The calendars were held up in customs, but I am told they should be here on Monday, which is tomorrow for me, and today for most of you. Calendars are obviously a source of anthrax, so I can understand the caution of the Port Authority in not hastening them through. Argh.
PICTURED HERE: This is just one tiny section of one giant table that spanned a giant tent, where visitors to Gary Ibsen's Nature Sweet - Sunset - Carmel Tomato Fest were tasting 350 different kinds of heirloom tomatoes, under a benignly overcast sky last Sunday. I was fortunate (blessed, actually) to have attended with a press pass, and to have invited my farmer friend, Linda Butler, of Lindencroft Farm, as my guest. We traveled with Cynthia Sandberg of Love Apple Farm: this event is pretty much Christmas for her every year. And it's where she and I met and hit it off for the first time, three years ago.
The event is astonishing. 52 restaurants—some the best in the region—and 54 wineries and breweries contribute to the event. And on the periphery of the space—it's held at the Carmel Valley Lodge—are dozens of booths of exhibitors with wares, information, and products to share. (My personal favorite in this case had to be Odwalla, giving shooters of so many kinds of juice to those of us who wanted to pace ourselves on the wine. Well, just the once.)
When you walk onto the grounds, you're given a commemorative wineglass and a little plastic dish/tray with a glass holder niche in it. (Why did I not think to photograph one? Because I was trying to take pictures of the food before the masses set in. You can see 27 photos at the Gary Ibsen's Tomato Fest 2007 photo album I set up.)
You wander from giant tent to giant tent, where chefs have prepared dozens of dishes, amuse bouches for the most part: it's like Iron Chef with tomatoes being the secret ingredient. (No secret, though: these chefs think about this all year, and I'll bet that chefs who return are already thinking about next year, and the year after that.)