Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

TomatoFare at Cedarbrook Lodge – SeaTac, Seattle

Posted on: Tuesday 20 September 2011

After we left the queues at the Mobile Food Rodeo, Carol drove us towards the airport to Cedarbrook Lodge for TomatoFare West 2011.

Located on a quiet street away from traffic, Cedarbrook Lodge is secluded and surrounded by luscious greens. Originally built by Washington Mutual as an exclusive corporate retreat, it is now a public hotel.

The grounds are beautifully landscaped and the interior is elegantly decorated in earthy tones with natural materials. The entrance is on a mezzanine level and the lobby overlooks a magnificent loft with a plush lounge area, Copperleaf Restaurant and floor to ceiling windows to the terrace.

TomatoFare celebrates the harvest of the season’s locally grown organic heirloom tomatoes. The festival has been held in Eastern Washington for several years and this is the second one in Seattle.

Pale, bland and mealy. We’ve all had bad tomatoes. Grown with love and nurtured, a quality tomato bursts with sunshine and has a sweetness and acidity to every bite.

The Jacqueline Tabor Jazz Band entertained the crowd on the terrace. Although an overcast day, it was pleasant to be outside and many enjoyed the autumn weather sipping wine and beer, and nibbling on tomatoes.

Stalls in French colours were set up on the lawn. On the right were restaurants, and on the left was tomato tasting.

As we arrived mid afternoon, some of the stalls had closed. A handful of people were hovering around the Copperleaf stall and we joined the group listening intently as the chef spoke passionately about sourcing produce and the importance of connecting with farmers.

A tasting board was laden with tomatoes and we sprinkled sea salt on the vibrant slices.

A shot glass of layered mousse was popular, there were people returning for seconds and thirds! On the bottom was Parmesan mousse, the middle was heirloom tomato mousse and on top was fresh basil purée with Niçoise olive nougatine. It was an intense combination, each spoonful had a different accent.

Next was Barking Frog, where the chefs were busily plating their heirloom tomato and watermelon salad.

It was an artist’s palette of heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, burrata mozzarella purée, toasted pine nuts, micro basil and ten year old balsamic vinegar.

The Blackboard Bistro platter was empty and they were packing up as we approached their stall. The chef kindly scraped the last of the geoduck and heirloom tomato ceviche with orange and mint onto a mini toast and cut it in half. It was my first taste of the weirdly shaped bivalve, a Pacific Northwest specialty.

We proceeded along the stalls to Little Water Cantina, a recent addition to Eastlake.

The chef assembled cute bite size tostadas of white habanero, heirloom tomatoes, house made queso fresco, micro cilantro, toasted sesame seeds and Mexican sea salt. These were delectable morsels, ideal as a hors d’oeuvre for cocktail parties!

Unfortunately we missed out on Lark, emmer&rye and Café Lago.

Our final stall was Seattle Cremes, an ice cream, sherbet and sorbet wholesaler. We sampled a scoop each of red heirloom tomato sorbet and yellow heirloom tomato sorbet. With garlic, sea salt, basil and Tabasco, the red one was savoury and highlighted the tomato as an ingredient. The yellow one was refreshing with mint, sea salt, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Glossy globes in shades of red, orange, yellow, green and purple were on display. Dozens of varieties were presented in and on stemware and laminated cards detailed their characteristics.

Tiny baubles on vine, these Mexican midgets were my favourite.

The lumpy red star is turban like and star shaped when sliced.

This is the legend. I just like the name. It is a Pacific Northwest variety cultivated by Oregon State University.

The stripy green zebra is a contrast to the red hues of the majority.

A hidden oasis close to the airport, Cedarbrook Lodge has serene ponds and manicured shrubbery.

The Copperleaf Restaurant is in an open area of about a dozen tables with a magnificent stone fireplace as the focal point.

We meandered into Tamarack Hall and one of the chefs directed us to the restaurant garden.

Four neat patches had rows of lettuce, herbs and of course, tomatoes.

Sincere thanks to Carol for inviting me to be her plus one. The complimentary tickets were courtesy of Richmond Public Relations.


6 Responses to "TomatoFare at Cedarbrook Lodge – SeaTac, Seattle"

This looks like heaven to me! Sun ripened heirloom tomatoes are my absolute favorite food on the planet. To me it is like eating candy. Sadly, with our PNW climate they aren’t as bountiful here as one would like.

TomatoFare East is this Saturday in Quincey! Maybe there are still volunteer opportunities if you don’t mind driving?

Really wish I could but that is the day I’m doing the Dog Mountain Farm Dinner! I found out the chef that night is Chef Mark Fuller from Spring Hill Restaurant & Bar in West Seattle. And the tentative menu looks pretty amazing! I’m getting excited 😀

There was much praise of Chef Mark Fuller and Spring Hill from those who attended the Salted dinner with Mark Bitterman! You’ll have to tweet some photos! 🙂

I completely forgot to take any pictures but the food was fantastic and the entire event was really great! I’ll e-mail you with the menu.

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