Hello Milwaukee

Porchetta–Herb Filled Pork Roast

A while ago a post, Forget Food Network! 7 Cool Online Cooking Shows, appeared on Milwaukee Radio’s website. Gianni’s North Beach was #5.

After all this time many of my site visitors come from Milwaukee Radio, 88.9 on your FM dial. So here’s a shout out to my friends in the heartland. Thanks for visiting.

Milwaukee Radio’s cool site celebrates Milwaukee music, diversity and culture. I’m tickled that my Porchetta, an herb-filled pork roast, was included in the Top 7 along with NY Times’ Mark Bittman and 5 other passionate cooks.

Some people disagree with the Giada De Laurentiis reference in the Cool Online Cooking Shows piece. What do you think?

Here’s my Porchetta video episode that still plays well in Milwaukee. The video also includes 2 more recipes for sides to serve with the Porchetta–onions in a sweet & sour sauce and truffled roasted potatoes. Buon appetito!

Discovering North Beach–A Post From Italia

Gianni Guiding a North Beach Tour

Nuok is an Italian travel, art and food site. A recent post by Alessandra Maffei who lives in Roma celebrates North Beach.

“The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great that I thought I was in a dream.” is Alessandra’s North Beach memory.

Gianni was her online tour guide as she discovered the Italian treasures in our Village. She loved all that North Beach has to offer and here’s what she said about Gianni.

Se avete voglia di scoprire dove la gente del posto scova le migliori prelibatezze made in Italy abbiamo un nome per voi: Gianni Mola, chef di origini italiane e profondo conoscitore sia della nostra cucina che dei segreti gastronomici di North Beach, famoso per il suo show online e le sue visite guidate in giro per il quartiere.

Insieme a Gianni scoprirete la focaccia della Liguria Bakery, i cannoli del Cavalli Café e la pizza di Baonecci; comprerete la migliore carne al Little City Market di Stockton Street, per poi recarvi allo Union Street Produce per trovare tutto l’occorrente per cucinare un perfetto piatto italiano.

Oh, don’t speak Italian? Here’s my attempt to translate for you.

If you want to discover where the locals seek out the best made in Italy delicacies we have ​​a name for you: Gianni Mola, chef and connoisseur of the Italian cuisine that is the secret of our food in North Beach, famous for his show online and his tours around the neighborhood.

Together with Gianni discover the focaccia from Liguria Bakery, cannoli from Cavalli Café and Baonecci’s pizza; the best meat you can buy at Little City Market on Stockton Street, before heading to Union Street Produce to find everything you need to cook a perfect Italian dish.

Wow, thanks to the folks at Nuoc. Here’s the post with some great North Beach pictures. For those of you fluent in Italian how’s my translation?


SF Examiner in My Kitchen

Gianni hosting a dinner event at Caffe BaoNecci
Gianni hosting a dinner event at Caffe BaoNecci
Hosting a dinner event at Caffe BaoNecci

My producer Jeff Diehl and I were making plans to shoot three new episodes last month. Amy Crawford and Mike Koozmin, a reporter and photographer at the San Francisco Examiner, asked if they could join us. After wrapping the last episode and sharing chicken escarole soup, sausage frittata and calamari fritti hot out of the pan, we sat down to talk about North Beach, my village-style of living here, and our website. I think they nailed it in the piece:

A lawyer by training but an epicurean by nature, Mola stars in “Gianni’s North Beach,” a cooking show that airs online at Gianni.tv. On the program, he demonstrates family recipes made with distinctive ingredients found in local Italian shops, which he plugs by name. Mola also blogs about North Beach, leads walking tours of the neighborhood and hosts dinners at North Beach restaurants.

It’s all part of his effort to keep the Italian-American culture of North Beach alive.


