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Morelli’s scores a vote at Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival

Morelli's

Were you one of the 821 people that attended the Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival last weekend?

During this packed event, hosted by JCT.Kitchen, festival-goers were treated to tomato-centric dishes and cocktails. The event raised almost $40,000 for Georgia Organics.

Atlanta chefs including Ford Fry, Linton Hopkins, Carvel Grant Gould, Steven Satterfield (and many more) were paired with local farms to supply ingredients — tomatoes — for their dishes. Then, they faced the daunting task of preparing close to 900 portions of their tomato creation in two hours. (The festival lasted four hours but most of the food was depleted in two.)

There were six or seven dishes among my top choices, but the one that I’ll remember most (and seek out) is the olive oil and basil ice cream with tomato compote made by Morelli’s Ice Cream. Think of a luxuriously buttery olive-oil ice cream topped with a sweetened-tomato jam evoking the flavors of a sweet bruschetta.

They won my vote for best dish. Morelli’s assured me that this flavor will soon be on their menu in the shop. When that happens, I’ll be there to vote with my wallet.

Were you at the event? Which were your favorite dishes?

Official Winners:

  • Judges’ pickBest Drink: Miles Macquarrie, Leon’s Full Service
  • Judges’ pickBest Dish: Andy Carson, Bacchanalia: Layered “tomato situation,” burrata, savory granola
  • People’s ChoiceBest Drink: Paul Calvert, Pura Vida
  • People’s ChoiceBest Dish: Eddie Hernandez, Taqueria del Sol: “Tomato & Cueritos Tostada” – crispy corn tortilla round with fresh sliced tomato, cueritos (pickled pork skin) relish and habanero aioli
  • Best Booth: Linton Hopkins, Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch
  • Best Presentation: Hector Santiago, Pura Vida: “Montadito de Tomatoes” – tomatoes, tomato aioli, house cured pork and crunchy cracker
  • Special Mention: Donald Sargent, Morelli’s: Olive oil and basil ice cream with tomato compote

–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog

-- Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team. She also publishes her own blog, Going Low Carb.

8 comments Add your comment

ted

July 22nd, 2011
11:07 am

Really loved Miles’ drink. Thought Dave Larkworthy should’ve won something for his tomato “nigiri.” At least when we went by the TDS table, the tomatoes didn’t taste that great, so I was surprised they won. Also really liked La Pietra Cucina’s “broda” with the skewer of stuff on top of the soup shooter.

Reds

July 22nd, 2011
12:39 pm

I didn’tr know about this festival. I would have gone!

RK

July 22nd, 2011
1:20 pm

I hate that I missed this again. It needs a lot more promotion.

M. Johnson

July 22nd, 2011
2:03 pm

It is amazing what the Morellis are able to do with ice cream. They are my perennial favorites and I wish them the best.

If you haven’t tried their ice cream, you are MISSING OUT!

kathy

July 22nd, 2011
4:37 pm

I loved Morelli’s, but I only got a taste with the tomato as they were almost out. Our favorites were One Midtown Kitchen’s salad with horseradish granita, and I loved Empire State South’s offering, as it was more savory than many of the dishes.

Jenny Turknett

July 22nd, 2011
4:40 pm

Kathy, you’re right. I thought ONE’s dish with the white-chocolate-horseradish granita was the most intriguing. Definitely out of the box!

Edward

July 24th, 2011
10:59 am

I think Morelli’s had an olive oil and rosemary ice cream at Taste of Atlanta that was so amazing. I’ve always enjoyed their inventive flavors.

David

July 24th, 2011
10:12 pm

Awesome festival! Congrats to the organizers Would love to know where I could buy one of the Killer Tomato hats that the chefs were wearing (willing to make a supplemental donation).