Thursday, July 18, 2019

Tribute to Dean Martin Dino Crocetti

YES !!!
Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin
Dean Martin, "The King of Cool" ? Hell Yeah ! Dino Crocetti, better known as  Dean Martin (Stage Name) was as cool as they come. He Oozed Cool. Just look at him? That handsome Italian Son of Bitch. Dino optimized the phrase Tall Dark & Handsome. And the way he dressed, the man was a class act, full of style, grace and self-assured. And he spoke Italian. That right there makes you cool. Any American who can speak Italian, it just adds to the cool factor, and Dino had it in Spades. Dean was charming, charismatic, and just plain cool, yes he certainly was the King of Cool, an undisputed fact, though many times his coolness, and who was cooler, Dino or Frank Sinatra, it's natural they were compared. Well, first off they both were as cool as they come. Some traits were the same, and they had their individual slyltes as well. Sinatra and Dean, they both were cool, yes. But there was only one King of Cool, and that was Dean Martin, and always will be. Just look at him, and listen to the man sing.
by Daniel Bellino Zwicke
and More ...
1.   Italian was Dino's first language. He didn't start speaking English until he was 5 years old and started going to school.
2.   Born June 7, 1917 in Stubenville, Ohio to an Italian-American mother's family was from Abruzzo, and his father Gaetano Crocetti from Montesilvano, Italy, in Abruzzo. Dean passed away on Christmas Day 1995. 
3.   Dean dropped out of High School in the 10th Grade. He said he was smarter than his teachers.
4.   Jobs : Steel Mill Worker, Bootlegged Liquor, Croupier (Black Jack Dealer) at a Speakeasy, was a Professional Boxer.
5.   Dino was a Boy Scout.
6.   Dino always said his Prayers, all his life, Dean Martin was a devout Catholic.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Sophia Loren with Elvis Presley


Elvis Presley with Sophia Loren

Chicke this out! Wow, what a wonderful picture,  Elvis Presley and Sophia Loren. This picture looks to be probably from the early 1960s, judging by the youthfulness of Elvis and Sophia's appearance. This picture represents two of The Most Famous Iconic Movie Stars of the 20th Century. Of course Elvis was a famous singer, and although he made movies, he was known more for a Singing Star who was put into movies as a result of his hug success and popularity. Actually, Elvis though put into many Silly Movie Role (he Hated), he was actually a pretty good actor, as he proves in more serious moives like Kid Creole, and Love Me Tender.

Sophia Loren was not a singer, though she did perform one great song in a movie whe made with Clark Gable, "It Started in Naples," where Loren sang "I Want to Be American" (Whiskey & Soda).










Clark Gable and Sophia Loren

On the Isle of Capri, on the Set of  "IT STARTED in NAPLES"






And More ..





And More ..


