the Meatpacking District of New York last night. The dinner was attended by members of the Wine Press, including Natasha Lardera, Pino Cavallo of Gazettino, Italian Wine Industry people like Leonardo Locasio the founder and proprietor of Winebow, Salvatore Evangelista of Supreme Wines, and Daniel Bellino Zwicke.

The feature of the evening was the wines of Baldini Venturini which were paired along with other wines to a phenomenal 7 course menu created by Del Posto’s Executive Chef Mark Ladner.

The evening started with a cocktail hour of Carpene Malvoltti Prosecco followed by the sit down dinner.

We began the meal with perfect Prosciutto di Parma paired with Venturini’s Malvasia,
Colli di Scandiano e di Canossa 2007. This wine was absolutely extraordinary. Immediately as I brought the wine to my nose I could smell a complex array of aromas led by what smelled like Over-Ripe Pears and Apples. It was phenomenal. In the mouth the wine tasted of a great Sauterne minus the sweetness. This wine is a absolute “Winner,” Unfortunately these wines are not yet available in the U.S. but is sure to be so soon as a few of the Wine Importers present were hot for these wines and practically fighting to see who will be Lucky enough to have them in their Portfolio.

The second course was Aragosta con Salsa Americana (Lobster Salad with Campari Sauce) paired with the Tocai Friuliano,Livio Feluga 2007 which paired nicely with the Lobster. The Tocai exhibited classic Tocai flavors of crisp Apple with hints of Figs and nuts. Very nice from one of Friuli’s top producers Livio Feluga, who in this Wine Guys eyes (nose and mouth) makes the most wonderful Pinot Grigio on the entire market.

Livio Feluga’s Pinot Grigio has a beautiful copper tint in color, with excellent fruit aromas, and wonderful Pear and Kiwi with a tad of savory ness that is absolutely delicious. This wine taste of ripe Pears and Kiwi with a twinge of savory-ness.
Feluga’s Pinot Grigio is perfection when it comes to representing this grape variety to it ultimate peak. I am not one to hardly ever drink Pinot Grigio, but I would never say “No” to the fine wine. It is a joy to drink.
Note: We did not drink Livio Feluga Pinot Grigio at the dinner, but with the mention of the Tocai that we had, I couldn’t pass up the chance to talk about this wonderful wine.

For our “Third Course” Chef Ladner sent us Gargenelli Al Ragu Bognese, which was absolute “Perfection Personified” on a plate. The Bolognese was so wonderful that this guy wish that the portion on the plate was double of what it actually was. Rich and so sublime. It was cruel and a tease to us to eat something so flavorsome, and just have a tiny taste. “Se la Vie.” Lambrusco Rosso, Reggiano, Venturini Baldini 2007 with its invigorating flavors of Sour Cherries and Plum was the perfect foil to the “
Perfect Bolognese.” The wine was refreshing and wonderful and a delight to drink.

Our fourth course, Salsiccia di Foe Gras was quite tasty. The Lambrusco Spumante, Rubino del Cerro, Venturini Baldini 2007 paired with the Foe Gras sausage was an excellent match.

Fifth Course was Beef Tenderloin that melted in the mouth, grass fed from Colorado. Superb, paired with Barolo Damilano.

For desert we were served two courses. The first Dolce was Citus Fantasia (Lime and Grapefruit Gelato) paired with two tasty desert wines; a delisious Marzemino, Colli di Scandiano e di Canossa, Venturini Baldini 2007 and Malvasia, Colli di Scandiano e di Canossa, Venturini Baldini 2007 which was delicate and elegant with lovely Pear and Apple flavors.

We were then served the second desert course of Biscotti Assortiti (Assorted Cookies), paired with 10 Year Tawny Port, Neiport NV.

The dinner, the food, wine, and company were a “Joy.” It was quite a wonderful evening.

Let us point out the fact that in the 1970 their was a “Tons” of awful cheap and cheese Lambrusco dumped on the U.S. which is not real Lambrusco but wine that was created to sell to those with uneducated and unsophisticated palates. There were two or three companies who ahd excellent ad and markdting campaigns geared toward that specific audience. The wine was compared to other awful cheap wines like Boone’s Farm. These people who made these so-called Lambrusco’s did a great job of marketing and selling Millions upon Million’s of bottles of the “Plunk.” They also did a great job of giving real true Lambrusco a Super Big Black Eye and oh-so bad reputation of which was never deserved , just as massed produced Soave and Valpolicella received an undeserved bad naneat the time.

