Friday, June 21st, 2019
Greetings from Carrboro,
I don’t blame her. My daughter’s verbal assault on the unrepentant nature of a Southern summer is warranted more often than not. Completely useless, but warranted. She dramatically casts the season’s belligerence as some disrespectful and tawdry character in the otherwise unstained story of her life – like an annoying younger cousin that only tells fart jokes at family reunions. She trusts that survival stems solely from her daily, steely resolve.
She’s young enough to still see just the one side. In her right and just world we should be able to have our cake and eat it, too. That our oh-so-often unpleasant heat and humidity needn’t be. Ever. That it can happily go away. Like dial-up. Screw electric cars; Elon Musk should be working on her climate change hopes tout suite. I’m sure that she would kindly offer Orange County as a noble test site. My daughter the altruistic planet saver.
But standing in the kitchen today, I’m pretty sure that I like Carrboro just as it is. There are boxes of locally grown peaches and blackberries, blueberries and sweet melons, ears and ears of corn and basil and perfectly ripe tomatoes. And over on another table slabs of mahi-mahi, boxes of briny oysters, and, yes, perfect soft-shell crabs that smell just like the sea. How can I ever complain about heat and humidity when this bounty is the inextricable payoff? It’s certainly a price that I’m more than happy to pay. Year after year.
So, let’s enjoy it; summer is here. Deliciously. And in our world, that means the 18th annual Acme Tomato Festival – July 10-14. It’s our culinary antidote to July for those of us not at the beach. I’m so happy that my friend Craig LeHoullier, the NC Tomato Man, is joining us once again to kick off the festival. On Wednesday, July 10th, I’m cooking a 5-course dinner that will be a tomato lover’s dream. Every course will feature a panoply of the amazing tomatoes grown by our wonderful local farmers. Even dessert. And Craig will talk tomatoes. For those who don’t know, he’s the guy that discovered the much ballyhooed Cherokee Purple tomato and then subsequently devoted his life to his passion. I love that; it says a lot about the man.
The Acme Tomato Festival Dinner with Craig LeHoullier. Wednesday, July 10th at 6:30 in the evening. Menu is below. Tickets for the dinner are $65 per person and are sold on a first come, first served basis. Space is limited. Summertime lovers take note: this is always one of the most popular evenings of the year and we sell out of tickets very quickly. And don’t worry, I’ll have the A/C going strong. You see, my daughter didn’t fall that far from this tree.
Well, that’s all the news from Carrboro. The staff at Acme look forward to serving you soon.
The Staff at Acme
Reservations: 919 929 2263 or online
*Note that reservations for the Tomato Dinner are by phone only
The Acme Tomato Festival Kick-off Dinner
with Craig LeHoullier, the NC Tomato Man
Wednesday, July 10th
6:30 in the evening
Cava Avinyo Reserva Brut / Penedès, Spain
heirloom tomato and cornbread panzanella
old-school pickled shrimp, Georgia olive oil
Truchard Sauvignon Blanc / Carneros, Napa Valley
cast-iron crab cake
black rice cake, tomato chutney
Failla Chardonnay / Sonoma Coast
pan-seared Carolina redfish
ratatouille, pernod, saffron
Clos Cibonne Tradition Rosé / Provence
Cherokee purple spice cake
tomato caramel, basil & buttermilk whipped cream
El Maestro Sierra Pedro Ximénez / Jerez, Spain