It has been a little over two years since I started my blog and while I have come a long way since my first post, I still have so much to learn. This past year has been filled with many food events and I have met and become friends with several of Tampa Bay’s most talented bloggers. I have learned so much from them that I decided to host my first of many “blogger luncheons” this past Sunday at Pelagia Trattoria. My idea was to have an intimate lunch over delicious food while sharing blogging tips. Having our luncheon at Pelagia was a no brainer as I have quickly fallen in love with the innovative cuisine of Executive Chef Andrew Basch, Sous Chef Brett Austin Gardiner and their talented culinary staff. We all gathered in a private room on a cozy and rainy Sunday afternoon. Our menu was served family style and featured the following:
Shrimp Pil Pil
Garroxta and Fig Marmalade
Crunchy Stuffed Olives
Grilled BBQ Salmon Salad
Steak and Portobello Mushroom Panini
Four Cheese Rigatoni Pasta with Sautéed Chicken
Assorted Pelagia Desserts
In attendance were some of my favorite local bloggers and writers :
Chef Andrew put together a wonderful menu starting off with Pelagia Stuzzichini consisting of Shrimp Pil Pil, Garroxta and Fig Marmalade, Crunchy Stuffed Olives and Tomato Baguette. This was my first time trying the Crunchy Stuffed Olives which are stuffed with three meats and are extremely addictive! I really enjoyed the Tomato Baguette which is oven-dried tomato on garlic baguette with goat cheese & pesto. Simply fabulous!
It is my Sunday tradition to make a nice pasta dish for dinner and this time I got to enjoy a hearty bowl of Italian goodness without all the work. 🙂 We enjoyed a Four Cheese Rigatoni (Gorgonzola, Parmesan, Ricotta, Provolone) with Sautéed Chicken that was just outstanding. For me, there is nothing more comforting than a bowl of pasta and this dish really made my day. Since there were only 5 of us, I took some home and my daughter LOVED it!
I think God wants me to rekindle my relationship with salmon because it has been a reoccurring dish at the last few dinners I have attended. As a girl who LOVES food and is not picky, salmon is one item I have struggled with since I was a child. My parents made it often and by the time I was a teenager, I had a strong dislike for salmon and could only eat it smoked. I avoided it for years and only ate it when I absolutely had to. I must say that the last few salmon dishes I have had have been wonderful and the Grilled BBQ Salmon Salad that we had at Pelagia yesterday was out of this world! The presentation alone was enough to make my mouth water and the preparation was incredible. It was spice rubbed and served with roasted beets, heirloom tomatoes, field greens and charred lemon. Chef Andrew has converted me and now I am a believer!
Desserts at Pelagia are nothing short of spectacular with each and every one being a delectable work of art. We started off with the Duo of Semifreddo which is a gorgeous dish of Blueberry Pomegranate Semifreddo and Chocolate Mint Semifreddo with a Drunken Berry Salad. The Chocolate Mint Semifreddo is luscious and refreshing. This is the perfect dessert for a warm summer day.
Next we had Coffee and Cigars which is Espresso Panna Cotta and Chocolate Cigar Tuille. This is my favorite dessert at Pelagia and the Chocolate Cigar Tuille is a cholocate lover’s dream. I love the simple, yet stunning, presentation of this dessert. You must try this when dining at Pelagia.
Just when I thought my day could not get any better, we were presented with Peaches and Cream with Warm Caramel. Oh no they didn’t!!! Oh yes they did! Fresh Summer Peaches, Blueberries, Mascarpone Pound Cake, Candy Walnuts & Vanilla Gelato inside a gorgeous glass dish…..this was fabulous! As the dessert was presented to the table, the server poured the warm caramel over the dessert and all I can say is WOW!
Our next dessert looked almost to beautiful to eat. The Godiva Chocolate Pyramid with Pistachio Gelato & Almond Tuille is a delicious work of art featuring two of my favorite things: Godiva Chocolate and Pistachio Gelato.
Just when I thought I could not eat another morsel, we were presented with my current obsession: French Macaroons! Gorgeous colors with flavors such as chocolate, raspberry and pistachio, they were scrumptious. I brought two home for my kids and they gobbled them up.
Our luncheon, although small, was a success and it was nice to learn and share blogging tips in a room full of talented women. I would like to give a very special thanks to Pelagia Trattoria, Chef Andrew Basch and the entire restaurant staff for the delicious food and superior service. Warm thanks to Jodi, Katie, Jennifer and Heather for taking time out of their busy schedules to come and join me for lunch. 🙂
Have a wonderful week everyone![?]