Sunday, October 20, 2019

Italian Wine Trips Italy

Vernazza
 
 
 
 
Torre di Pisa
 
 
It took me 6 Trips to Italy to finally make it to see one of the most famous Italian attractions of all, "The Leaning Tower of Pizza at the Piazza Miracoli. It was a research trip with my business partner Tom (Bar Cichetti). I was landing in Milan, we were going to meet in Florence and Tom and his associate at TJT were first going to Lago di Como, so I figured I'd take the train to the Italian Riviera and Cinque Terre, and would stay in the town of Vernaazza for two days before heading to Fierenze. 
 
I had a nice time on the Cinque Terre, hiking to 4 of the 5 towns, eating, drinking local wine and having a great time as usual in Bella Italia. After my two days in Vernaazza was up, I'd be heading down to Florence to meet up with Tom and Maran. The train would be passing through Pisa, so I figured I just had to see the "Leaning Tower of Pisa," if only this one time. So I figured, I'd catch an early train from Vernazza to Pisa, jump off the train for 2 1/2 hours, run over to the Piazza Miracoli and see the Torre di Pisa. And so I did, and I must say, though it is a bit touristy, it's gorgeous and something you just have to see. And it's not just the Tower of Pisa but the whole Piazza di Miracoli is beeautiful, including the Cathedral, The Baptistery next door to it, and of course la Torre.
 
And so I saw the leaning Tower of Pisa, I took pictures, I had a great time, I loved, and was so glad I did. I got on a local bus and headed toward the train station. I hopped on the next train to Florence, passing trhough Empoli and Prato along the way.
 
 
 
The DUOMO
 
Florence , Italy
 
 
 
TRATTORIA PANDEMONIO
 
50 Via Leone, Firenze
 
FLORENCE
 
ITALY
 
 
Mamma with our BISTECA
 
BISTECA FIORENTINA
 
 
The Dining Room
 
PANDEMONIO
 
"One the Best Meals of My Life"
 
 
Mamma was absolutely awesome. We had Salumi, Crostini Toscano, and an awesome Bisteca Fiorentian, accompanied by a great bottle of Brunello, and Mamma brought over a nice selection of Grappa for us to choose from (Complimentary) to end our wonderful meal. But the meal wasn't over. There was a famous artist eating there when we were. At the end of the night when there was just 2 tables left including ours, Mamma and her sister pushed all the tables together, and we had one big party. Yes, it was one of the times of my life, and a night and meal that I shall always remember.
 
"Thanks Mamma!"
 
 
 
Approaching Villa Calcinaia
 
GREVE
 
 
 
CHIANTI CONTI CAPONI
 
Me having Lunch with the Conti Caponi
 
Sebastiano and Nicholas
 
 
VILLA CALCINAIA
 
 
GREVE ,  1997
VILLA CALCINAIA
 
GREVE
 
 
 
The GRAND HOTEL
 
St. REGIS
 
FLORENCE
A area in the Lobby
 
The GRAND HOTEL
 
St. REGIS
 
FIRENZE
 
 
 
 
Vigna dell Piave
 
FONTODI
 
PANZANO
 
"FLACCIANELLO"
 
 
And FONTODI
 
 
 
 
OFF to VENICE
 
 
Piazza San MARCO
 
And MY VENICE
 
 
 
On The GRAND CANAL
 
 
 
 
Hanging with "El LUPO"
 
Arturo, one of Venice's most Famou GONDOLIERE.
 
At BACARO VIVALDI
 
1995
 
I had a great time at Osteria Vivaldi. The place had a great vibe at the bar, where I met and hung out with the Famous Venetian Gondeliere "IL Lupo" real name Arturo. Arturo was with a couple friends and we had fun drinking local wine (Cabernet Franc), eating Cichetti and chit chatting about this and that. I had a wonderful time, and I went back the next night so I could sit down in the small dining room where I ate Razor Clams and Spaghetti Nero (w/ Squid Ink).
 
