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2018 Tomato Dinners Menu Released

2018 Tomato Dinners Menu

Next Tuesday August 21st to Saturday the 25th

Here is the first draft of the menu for next week. Some observations: We think the menu is particularly summery, and it is really all about tomatoes. We’ve named fewer of the varieties we’re going to be using here because we won’t make the final decisions until we get tomatoes in from our sources on Monday. Pastry Chef Andrew Chaney has also been working on several tomato desserts–more than we’ve had for a while.

Antipasti:  smaller items, soup, salads
Confit of hook-and-line-caught albacore with tomato “aïoli,” marinated sweet peppers, and basil
Sampling of this year’s best tomatoes –varieties to be determined Monday
Salad of compressed melon and heirloom tomato with mint, red onion, and Beldi olives
Antipasto of marinated peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber with eggplantcrema and pine nuts
Red flint corn polenta, fried green tomatoes, and shrimp with lobster rémoulade
Charcoal-grilled flat bread with Early Girl tomatoes, burrata, and basil
Tomato-braised honeycomb tripe with hot pepper, oregano, and fiore sardo Pecorino cheese
Soup:  due of gazpachos—German Red and Marvel Stripe tomatoes with opposingsalsas

Primi
Spaghetti all’amatriciana
Whole grain bigoli with ragù of Early Girl tomatoes, guanciale, Cranberry beans, and Calabrian chili
Ravioli of burrata cheese with tomato crema
Squid ink risotto with Tuscan sausage, concentrated cherry tomatoes, and fennel pollen
Listada di Gandia eggplant tortelli with Early Girl tomatoes, garlic, and basil
Saffron chitarra with smoked trout, cherry tomatoes, squash blossoms, and lemon verbena

Secondi:  grills, sautés, roasts, and rotisserie
Charcoal-grilled California swordfish with stewed tomatoes, mussels, and fennel;harissa verde
Charcoal-grilled pigeon with tomato mostarda, seeded crostone, purslane, and liver mousse (while available)
Braised Walla Walla onion with farrotto stuffing, garlic-studded Early Girl tomato, and pickled Chanterelle mushrooms
Tomato-braised beef short rib with Costato Romanesco squash crema, brown rice, and tomato jam
Chicken and lobster boudin blanc with sun-dried tomato pesto, peperonata, and Cranberry beans

Dolci
Sorbetto of heirloom tomato
Red Zebra Stripe tomato jam ice cream
Mascarpone cheesecake with cookie crust of Edison whole wheat flour, toasted hazelnuts, and cocoa nibs
Tomato and black pepper jam, candied cherry tomatoes, and blackberry sorbetto
Bittersweet chocolate cake with tomato sauce, crème fraîche sherbet, and chocolate-pecan dentelle
Sungold tomato and raspberry cobbler with Edison whole wheat and oat crumble; vanilla ice cream

Menu will be à la carte. You won’t want to miss it.

RESERVE NOW

Online or Call 510.547.5356

2018-08-17T18:07:42+00:00August 17th, 2018|Coming up..., Events, This Just In, Uncategorized|0 Comments

2018 Tomato Dinners Announced, August 21st to 25th

2018 Tomato Dinners Announced

Tuesday August 21st to Saturday August 25th

We’ve been throwing tomato parties for 28 years—joyful exercises in balancing what works and what’s new, creating menus of tradition and innovation. The tomatoes have continually gotten better, as farmers advance their growing skills, develop their soils, and plant the ever-growing number of tomato types.

We used to try to time our dinners to when the most tomatoes were at their peak, but now farmers routinely do multiple plantings, taking advantage of a longer and longer season.  As we know, things are getting hotter—good for tomatoes, anyway.

We’ll have the greatest tomatoes from our favorite farmers from different microclimates around northern California. Menus will soon follow, they will be à la carte.

So join us for Oliveto’s 28th (gulp) Annual Tomato Dinners.

