A Food Gal Giveaway: Two Seats at A Special Tomato and Wine Pairing Dinner in Los Gatos

Indulge your summer tomato cravings.

Two of my favorite places in Los Gatos are joining for one night to celebrate “Fruits of the Vine,” a salute to summer heirloom tomatoes and stellar wines.

Sept. 15, the owners of Enoteca La Storia wine bar will be supplying copious amounts of their 25 varieties of home-grown, organic tomatoes to Restaurant James Randall for a vine-to-table five-course feast.

Chef Ross Hanson’s menu will include dishes such as Dungeness crab croquettes with tomato relish; tomato braised beef with creamy polenta and Pecorino; and roasted tomato and peach shortcake.

TheΒ  6 p.m. dinner is $95 per person, which includes wine pairings. Tax and gratuity are not included.

Advance ticket purchase is required.

Contest: One lucky Food Gal reader will get a chance to attend the dinner with a guest — for free (though a tip for the servers would be appreciated, I’m sure). Entries, limited to those who can make it to Los Gatos on the evening of Sept. 15, will be accepted through midnight PST Sept. 8. Winner will be announced Sept. 10.

How to win?

Just tell me about the best tomato dish/preparation you’ve ever enjoyed. Best answer wins.

Here’s my own response:

“I’ll never forget the tiny scoop of tomato sorbet at the French Laundry years ago. Imagine the ripest, most flavorful tomato ever. Then amp that up to the 100th power. That’s what that tomato sorbet tasted like. It was the purity of tomato distilled to its very essence and concentrated beyond belief. I’ll also never forget the reaction by my two dining companions when they tasted it, either. My girlfriend took a taste, fairly swooned, then turned to her husband imploringly: ‘Why can’t your spaghetti sauce taste like this?’ ”

More: My Visit to Enoteca La Storia

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  • tomatoes are my very favorite fruit. i look forward to tomato time every year because nothing compares to fresh off the vine tomatoes.

    i think my favorite dish is the bruschetta i make. in fact, i ate it for dinner 5 days in a row last week, made with tomatoes from my friend’s garden. i heat up some crushed garlic in olive oil. chop the tomatoes (in this case they were heirloom cherry tomatoes), mince up some fresh basil. mix it all together and pile it on top of some crostini that i have lightly browned in butter and gobble it all up!

    i love enoteca la storia and in fact they were the “E” restaurant in my game to eat through the alphabet! πŸ™‚

  • Chef Barbie: I LOVE that idea of eating your way through restaurants via the alphabet. A restaurant owner once told me his relatives did the same thing, only using the Zagat guide as the template for which place they chose for each letter.

  • I have just baked some tomato tartlets with fresh goat cheese…and I love them!
    That oval green tomato looks great.

  • My tomato plants are going off right now and it’s my favorite time to make my mom’s gazpacho recipe.

    I use all the traditional ingredients; red and green tomatoes of different varieties, cucumber, celery, garlic, cilantro, tomato juice, onion.

    The secret? Instead of regular olive oil, use a garlic infused oil that gives the soup an even extra flavor boost. Top of with a large crostini with a schmear of goat cheese.

    Now I’m getting hungry πŸ™‚

  • This year my husband, Jay, and I planted about 10 different Heirloom tomato varieties from seed. After months and months of anticipation, we are now being rewarded with the fruits of our labor!

    Each evening we pour a glass of wine and go outside to our vegetable garden here in the Santa Cruz Mountains. First, we pick a few fragrant basil leaves. Then, we hunt for tomato treasures.

    What could be more delicious than just-picked tomatoes still warm from the sun? We think the best way to enjoy fresh tomatoes is also the simplest: a sprinkle of sea salt, some coarsely-ground pepper, a little basil chiffonade, and, voila! Heaven on a plate.

  • The best tomato dish I’ve ever consumed was at L’Atlier de Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas as overseen by Chef Steve Benjamin.

    It was the most flavorful, delicate soup I’ve ever enjoyed. The soup was drizzled with a balsamic reduction and sprinkles with croutons and baby basil. The simplicity of the dish let the tomatoes truly shine.

    Below is a link to the photo I took this past May.


  • My favorite tomato dish is when my co-worker gives me tomatoes from her garden and I eat them like an apple… yummy.. Or I like using tomatillos to make a chili verde…I use fresh tomatillos, pabalno chilies, Anaheim chilies, garlic, cilantro, roast them all in the oven, blend it in the blender and voila I have the best chili verde sauce ever…. of course this is poured into the pork and then simmered for about 6 hours until the meat melts in your mouth. I then use any of the remaining sauce as a dressing for a salad, over chicken, for dipping and so on….I fell in love with home grown tomatoes so have tried my hand at planting my own so I can go out to my garden and pick me a juicy tomato from the vine and eat it my favorite way – right then and there!

  • What a fantastic giveaway!

    Growing up I was an extremely picky eater. Mac’n’cheese, hot dogs, chicken tenders, and spaghetti were about the only things I’d eat. Even as a Japanese American, I stuck my tongue out at the thought of sushi– my palate was strictly of American kid-friendly sensibilities.

