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The Joy Of Gjelina - The Incredibly Beautiful Mediterranean Oasis
Diane Scalia
Diane Scalia
July 30, 2011

This summer is unfolding in surprisingly wonderful ways.

My amazingly talented Chef friend, Wes, invited me to have lunch at Gjelina on Monday, and suggested that 11:30am, would be “a very good time” to arrive.

He wasn’t joking. This incredibly beautiful, extremely popular Mediterranean oasis was about filled to the brim by noon. We were assured that, “this is just Monday” ... a slow day.

I of course, invited Lisa to join me. She acted as enthusiastic food photographer and as you can see, she did a stellar job!

Once I saw the brilliant menu, I swore I’d start stealing their ideas for BarComida especially since Michael Franks, the lovely owner of Chez Melange, worships Gjelina.

We really didn’t get to order. Wes had it all handled. He even chose our wine, a spectacular Rose’ ~ so perfect for a warm summer day.

drinking rosé

When our first plate arrived ~ Grilled Peaches and Burrata with Prosciutto, Arugula, and balsamic reduction ~ we got a true sense of what we were in for. Everything that followed was just that exquisite!

An elegant Dungeness Crab

An elegant Dungeness Crab salad with endive, avocado, tender little pieces of fresh beets, and creamy horseradish dressing, was off-the-Richter delicious. (See title photo.)

A grilled squid salad with Cavaillon melon, celery, chili, and salsa verde was equally gorgeous and oh-oh-oh so good. Our host insisted the tentacle is the best part; he was right! (See first photo at end of story.)

Wes’s favorite Homemade Chorizo pizza with tomato, chili, cream, and basil was our first warm plate. Its perfect preparation (a little edge on the crust, which I love) came complete with fresh thyme, finely grated Parmiaggiano, and chili flakes which I happen to know are his best-loved garnish. We did the right thing ~ we invited him to share the pizza, and the chili flakes.

The Charred Okra with Tomato, Black Olive, and Mint was so impressive, my guests at BarComida are already ecstatic about my version of this dish with asparagus. I’ll share that recipe in my next post (stay tuned).

Finally, we were completely enamored with delicate, mouthwatering Ricotta Gnocchi in a simple tomato-basil sauce with Parmesan ... Unbelievably light and, believably the best I’ve ever had!

For the record

And for the record, we also positively adored their homemade olive bread as well. We love our bread and olives.

Lisa and I always love our little something sweet after a meal, and Wes was onto that even before we asked. When he delivered our sweet cup of Butterscotch Pot de Creme with a hint of sea salt, Lisa laughed to recall her last bitter experience with a butterscotch dessert while my tastebuds soared to a universe of unbridled bliss. When she had a taste, her eyes rolled back in her head, she forgot to take a photo, and within seconds, this brand-new object of my obsession was .. gone.

When we finally left our rock-star seats at the Charcuterie Bar and said goodbye, we felt blessed (and full) beyond measure!

And, not only did we enjoy the summer meal and hospitality of our dreams, Lisa wrote to me that evening and asked if I’d seen our Melting Pot Food Tours ticket sales total for the day ... 4 figures.

We love thinking that Gjelina, and Wes, were good luck charms.

Just sayin’ ...

Til next time, I remain ~

Your Chef and Tour Maestra,

Diane Scalia

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