Thursday, February 28, 2019

Viggo Mortensen Green Book Feast Seven Fish Italian Copacabana Mobsters Food

Yes, "I Fucking Love GREEN BOOK," which was without question, the Best Movie I've seen in 10 Years, "Seriously." "What's not to Fucking Love" Tony Lip would probably say himself, if the movie wasn't about him, but he was watching a movie with the same exact story about his life and adventure when he worked for World Renowned Pianist Doctor Donald Shirley (Mahershala Ali), driving him on a concert tour around the South and Mid-West of America in 1962 ..
The movie opens in a sccene at the Copacabana ight Club in New York City, where Tony Vallelongo (Viggo Mortensen), aka "Tony Lip" is the Maitre'd / Bouncer of the club.  Italian-American singer Bobby Rydell (Robert Ridarelli) of Philadelphia is the headliner and is singing on stage when the movie opens in the Copa. Viggo Mortenson 's character "Tony Lip" gets into a fight that night with a Mobster, and the Copacabana is subsequently closed down for a couple months for so-called renovations. Tony is out of work and needs to pay the Rent and put Bread on the table for his wife and two sons. By the way, Tony Vallelonga is what many would call a typical Italian-American Blue-Collar New Yorker who lives up in the Bronx, and his a thick New York Italian accent, swagger, and attitude to go with it. The guy needs a job. Soon after he's put of work, a close friend tells Tony he knows how he can make a quick easy $50 .. Tony is put into a Hot Dog Eating Contest at the local diner. It's between Tony and some other guy who can eat the most Hot Dogs. The record at this joint is 18 Hot Dogs. Tony takes the guy on, who ends up eating 24 Hot Dogs. Tony eats 26 and wins the Fifty Bucks, but Tony still needs a job, he can't keep eating mass quantities of food like the 48 White Castle Cheeseburgers they he ate previously.
A good friend sets Tony up on a job interview to chauffeur a renowned piano player around for 2 months on his upcoming concert tour. Tony goes on the interview which is in the piano players apartment above Carnegie Hall. This scene is quite entertaining, and gives a good insight into what similar situations are about to unfold in the movie which is the stark contrast of two very different men, who have completely different lives, personalities, education, and general demeanor. Such a strong contrast between characters usually makes for good humor and entertainment, and the contrast between Tony Lip and Don Shirley is verging on epic. The situations and moments these two men have together is often funny, sometimes heartbreaking, and often quite sweet and heart warming. 
As Director Peter Farrelly said, in his acceptance speech for Best Picture, this movie is about love. Yes the movie is about love, and great friendships and acceptance between human beings who are different from one another. We all are, really. We're different and the same, we're human beings with attributes and faubles, and we go through life with many ups and downs along the way, but we should all be compassionate, helpful, and warm to our fellow human beings. Wouldn't this all make for a better world? You know it would, and that's just what these two humans, two "real life humans" (it's a true Story) who are thrown together and though they are both hugely different, they come together and help each other, and become fast friends along the way. I got choked up and almost cried a couple of times during the film, and a walked away with warmth and good feelings, and maybe a little bit more of an understanding of life and other people, that I feel will make me a better person along the way.
Green Book? Yes, "I Fucking Love It!"
Go see it please.

Daniel Bellino Zwicke



 "It's all about Viggo"

