Gjelina has been a seasonal California juggernaut since 2008, when chef Travis Lett and business partner Fran Camaj first debuted on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Fashionable tourists spill out of the quintessential Venice restaurant from late morning through night. Thankfully, they provided a pressure release valve in 2011 with the opening of adjacent Gjelina Take Away. The combination pizzeria, sandwich shop, and bakery – to name just three facets – has maintained steady, but manageable lines for grab-and-go food and people who prefer to stand at a counter. Until they recently locked the courtyard gate, people would also happily huddle over milk crates to eat their meals.
Lett shared the key tenets of his Gjelina pizza dough, which bakes in a wood-fired oven and yields airy California-style crust with good chew that’s pocked with crispy, blackened bubbles. Guanciale Pizza ($16) is my favorite version, made with zesty pomodoro sauce, melted mozzarella, thin-shaved guanciale (cured pig’s jowl), green olives, and Fresno chiles.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.