    In middle school, I began working summers at my dads office in Glendale. My tastes had graduated to burgers, sandwiches, and pasta, but I was still completely unadventurous with new ethnic cuisine. One lunch, the office went to an Armenian chicken restaurant (very popular in that area), and somehow convinced me that it was basically just grilled chicken and rice. Well, not only was there grilled chicken (kabob) and (basmati) rice on my plate, there was also this intensely flavorful char-grilled tomato as well. I honestly tasted it on accident (it somehow wound up on my fork when grabbing a bite of the rice), but it completely changed the way I saw new types of food. It was so basic and familiar, yet exotic and new. I was already used to eating tomatoes and quite enjoyed them, but not like this. It showed me that I could enjoy new types of food that still offered the same comfort and familiarity as foods I already ate. Not just that, it made me realize that there was a heck of a lot of other uncharted flavors yet to be discovered πŸ˜‰

  • Best Tomato Dish - contest entry :-)

    Isn’t it amazing how a single bite or a whiff of a much loved food can trigger fond memories … and take you back to that perfect moment? For me, it’s a hot summer day in Mechanicsburg PA — Chester County — and I’m about 13 years old. We’re visiting a good friend on her family farm. Lorrie comes out of the stone farmhouse and over to the barn, where we’re sitting in the shade, next to a newly mown field. Bees are buzzing in the cornflowers nearby, and Lorrie’s got a tray with a large shallow wooden salad bowl, a loaf of crusty french bread and a butter plate with sweet butter. In the salad bowl was a simple salad of sliced very ripe Jersey tomatoes, sweet red onion sliced into thin half moons, and drizzled with olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar. The combination of warm tomatoes (picked a few minutes earlier) the crunch of the onions and just enough dressing to sop up with the crusty bread buttered with sweet butter was, quite simply, divine!

  • Best Tomato Dish – contest entry

    Fresh picked very ripe tomatoes still warm from the sun – peeled and seeded. Cooked down until most of the water is gone. Add fleur de sal and red pepper flakes to taste plus a cube or two of pesto (I keep in the freezer) and some EVOO. Serve over medium sized spaghetti – delish!

  • It was a summer in Spain, we were visiting the Priorat region. My younger brother lives in Barcelona and is an interpreter, he had some friends making wine and they needed some help translating and interpreting wine flavor descriptions and euphemisms from Catalan into English for their new website.

    It was hot, we were in three jeeps, driving almost straight up the rocky hills, all men, my 6 year old son and me. I was so frightened that our jeep might just flip over backward that I asked to be let out so I could walk, but they didn’t understand me, no one stopped the jeep.

    We drove through the vineyards, my brother translating for us, describing vines, ricks, water, minerality.

    We parked and left the jeeps, then crouched as we walked through small tunnels where the water source came from, we were getting hungry. We walked further through vineyards, my son riding piggy back.

    Finally we came to a clearing with a small stone cottage in the center. All the men started bustling about, voices were raised, arms were thrown in the air, something was happening and I couldn’t quite tell what.

    A bar b que was lit with grape cuttings for the wood.

    I see a table cloth being carefully laid on the farm table, each man seems to know exactly what he is responsible for. Flowers are in the center, sausages are cut, olives placed in a bowl, wine is poured and everyone toasts and laughs to our adventure,

    Bowl after bowl comes out of the small kitchen, plate after plate, anchovies, ham, vegetables, every once in a while I see a couple men seem to light heartedly argue about the size of the bowl, the thickness of the meats, the placement of the cloth napkins. Never had I seen men behave like this, they were in a dance, a dance of food, wine and friends.

    Then several warm loaves of bread are carefully placed on the table, large, juicy ripe tomatoes are cut in half, garlic is peeled and cut and jugs of olive oil openend.

    Pa amb tomaquet!

    Tomato Bread is being made.

    The bread is thickly sliced and grilled on the bar b que, then roughly rubbed with garlic, and an entire half of a tomato is rubbed into each toast, juices and seeds being pushed into the bread. A hearty drizzle of olive oil and sprinkling of sea salt.

    Lunch is served.

    Never have I tasted the rich, ripe, acidic flavor of a tomato as I did that day. My family regularly enjoys tomato bread 12 years later.

  • My very first memory of tomatoes was when I was 4 or 5 years old. My mom gave me cherry tomatoes and told me that if i ate a whole one it would explode in my mouth just like a bomb! I remember eating them and loving them, and if parts of them exploded out of my mouth all the better! I tried to get my other 4 or 5 year old friends to eat them, but they didn’t see the fun. Now I enjoy teaching my on 5 and 6 year old boys to enjoy them off of our golden cherry tomato plant.

    Now I love growing my own so that I can make a wicked bruschetta all summer long. So simple and so good!

    I LOVE tomatoes and would LOVE to win a grown up night with out my 5 and 6 year old boys!

  • Carolyn, you ask the best questions for your giveaways. And I always like reading your response too! πŸ˜€

  • A sprinkle of salt, maybe a drizzle of olive oil, on perfectly ripe tomatoes just picked from my boyfriend’s (later to be husband’s) garden in San Jose. Simple. Fresh. Oozing with sweet summertime juices. There was nothing more surprisingly delicious to me than that first bite of a homegrown tomato. For the first 25 years of my life, I had only eaten supermarket tomatoes, picked unripe and gassed to become red. Those were flavorless orbs compared to my boyfriend’s tomatoes. Tomatoes like that didn’t need fancy preparation or even any cooking at all — just a touch of salt to bring out their amazing natural flavors. Now, every summer, I wait in mouth-watering anticipation for that plate of ripe, freshly picked, homegrown tomatoes. Best tomato dish. Ever.

  • Best tomatoe dish I’ve had and I also make it with yummy heirloom tomatoes. A summer salad of heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, basil, feta cheese with some extra virgin olive oil, balsamic and a crack of pepper! So yummy & refreshing at summer BBQs!

  • My favorite tomato dish is a simple, classic BLT and a garden grown tomato takes this dish over the top! The quality of bread (yes, even Wonder will do), bacon (as long as it’s crispy), or lettuce (preference is leaf but even iceberg will do)—-but a flavorful tomato makes a BLT my favorite comfort food!

  • this sounds too simple but it is delicious – cut up tomatoes, vinegar, a touch of olive oil and salt and pepper. Use italian bread to dip into the tomato salad – Incredible!!!

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