... Peter Farrelly in his acceptance speech at The OSCARS
Did you notice that there was a lot of food in Green Book. Viggo Mortenson (Tony Lip) eating Kentucky Fried Chicken, Hot Dogs, and Steak & Eggs at a Diner, and talking about eating White Castle Cheeseburgers. And for the Grand Finale as far as Food and Green Book goes, the last scene of the movie, may have gone un-noticed by many as the special Italian Christmas Eve Dinner of "The Feast of The Seven Fishes," known as La Vigilia in the Italian language. Well, most who saw the movie may have not picked it up, but as I did, I'm sure many (but not all) Italian-Americans did.
If you're interested in creating your own Italian Christmas of The Feast of 7 Fish? You can. Just get yourself a copy of Daniel Bellino-Zwicke 's "Feast of The 7 Fish."  Everything is in there, all the recipes to make your own "Vigilia,"  The FEAST of The 7 FISH, on
Get The Book
Frank Anthony Vallelonga Sr. (July 30, 1930 – January 4, 2013), better known as Tony Lip, was an American actor and occasional author.
He is best known for his portrayal of crime boss Carmine Lupertazzi in the HBO series, The Sopranos. Lip portrayed real-life Bonanno crime family mobster Philip Giaccone in Donnie Brasco, and real-life Lucchese crime family mobster Francesco Manzo in Goodfellas. It was at the Copacabana nightclub where he first met Francis Ford Coppola and Louis DiGiamo, leading to a small role in The Godfather, his film debut. He also co-wrote the book Shut Up and Eat! (2005).
His time in the early 1960s, when he was the driver and bodyguard for the African-American classical pianist Don Shirley, was dramatized in the 2018 film, Green Book.

Sunday, December 16, 2018



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The FEAST of The 7 FISH

by Daniel Bellino Zwicke


RECIPES in The FEAST of The 7 Fish





For The FEAST of The 7 FISHES


Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Feast of The Seven Fishes ...... ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