Sunday, July 14, 2019

My Favorite Beaches Capri Positano AmalfiCoast Italy




  I first spent a couple wonderful days at La Scogliera Beach Club way back in the Summer of 1985. I was a young man of just 23 back then, and getting a Chaise Lounge and hanging out at La Scogliera was like a dream come true. Like I had seen in movies as a kid, Agent 007 James Bond and the like swimming exclusive Mediterranean Beach, lounging at exclusive beach clubs with beautiful European Women, and living "The Good Life," and here, so was I. Yes it was a dream come true. Most young men my age would have opted for one of the free beaches, but not I. I would pay more to be among the beautiful people. Especially the gorgeous bikini clad girls. Or just half a bikini? Just the bottoms as the sun bathed going topless, I must say I enjoyed it all so very much. I had my chaise lounge, Campari & OJ, lovely music playing, the Sun, the Sand, the Beach, Beautiful Women, "yes, I was in 7th Heaven," to say the least, I felt like a King back then. Being in Positano, gorgeous girls, great Italian Food, Cocktails, gelato, properly pulled Espresso, the World's Best Pizza, the Casa Albertina, "what more could I want?" Not much I tell you. I was oh so happy those days in Positano, on the Amalfi Coast, Italy, for I was living my dream. My dream I saw on all those James Bond movies, growing up as a young boy in 1960s and 70s America. We went to the Rivoli Theater in Rutherford, New Jersey. Yes I watched Bond, Sean Connery and Roger Moore, and I wanted to be just like them. Well, not a Secret Agent, but I wanted to travel the World, going to exotic locals with beautiful women, Deluxe Hotels, cars, Champagne & Caviar, as they say. Yes, movies like Summertime (Venice), William Holden in Hong Kong in The World of Suzy Wong, Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, "that's what I wanted," and here I was at the exclusive beach club La Scogliera in Positano, on the Jet-Set Amalfi Coast. My dreams had come true. I savored it all, took it all in, and was appreciative at being there, in this one of the World's most beautiful spots of all. I spent my day, just hanging out, either lounging on my chaise lounge, sipping my Campari, soaking in the Amalfi Coast Sun. I swam a lot. Yes, I'm not usually a beach person, except when I'm in places like; Capri, Positano, the Costa Brava, or French Riviera. Then I become one. A beach person, and so when I'm on Capri or Positano, I hang at the beach and spend quite a lot of time swimming the Mediterranean (Tyrrhenian Sea). I go in the water, and I'm swimming at least 15 to 20 minutes at a time, even up to 30 minutes before getting out of the water. Oh yes, I love swimming the waters of Capri (Da Luigi Beach Club) and Positano. I swim out and just float there at times, looking at the town that just seems to sprout and shoot up out of the sea, straight up to dizzying heights above. This scene is quite dramatic and awe inspiring, both on Capri and Positano, and I love it. Yes I love floating on my back and looking out at the beautiful scene before me, the seagulls are singing, and I can faintly hear the music at the club, and chitter-chatter of people on the beach. It all blends together for the most lovely sound. That special sound of the seashore, do you know what I mean? Yes, back in 1985, as a young man, I paid more ($8) to be and the beach, and felt it was worth every penny to be there. These days, a chaise lounge can run you anywhere from 20 to 40 Euro for the day, depending upon the time you are there, the price varies. Now I would not pay 4o Euro a day, that's a bit much. I would however pay 25 Euro to have a private chaise at La Scogliera Beach Club, Positano. That's the price (25 Euro) I pay for a chaise lounge and towel at Da Luigi Beach Club on by the Faraglioni Rocks in Capri. Expensive? Yes, but worth every penny to treat yourself to a special treat, "don't you think?"    




The Restaurant







Looking For a HOTEL



Swimming at La SCOGLIERA




Friday, July 12, 2019

Mafia Tour Map of Little Italy New York

Mafia Map




East 12th Street 

Frequented by Charles Lucky Luciano and other New York Mobsters of the day. John's opened in 1908, and is still open, with all it's original 1908 decor intact.

Salvatore Luciana

Charles Luck Luciano "Whacked" (Killed) a rival Mobster out on East 12th Street, direct;y in front of John's Italian Restaurant.




Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Gino's of Capri NYC Zebra Wallpaper and Pasta Segreto

A Waiter at GINO'S

"You've got to get Pasta Segrete"