 
 
All' ARCO
 
My 1st TASTE of CICHETTI
 
 
 
 
My first major Italian Wine Connections came in 1996 when I took my second trip to research the Wine Bars (Bacari) of Venice, Cichetti, and Italian Wine. I made quite a lot of progress on my 1st Cichetti / Bacaro discovery trip to Venice, after I'd read that little article in the Sunday Travel section of The New York Times. It was that one little article on Venice and its wine bars called Bacaro (plural =s Bacari), meaning House of Bacchus, after the Roman God of Wine. At these Venetian Wine Bars, they served of course wine (mostly local) and small tidbits of food called Cichetti which are usually displayed behind glass cases on the bar. There is usually a wide assortment of at least 20 different items or more, on display and ready for consumption to go along with your wine. And speaking of wine, a glass of wine in these Venetian wine bars, is known as an Ombra, meaning shade in Latin, and getting the name through the fact that the fish, meat, and produce merchants around the Rialto Market, wanting to get out of the hot Sun of the outdoor market, would seek shade (Ombra) inside on of the many wine bars (Bacari) in the area.
 
The Bacari of Venice come in many shapes and forms, from some that are quite tiny like All' Arco which was the 1st Bacaro that I ever went to. I had gotten off the train at Santa Lucia Stazione, and was lugging my bags, and looking for my hotel, when I stumbled upon All' Arco. I spotted it and walked up to the barman, and asked if they had Cichetti. He greeted me with a smile, got me an Ombra (glass of Wine) and started handing me Cichetti. He gave me a crostini with Nervetti, one of the more unusual types of cichetti served, and one that mostly locals eat. Nervetti, it's made of beef nerves, and this was my first. My first morsel of Cichetti, not one of my favorites. He then gave me one with Mantecato (whipped Salt Cod). Now this was more like it, "quite tasty." I also had some Mussetto, which is a tasty Sausage made from Pigs Snout. "Yumm." Well I had a great little intro into Cichetti and the wine bars of Venice, I was pumped up and I continued on my journey to get my hotel. This was 1995, there was no internet (well?) and things like Expedia and Booking.com did not exist. I was quite lucky when I saw the sign and stumbled upon the Albergo Gueratto (hotel). I spotted it, and popped my head inside and asked if they had any rooms. They did, and the price was right. I found this wonderful little hotel in 1995, on my special trip to explore the Bacari of Venice. 
 
The Albergo Guerratto is set right in the middle of the famed Rialto Market, just a 200 foot walk out the door of the Guerratto. Make a left as you're exiting the hotel. Guerratto is a very cool hotel with a great vibe. It's run my two nice young couples, the room rates are very affordable, they serve a great breakfast in their cool old dining-room, and the location is perfect for your exploration of Venice.
 
 
 
PENSIONE GUERRATO
 
 
I first spotted the Pnesione Guerrato when I walk down this small alleyway, the Calle drio la Scimia, right off of the Mercato Rialto, Venice, Italy.
 
 
 
The Lobby
 
Pensione Guerrato
 
VENICE
 
 
I Love having my Breakfast in the cool old dining room 
 
at PENSIONE GUERRATO
 
Book a Room at GUERRATO
 
We HIGHLY Recommend It for an Authentic Venetian Experience
 
 
 
 
ALBERGO GUERRATO
 
Built 1288
 
Restored 1955
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
An assortment of CICHETTI at ARCO
 
CICHETTI "The Namesake of My VENETIAN WINE BAR"
 
BAR CICHETTI
 
NEW YORK , NY
 
 
 
 
BAR CICHETTI
 
 
"AMERICA'S 1st Ever VENETIAN WINE BAR"
 
BACARO
 
 
Created by Daniel Bellino Zwicke & Tom Taraci
 
220 Houston Street
 
GREENWICH VILLAGE
 
New York, NY
 
 
 
 
The PARIS HOTEL FLORENCE
LUXURY For LESS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, October 19, 2019

History of Submarine Hero Sandwich

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  The HERO “The SUB”  