Mangia Italia

The Feast of The 7 Fish
My Aunt Helen used to make the famous Italian Christmas Eve Dinner, “The Feast of 7 Fishes,” The 7 Fish of the Seven Sacraments. I know she made it because I used to hear her talking about it when I was a little kid. Although I shared many wonderful meals with my dear Aunt Helen, I never had the pleasure of having the famous Christmas Eve Dinner “La Vigilia” Feast of 7 FishFeast of 7 Fish with her. We always had Christmas Eve dinner with the immediate family and Aunt Helen had the Christmas Eve with her brother and sister and other family members. Aunt Helen was born in Salerno, Italy and was my Uncle Franks (1 of my Mother’s 3 brothers) better half. So for our Christmas Dinner my mother would make an Antipasto of Salami, Provolone, Peppers, and Olives, followed by Baked Ziti and a Baked Ham studded with cloves and Pineapple rings.
The first time I ever had the mystical dinner was about 12 years ago with my cousin Joe, his family and my girlfriend Duyen. We had been talking about this famous Italian Feast a few weeks previous, and were thinking of making it.  Joe told me he wanted to have  the Christmas  Eve  Meal of  The Feast of The 7  Fishes, known in Italy as  La Viglia (The Vigil) or “La Festa Dei Sette Pesci,” which is also known in Italian-America as The Feast of The 7 Fish, that signify the 7 Sacraments. Now, how’s all that for a mouthful?
This Dinner, La Vigilia originated in Southern Italy, especially in and around the environs of Napoli. The Feast of The 7 Fish is a Southern Italian tradition that does not exist in the rest of Italy, it is of the South. La Viglia, or “The Feast of the  Seven Fishes” as it isknown to Italian-Americans commemorates the waiting (Vigil) of the Baby Jesus to be Born at Midnight and the Seven Fish represent the Seven Sacraments of  the Roman Catholic Church. Some also that the Seven Fish might signify the 7 Days of Creation, or The Seven Deadly Sins, but most believe the 7 Fish pertain to the Seven Sacraments.
So Joe asked me if I wanted to make this festive and all important dinner, to perform the ceremony. He didn’t need to ask twice. I had never made it before and was dying to do so. For a long time I had yearned to partake  in  this celebrated old  Southern  Italian Ritual, and this was my  chance. Naturally I was excited, so was Joe.
The anticipation of the Great Feast to come was of happy expectations and excitement.
And what for the menu? I know Aunt Helen made Bacala, Shrimp Oreganata, Mussels, Baked Clams, Calamari, Octopus, and eel, all much Loved Southern Italian (especially Napoli and Sicily) Creatures of the Sea. We decided which fish we wanted and how  to  cook each one.  Much thought and planning went into the menu and its execution.  Joe wanted; Langoustines, Lobster, and Bacala. Alexandra asked if I would make Stuffed Calamari. We also decided on Shrimp Cocktail, Baked Clams Oreganata, and Cozze al Posillipo. The menu was set. Duyen helped me with the Calamari which we stuffed with Shrimp, parsley, breadcrumbs, and Peas. We braised the Calamari with tomato, White Wine, and herbs, and if I must say so myself, the Calamari came out superbly.  The Stuffed Calamari were a lot of work to make, but well worth the effort as they were a huge hit with all. The Macari boys, Joey, Edward, and Tommy, as well as sister Gabriella,  Alex, Duyen,  Jose  and Sergio from Barcelona were all in attendance.
The Mussels Posillipo were cooked with garlic, white wine, parsley, and tomato. The sauce is great to dip your bread into. This dish was one of my mother’s favorites back in the days when few Americans other than those  of Italian  origins ever ate these wonderful little bivalves. Now-a-days every-body does. As a young boy I remember my mother sending me to Bella Pizza in East Rutherford to get an order of them for her. She always gave me a few and I have Loved them ever since.
Joe helped me to cook the Langoustines. They are hard to find and I had to order a ten-pound box from Silvano in order to get them.  The best way to cook langoustines is to split them in half and sauté them on each side in olive oil with a little butter and garlic. We served the Langoustines the same way as Silvano does as we feel his recipe is the best and everybody loves them that way.  The Langoustines are served with a salad of thinly shaved fennel and celery dressed in olive oil and lemon with some split cherry tomatoes. Absolutely delicious!!!
The Lobsters we prepared the best way possible, the New England way, steamed and served simply with drawn butter and lemon wedges. There’s nothing better on Earth, well except for Sunday Sauce of course.
Well, that Christmas Eve Dinner The Feast of Seven Fishes was quite a wonderful experience. It was a huge success but quite a bit too much work and actually, too much food, everyone was kind of full already by the fifth fish. The following year we decided on incorporating the Seven Fish into three courses instead of seven separate  ones  as it’s just too much,  too much to eat and too much to cook, a lot of work, and who needs to  work that hard on Christmas.  It was a good decision. We still had 7 different fish, which is a must. Serving these 7 Fish in three courses was a good idea as it is much more manageable that way, both to cook and to eat.
On this Feast of The 7 Fish in “3 Courses” we decided to make the Stuffed Calamari, which I would not have  chosen again  because it  was  a lot of work, but it was Alex and Joe’s favorite and they said that it was a must. This was our Antipasto Course. 
Alexandra and her mom helped me,  so the amount of work was cut down and  divided into three, “A good thing.”
The stuffed calamari took care of two of the seven the shrimp that were stuffed into the squid.
The second course (Primi) of Linguine Frutti de Mare consumed four of the Seven Fish required for the meal.  It consisted of Mussels, Clams, Lobster, and Scallops cooked with garlic, oil, herbs, and just a touch of tomato.
The seventh and final fish was fresh Cod that I roasted and served with a sweet and sour onion sauce (Bacala Fresca Agro Dolce). Everybody went bananas for it especially cousin Joe who raved at each and every dish I put down.  It’s a pleasure cooking for Joe as his for eating and for the Italian American way of life, the food, the wine, the rituals. Joe truly Loves and savors the experience, so I always love to cook for him, Alexandra, their children, or just about anyone for who savors the experience so well. This goes the same for my cousin  Anthony Bellino his wife Debbie and  their three girls Chrissy, Danna, and Allison,  along  with all my close friends and family.
It makes cooking a joy rather than a chore. When cooking for family or friends, you give two of life’s great gifts,  a tasty  Home-Cooked meal combined with a little bit of Love.  Scratch that. “A whole lotta Love!”
If you don’t want to go so crazy, with 7 Fish as it’s quite an undertaking, you should try to do an odd numbers; 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, or 11. Three (3) is a Nice Number and Represents the Holy Trinity of The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Buon Natale!






by Daniel Bellino "Z"


Viggo Mortensen Green Book Feast Seven Fish Italian Copacabana Mobsters Food

Yes, "I Fucking Love GREEN BOOK," which was without question, the Best Movie I've seen in 10 Years, "Seriously.&qu...

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