True Lambrusco wonderful to drink. It is a nice refreshing unique alternative to drink now and then as something different. Luckily the Lambrusco Consorzio has done a fine job in recent years to kill this negative outlook of Lambrusco. The producers have done a great job making tasty true and traditional Lambrusco and New Yorkers and other Americans of good-taste and education have been taking to this Lovely wine. “Thank God, Lambrusco is finally getting the good due it deserves,” so has Valpolicella and Soave. These wines are good and pleasant to drink and it is nice to see more Americans discovering and accepting them. Even Loving them. Last year, more Lambrusco was sold then ever in the U.S. Have you tried some yet? Do so.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The COOLEST RESTAURANT YOU DON't KNOW!!!















This joint is one of my FAVES!!!! Nobody knows about it! Garaunteed if ask 1,000 New Yorkers if they've ever heard about this place, let alone if they'd ever been there, you be hard pressed to find a one. I'm gonna let the "Cat Out of the Bag." People should start paying me for this.

Yes native-newyork-pics.blogspot.com F. Restaurant on Clinton Street down on the Lower East Side (LES) of New York is without a doubt one of the Coolest restaurants you could ever dream of going to. Paris Hilton has never been there.

F. Restaurant is a restaurant that serves incrediably tasty Puerto Rican Cusine. "Bet you've never had any? Yes you!"
You will pretty much only find Lationos and Latinas at this joint. i've been going their for about 15 years now. "Love It!"

The food is oh so tasty, and the prices are tailor made for the sluggish ecconmic times we now live in (2008). Hope we go on a upswing soon. "Very soon." Most dishes are about $1.20 or $1.50 a piece. Yes this is not a typo, dishes that cost $1.20 a piece. You can make a small meal out of just two. if you're Papa Relleno which is a Fried Potato Ball that isstuffed with ground beef as well. "Yum!" They also have wonderful Morcilla (Blood Sausage) and Pollo Fritto (fried chicken).

They have the "Coolest" sign you have ever seen hanging over the counter area that says "If WIFE CAN'T COOK, DON'T DIVORCE HER, BRING HER HERE," Bring her here to eat with you." The sign is written in both Spanish and English. "Cool as Hell!"
You've gotta LOVE IT, and if you ever go, you'll just Love "F. Restaurant" down on the Lower East Side.

F. Restaurant..... Clinton Street, just North of Delancy

PICTURES ABOVE: F. RESTAURANT, COOL SIGN in F. Restaurant an DUMPLING HOUSE on Rivington, both down on The LOWER EAST SIDE


NOTE:  "Sadly F. RESTAURANT is CLOSED. They went out of business a few years back. I loved this place as dide many loyal customers. You could have a tasty unique meal there for ust 4 or 5 dollars. I loved the Stuffed Plantains ( Sweet Plantians stuffed with Beef & Peas) Yumm ! I usually used to get one of those and a Stuffed Potato Ball, all for juts $3.30  ... That just can't be beat. We miss you 
F. Restaurant, R.I.P.

DUMPLING HOUSE ON Rivington STREET is without a doubt, the Greatest Restaurant Food deals in all of NEW YORK. Five "DELICIOUS PORK DUMPLINGS" for a BUCK. That's right $1.00. You just can't beat that. Not even anywhere in South East Asia where you can Thee Msot AMAZING STREET FOOD in the WORLD. You get amazing Food on the Streets of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Saigon , and Hanoi for just .75 Cents or a dollar. The thing is, most people in NEW YORK probably make close to 10 times the amount of Money that most people in Sout East Asia do. so when you can get a amazing dish for the same amount of Money as In Sout East Asia and you're in NEW YORK making considerably more, 5 "PERFECT PORK DUMPLINGS" in NEW YORK may very well be the "Greatest" food deal in the entire WORLD.
2 HOTDOGS and 1 of their famous Fruit Drinks at Gray's Papaya is pretty good as well, but I think the Dumpling House may have them beat...















Sunday, June 29, 2008

PORTO RICO COFFEE ROCCO'S PASTRY FAICCO'S PORK STORE in GREENWICH VILLAGE






PORTO RICO COFFEE, ROCCO'S PASTRY,and FAICCO'S PORK STORE, all in GREENWICH VILLAGE, NEW YORK and all three are the "BEST' of their prospective fields. Rocco's pastry is without a doubt the Best Italian Pastry Shop in all of New York City. Their Cookies are Killer, as are their Pastries, and Cakes. Try the Lemon Cookies, Cannoli, and Rhum Babba. Tehy have Great Italian Ices as well and excellent coffee.