   Segreto? It’s secret in Italian. I got the idea for the book one day, well not the idea, but inspiration I’d say. I was thinking about one of our all time favorites restaurant, the food, the ambiance and all the fun we’d had there over the years. Many wonderful meals with family and friend, no foes. Dinners with Cousin Joe, Sister Barbara, Brother Michael, and Jimmy. Oh, the food was wonderful, all the great Italian Classics of good old Italian-American Red Sauce Joints of which this one, was one of the best. The classics, like: Baked Clams, Stuffed Artichokes, Spaghetti & Meatballs, Linguine with Clam Sauce, Chicken Parmigiano, Veal Marsala & Milanese, Chicken Cacctiatore, Ossobuco, Cannolis, Spumoni, and-on-and-on. I think you get the picture. Lots of good, affordable Italian Wine, the affable waiter, the phone booth, and the Zebra Wall Paper. If you were a regular their, from the last sentence, you the place I’m talking about. Yes Gino’s! Our beloved Gino’s of Lexington Avenue. Sadly they closed a few years ago. But we still have the memories of so many festive meals. Happy times, good eats.
  I discovered the wonders of Gino’s and first brought my cousin Joe there in 1999. The place was thrilling in that, when you walked in, you felt you were in the perfect place. Gino’s is charged with energy by its wonderful clientele, well-healed regulars who have been going there for years, they know the Maitre’d, the waiters and other customers, and likewise the waiters, bartender, and maitre’d know them. The first time you walk in, you feel that, and want to be a part of it. We did. Back then, Joe and I used to go out to eat together all the time, at least once a week. Joe knew about food, but not to the extent that I did. Joe would come in every week or so, and his driver would drive us around town. He’d pick me up early evening for a night of feasting and good times. We’d often eat at a couple different place. We’d have our main dinner and maybe a little bite to eat when we first went for cocktails to start the night off. As I said, Joe loved eating, and knew quite a bit, but as much as he knew, it wasn’t a third of what I knew about food, wine, and restaurants, and especially the restaurant, bar, and night club scene in New York. I was teaching Joe the ropes, so-to-speak, and Joe was an eager student. We had quite a lot of fun those few years, with dinners at Gino’s, Elio’s (Mondays for Lasagna), Da Silvanos’s, Bar Pitti, The Waverly Inn, Minetta Tavern, cocktails at Pegu and Temple Bar, and way too many other places to name right here. We did New York, we did it all!
   Back to Gino’s. So I had passed by Gino’s any number of times, but never went in to check it out. I was a downtown-er, and that’s where we did most of our eating, with an occasional trip midtown or other local if a place peaked our interest. So I did finally walk into Gino’s one day. I had to check it out. When I did, as I’ve already said, I walked in the door and immediately felt the energy of the place. Gino’s was packed, full of life and vibrant, and I knew I wanted to be there. I didn’t eat there right then and there, I was scouting the place out, but I knew I would be back. So I called Joe up and told him all about the place. It sounded great to Joe, this type of place was right up his alley, as it was mine. So Joe said yes, let’s check it out on our next night out.
   Our first ever trip to Gino’s was a few nights later. Joe packed me up at my place in Greenwich Village. I got in the car, as usual, we had a little discussion on what we’d be doing. We mapped out the night of eating and drinking, good times. We talked and decided to head over to Otto Enoteca for a bottle of wine and some Salumi before heading up town to Gino’s and our main dinner of the night. Joe loved Otto, and I was a fan too, so we headed to Otto.
    Well, we went to Otto, drank a little wine, had some Testa, Mortadella, and Prosciutto, and it was on to Gino’s. Back in the car, and Ziggy (our driver) drove us up to Lexington Avenue, across the street from Bloomingdale’s to Gino’s. We were excited as we walked up to the restaurant and through the door. The place was packed and super-charged. We loved it. The Maitre’d greeted us with the first of many warm welcomes. We were in like Flynn. We sat down at a nice table in the middle of the restaurant. We were happy campers. As happy as can be, for we sensed a wonderful meal ahead. Our hunch would turn out to be just right. A waiter came to our table, greeted us a warm welcome, gave us a wine list and menus, and asked what type of water we wanted. As always, we got a bottle of flat water. Joe gave me the wine list as he usually does and told me to pick something out. I looked over the reasonably priced list and picked out a tried and true wine from my good friend Luigi Capellini in Greve. The wine, a bottle of Verrazzano Chianti Classico. The waiter went to get the wine, and Joe and I looked over the menu. We were happy to see a great old school Italian menu. The Red Sauce kind of a good old classic Italian-American joint, of which there used to be many, but at this point of time, far fewer. They had; Shrimp Cocktail, Baked Clams, Hot Antipasto, Clams Posillipo, Spaghetti Vongole, Lasagna, Canneloni, Veal Parm, Veal Milanese, Eggplant Parmigiano, Shrimp Fra Diavolo, Veal Marsala, Scampi, and all the usual suspects. We were in heaven, and it was heard narrowing down what to eat.