Special Event: Rescued North Beach Painting Will Be Unveiled to the Public

This Friday, December 2nd, I’ll be unveiling the fully-restored “Song of Pulcinella” painting. It’s a gorgeous work by local artist, Vranas, and his hand was essential in repairing it after it was ripped down, wall and all, from the recently-closed Pulcinella Restaurant. (Thanks also to local handyman, Sean O’Donnell.)

The event will also be the Grand Opening of Emerald Tablet, a sweet new gallery and artist workshop in North Beach. Stop by between 6pm and 11pm to view the painting, and to meet the folks at Emerald Tablet as well as tons of other local characters. Free wine and food will be served.

Song of Pulcinella Mural Almost Done

Vranas Inspects The Big Rip

It’s just been 2 weeks since we saved the severely damaged Song of Pulcinella mural and rolled it across Columbus Avenue to a safe haven. It’s been a week since I brought the San Francesco statue to Emerald Tablet gallery to oversee the restoration.

The muralist Vranas was worried about the seam where the 2 big pieces were joined together. Sean O’Donnell had lined it up perfectly and Vranas repainted the vertical rip beautifully.

Vranas will finish the last shattered corner today. It may be the toughest section to conquer. Thank you San Francesco, Song of Pulcinella is almost back.

Leah Garchik picked up the restoration story in her Friday Chronicle column. Scroll down Friday’s column to find it.

Thanks to Andre Hunt for his video of Vranas working on that last corner.

400 Food Bloggers in SF

Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. from Bread in 5

I met many of the 400 passionate food bloggers who gathered at the annual Foodbuzz Blogger Festival this weekend in San Francisco. A full day of sharing ideas and techniques about blog writing, photos, building your audience. Boy, I learned a lot especially about photos, tips that I will use to up my pix game.

I stopped by to see Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg of Bread in Five fame. Rick Kleffel interviewed them just before coming up to my place. Zoe and Jeff were handing out copies of their fantastic book Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day. Gotta love their message. When you make pizza dough make enough to use that day and enough to stash a supply in your refrigerator. Heat up your oven and every day you can grab a hunk of dough and make a loaf of bread, a pizza or focaccia in just 5 minutes. That’s what I do and it keeps for about 2 weeks taking on a bit of a sour flavor near the end.

I’ll let you know when Rick Kleffel’s radio show will air and when his podcast is up.

NPR Interviewed Me

KUSP's NPR Rick Kleffel

I was making the tomato sauce base for Cioppino early Friday morning when Rick Kleffel arrived to tape an interview for his KUSP Santa Cruz NPR radio show and podcast.

“Smells wonderful in here,” Rick said as he entered.

Rick makes many of my dishes so we spent time in the kitchen talking about the Cioppino recipe and the relative merits of San Marzano DOP tomatoes. I told Rick that when I find a good DOP producer often I will stock up on their non-DOP tomatoes. The DOP growing zone may end at a road near Salerno but more tomatoes are grown across the road just outside the zone. Trust the producer, those tomatoes are just as good and cost about half the price.

I’ll let you know when the interview airs on KUSP and when the podcast is available on Rick’s website.

“Basic Italian”

The Bold Italic article page

Local writer Matt Baume penned a fabulous write-up of me for The Bold Italic, a beautifully-designed San Francisco web magazine that bills itself as “an experiment in local discovery.”

Gianni Mola [is] a neighborhood fixture in North Beach who knows his way blindfolded around every corner market, pizza joint, and delicatessen. There isn’t a meal served in North Beach that Gianni isn’t familiar with.

I’d certainly like to believe that! The piece really gets to the heart of what I’m trying to do here in my little Italian village of North Beach – carry on the age-old cooking, eating, and socializing customs of Italia, and advocate for them to others.

Of course, I’m not the only food-loving person on the planet doing that, but I do feel that North Beach as a capital of authentic Italian culture is under-appreciated, and as a neighborhood, often misunderstood.

That seems to come across clearly in this article, and additionally (unlike so many sites our there), it looks good enough to eat.

Thanks, Matt!