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Summer’s Heirloom Tomatoes

ALL NEW!!! The Dish, an original Bay Weekly column dedicated to the food and restaurants of Chesapeake Country.

Welcome to The Dish, a new Bay Weekly column dedicated to the food and restaurants of Chesapeake Country. In this exclusive, we go beyond traditional restaurant reviews to consider the flavors of the Bay along with the unique people, places, spirits and recipes that whet our appetites.

Let’s start in season, celebrating the end of summer with a delicacy that will soon be tasted only in memory: heirloom tomatoes.
    Eastport newcomer Vin 909 has forged a robust reputation for crispy hearth-oven baked pizzas, hip wine bar and farm-to-table fare. This time of year, Vin 909’s changing menu offers a dish that hits all the right notes: heirloom tomatoes with fresh pulled warm mozzarella.
    It’s a beautiful thing, and not cheap at $14, but worth the splurge. Caviar-like balsamic pearls pop instead of drown the flavors. These gems, created using agar agar (welcome to molecular gastronomy), join the delicate balance of sea salt, olive oil and fresh basil. The dish is topped with a homemade warm mozzarella cheese mound that literally melts in your mouth. It’s simple, yet sophisticated. Get it while you can.

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Over the weekend of August 25 and 26, Homestead Gardens’ fourth annual Tomato Festival celebrated the harvest with over 500 pounds of tomatoes, including heirloom varieties, plus salsa and chili competitions with public tastings and celebrity judging. Bay Weekly CEO Alex Knoll and son Jack, who turned 12 on the 25th, joined in the judging.
    Deception Salsa took top chili honors, with People’s Choice awarded to Ann and Geoff Reife and Honorable Mention to Saucy Salamander.
    Judges proclaimed Fishpaws’ salsa best, with Sara Saab claiming People’s Choice and Saucy Salamander a second Honorable Mention.
    Wellness House of Annapolis was a beneficiary.
    Tomatoes were delivered from an Amish farm in Lancaster, Penn., and are still on sale at Homestead.

Gotta tasty tip for next week’s Dish? Email Lisa Knoll at thedish@bayweekly.com.