Tuesday, September 4, 2012

UpStairs on the Square | Tomatoes Galore

I have a feeling that the tomato and my love for it need no introduction. See this post on the tomato feast at UpStairs from 2010 and this one from a couple weeks ago at Bistro 5's heirloom celebration. This particular dinner took place nearly a month ago now; Michelle, Meghan, Megan and I celebrated more than just tomatoes on this night, but also two years of friendships. It's pretty crazy when events like this mark the passage of time, nearly everyone's lives are in a different place, whether we've moved, have a new job, have gotten engaged, or a combination the above! 
Visiting UpStairs on the Square is like attending a festive soiree, it's originality and charm resonate each time I return. We gathered first at the Monday Club Bar, with a vibrant purple and green color scheme, a serpentine lilac bar commands the space. 

I started with a bubbly apertif made with Aperol, fresh grapefruit and rosemary called Aprile ($11). The intense rosemary scent was cleansing, and offered a lovely accent to the bitter sweetness of the Aperol.  Once we settled in among the jewel toned dining room, enveloped by plush lavender booths and flickering gold accents, we began the tasting with an amuse bouche featuring juicy tomatoes with tender pork rillets over a piece of toast. 
A light bodied yet vibrant wine, Boony Doon Albari├▒o was poured next, offering an acidic medley of grapefruit and lemon peel. Its refreshing, silky texture matched that of the Green Zebra Tomato Gazpacho with green olive oil, creme fraiche, chives, and rosemary. I scraped my bowl clean, this was a terrific first course. 
Then came a Brandywine Tomato Salad with radish, peach, lobster and nasturtium flowers. I never imagined lobster and peach together, they work exceptionally well. I'm also a big fan (after this mealof anything featuring the edible nasturtuim flower. Its leaves offer a delectable peppery punch. At this point we are drinking a food friendly Sybille Kuntz Riesling, Mosel, made from organic German grapes resulting in delicate, dry and ultra crisp sips. The entree is a hearty, tender Fire Roasted Berkshire Pork dusted in Fresh fennel pollen over smoked tomato molasses with bitter greens. 
This pork chop was a real treat alongside a vibrant Occhipinti Frappato, Sicily which balanced tart red fruits with a distinct earthiness.

I expected a little more from the dessert, while the Tomato Sorbet with candied pine nuts was lovely, it was similar to but not as incredible as the dessert from the last tomato tasting here. The pungent sorbet did benefit from the final wine pairing, De Trafford Vin de Paille, a sweet but not cloying straw wine from South Africa.

UpStairs on The Square usually hosts their heirloom tomato series for a short period of time in the month of August. It is definitely a treat to attend and a tradition I have a feeling we will keep alive for many years to come. 

16 comments:

  1. Upstairs on the Square is such a fun place to be it. Love this tradition

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  2. I need to get myself to a tomato dinner! That sorbet looks like perfection!

    Sues

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  3. I love Upstairs on the Square and recently I have been enjoying their brunch! That tomato sorbet looks so intriguing.

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  4. I, sadly, have still never been to Upstairs on the Square...despite living less than 10 minutes away from it. I need to change that ASAP!

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  5. Here's to many more years of tomato dinners!

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  6. the food looks very tasty but is it just me or do the portions look small? or maybe I'm just a pig :)

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  7. This dinner looks marvelous. I only ever had a casual lunch at UOTS, dinner looks so fun

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  8. I love your love of Aperol. That drink - and the whole meal - look lovely!

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  9. Amber - the portions were actually pretty substantial! The bowl of gazpacho was pretty wide, I think the salad photo is deceiving (good amount of lobster) and that pork chop was large by my standards. I definitely couldn't have ate much more after this meal.

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  10. I'm so glad we were able to meet for this dinner, and I can't wait until next year!

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  11. Of course it's your Aperol drink that jumps out at me first. Good to know it paired well with rosemary; I might be doing some experimenting at home! Looks like a lovely dinner.

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  12. Such a fun tradition! Summer tomatoes are just so lovely :)

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  13. Upstairs on the Square is one of my favorites. I agree, it feels so festive. I love their theme dinners. They are always so inventive and surprisingly vegetarian friendly.

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