I adore all things Cole Porter. Not just the top hits like "You're The Top" and "Under My Skin" (though I'll always have a place in my heart for that one, JS) but it's the little hidden gems of his that I love best - the ones you don't often hear - except maybe in some Woody Allen movie soundtrack. They stay with me always, like old friends, waiting for someone or something to come along and let their particular genie out of the bottle. It was one of those "ah HA" moments when I first stepped into the charming little 13 Gypsies in Jacksonville.
It was like running into a dear old friend you haven't seen in years. I truly can't explain it, except to say it reminds me of the intimate neighborhood places my friends and I used to frequent in Cincinnati or St Louis. But its something deeper than that. Definitely, absolutely, 13G is one of a kind, and a labor of love for Chef Howard and wife / partner Kiki.
Billed as a "Small, European Style Tapas House and Bistro" - the menu is Tapas, Sandwiches, and Salads, Soups and desserts, fresh breads... Everything we've had so far has been great peasant fare - thoughtfully prepared and simply presented. The Montini melds tender smoked ham with creamy Gorgonzola and green grapes in fresh flatbread, served alongside field greens perfectly dressed with a balsamic bite. The Chorizo Burger will make your mouth sing, I kid you not! They make their own sausage, breads, pastas, cheese and cured meats. Chef blends spices like a culinary wizard, and I'm told the charming Kiki, who presides over the front of the house, also makes the desserts (which I've yet to sample, but I know they will be lovely). My FAVORITE thing about 13G is that it is CLOSE to the day-job and open for lunch! Hallelujah! Oh, and the Cole Porter reference earlier?
"Hiding away... There's a little bit of gypsy in me, Just hanging around...."