I Learn How to Cook Italian

johnskitchen

John at JOHN’S of 12th Street

 

Best Selling Italian Cookbook Author Daniel Bellino Zwicke has quite a strong connection to DeRobertis, Lanza’s, and especially John’s of East 12th Street where Daniel worked as a waiter / bartender for 7 years in the 1980s .. Daniel lived just a few blocks away from the infamous Mafia Hot Spots / Italian Eateries … He lived on Avenue A at the corner of Saint Marks Place for 11 years from 1982 to 1994.

Daniel was a young man in his early 20s, working hard in the restaurant business. His main goals were two-fold, to become a Chef and to own his own restaurant one day ( Bar Cichetti  ). Prior to moving to the East Village of New York’s LES, Daniel attended New York Technical College in the schools Hotel Restaurant Management Program, with his main interest in the Culinary Classes which  were highly renowned. At the time, Daniel was actually more interested in learning and perfecting his talents in French Cuisine of the Culinary Arts and not of the Italian genre, which he would later move into. 

Daniel worked in some of New York’s op French Restaurants of the day, including; The Palace Restaurant with Chef Michel Fitoussi, Lutece with Chef Andre Soltner, and The Odeon and Cafe Louxenbourg with the late great Chef Patrick Clarke, who like Daniel went to New York Technical College as well.

At the time, working in the kitchens of these restaurants, a prep or line cook could only make about $300 a week, which was not enough for Daniel. Luckily he serendipitously made the acquaintance of Myron Weiner who was one of the two partners of the old red sauce joint John’s of 12th Street. They met while having Italian Ices at a Street Fair on University Place in 1981. Myron told Daniel he owned John’s, and Daniel asked if they were looking for any waiters as he was looking for some part-time employment. Daniel started working at John’s and the rest is history. He would cook 4 lunch shifts and one dinner shift a week, and work at John’s 3 nights a week, mostly waiting tables, and once a week tending bar. In those 3 nights, Daniel made more than 5 days work in the kitchen, and it afforded him the ability to pay all his bills; Rent, Food, Con Ed, Phone Bill, etc.. And because of John’s, Daniel had plenty of money to buy the nice clothes he liked, go out to eat in restaurants, and take a nice vacation to Paris or Italy every year. This suited Daniel fine. He waited tables and had a good time at John’s, meeting celebrities along with the funky East Village characters of the day. 

Daniel worked hard and played hard, chased the ladies and sewed some wild oats. Part of his socializing and enjoying life including, going out to eat at various restaurants, as well as a but of clubbin (Night Clubs), cafe and bar hopping. Two of Daniel’s favorite places for Cappucino and Italia pastries were a couple venerable old Italian Pastry Shops nearby in Veniero’s (Since 1892) and DeRobertis on Second Avenue, just about 100 feet from Veniero’s. Next to DeRoberti’s was Lanza’s an old school Italian Restaurant that was in operation since 1904 . There was a stretch of time in the early 90s when Daniel, his girlfriend Dante, and their friends John and Jorge would have lunch many a Saturday at Lanza’s before heading to work at Les Halles where they all worked at the time. They also loved going for Cappuccino and Cannoli or Sfogliatelle at DeRobertis all the time and sit in the back room with the old Subway Tiles and 1920 Silver Dollar imbedded into the tile floor. There was nothing better, and Daniel says it saddens him terribly that both Lanza’s and DeRobertis where he had countless good times, are now closed down. Daniel says, “It’s a Sin,” and it is. He also misses terribly his old friend Vinny’s place, La Focacceria, also on 1st Avenue as well as Brunetta on 1st Avenue, one block up from Lanza’s and DeRoberti’s on the block between East 11th and East 12th Street. The first location of La Focacceria was on this block as well, but they moved to First Avenue between East 7th Street and St Marks Place sometime in the early 80s . 

La Focacceria was were Daniel first learned of one of his ancestral Sicilian dishes called Vasteddi (Pane Muesa), along with real Sicilian Pizza known as Sfingione. Both dishes along with Aracini (Rice Balls) are dishes of the Sicilian Capital City of Palermo where, along with Lercara Friddi are where Daniel’s maternal grandparents Giuseppina Salamei and Fillipo Bellino were born and immigrated from, to come to New York in 1904 ..

Not long after Daniel moved to the East Village neighborhood of athe East Village that was not now, but once-upo-a-time a Sicilian-American stronghold neighborhood. By this time in the 1980s the East Village had a strong Ukranian and Eastern European contingency, but remnants of the old Sicilian Neighborhood remained in the form of John’s of East 12th Street, Lanza’s, La Focacceria and Brunetta’s, the DeRoberti’s were from Puglia in Southern Italy.

So Daniel had a good time, and learned a thing or two along the way. After going to Italy for the first time in 1985, and falling head over heals in love with Italy and Italian Culture (his own) Daniel decided he wanted not to continue his pursuit of the French Culinary Arts, but authentic Italian Cuisine instead. And thus he set out to start working in an Italian Kitchen to learn from and Italian Chef. Daniel got a job as a line cook at Caio Bella Restaurant and learned from Pasquale, a very talented Chef from Brindisi, Italy. Daniel worked at Caio Bella and learned how to make the “World’s Best Bolognese,” Pasta Fagioli, Risotto, Frittata, and all the great regional dishes of Italy. He also embellished his learning, by eating at Italian restaurant in New York, but more so in Italy on his yearly travels to his mother country. Daniel bought every good Italian Cookbook he could get his hands on, he read the books, cooked many dishes and would eventually start writing his own. This is how you learn, read, watch, gain experience and grow. The education of Daniel Bellino Zwicke.

