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August 3, 2013

Tomatomania 2013 at Loteria Grill


I brought my bright red "Isis Candy" tomatoes to share at the annual tasting held at Loteria Grill this year.  I saw another plate with the same label that were a completely different color--an orange/yellow.  I didn't realize the sunlight could affect the color so very dramatically.


Loteria Grill in Hollywood is as usual a perfect venue for this tasting, and Chef Jimmy Shaw was gracious as ever.  The event's been running for at least six years now, and I've gone several times.  I love hearing what's the best new heirloom flavor, how the season has been for growing, and any new growing tips straight from the master.  However, like the Good Food Pie Tasting, the event has evolved over the years, and not necessarily in a good way.  Chef has done an impressive menu of samples each year on a complimentary basis for Tomatomania and Loteria customers, and this year finally ceded to demand to open the event to the public by having a sit-down meal following the official tasting.  So there were no actual food samples, though the tomatos were opened up for sampling after the welcome and discussion. 

I was on my way to a food bloggers meeting following the event, so I elected not to stay for Chef Jimmy's meal, even though he offered a discount to those who participated in the tasting beforehand.  I did bring the menu to the FBLA meeting and also the contact for Tomatomania's owner Scott Daigre.  I'm hoping he'll be able to come speak to FBLAers sometime in the coming year. 

Scott spoke about the hot topic of "Blue" tomatoes and introduced a new product from Tomatomania in the testing phase, a foldable coated wire tomato caging.





The tomato tasting went on for miles this year, including the entire L-shaped restaurant counter and an added row of tables in the back.   It's intriguing that as many people as there are participating, there are rarely any duplicates of varieties offered.



Some fun ones that I would like to try next year include the grape-shaped "Blondkopfchen" and the teeny tiny "Spoon."




What did you grow this season?  Please feel free to leave a comment on the blog post--I'd love to hear from you!

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