It’s not their fault. Some people just don’t get it. Whether to blame nature or nurture is anyone’s guess. But you’d think we could all agree on delicious, right? I went to this spectacular party at a winery in Oregon. Grand sweeping views of the vineyards, unlimited wine, and live music on the giant stone patio. It was an annual fundraiser with some clever name involving swine and wine. Each year the winery raised a hog on the vineyard and held a competition amongst the best chefs in Portland with the winner given the honor of cooking the hog for the party.
There was a lot of excitement about the meal. The chef – dressed in his whites – spoke at length to the gathered crowd about his process for cooking the hog. It was elaborate; 36-hour brine, smoked over old grape vines, herbs from his garden, all the hip bells and whistles. People oohed and ahhed. It looked pretty damn impressive. Someone was taking pictures for Bon Appetit.
But lord the pig was awful. And I had to lie through my teeth. Being a chef from North Carolina – barbecue central – the guests wanted to get my opinion. Basically, they wanted me to agree with them that it was wonderful. I guess when you spend many hundreds of dollars on lunch, you sort of need it not to suck. And I’m sure there was a fair amount of Oregon pride mixed in. So I was effusive with my praise while eating potato chips. It finally dawned on me that no one there on that swank occasion had ever tasted really good smoked pork. Not once. Because the memory of delicious food sticks with you. And boy was that a long, long way from delicious. But, I will say, the wine helped. A lot.
I feel the same way when people say that they don’t like tomatoes. It makes me think that they’ve only tasted the pale grocery store abominations. Because, well, just because. A never refrigerated honest-to-god tomato is a mind-blowing experience. By itself, with salt and pepper. Especially at the peak of the season in July. And especially right here. That’s why for the past 21 years we’ve held the Acme Tomato Festival. It’s a celebration of just how delicious tomatoes can be. And an affirmation of how much local truly matters and how lucky we are to be surrounded by so many talented, hard-working farmers.
Tonight through Sunday Acme will let our tomato freak flag fly. And then some. Hundreds of pounds of local tomatoes and an equal amount of love. It’s our favorite time of the summer. We’ll weave tomatoes into most everything on the menu. Because – I swear – the tomatoes are that good. So join us. It really doesn’t get much better than this. And I’m not just saying that to make you feel good. Cross my heart.
This week @ Acme: Acme tomato plate. NC tuna tartare. Acme BLT bento box. Heirloom tomato & peach salad. Tomato upside down cake. Smoke tomato risotto. Summertime cocktails. Firsthand Foods pork chop. Southern tomato pie. Pecan-crusted fried chicken with tomato gravy. Beef short ribs with tomato chutney. Forever roasted pig with fried green tomatoes. Cold Beer. Cucumbers & tomatoes. Shooting Point oysters. Wedge salad. Cast-iron strip with charred cherry tomatoes and sauce bordelaise. And so much more. July is here. I recommend that you enjoy it.
Well, that’s all the news from Carrboro. The staff at Acme look forward to serving you soon.
The Staff at Acme