 

 

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DANIEL ‘S ITALIAN COOKBOOKS

 

 

 

 

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POSITANO BITES DEEP

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POSITANO BITES DEEP

 

   I first heard of Positano from Alberto Moravia. It was a very hot day in Rome. He said, “Why don’t you go down to Positano on the Amalfi Coast? It is one of the fine places of Italy”. Later John McKnight of United States Information Service told me the same thing. He had spent a year there working on a book. Half a dozen people echoed this as well. Positano kind of moved in on us and we found ourselves driving down to Naples on our way,” so wrote John Steinbeck for Harper’s Bazaar, May 1953.

    Italy has long been a dream destination for so many, the art, history, endless sights, and incredible food and drink make Italy the most favored destination of millions of travelers each and every year.

    If you are headed on a vacation to Positano, one of Italy’s most favored seaside towns, it’s likely you’ll be driving in some form or the other, whether you are driving yourself down from Rome, or you’ve hired a driver to take you there, or you may be one of many arriving on one of the blue Cita Local Buses driven by the world’s best bus drivers. If so, you will be starting in Sorrento. Whether in a car or one of those blue buses, once you cross over the peninsula of Sorrento from the Gulf of Naples to the Gulf of Salerno, the jaw-dropping beauty of the Amalfi Drive begins to unfold. The 15- kilometer stretch from Sorrento to Positano includes a dramatic succession of curves, sheer cliffs, rocky twists and the most beautiful panoramic vistas you are likely to see in your entire lifetime. This section of the road, known as via Nastro Azzurro, the “Blue Ribbon” climaxes with Positano.

    The coastal drive between Positano and Amalfi delivers 10 miles of picture-perfect vistas that combine brilliant sea views with the dramatic jaggedness of the coastline, you’ll see colors of Azure Blue, bright yellows, pinks, greens, and colors of every spectrum of the Rainbow. It’s all quite stunningl.

    When you finally arrive in Positano you will be greeted by colorfully white and pastel painted buildings that are filled with vibrant Purple Bougainvillea plants pouring generously over their walls. The town is a former fishing village that has been turned into a sort of La Dolce Vita playground. Though the entire coastline is absolutely gorgeous, Positano is arguably the most alluring gem of them all.

   The romance of this pretty little town makes for a jewel of vacation and one you shall always cherish. It’s most assured you will never forget time spent in Positano. When traveling to Positano you immediately notice its abundance of natural beauty and the drama of rugged cliffs that shoot straight up out the blue sea below. These sights are sure to grab you with each and every turn on this, the world’s most beautiful road. You arrive and immediately notice the intoxicating smell of Jasmine that fills the air with its heady aroma.

    “Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone,” author John Steinbeck stated in an article he wrote about Positano for the May 1953 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.

    Steinbeck describes the terror of winding through the Amalfi Coast on a road that “corkscrewed on the edge of nothing”, clutched in his wife’s arms who was “weeping hysterically”. The road to Positano is barely wider than a car and the journey has become no less perilous. With the ocean pinching at you on one side and the mountains cradling you on the other, you spiral down past hordes of scooters that buzz like angry mosquitoes.

     Although Positano has lost its status as a secret known to a select few (myself since 1985), it still remains a gem of a place, with large crowds or not, Positano is still impresses.

 

 

Excerpted from Daniel Bellino Zwicke ‘s New Forthcoming Book : POSITANO

 

Visit Daniel-Bellino-Zwicke.com

I LOVE THE ROLLING STONES

 

I LOVE The ROLLING STONES

TIN PAN ALLEY CLUB

LONDON 1964

Original Band

Mick Jagger .. Keith Richards .. Bill Wyman .. Brian Jones .. Charlie Watts

 

PS …. “I LOVE SINATRA Too” !!!

Luca Brasi s FEAST of The 7 FISH ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

Luca Brasi
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Sonny ”  “What the Hell is this?” !!!!
 
 
Clemenza :   “It’s a Siciian Message … It means Luca Brasi swims with the Fish”
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SONNY CORLEONE Gets a SICILIAN MESSAGE
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A SICILIAN MESSAGE
“LUCA BRASI SWIMS With The FISH”
 
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The GODFATHER by SICILIAN-AMERICAN Writeer MARIO PUZO
Starring :  AL PACINO

MARLON BRANDO

 
 
 
 
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Learn How to Make The FEAST of 7 FISH
For CHRISTMAS This YEAR !
“EVERYTHING You Ever Wanted to Know About The FEAST of The 7 FISHES  but was AFRAID to Ask”
“ISN’T IT TIME YOU MADE IT” ????
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HOW to MAKE a NEGRONI COCKTAIL

 

Marcello Mastroianni

La DOLCE VITA

Learn How to Make a NEGRONI

The Recipe is in SUNDAY SAUCE

by Daniel Bellino “Z”

 

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Me and The Super Bowl of Wine

 

Saverino Barzan at The Bar

Bottega del Vino

VERONA

 

With Cousin JOE MACARI

At The BOTTEGA del VINO

VERONA , ITALY

2003

CLICK For MORE BOTTEGA del VINO

and The SUPER BOWL of WINE

 

 

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