Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tomato, TomAto. Tiffany Wrote What's on My Mind

There is a great thing happening! Tomatoes are everywhere. Tiffany Beverly is here to share her take on the tomato dish she had at The Drip on Main.
Thank you Tiffany for sharing your  story, and I hope too see y'all out at the Tasty Tomato Festival.
Don't forget to say "Hello".

This Saturday is the 4th Annual Palmetto Tasty Tomato Festival.  I confess that I love this festival.  When my husband and I moved to Columbia from Chicago three years ago, one of the things that we missed most was heirloom tomatoes.  If you haven’t tried an heirloom, you are missing out on a great pleasure.  Tomatoes in grocery stores these days have been bred to travel well as they are shipped from great distances and need to be able to stay fresh for long periods.  That’s also one reason that they are so perfectly round – it’s easier to pack them when they are the same size and shape.  The other reason is that consumers like pretty, round fruit.  The focus on travel and appearance has produced tomatoes that are distinctly lacking in flavor.  Heirloom tomatoes are the opposite.  Appearance?  They’re gnarly and lumpy.  They come in a variety of colors that range from the vivid to the startling.  In short, they look like nothing we’ve come to expect from the tomato.  But the taste?   The taste is everything you imagine when you think of a tomato.  Slightly sweet and slightly tart, the heirloom tomato is like summer on a plate.  One you experience them, you may never want to go back to the regular kind.  Sadly, heirlooms are still difficult to find in Columbia.  That’s where the Tasty Tomato Festival comes in.  It shines the spotlight on heirloom tomatoes.  You can taste a wide variety of heirlooms and buy some to take home.  The Festival also features live music, local food trucks and beer, and games for the kids.  Be sure to check it out.

In the meantime, in honor of the Tasty Tomato Festival, Columbia restaurants have been featuring tomato-centric dishes this week during their own Tasty Tomato Restaurant Feast.   I wanted to check out some of the offerings and decided it would be a good chance to try out Drip on Main.  My husband and friends have been singing the praises of Drip’s coffee for a while.  I’m not a coffee drinker myself, so I had not been yet.  We got there a little after lunchtime, and in the spirit of Tomato Feast, I opted for the Tomato with Fresh Mozzarella and Anchovy and Olive Tapenade on Focaccia Bread.  Y’all, I haven’t had a sandwich this good in quite some time.  The focaccia was toasty on the outside which provided just the right crunch with the soft insides.  And oh, those insides.  The olive tapenade was briny with a nice tangy punch from capers.  Don’t left the anchovy scare you away.  When handled well, anchovies just provide a undercurrent of salty earthiness.  This all played perfectly against the fresh sweetness of the tomato and a pop of fresh basil.  The mozzarella added a wonderful creaminess to the whole thing.  Everything about this sandwich was balanced just right.  It’s a winner.  I’ll order it again and again