    A Submarine Sandwich, also known as a “Hero” in New York, Hoagie in Philadelphia, and “Grinder” in New England the Mid-West & California, and a Bomber in Upstate New York. These Sandwiches consists of Italian or French Bread split down the middle in two long pieces. In between the bread goes; Salami, Cheese, Ham, slice tomato, lettuce, and sliced onion topped with Olive Oil, Vinegar, Oregano, Salt & Pepper. This is the basic “Hero” Sandwich, Sub, Hoagie or whatever you call it depending on where you live. In Jersey they are Submarines or simply Subs. Hero Sandwiches (Northern NJ & NY) were invented around the turn of 1900’s by Italian-American immigrants on the East Coast of the United States, in cities such as; New York, Boston, Portland Maine, Providence Rhode Island, Philadelphia, and Paterson, New Jersey where it is said the first Submarine Sandwich was invented by one Dominic Conti (1874-1954) an Italian immigrant from Montella, Italy a town in the province of Avellino near Naples (Napoli), Italy where much of Italian-America’s dishes come from along with Sicily, Calabria, and Abruzzo. Conti is said to have named his sandwiches Submarines after seeing a Museum Exhibition at The Paterson Museum of a recovered 1901 Submarine The Fenian Ram. As his sandwiches made on long loaves of Italian Bread resemble the Submarine, Conti named his sandwiches Submarine Sandwiches, which later became known  as Subs.” Conti’s granddaughter says, “My grandfather came to America in 1895 from Montella, Italy. In 1910, he started an Italian Grocery Store in Paterson (Silk City), New Jersey, which was called “Dominic Conti’s Grocery Store” on Mill Street where he was selling traditional Italian Sandwiches. His sandwiches were made from a recipe he brought with him from Italy which consisted of a long crusty roll filled with cold cuts, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, Oil & Vinegar, Italian Herbs & Spices, Salt & Black Pepper. The sandwich started with a layer of cheese and ended with a layer of cheese (so the Bread wouldn’t get soggy).
   So these Italian Submarine Sandwiches as they are known in Jersey, are Grinders in New England, Hoagies in Philly and in New York they’re most commonly known as a Hero, of which the name is credited to New York Herald Tribune food-writer Clementine Paddle-ford in the 1930’s. As far as who invented these sand-wiches, there are a few different theories of who invented the first one and where it was. Some say in the sandwich was created in Scollay Square to entice Sailors stationed at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston, and that the term Grinder the name of the sandwich in New England (as well as the Mid-West) comes from dockworkers who were called Grinders. Another theory has the Sandwich originating in Portland, Maine. We feel this is highly unlikely and that it was Dominic Conti of Montella Italy and Paterson, New Jersey who invented this Italian-American icon, and one that has been adopted by the whole country after its birth on the East Coast and of Italian neighborhoods.
    Now a days there are a multitude of horrible chain Sub Stands like Subway, of which the ingredient are inferior to the original sandwiches of which you can still get at any good Italian Deli in New York, New Jersey, in Philly, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Boston, and Baltimore.


by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke 



Excerpted From Daniel Bellino-Zwicke's latest book  SUNDAY SAUCE  ... When Italian Americans Cook ...   .

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READ 

ALL ABOUT SUBMARINE SANDWICHES

The HISTORY
and How to Make One

RECIPE   in SUNDAY SAUCE



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Frank Sinatra Cheesecake Recipe



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LEMON RICOTTA CHEESECAKE

alla SINATRA




RECIPE 

 

Ingredients :

 

  • 3 lbs. whole milk fresh Ricotta
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • ¼ cup grated Graham Crackers
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup Mascarpone
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS

 
  1. Place ricotta in a sieve over a bowl and let drain for 1 hour.
  2. Triple wrap the bottom and sides of 3×10-inch springform pan with aluminum foil. Butter the sides, bottom and rim of pan. Mix the smashed Graham Crackers with 1 teaspoon sugar and coat the pan.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Fill a teapot with water and bring to a boil. Place the Mascarpone in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light. Transfer to a small bowl; then add ricotta and lemon zest to bowl of electric mixer. Beat at low speed until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth. Beat in the remaining 1½ cups sugar. Continue to beat until mixture is very smooth. Beat in the Mascarpone, vanilla and lemon juice. Pour into the pan and smooth the top.
  4. Place the pan inside a roasting pan whose sides are not higher than the cake pan. Open oven and pull rack out halfway — make sure it’s stable. Place pan on rack, then pour in the boiling water from the teapot into the larger pan to within 1 inch of the top of the smaller pan. Bake for one hour and 15 minutes. Test with finger — the top should spring back a bit. Give the pan a shake — if the batter ripples under the surface too much, it probably needs more time. It should be slightly golden on top. Note: Cooking times will vary dramatically depending on your oven, the pan you are using for the water bath and what type of fresh ricotta you are using. Start checking at 1 hour and 15 minutes. If you have a Thermapen (highly recommend!), use it to test the temp of the cheesecake, and remove the cheesecake when the thermometer reads 150-155ºF. 
  5. Remove and let cool to room temperature in the water bath. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours before serving. It will firm up as it rests.
  6. To unmold, slide a thin knife around the cake edges. Release the sides of the springform pan. Refrigerate until serving.
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Frank Sinatra dining-out with Wife Ava Gardner