RESERVE NOW

Online or Call 510.547.5356

Tomato Dinner Menu near complete. Starts next week. Reserve now!

MENU for Tomato Dinners 2017

September 12 through 16

Antipasti

Tasting of best-of-season tomatoes

Salad of tomato, Cherry Bomb peppers, and melon with Serpentine cucumber gelée

Crudo of dry-aged Magruder beef with sun-dried tomatoes, green coriander, and ricotta salata cheese

Cruda of bigeye tuna and tomato with squash blossom pesto and anise hyssop

Soup:  tomato and strawberry gazpacho with roast pepper salsa

~

Fried green tomatoes with yogurt, peaches, summer truffle vinaigrette, and fresh herbs

Wood-grilled flatbread with burrata cheese, Early Girl tomato, and basil

Roman-style tomato-braised tripe with Pecorino cheese

Primi

Spaghetti all’amatriciana

Cappelletti of house-made ricotta and basil in tomato consommé

Brentwood corn gnocchetti with cherry tomatoes, roast corn, and lemon verbena

Pappardelle with tomato leaf pesto, concentrated tomatoes, and ricotta salata

Acquerello Carnarolli risotto with green tomato, bay scallops, and fennel pollen

Rigatoni with spicy polpettiniarrabbiata, and Pecorino cheese

Secondi

Roast lamb with marinated tomatoes, yellow Romano beans, and mint salsa verde

Chicken and lobster sausage with Brentwood corn, celeriac, and green tomato salsa

Tomato-braised beef short rib with Swiss chard, barley, and tomato mostarda

Rosa Bianca eggplant sformatino with roast summer squash, Gypsy peppers, and tomato sugo

Roast-tomato brodetto with hook-and-line caught snapper, Oregon bay shrimp, octopus, and grilled crostone

The menu is à la carte

Reserve Online or Call 510.547.5356

 

2017-09-12T15:46:27+00:00September 5th, 2017|Coming up..., Events, This Just In, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Oliveto’s 27th annual tomato dinners to begin September 12

September 12-16, 2017, Tuesday through Saturday
Reserve online or call 510.547.5356

We began our celebratory tomato dinners 27 years ago, when heirloom tomatoes grown by local family farmers were first becoming widely available (Oliveto hosted an afternoon tasting of 100 varieties — our dining room carpet was never the same), and when ‘Flavr Savr,’ the first GMO version of a commodity crop, was being released on an experimental basis. (We managed to obtain one for our panel discussion on GMO foods.)  The GMO tomato was a flop, not surprisingly, but the cornucopia of heirloom tomatoes expanded wildly, much to everyone’s—including every home gardener we know—delight. (The photo is of tomatoes from Bob and Maggie’s yard in Oakland.)

Oliveto’s tomato dinners demonstrate just how versatile the tomato is. Over the years, we’ve served refreshing tomato gelées, tomatoes distilled by dry-farming and long, slow cooking, tomatoes in sauces, tomatoes stuffed and in stuffing, variously colored and sized and shaped tomatoes cut and sliced and paired with fennel pollen, sea salt, and stellar olive oils, tiny peeled tomatoes chilled in a vinaigrette, fresh-squeezed tomato juice cocktails, caramelized tomatoes in desserts—all conspiring to make for a broad and diverse–and joyful—experience.

This year’s crop is all over the map, because local farms and climates are all over the map.  Up in Capay Valley, Riverdog’s first June crop suffered severely from two weeks of 100+ degree days, which fried the pollen of their heirloom blooms and ruined the yield of their usually hugely diverse first-of-the-season heirloom offering. This week, another severe heatwave will produce its effects. Nevertheless, Riverdog is replete with Marvels, Black Pineapples, delicious Brandywines, and, less plentiful, White Pineapples.

Farms in Santa Cruz, Watsonville, and up in Sonoma are going to have fared differently. We will be emailing you a preliminary menu in a few days, to give you an idea with which inventions Tomato Dinners–2017 will entertain your palate.

