Bella Gente's Got the Bread

By staff September 14, 2009

Setting Bob Plunket straight on those "English muffins."

By Judi Gallagher 

I love Bob Plunket (aka Mr. Chatterbox). He is the ultimate dinner date. He compliments me when we are at a wine dinner together, pulls out my chair, and gives me the latest “dish” on the table conversation when I leave the room for a moment. I will forever be grateful and continue to invite him to various eating parties for the ultimate compliment he paid me one night at the Ritz, telling me I looked very Jackie O-ish. He’s interested in how I pick the little black dress for those occasions, and he will even graciously eat my chocolate dessert when I ask so that the pastry chef will not be offended.


But this is the guy who wants to take me to a buffet in St. Pete in a not-so- posh neighborhood for lunch. So when Bob told me the little English muffin sandwiches at the new Bella Gente on South Osprey were wonderful, I had to hesitate. Wait a minute, I’m thinking, if Bella Gente is owned by the same people as Café Bologna (the tiny Italian restaurant that the famed Marcella Hazan first told us all about), why would they be serving English muffins?

 The display at Bella Gente.


Bob—that’s focaccia bread you are eating! And might I say wonderful homemade focaccia bread. For around five dollars, you can eat as if you were on the sidewalks of Rome. I tried the salami and soft cheese and added on some arugula. After scarfing it down at a red light on Main Street, I was tempted to turn right around and order two more for dinner. Fortunately, I bought two large balls of fresh mozzarella made that morning so I was able to make a fabulous caprese salad with the last of my summer basil. In fact, Bella Gente’s tag line is “the freshest mozzarella in town!”


So Bob, while you may not always have the culinary details down correctly, I gotta say—great call on Bella Gente. I owe you a Mortadella sandwich.

I do gleefully remember Bob trying the olive oil sorbet.

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