Speaking of EXCELLENT COFFEE, there is none better than PORTO RICO COFFEE with their Flagship and origianl store on Bleecker Street near 6 th Avenue, with a location on St. Marks Place in the East Village and another in Soho (pictured above) on Thompson Street. Porto Rico Coffee buy their own "Green Coffee Beans" and Roast all their Coffee themselves in the back of their Bleecker Street Store. They have a tremendous variety of diffent roast; Italian Espresso, French Roast, Mocha, Hazelnut, Danish Roast, Peter's Blend, and a host of others, about 60 different varieties. Their prices are phenominal. "Cheap." It's a mazing, they often have coffee on sale for as low as $5.99 a pound. It really amazes me as to why anyone in their right mind would ever by coffee from Starbucks at $12.95 a pound when the coffee at Porto Rico Coffee is far Superior and tremendously cheaper. "Better and Cheaper?"
"Are people out of their minds, why buy an inferior Mass Produced Chain Coffee at close to twice the price of a product that is Superior, "PORTO RICO COFFEE is the BEST in New York," and for less!!! "Dahhh!!???"

Speaking of the "BEST," across the street from Rocco's Pastry and 1 block West of Porto Rico's main store, you have the Best Pork Store in New York, Faicco's on Bleecker near Cornelia Street. You can get the most amazing fresh Italian Sweet and Hot Sausage, along with Sopressetta, Brociola, Pork Chops, Steaks, and Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano. Everything at Faicco's is of Superior Quality, You can't get any better than Faicco's, Rocco's Pastry, or Porto Rico Coffee.

Also on the street with Faicco's and Rocco's is the famous Murray's Cheese Shop and John's Pizzweria for some of the "Best Pizza" on the Planet.



Daniel Bellino Zwicke


photos Daniel Bellino Zwicke

Saturday, June 28, 2008

PROSCIUTTOLESS In NEBRASKA



PROSCIUTTOLESS in NEBRASKA



It’s a well-known fact that there have been ten’s of thousands of displaced Italian-American New Yorkers over the years. Former Italian-American New Yorkers who have been in serious distress and mental anguish over the lack of good Italian restaurants and availability of quality Italian food products in the rest of the country, excluding of course cities like Boston, Philly, and San Francisco.
It’s a sad fact-of-life that many cities and towns in the U.S. are completely devoid of good Italian restaurants and specialty stores where people of Italian descent in need good fresh Italian sausages, bread, Prosciutto, Salami, Parmigiano Reggiano, olive oil, fresh mozzarella, cannoli, or any other simple necessities required to live a happy productive life, can purchase real good quality Italian food products or go out to eat at a proper Italian Restaurant or Pizzeria.
“Yes, believe it or not,” there are many places in this great nation of ours where the local citizenry are denied some of life’s greatest treats. It may be alright for the local natives who were born in these deprived areas, as for Italian-Americans who move to one of these places for whatever reasons, the deprivation caused by the lack of good honest Italian food is enough to cause un-nesesary anguish, yearning, and outright sadness in these displaced Italians.
Those of us who live in New York are extremely fortunate to have a plethora of the simple pleasures of outstanding Italian restaurants, pizzerias, bakeries, caffe’s, pasta shops, pork stores, wine shops, and Italian Specialty Shops that supply us with every Italian culinary treat under the Sun.
Yes we are blessed with restaurants like Rao’s,
San Domenico, Gino’s, Patsy’s, Elio’s, Lupa, Becco and others that serve tasty authentically prepared Italian food along with bakeries that bake magnificent bread, biscotti, cheesecake, cannoli, and other pastries. We have the best Pizzerias outside of Italy, like; Totonno’s, Lombardi’s, and John’s of Bleeker Street.
New Yorkers have great pork stores that prepare wonderful fresh sausage, braciole, Sopressetta, Cacatitorini, fresh mozzarella, and more. There are great Italian food emporiums where you can buy imported olive oils, vinegar, pasta, Prosciutto de Parma, Mortadella from Bologna, Gorgonzola, Fontina, Aceto Baslamico from Modena, porcini secco, and the sinful Tartufo Bianco when they are in season from mid October through early January is any true gourmands favorite time of the year, “White Truffle Season.”
We New Yorkers are blessed with amazing Italian Caffes that serve authentic pastries, gelato, and properly made espresso and cappuccino. Culinarily, we want for nothing!
“My condolences to those Americans who are deprived these simple little pleasures, excuse me, necessities to good, happy living!”

Prosciuttoless in Nebraska is excerpted from Daniel Bellino Zwicke's upcoming new Book, "La TAVOLA" filled with the adventures of ITALIAN AMERICAN NEW YORKERS and their Culinary Adventures cooking, tjrowing Dinner Parties,shopping for Italian Pastries at Rocco's Pastry Shop, Bread at Vesuvio's, and PROSCIUTTO, Salami, and Sausages at Faiacco's Pork Store. Dining out at such restaurants as Bar Pitti, Gino's, Elio's and Da Silvano's, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Calvin Klein, Paris Hilton, Richard Gere, Graydon Carter, and David Bowie just to name a few. They eat Pizza at John's Pizzeria,and Lombardi's, they cook, they laugh they cry.