RICHMOND, Va. — It’s definitely summer in Virginia. And with Virginia summer heat and humidity comes delicious tomatoes. These gorgeous fruits are being showcased in multiple Richmond restaurants in pasta, pie, and a harbinger of the season, the tomato sandwich.
This writer’s favorite: Lamplighter Coffee
The coffeehouse went literary. They are serving a Harriet the Spy. If you are not familiar with Louise Fitzhugh’s book, Harriet would not stop eating tomato sandwiches – three ingredients, white bread, mayo, tomatoes — she ate them for lunch everyday for five years. Lamplighter is adding a little salt and pepper. Harriet M. Welsh would approve.
Where else to get some of local tomato bounty?
Chairlift at Brenner Pass
Local wellness blogger Allison Walton suggests the black garlic brioche with local heirloom tomatoes, Gruyere and mascarpone cheeses, and pickled mustard seed. “Love the tomatoes,” she said.
An Heirloom tomato, a term used interchangeably with Heritage, refers to varieties of tomatoes that are passed down for generations. They are open-pollinated so you can save and plant the seeds (from this brioche!) and expect them to grow a tomato plant.
Chef Craig Perkinson keeps a tomato dish on the menu or off-the-menu all during tomato season. Currently, Perkinson has a local Autumn Olive Farms pork belly, braised Romano beans, and sungolds, a rich sweet small yellowish-orange tomato. Perkinson also has a tomato toast with ricotta miso —house-made ricotta with salty miso, basil and ramps, a strong local onion.
SB’s Lakeside Love Shack
SB’s is featuring a Manfas (tomato) Pie. Their secret recipe includes Hanover tomatoes and a buttery homemade crust connected by mayonnaise, onion and cheese.
“Cheesy tomato pie at SB’s Loveshack is like grilled cheese and tomato soup together,” SB’s fan Jessica Shook said. “It’s a good balance of tomato to crust to cheese. It doesn’t taste like tomato sauce in pie form.”
“The pie crust is a simple recipe from an official grandmother,” owner Sarabeth Hagen shared. “The guts are what I feel would taste amazing together. Strictly Hanover tomatoes and a secret ingredient that just sets it off.”
Secco Wine Bar
Chef Julie Heins is using Manakintowne cherry tomatoes, local arugula, cured lemon with salmoriglio sauce on her linguine special.
“The (manakintowne) tomatoes are concasse’d [parboiled and peeled], and the sauce salmoriglio is oregano, capers, garlic, and lemon zest,” owner Julia Battaglini said. “Heins uses house-cured lemon and manakintowne arugula to garnish but you have the option (highly recommend!) to add house-cured anchovies.”
Interested in checking out some of the chefs mentioned food stuffs up close and personal?
Craig Perkinson is pairing up with The Shaved Duck’s Chef Matt Kirwan on June 23 for a guest dinner. The charity dinner will benefit the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation to help teens affected by mental illness. To make reservations, call The Shaved Duck Restaurant.
Brittanny Anderson and Olivia Wilson are participating in Chefs Feed Indie Week (along with Shola Belle of Mahogany Sweets, local chef Randall Doetzer, Adam Hall of Saison and Jason Alley of Pasture and Comfort). The dinners are August 23, 24, and 26. Ticket information here.
And a yet to be announced ALL- TOMATO dinner on August 12 will feature Manakintowne Farms at Secco Wine Bar with guest chefs from Lehja, Nota Bene and Laura Lee’s.
Look for details over at seccowinebar.com