The Italian reminds me of the soup nazi in some ways. He does not talk or greet. He usually sits in his corner reading a book or the newspaper, quietly watching the flow of his staff and patrons. I thought his restaurant looks like a TV set, like Seinfeld's, anytime Jerry or Costanza will walk in.
On our second visit, we had the courage to ask for his recommendations. On the third or fourth visit I spied a bunch of small, fresh, red tomatoes in the corner near the cashier. I was very curious but was shy to investigate. Then, a flick of the eyebrows, he looked straight at me and beckoned that I try the tomatoes. Surreal.
He talked about the good, sweet qualities of the tiny Japanese tomatoes; definitely better than the cherry variety, told me to munch it raw with salt. I thanked him for his generous sampling but I did not bother to ask where he got them. It seemed not proper because it's probably a secret ingredient to their cooking.
A long time passed since that cheerful chat with the Italian, and just after Easter, I think I found the same tomatoes at God's Grace Farm store.
This is my husband's quick sample of the sweet Japanese tomatoes, pan fried lightly in olive oil, with fresh basil leaves, sea salt, tossed with pasta. This is a very simple dish, a 10 year old can cook! The flavors are bursting with freshness and unique sweetness of the tomatoes.
Have a nice weekday!