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Celebrating Heirloom Tomatoes

Our local Earth to Table restaurant, Cha Bella, presented the heirloom tomato Tuesday evening  to some of Savannah’s own foodies. Each attendee’s tongue was made to dance with amuse bouche consisting of tomatoes and basil cream.

Tomato Slices from USDA.gov | Photo by Scott Bauer

Tomato Slices | USDA

The fabulous menu consisted of your first course choice (heavenly) – roasted golden tomatoes or a “BLT” salad.  The soup was a  puree of sweet slow oven roasted golden tomatoes with a pecorino wafer, tempura avocado and zesty cilantro pesto.The BLT salad paid homage to the All American sandwich. It was a breath taking assortment of heirlooms, crispy Italian ham and a pan crisped ciabatta, baby arugula and a garlic tomato aioli. Of course this was my choice. What is better than a BLT sandwich made into a salad? The very best of both worlds!!

The second course was spectacular. The first entree choice was  a slooooow roasted beef brisket with heirloom polents, baby Brussels sprouts and a tomato gravy. The second choice was a crispy crusted local red snapper sitting on top of a creamy zipper pea succotash, crispy bacon, heirloom tomato slice and a local corn and tomato salsa. The third choice was fresh tomato primavera fettuccine with assorted fresh tomatoes, herbs, veggies and cheese. The last but not least 4th choice was a crispy seared chicken breast with tomato olive gnocchi and eggplant parmigiana. It was very difficult to choose your entree. I tried the fish. It was every thing I wanted, even though the grits coating was a bit hard for that delicate fish. Possibly a little lighter grits would be appropriate here.

Lastly, but certainly not least, was dessert made from tomatoes. Think you cannot do this? Think again. You were tempted with a choice of gelatomato; 2 flavors, one made with sun-dried tomatoes and ricotta and one from heirloom tomato gelato or the  cherry tomato fruit salad of berries topped with sweet mascarpone cheese.

I cannot wait to taste next year’s flavors. Since this was the first annual celebration of the heirloom tomato, 2011 will be something to watch. Cha Bella you rock!

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