   One dish really caught our attention, and especially Joe, who although I love my pasta, Joe had has me beat, he’s the pasta freak. Freak in a good way that is. The dish was Pasta Segreto (Pasta w/Secret Sauce), and us intrigued.
    The waiter brought the bottle of Chianti, opened it, and we were on our way. I ripped off a piece of bread and ate it. So, we decided on the menu. We order a Shrimp Cocktail and Baked Clams Oreganata to start. We would share these two antipasto items, then move on to the Primi, the pasta course. We decided on, and just had to have the Pasta Segrete, a half order each. We both love Veal Milanese (Frank Sinatra’s favorite), and as we were having antipasto, and pasta, as well as a couple desserts, we decided on one Veal Milanese to split for the main course, thus leaving room for some tasty desserts we knew Gino’s would have. We talked with the our waiter about the menu, and he agreed that we had chosen wisely, and that one Milanese would be fine, so we could eat dessert and he’d help us pick the two best later.
    So we drank wine, and nibble on the bread, chatted and waited in anticipation for the antipasto to arrive. I love Shrimp Cocktail since childhood and don’t always eat it all that much these days, so it’s always a special treat. The Baked Clams and the Shrimp Cocktail came and were a great way to start the meal. The wine was great. Hey it’s Castello Verrazzano!
   So now, we were really excited. This mysterious Pasta Segreto was about to come out. You can get the Secret Sauce with whatever Pasta you like, Spaghetti, Raviolis, Tagiolini, Penne, Gnocchi, or Rigatoni. Joe and I both love Rigatoni, so that’s what we went for, two half portions of Rigatoni Segrete. Well, the waiter brought us our Pasta with Secret Sauce. Guess what! It was outrageous, we loved it. Joe went crazy, and could stop talking about it, and it was just a couple weeks before he’d have to go back and get another “Fix.” Yes the Pasta with the Secret Sauce did not disappoint. We loved it, and would be back for many more bowls.
    We finished the Pasta, grudgingly so, as we didn’t want the experience to end, “It was that good!” We waited a few minutes for the Veal Milanese. It came out, and we could tell just by looking at it, that it would be great. For those of you who might not know, Veal Milanese is one of Italy’s most famous a classic of all dishes. It’s a Veal Chop that’s pounded thin, breaded with breadcrumbs and fried and tipped with a Salad of Arugala and Tomato. The dish is simple, simply delicious when done right. Veal Milanese was one of Frank Sinatra’s all-time favorite dish, along with Spaghetti Meatballs, and Clams Posillipo. Frank used to get it often at his favorite of all restaurants, Patsy’s of West 56th Street, just 10 blocks from Gino’s. Both old-school Italian Joints were among Frank’s favorites. Patsy’s was Frank’s # 1 favorite, but Gino’s wasn’t far behind, and Ol’ Blue Eyes ate there many times over the years. Anyway, the Veal Milanese was just perfect and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, life is good at times like these.
   We finished our Veal Milanese, and it was now time to  think about  desserts. I love sweets and so does Joe, so he said we gotta get two. The waiter told us the Tiramisu was “The Best in Town,” and the Cheesecake was really wonderful as well, so we went with his suggestions. Throw in a couple cups of Espresso and some Anisette too, and we were still in heaven.
   Needless to say, our meal was fantastic. We loved it. We loved Gino’s and would be back for more.
    We went back to Gino’s a couple weeks later. Joe loved the Pate Segrete and kept talking about it. He was back for more. We loved the menu we had the last time, and pretty much went with the same again. When we were eating the Segrete Pasta I identified the secret ingredients. They were butter and Parmigiano, mixed into Gino’s basic tomato sauce. Just a little butter and the grated Parmigiano does the trick for a tasty sauce. The recipe is in the book, and don’t worry, we didn’t eat the same thing every time we went to Gino’s. Over the years, we pretty much had every dish on the menu, from; the Minestrone and Pasta Fagioli, Manicotti, Lasagna, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Chicken Parmigiano, Veal Marsala and all. Specials too! We ate it all. “And loved every minute of it.” Gino’s, we miss you so! But great memories linger on.