Reserve Online or Call 510.547.5356

2017-09-12T15:46:27+00:00August 30th, 2017|Coming up..., Events, This Just In, Uncategorized|0 Comments

This Just In: The First Killer Tomatoes

Sungold tomatoes are a deep orange and decidedly sweet!

We are so passionate about tomatoes that we try only to feature them when they’re seriously good, and so we’ve been impatiently waiting for them to stun us. We pounced when we found these, from Oya Organics, at last Tuesday’s South Berkeley market.

Oya Organics is a small farm out of Hollister owned by Marsha Habib. Its tomatoes are everything tomatoes should be — succulent and sweet but not too sweet. Sungolds do well at Oya, and they are gracing our crudo of local albacore, avocado, Cherry Bomb peppers, and basil.

Chef Jonah is really on a roll — there’s so much on the menu to bowl you over these days:

  • Salad of grilled Blossom Bluff stone fruit with house-cured guanciale, dill goat’s milk kefir, house-made Santa Rosa plum vinegar, and cured egg yolk
  • Tortelloni of house-made ricotta with Brentwood corn, fines herbes, cured egg yolk, and squash blossoms
  • Charcoal-grilled Paine Farm pigeon and boudin with braised radicchio, malted wheat berries, fig mostarda, and sugo

It’s a great time to come in.

Of course, with the first really good tomatoes, we’re thinking about our annual Tomato Dinners — dates coming soon.

Late Season Tomato Dinners: September 23–26

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Tuesday, September 23 through Friday, September 26

It’s turned out to be another one of those years, where the Tomato Dinners have come and gone and a month later the tomatoes are still going and going, and we feel inclined to do it all over again. So…we are.

This time around it will be a bit more contained: a six-course prix fixe offering to celebrate the latter half of this year’s tomato bumper crop and highlight some of our favorite varieties. The menu has yet to be finalized but will look something like this:

Salad of heirloom tomato and melon with anise hyssop, crème fraîche and pink peppercorn

*

Rigatoni with fontina Val D’Aosta, Early Girl tomato and breadcrumbs

*

Tortellini of smoked tomato conserva with roasted poultry brodo

*
Tomato-poached petrale sole with Butter beans, lipstick peppers, and lemon agrumato (vegetarian option available)

*
Charcoal-grilled pigeon with slow-roasted Early Girl tomato, lacinato kale and salsa rosa

or

Black pepper cannoli with house-made ricotta, Parmesan cheese, Early Girl tomato and basil pesto

*

Buttermilk panna cotta with melon granita, Early Girl tomato coulis, and candied Sungold tomato

*

$65 per person

Please join us!

2017-09-12T15:47:14+00:00September 8th, 2014|2014, Events, Happened already...|0 Comments

First Tomatoes

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Average temperatures out in Yolo County have been hot but not too hot (95 degrees during the day, low 70s at night) which is great for summer produce. Lots of stuff hitting the market (and the menu) this week including Cranberry beans, zucchini, corn, egglant, and YES, tomatoes! Mainly cherry tomatoes but also our first Early Girls from Riverdog Farm. Chef Rhodehamel has been dehydrating these, then lightly smoking and serving them in a traditional southern Italian dish:

Cavatelli with Santa Barbara sea urchin, smoked Early Girl tomatoes, Calabrian chili, and parsley

Also decidedly summer:

Soup of Brentwood corn with salsa of cherry tomatoes, Jalapeño pepper, and basil

Charcoal-grilled shrimp-stuffed squid with eggplant puree, fresh Cranberry beans, and marinated cherry tomatoes

2017-09-12T15:47:19+00:00June 27th, 2014|Market Reports, Summer|0 Comments

2013 Tomato Dinners Countdown: 20 days remain

Although much of this year’s Tomato Dinner menu is still in its wild, unfettered state (i.e. Chef Jonah’s brain), one thing is certain: there will be Early Girls. More specifically:

Farroto-stuffed Early Girl tomatoes with La Tur cheese fonduta and broccoli di ciccio

A favorite here in the Bay Area, the the Early Girl variety reaches its most vivid potential when it is dry-farmed by a skilled farmer whose climate allows for minimal to no irrigation throughout the growing season. Joe Shirmer of Dirty Girl Produce heads up just such an operation in Santa Cruz where he grows Early Girls that are exceptionally sweet and lively with minerality.