And LEMON CHEESECAKE for DESSERT


FRANK SINATRA SUNDAY SAUCE

And DOLLY SINATRA'S SPAGHETTI MEATBALLS
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SUNDAY SAUCE alla SINATRA
DOLLY SINATRA'S MARINARA SAUCE
MEATBALLS
and More ...
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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Great Restaurants Salerno Italy Pizza

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Fritto Misti

Al La SPAGNOLA



I stayed at Villa Maria (Lemon Farm, Minori) for a couple days once again, and was next going to meet my cousin Tony in Salerno. Tony arrived in Salerno two days before and was hanging out with our cousins Marta and Mimmo who live in Salerno. I told Tony that the ferry boat I was catching was due to arrive in Salerno at 12:30 pm, after quick stops in Maiori and the fishing village of Cetara. It was a nice day, so I quite enjoyed the lovely boat ride along the beautiful Amalfi Coast from Minori to Salerno. The boat arrived and I hopped off and walked down the long path towards the exit of Salerno's Marine Terminal. I was surprised when, as I was walking, I spotted Tony's good friend Alan about 100 feet ahead. Then I saw Tony. Alan had a some time off, and flew over to hang out with Tony and I for a few days. It was warm greetings, as its always great to see my cousin Tony, and Alan was a long as well. We threw my bags in the car, and it was off to lunch. When I spoke to Tony on the phone the night before, he told me not to eat before I got there, that he was taking me to some place for lunch. He had told me that Mimmo and Marta brought him there, and that it was a really nice restaurant.
We pulled up to La Spagnola, parked the car, and hopped out. The lady that turned out to be our waitress, greeted us at the door, then brought us to our table. The table had our name on it (Bellino name tag) and we all sat down. The place looked great, and I was excited for a lunch to come.


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Antipasto Misti di Mare


Tony handed me the wine-list and said, "pick out a nice Champagne Dan." OK. I looked the wine list over, browsed the Champagne, as well as other sparkling wines, but it wasn't Champagne that I chose. I saw the Giulio Ferrari Brut 2004 and thought that would be good, so I said to Tony, "they have some nice Italian Sparkler. What do you think?" Tony said yes, so when the waitress came over I ordered a bottle. A few minutes later, the waitress came back with the wine, I tasted it and so we began our lunch a t La Spagnola. Tony loved the wine, and so did I as well as Alan, and I didn't know that a created a monster, so-to-speak, as after this, Tony fell in love with the Ferrari, and we'd drink about 6 more bottles before our trip was over.



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Giulio Ferrari 2004

"Some Tasty Wine"


The waitress started chatting with us about what they had that day, and dishes that she suggested. She asked us if we liked Razor Clams, and also if we wanted a little antipasto plate each of Polpo and the Polpette di Alici (Anchovy Meatballs) that Tony was raving about. We all agreed on that, so the waitress went to get that started for us. So we were chit-chatting, sipping our tasty Ferrari (not Champagne) , and just enjoying our time when the waitress brought us each a lovely plate of Polpo e Pelpette di Alici. Wow, just the sight of the dish got us all going, it so very good, and when I bit into the Sardine Meatball (Polpette d' Alici) I realized what Tony had been talking about, and why raved so about the dish he had a couple nights before. Well, needless to say, we all loved the dish, the Octopus and Alici were as tasty as can be.
After the antipasti misti, our waitress brought us a 2nd antipasto course, and gave us each a gorgeous looking plate of sauteed Razor Clams each. Dam, they were tasty! And so we enjoyed once again.
And now it was time to ordered our main-course. Alan and I each ordered Spaghetti Vongole and Tony ordered some Orata. When those dishes came, of course they were all superb, and we totally enjoyed them.


