Tomato Tour With Patina

All photo credits to Liz of Food, She Thought

One night. One group of restaurants. And one fruit vegetable (argue at will).

I enjoy tomatoes probably more than the next person yet was skeptical – multiple courses all featuring tomatoes? I could see the tour was to be taken seriously as the tomato growers themselves (from Coastal Organics in Oxnard) were along for the preview. We got firsthand tastes of the Patina Group’s utilization of their prized produce in a farm-to-table take that is the focus of so many restaurateurs these days. And utilize, they did, from using oil made from tomato vines to concocting an actual tomato dessert – the latter of which I thought had good effort with what was given but wouldn’t order.

It’s always a party with fellow food writers. Also there: Liz of Food She Thought, Neil of Food Marathon, Matt of Dig Lounge, Cat of Gastronomyblog, Lindsay and Elise of LAist, Hadley of GrubStreetLA, H.C. of LA-OC-Foodie – to name a few. We all started out at Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse. It was my first visit and it turned out to be a very pleasant one. As an introduction to how much we all really did not know about tomatoes, a different kind awaited each of us at our place setting with a request to guess what kind it was. Short of guessing, “red,” I got to get familiar with the color and texture of mine, which turned out to be a Mondrian Cross. No matter. I may not be able to memorize my tomatoes but there were many in the appetizer, which was absolutely delicious. Chef Brian Kiepler kept it simple yet fresh. After inquiring about the dish, I found multiple kinds of heirloom tomatoes were used – specifically Brandywine, Big Zebra and Cherokee. They were seasoned with a grilled pineapple chutney including onion capers, and drizzled with banyuls vinegar.
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