The insider's scoop on food, travel & southern culture
There’s something incomparably refreshing about a tomato.
Biting into that firm, spongy flesh. Tasting its earthy sweetness. Juicy, pink liquid dripping down your chin. Am I getting too graphic?
At the peak of tomato season, not only are these little guys dominating the seasonal menus of DC’s restaurants, but they’re also dominating my new feeds:
Best Bites blogged about tomato-throwing festivals in Spain, while recipes from the Washingtonian and Borderstan made me want to lick my screen. And tomato wine?? I’m not talking about a yuppie’s synonym for ketchup, I’m talking actual wine… which is apparently thriving in Canada right now. A quick scan of social media gives me the breaking tomato news.
Among all this tomato talk, there’s a certain kind that DC restaurants are paying particular attention to, and that’s the heirloom tomato. Executive Chef Matthew Britt of Ceiba Restaurant in Washington, D.C. explained to me the distinction.
“Heirloom tomatoes are incredibly flavorful. They are open-pollenated from seeds that have been handed down from generation to generation, and they come in all different shapes and sizes. Sometimes heirloom tomatoes have markings that some people might consider less-than-perfect or unattractive; however, they’re naturally resistant to disease.”
Most DC restaurants source their heirloom tomatoes locally, and their flavors are simply… the best.
“A good tomato is a great thing,” Chef Britt explained to me. “It needs very little done to it if you pick the very best.”
This philosophy has inspired a seasonal Heirloom Tomato Salad at Ceiba. Chef Britt pairs a variety of different tomatoes (Brandywines, Purple Cherokees, Golden Oxhearts, Green and Red Zebras) with queso fresco (a Mexican-style cheese) for a Latin twist. He finishes the dish with a balsamic-agave drizzle.
Yet if a salad doesn’t satiate your tomato cravings, I’m about to blow your mind.
The Clifton Inn just announced they’ll be serving a four-course Tomato Dinner, the ultimate tribute to the tomato season. Chef Tucker Yoder has apparently crafted a menu in which each course incorporates tomatoes as a key ingredient—from the Chilled Tomato Soup all the way to the sweet Basil Genoise w/ Tomato Curd. The menu is worth a glance.
There’s your tomato roundup. Well, you may say tomato, but Simone says tomoto.
I’m Simone. And this is what simone sez…