Last week I tagged along with a food writing class from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg at The Dali Museum. For those of you that don’t know, the Dali Museum is also home to Café Gala, a quaint cafe in the museum lobby that serves coffee, beer, wine and Spanish inspired eats. The museum café even has its' own executive chef, Chef Chuck Bandel. Bandel learned to cook by working with the late Tom Pritchard, and spoke highly of Pritchard during the tasting.
Chef Bandel recently spent more than a month in Spain learning how to whip up gourmet Spanish eats, and has brought his knowledge back to the 'Burg. After spending serious time in at Miramar, (a Michelin star eatery in Llanca,) Bandel is back and ready to cook.
At the tasting, Bandel reflected on his time abroad. "It was a life changing experience, without a doubt. I thought a knew a little about food, but once I went to Spain... gee." Inspired by the freshness of the food he tasted in Spain, Bandel has big plans for the café in the coming weeks, and will be updating and expanding the menu.
New menu items will include:
- Seafood gazpacho, pictured
- Roasted Beet Salad with a Coco de Beet Tart
- Cava Poached Truffle Stuffed Pear served with Vanilla Bean Crema, Fresh Berries, Chocolate Almond Crumble & Whipped Cream
- Madeleine Muffins, traditional Spanish lemon muffins
The café is open to the public, and guests do not need to buy a museum ticket to dine and drink. The seafood gazpacho I tasted was light, and flavorful. If Bandel's delicate, chilled soup is any indication of things to come, I plan on spending many sunny afternoons at Café Gala in the near future.
(Photos by Angelina Bruno)
Café Gala is a great Spanish inspired restaurant inside the Dali Museum in Downtown St. Pete. No museum ticket is required to dine there.