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08.06.08

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Phaedra

Where's the Beef(steak)?

By Cassandra Landry


It's hard to imagine a world without tomatoes. No standing in the garden in midsummer, wolfing down cherry tomatoes before they make it into the basket, no juicy tomato seeds dripping from that piping hot burger, and RottenTomatoes.com would certainly be out of business. The famed fruit masquerading as a vegetable has not had the easiest year, what with libelous salmonella accusations and all, so a fancy Napa Valley dinner dedication is naturally in order.

The Martini House—a St. Helena restaurant famous for both running a lucrative Prohibition-era bootlegging business in its basement and serving up the quintessential wine country experience—couldn't be a better spot for a fête de la tomato. So it's pulling out all the stops: a tantalizing menu from chef Todd Humphries; discussions with Attack of the Killer Tomatoes director John DeBello and his director of photography, Kevin Morrisey; and a special showing of the 1991 sequel, Killer Tomatoes Eat France. The lovely tomato is blushing already.

The menu is, of course, completely inspired by the fruit and its many varieties, with a considerably gourmet twist. After starting with a chilled yellow tomato soup, guests can also enjoy warm, oven-roasted tomato tart with basil cream, Maine lobster with tomato gelée and stuffed, candied Early Girl tomatoes. All dishes are accompanied by pairings from Peay Vineyards in northern Sonoma County.

To add at least one more reason to attend the anticipated culinary celebration, guests will have the opportunity to mingle with not only chef Humphries and vintner Andy Peay, but DeBello and Morrisey to boot!

So whether it was the cherry, Roma, Early Girl or the mighty Beefsteak that stole our hearts once upon a time, the Martini House's Tomato Dinner is sure to give it its moment of glory once again.


Stop in the name of everyone's favorite veggie—er, fruit, Wednesday, Aug. 13, at the Martini House, 1245 Spring St. (at Oak), St. Helena. 6:30pm. $60-$165. 707.963.2233.


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