Spotlighting Summer Tomatoes
Vine-ripened heirlooms are taking center stage right now.
Find these juicy beauties in all their glory at these Bay Area restaurants:
* Saratoga’s Sent Sovi hosts its third annual “Heirloom Tomato Dinner” on Aug. 26. Chef Josiah Slone will even feature some of his own homegrown ones at this special five-course meal that starts with “Lemon Boy Sake Cocktails” with tomato bites, and winds its way through slow-cooked lamb confit with poached tomato sauce before ending with tomato and peanut tart with pomegranate sorbet.
Price is $115, and includes paired wines.
If you can’t make it that particular night, have no fear; the restaurant will feature the tomato menu in lieu of its regular tasting menu, Aug. 27-29.
* Throughout August, the Lark Creek Restaurant Group will be creating inventive new dishes with Marvel Stripe, Purple Cherokee, Goliath and other heirloom varieties.
Look for dishes such as Dungeness crab and heirloom tomato salad with yellow tomato sorbet at One Market Restaurant in San Francisco; seafood-stuffed heirloom tomato with olives, capers, basil and lemon oil at Yankee Pier at Santana Row in San Jose; and Muscovy duck with white corn, summer squash, hickory-smoked bacon and heirloom tomato relish at the Tavern at Lark Creek in Larkspur.
* Gott’s Roadside in St. Helena, Napa and San Francisco is serving up its home-grown green tomatoes, fried with spicy chili aioli ($4.99), until supplies last.
The tomatoes are from its St. Helena garden, as is the fresh basil in its pesto on the menu.
* Also in Wine Country, the Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar in Sonoma will host its fifth annual “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes,” Sept. 14-20.
Tomatoes will take over the menu at this restaurant, which harvests about 48 pounds of tomatoes from its garden every day at the height of summer. Dishes to be featured include “Menage a Tomato with Housemade Mozzarella and Watermelon Gazpacho” and a “PBLT” sandwich with pork belly.
The tomato dishes can be ordered a la carte or as part of a tasting menu for $45 for three courses or $65 for five courses.
Additionally, look for a “Cherokee Tomato Flight” of wines, which take its cues from the deep flavors of that particular heirloom, as well as cocktails such as a tomato basil martini.
If that weren’t enough, the campy classic, “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes,” will be projected continuously throughout the week in the dining room and the bar.
* Bardessono in Yountville gets into the tomato act, Sept. 10-12, with a series of delicious events.
First up, Sept. 10, enjoy a winemaker dinner with Hill Family Estate, which will feature five tomato-loving courses, each paired with a different wine. Price is $135 per person.
Second, Sept. 11, it’s “Build Your Own BLT and Tomato Tasting.” Yes, build your own sammy with more than 30 different tomatoes, artisanal bacon, burrata, fresh-baked breads, fresh basil and gourmet salts. Enjoy Hill Family Estates wines with your creation. The event, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., is $50 per person.
Finally, Sept. 12, enjoy Chef Sean O’Toole’s take on a farmers market brunch with a trio of Bloody Marys made with fresh-picked tomatoes. Brunch, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., is $40 per person.
Special hotel packages also are available for this three-day “Tomatoville.”
* Last but not least, don’t miss out on the 14th annual “Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival,” 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 11 at its Santa Rosa winery.
You’ll get to taste a whopping 175-plus varieties of tomatoes, as well as enjoy inventive tomato dishes from Bay Area chefs. Garden tours also will be offered, as well as plenty of wine tasting opportunities, too.
Tickets are $65 per person ($60 for Wine Club members).