We’ve been a fan of Joe and his tomatoes for a number of years and admire his commitment to the practice of dry-farming, as well as its history. Finding little current information available Joe tracked down texts dating back to the 1920s in an effort to understand how to grow vegetables using limited water. In the video above, he imparts some of his wisdom.

Additionally, we found a great online resource, Internet Archive, a non-profit out of San Francisco, that allows you to flip through books like this dry-farming guide from 1909.

Click to flip pages

Click to flip pages

2017-09-12T15:47:38+00:00July 30th, 2013|2013, Events|0 Comments

Tomato Season 2012 Update

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We hit the Derby Street 63rd and Adeline market yesterday to check in with some of our favorite tomato farmers and find out how the season is progressing.

Last time we’d checked in things were off to a slower and cooler start than expected which led to our decision to reschedule this year’s Tomato Dinners for mid-September. This time around we found an eye-popping barrage of technicolored specimens representing a wide range of varieties which are all ripening right now. Additionally we were told again and again, this is just the beginning!

Judith Redmond of Full Belly Farm

Judith Redmond of Full Belly Farm

Judith from Full Belly Farm in the Capay Valley said they planted six waves of tomatoes and currently the second one is just winding down and the third wave hasn’t even started yet! Daytime temperatures are averaging around 100 degrees and the tomatoes are loooooving it. Anna from Catalan Family Farm in Hollister said they are “SWIMMING in tomatoes” and barring an early frost, will probably have tomatoes until October possibly mid-November! Tim from Riverdog Farm said although their season was initially behind schedule, due to a late first planting and then an early heatwave in June that knocked some buds off, the tomatoes are now in full roar. And Karen from Lucero Organic Farm in Lodi, which has a daunting variety of tomatoes on display, said the smaller earlier varieties started picking up speed a few weeks ago but now everything is in full swing.

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Overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices? Come nerd out with us on September 16th when Chef Jonah Rhodehamel will be leading a tomato tasting in preparation for this year’s Tomato Dinners. This is a chance to taste a wide variety of tomatoes from a number of local farmers and hear a chef’s opinion on how they would be best put to use.

Tomato Dinners Alert: new dates announced!

Early Season Perfection - Brookside Farm's Early Girl tomatoes

Early Season Perfection – Brookside Farm’s Early Girl Tomatoes

Gearing up for this year’s Tomato Dinners (originally scheduled for the end of August) we started asking our farmers about how the season was progressing and what we kept hearing back was, actually tomatoes weren’t quite happening…yet.

For the most part the season has been uneven and the requisite temperature spike, necessary for great tomatoes, hasn’t fully arrived. That’s not to say that we haven’t seen some exquisite cherries and other early ripening varieties from some of the regions and micro-climates: Full Belly Farm already has an array of lovely tomatoes, and Brookside Farm has some amazing Early Girls right now.

But we aim to schedule the dinners for the exact moment when all the tomatoes across northern California, from Santa Cruz to Clear Lake, are going off and the season as a whole reaches its peak deliciousness. So in lieu of the news, we have opted to push back our tomato dinners to September and will continue to cross our fingers:

Oliveto’s 22nd Annual Tomato Dinners Tuesday
August 28 through August 31
Tuesday, September 18th through Friday, September 21

If you already have a reservation you will be receiving a call from us shortly.

In gazpacho we trust.

2017-09-12T15:48:02+00:00August 7th, 2012|2012, Events, Happened already...|0 Comments