LA Tomatomania: Menus, Specials and More

By Lesley Balla  |  August 1, 2013
Credit: Sal Marino

If you haven't noticed, tomatoes are in peak season right now all across the land. Not only will you find the brightest, sweetest, juiciest heirlooms on menus, but some chefs celebrate the vegetable (or is it a fruit?) with special menus. Jimmy Shaw has several events lined up for August, starting with the heirloom tomato brunch at Loteria Hollywood on Saturday, August 3, where you can bring your own heirlooms for a VIP tour and tasting with the chef and his team, and then have brunch. The menu includes things like breakfast enchiladas with scrambled eggs, roasted poblano chile and roasted heirloom tomato salsa ranchera, and huevos rancheros with arrachera. The VIP tour and brunch ($15) starts at 10 AM; brunch ($25) opens to the public at 11 AM.

On August 6, there's a book signing with Roma-therapy author Paul McCullough at Loteria Hollywood, and on August 8, don't miss the five-course all-tomato dinner prepared by Shaw and visiting chefs Evan Kleiman, Kris Morningstar, Giselle Wellman, Neal Fraser and Duff Goldman. Dinner begins at 7:30 PM; reservations can be made by calling the restaurant (323-465-2500).

At Il Grano in West LA, chef Sal Marino has been serving his Wednesday night menus every summer since 2004, featuring mostly tomatoes he's harvested from his own garden (this year he planted 24 varieties). Each dish is dedicated to a specific tomato - Green Zebra, Indigo Rose, White Beauty and Amish Gold among them - paired with other seasonal and artisanal ingredients, like the Italian sheep's milk ricotta he gets in once a week. So far he's served things like spaghetti with black mussels and oven-dried tomatoes; red, white or green gazpacho with poached lobster; and grilled Japanese sardines with mixed heirloom tomato salsa. Check the Il Grano Facebook page for each week's specials. "Pomodorologia" runs through October.