Daniel Bellino Zwicke


SEGRETO ITALIANO - Secret Italian Recipes and Favorite Dishes

by Daniel Bellino Zwicke










And More ....


Steven S. says :

There is something very authentic about this book and the author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke. Entertainingly straight-forward and real, this cookbook has an awesome Italian American vibe throughout from cover to cover. Use this cookbook to create a dining experience that will make spectacular memories of comfort and deliciousness!

Italian and Italian-American cuisine is one of my favorites and it is just a blast trying out these rocking recipes in my own kitchen. These really are some secrets from the masters because they are uniquely wonderful – just created the Eggplant Caponata to the delight of my friends and family!

If you love Italian American food and like to cook and impress your Soprano’s fans, then pick up this book now!


Salsa Segreto


Lexington Avenue


One block north of Bloomingdale's famous department store. Gino Restaurant, which all the regulars called Gino's was one of the greatest most beloved Italian Restaurants in the history of New York City. And it's just that, part of New York City History. Sadly, we lost Gino's nine years ago, as the restaurant sold its last plate of its famous "Pasta Segreto" in the Winter of 2010. Some of Gino's many regulars which included the likes of Frank Sinatra were brought to tears the day Gino shut its doors. The restaurant was truly one of those much beloved places that you don't see every day, and it's a dam shame we lost her. All of us who ever went there have many cherished memories spent with friends and family at Gino's. I'm sure if Frank Sinatra was still alive, he'd tell you a few stories himself. Maybe his daughters Tina and Nancy Sinatra who of course are still alive might have some memories of their father, the great Francis Albert Sinatra holding court at Gino's. Yes we all know that Patsy's across town from Gino's was Frank's favorite Italian Restaurant o f all-time, but Mr. Sinatra loved Gino's as well, and dined there many times.

Hey Tony Bennett who is till alive, is a fan of Gino's. Maybe he can tell us some stories. Well, best selling Italian Cookbook author Daniel Bellino Zwicke is alive and doing well, and always writing about Italian Food, restaurants, pizza, pasta, celebrities, and Italy, and he has told us a few stories of great times with friends and family; his Cousin Joe, Brother Michael, and sister Barbara, and his fond memories of eating Baked Clams, Rigatoni Segreto and Veal Milanese, which Daniel says was his typical dinner when he dined at Gino's with Cousin Joe Macari (Macari Vineyards).

Yes Gino's was one great restaurant, that saw the likes of Mike Wallace, Gregory Peck, Gay Talese, and Italian Bombshells Sophia Loren and  Gina Lollibrigida. The great things about Gino's was that it was a well-rum machine, and its total mix of wonderful expertly prepared Italian Food, lively ambiance, excellent service, and cool vibrant crowd made for the most perfect mix that was Gino Restaurant. And if that wasn't enough, the prices of the food and wine was most reasonable. This was just another added plus of this legendary New York restaurant. And the restaurant that Gino's was, as shall tell you that the type of restaurant it was what we now call Old School Italian Red Sauce Joints. Yes, an old school Italian Red Sauce Joint, and the best old school Italian restaurant that any could ever possibly be. The same as places like John's of 12th Street, Monte's Trattoria in Greenwich Village, Rao's, up in East Harlem, New York.  Like any Red Sauce worth its Salt, Gino's had great Red Sauce of course, with items like, Baked Clams, Spaghetti Meatballs, Manicotti, Lasagna, Veal and Chicken Parm, and Frank Sinatra's favorites; Clams Posillipo and Veal Milanese.

We morn the passing of Gino Restaurant, as we morn the closing of two other great Old School Italian eateries of DeRoberti's Italian Pastries and Lanza's Restaurant, both of which were on 1st Avenue two doors from one-another on the block of 1st Avenue between East 10th and 11th Streets in New York's East Village, which years ago was simply known as the Lower East Side. Luckily the other famous old Italian Eatery, "John's of 12th Street" is alive-and-kicking after more than 110 years in business in the old Sicilian neighborhood where Mob Boss Charle's Lucky" Luciano grew up (born in Lercara Friddi) after his family moved to East 10th Street (# 265) from Sicily.






Frank Sinatra
Jackie Kennedy
Aristotle Onassis
Ed Sullivan
Gay Talese
Tony Bennett
Gregory Peck
David Suskind
Mike Wallace
Dan Rather
Gina Lollibrigida
Sophia Loren
Nicholas Pileggi
Nora Ephron
Ralph Lauren

Other Facts

GINO RESTAURANT was named after owner Gino Circiello. Gino's partner was Guy Aventuriero. They were both born in Capri, Italy.

The tow partners Gino and Guy financed their restaurant (Gino's) with their own money, along with help from Franco Scalamandre who owned the Scalamandre (Wallpaper and Fabrics).

The famous Zebra wallpaper was designed by Flora Scalamandre.

Gino's most famous dish was Pasta with Salsa Segreto (Secret Sauce)



YELP Review of GINO'S by Author

Dinner at GINO'S of CAPRI



Sunday, July 7, 2019

Prince Spaghetti Day Boston Commercial Pasta