Gjelina, Venice {restaurant}

Gjelina, Venice - cherry tomato, squash blossom, burrata pizza


"I found you when I searched for 'Gjelina'..."

It’s the kind of opening to emails that I used to receive, not necessarily often, but enough times that it was wasn’t unusual. Someone would google a restaurant, then end up on my stupid little blog…

Delicious little internet marketer that I was, I had worked hard and smart, pre-overcrowded SEO battleground, and usually ended up at the top of the search results for popular Los Angeles restaurants. I baited headlines with literal terms to lure search-engines first, with wrote juicy, clever taglines for humans second, titled every link, alt-texted every image, wrapped key phrases in appropriate html tags, and included directory information so once visitors arrived they didn’t have to leave my site. I had a full-time job so I wasn’t trying to make money on an insignificant blog that didn’t even have ads, but it stroked my ego to see the search engine results of all that hard work. It was even better to get those occasional emails from new blog readers, thanking me for my review or complimenting my photos. It was human validation that my anti-social blogging behavior was worth something.

But this email about Gjelina was not from a new reader by way of google.

It was from that other giant search site.


It had been barely a month since I had signed up for match.com, but I was already losing interest. I had received what I could only assume was a slightly below average number of emails and winks and had met up with a grand total of two guys thus far, both of whom I had thought were winning picks from their emails, but turned out to be losers in person.

(Oh dontchuworry you will hear about them ALL soon enough. Also, ok, maybe “loser” is a little extreme but we’re trying to sell papers here!)

I’m a mentally stable (for the most part), mature (in age) woman. It’s not like I thought the first guy I met from the first time I ever tried online dating would actually end up being TheOne. I didn’t think the second, third or even the tenth guy would be either, but I thought that at the very least one of them would be the Two. Hell, I’d have taken the Three just for some good conversation.

The problem wasn’t so much that the guys I had met thus far weren’t decent matches. It was that there were no matches in the first place to label as good, bad or otherwise. I had met up with a total of two guys. Two! When I thought I thought the whole point of online dating was that you’d be drowning in messages from guys.

Was I mistaken in my expectations of online dating? Was I being too particular in my parameters? Was I being too lazy? Was she right about my profile being the worst she had ever read?!”

"I found you when I searched for 'Gjelina'... :) Do you cook for a living?"

It was a “matchmail,” in the standard format with the guy’s screenname, profile photo, and excerpt of profile in the header, his (hopefully) personal email underneath. The face in the photo was cute, from what I could tell. It was a close-up, almost too tightly cropped so it would have been easy to hide fatal physical flaws outside the frame. But it didn’t matter. Less because I wasn’t into looks, more because it was the most creative way to “match” I’d come across, you know, in the four matches total, and most because, you know, Gjelina.

“You win for the most creative, interesting way of searching for people. I may have to do that next time just to find someone who already has a reservation there. The last two times I have called, they have been booked solid, so haven’t been back since last November. I suppose I should learn to plan in advance…Do you live in the area?

Anyway, no, I do not cook for a living…because I’d actually like to make a decent living ;) I run a couple of websites that deal with food. Keeps me out of trouble.

~ Sarah”

I was on my way out to go meet a couple of match guys (one right after the other!) so I didn’t think any more than a half-second about what/how/when to respond. I just clicked submit and sent the email off to this guy named Ben.

What You Missed and of Course, More to Come

00. Preface
01. Exhausted. Desperate. Starving.
02. So, What’s YOUR Name?
03. Low and Slow Profile
04. The Worst Online Dating Profile You’ve Ever Seen

Peach Arugula Prosciutto

Gjelina, Venice - Peach, Arugula, Prosciutto

Peach Arugula Prosciutto, Squash, Squash Blossom, Cherry Tomato Pizza

Gjelina, Venice - Peach Burrata

Squash, Squash Blossom, Cherry Tomato Pizza + Gruyere, Caramelized Onion, Arugula Pizza

Gjelina, Venice - oregano-red-pepper-salt

Squash, Squash Blossom, Cherry Tomato Pizza

Gjelina restaurant, Venice - Cherry Tomato Squash Blossom Burrata Pizza

Gruyere, Caramelized Onion, Arugula Pizza

Gjelina, Venice - Gruyere Caramelized Onion

Mushroom, Goat Cheese, Fontina and Truffle Oil Pizza

Gjelina, Venice - Mushroom Truffle pizza

Grilled Rapini with Garlic and Chili

Gjelina, Venice - Roasted Broccolini

Olive Oil Gelato

Gjelina, Venice - Olive Oil Ice Cream

View of Back Patio from Front Dining Room

Gjelina, Venice - hallway to patio

1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marla Meridith October 10, 2012 at 6:20 am

Absolutely gorgeous pizza!!


2 Biz October 10, 2012 at 8:55 am

I actually met my husband on match.com (actually back then it was called love@aol.com. I “talked” to a bunch of guys before “talking” to my husband. He wrote to me: “I am a divorced father of a 10 year old son. While I am Italian, I am proud that I have two separate eye brows and no back hair.” That made me laugh out loud!

We met in person two weeks later. Moved in together two weeks after that and married six months after meeting. This December we will be married 12 years!

But now all I want is pizza. :D


3 Diane, A Broad October 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I am so ashamed that I never, not once, got to Gjelina before leaving.


4 Eve October 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm

FINALLY! I have been dying to read more posts about the match.com saga! It’s been too long since the last installment! I can breathe just a touch more easily today! More more more!!!! Oh and the food pics are gorgeous and making me hungry as per usual :) xoxo


5 pinheads October 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm

do you cook for a living? yes, semi-conductors and short wave radios bc my name is west coast wired aka robotronix. well, the guy i met on match is now married to some lady he started dating immediately after we concluded our exploration of this thing called “maybe”. i thought i was sitting behind him one row behind him – in an airplane so i had to squish myself down in my seat while staring in that ‘oh god i have to go the bathroom and now i’m too scared to get up” kind of way while staring maniacally into the crack b/ween two of the seats so i could try and investigate was it him or not. based on head shape, i realized it was not him as this subject had a more normal shaped cranium, so i resumed happily watching kimchee chronicals – a most excellent series about love and good food. anyways, gjelina is marvelous and it’s a harry met sally moment for sure.


6 Diana Hossfeld October 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm

I know what happens and you’ve still got me on the edge of my seat!! Reading that kind of gave me goosebumps! :D


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