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Our Antipasto al la Spagnola
Polpette di Alici e Polpo
"Absolutely Awesome!"


Yes, our lunch was a big hit. We had a wonderful waitress, whose service was par excel-lance. The food was as it would turn out, the best I had on our 12 day trip to the Amalfi Coast, in the Summer of 2018 ... Yes, we ate in a lot of wonderful restaurants all over the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento Italy. We ate at Buco di Bacco and Da Vincenzo in Positano, we had a few nice meals in Sorrento as well as an awesome lunch at Lo lo Smeraldino in Amalfi which maybe was as good as La Spagnola. Yes, we had the most wonderful lunch out on the deck at Lo Smeraldino. We had an incredible view of Amalfi, we drank Ferrari again, we had a couple awesome waiters taking care of us, and we ate Langostines, Calamari, Cozze, and Grancio (local Crab).


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Our Razor Clams at la Spagnola


Yes, I'd have to say that our meal at :a Spagnola in Salerno, Italy was a most memorable one. I will never forget that wonderful lunch I had that day with cousin Tony and our friend Alan. La Spagnola is a gem of a restaurant, and along with Da Marino in Naples, L'Archetto, also in Salerno, Buco di Bacco in Positano, these are my top 4 favorite restaurants in the entire area in Campania that comprises: Napoli, Capri, Ischia, Sorrento, Amalfi, Positano, Minori, and all of the AMalfi Coast of Italy, yes La Spagnola is a very special gem of a restaurant, and so I'd urge anyone staying in Salerno, you must eat here, and the restaurant is certainly worth a pecial trip from anywhere at all on the Amalfi Coast. Wherever you may be on the coast, you can take a nice boat ride to get to Salerno, And you can make a whole day of it, hit a Gelateria, and get a Pizza or Calzone from my buddy Gerardo at his wonderful little Pizzeria / Trattoria L'Archetto, also in Salerno. Just do it !



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Outside La SPAGNOLA

SALERNO , ITALY 2018
Alan, Myself, and Cousin Tony

My Trip Amalfi Coast 2019


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Our View of AMALFI

From Our Table at Lo SMERALDINO
AMALFI, ITALY 2018



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My Buddy GERARDO
Making My PIZZA
L'ARCHETTO PIZZERIA / RISTORANTE
BEST PIZZA in SALERNO
READ about GERARDO and his PIZZA



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Pizza by GERARDO
L'ARCHETTO PIZZERIA
SALERNO , ITALY



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A Fisherman on his Fishing Boat
CETARA
2018



Maybe this fisherman caught some of the Fish that we ate at La Spagnola or our awesome lunch at Lo Smeraldino in Amalfi.
Cetara is the only true fishing village left on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. It's a cute little town, and one of the best places to get an awesome Seafood Meal on the Amalfi Coast. There are several wonderful little trattoria's in town that we highly recommend taking a trip to Cetara. You'll have a lovely car or boat ride, and one of the best seafood lunches or dinners of your life. Garaunteed! 
Note : The fishermen catch all different kinds of fish, but the town is most famous for the Alici (anchovies) caught by the fishing fleet of this town. Besides the wonderful seafood trattoria's, there are several shops where you can buy the famous Anchovies in bottles as well as the Secret Anchovy Sauce (Colatura) of Cetara.


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Polpo al Guasetto at La Spagnola
Salerno


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An Awesome Mixed Seafood Plate at La Spagnola

SALERNO

Just look at that plate. Doesn't it make your mouth water? This is the type of wonderful food they prepare at La Spagnola, easily one of The Best Restaurants in all of Campania.
"Yes, it's that Good!"



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POSITANO is COMING SOON

A New Book From Best Selling Italian Cookbook Author




   
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Our TOP RATED HOTEL in SALERNO

If you are planning on staying in SALERNO (much Cheaper) for Your AMALFI COAST Trip

We HIGHLY RECOMMEND The PLAZA HOTEL

It's a GREAT HOTEL at an Incredibly AFFORDABLE PRICE

Ask for GAETANO . And Tell Him DANIEL Sent You



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