Aspen Restaurant Review: Gisella’s

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Baddy and I escaped out into the snowy evening to enjoy our night out on the town. We had a reservation at Gisella’s, a restaurant redesigned by the former owners of Gusto; Colleen Delia, Elizabeth Plotke Giordani and Luigi Giordani.

I was hoping that our dining experience would open the floodgates to our memories of our Luna de Miel in Italy, twelve years ago, where for three weeks we went on epic explorative hikes in and out of vineyards and up and down hills, drinking wine all the while. Every three or four days we’d take off to discover more of Italy’s greatest secrets, with Baddy driving 120MPH on the Autobahn.

Walking into the restaurant we were greeted by Marcelo.  “Where would you like to sit,” he asked, sweeping his arm around the dining room. I looked around at the masculine décor with an enormous wall of white ledgestone and brightly lit glass chandeliers and I asked to be placed in the center of it all.

On our way to our table we passed by Jerry Bovino, from the Jerry Bovino Show. He stood up to say hello and introduced us to his “beautiful wife” and his friends. Jerry and I met the other day in Peache’s Cafe while I was meeting with Michael Conniff. What a duo those two were hashing out the politics from the latest election. I invited them to bring it to Aspen Real Life and they invited me on their shows, I’m thinking it’s probably best for me to stay behind the written word, off camera, but who knows, I’ll try anything once.

We sat down at our table and said hello to the couple dining next to us. On one side was the Architect for  the house that Baddy is working on in Aspen and on the other, a couple from Dallas who were part time locals of Aspen, and regulars of Gisella’s, and we instantly connected. They encouraged us to order the Pork Chop, so delicious that the sauce should be served on the side in order to taste the full flavor of the meat.

When they asked me who I was writing for I told them about my blog and they looked at me strangely, trying to figure how a blog called, “Aspen Mid Life,” could hold any interest for anybody. I’m certain I wasn’t slurring yet.

Marcelo came to our table suggesting that we have our food served to us the Italian way, which should really be the only way. The menu looked incredibly delicious with food from the Campagnia, Liguria, otherwise known as the Italian Riviera, and the Venuto regions and we welcomed his input on what to order.

What enhanced our experience, was the melodious way in which our waiter, Manuel, described the food as he served it to us. Manuel had been a chef at some of Aspen’s finest restaurants but needed a lifestyle change and so became a waiter to bring his passionate knowledge for food to the customers.

My favorite dish was the Salumi e Formaggi with cured meats and cheeses.  I slowed down, alternating between long sips of deliciously smooth Pinot Noir and small bites of Bresaola with chunks of fresh Parmesan and  felt wings growing on my back.

Next we had the Calamari Fritti, made with three different types of flour for crispiness and two tomato sauces for dipping, one roasted and one grilled. This was served along with the Scampi e Calamari Alla Griglia.

Next? The Risotto ai Porcini and the Ravioli al Pomodoo e Basilico made with fresh tomato sauce, basil, crème fraiche, ricotta cheese and our local Avalanche goat cheese.

I was satiated, happy and not quite yet delirious when out came the perfectly roasted potatoes, the Salmone alla Griglia, a wild Tasmanian Salmon served with a demi glace made with a balsamic vinegar that had been aged for twenty-five years, and an Aagnello al Forno, rack of Lamb served with a Brandy mint Marsala sauce. Being one who drinks Vermont maple syrup and balsamic vinegar straight from the bottle, I rallied and dove into the tender salmon.

Fat, buzzed and happy our eyes enlarged when out came the dessert tray. Normally I’m not much of a dessert person but I inhaled the creamiest, most delicious Tira Misu with an espresso liquor drizzled into the Lady Fingers.

Baddy and I, filled to the brim with Italian love, exchanged cards with all of our new friends, drank back coffee to wake up and slowly walked over to Belly Up to shake it all off to Ozomatli.

to be continued…

FOOD QUOTES FROM GISELLA’S WEBSITE:

“Wine is bottled poetry,” by Robert Louis Stevenson

“Cooking is like love, it should be entered with abandon or not at all,” by Harriet Van Horne.

“The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live,” by Confucius.

Read Review of Aspen’s Best Secret Hotel: The Residence Inn.

** Disclaimer: Yes, we received carte blanche treatment at this dinner, but all opinions are my own.

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