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Secrets, Tomatoes, and Patience

May 24, 2017

Secrets. I’m going to say there are too many secrets. Even about things that aren’t very important, like food.

There are lots of reasons for keeping food secrets. Perhaps a beloved restaurant is doing something maybe less than 100% legal, and you don’t want them to get caught. Actually, that might be the only time that it’s okay to keep a food secret.

I remember a cheese shop once, somewhere in America, that was bringing in black market cheeses. Apparently, back in the day it was not all that hard to sneak young raw milk cheeses past customs, if you knew what you’re doing.

But most of the reasons for keeping food secrets are terrible. Customers selfishly keep culinary discoveries to themselves, lest they find a favorite restaurant overrun with other eaters. Some secrets might be kept because it’s assumed a fact is public knowledge, when in reality it’s more esoteric than expected.

And then there are the stories we just forget to tell.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a dinner at DeFazio’s with some of the Yelp crew, and when I was making the reservation I was told that DeFazio’s had just planted their tomato plants.

I had no idea the DeFazio’s grew their own tomatoes. That’s awesome.

Some of the best tomatoes you’ll ever get to eat are home grown tomatoes. Mostly because they can stay on the vine until ready to eat. They don’t need to be transported more than the few feet from the garden to the kitchen, so they can be picked moments before consumption, perhaps even still warm from the summer sun.

Tomatoes can be glorious, but you have to wait for them.

Which is why, when I was confronted with another culinary discovery about DeFazio’s I had to pass. It turns out that if you are making a reservation for a large party in the import store, you have access to a secret menu of sorts. Well, really, you get access to one family style dish: roasted tomatoes.

Oh man. It’s true, that roasting tomatoes is a great way to treat less than perfectly ripe fruit. Extra water evaporates, flavors concentrate, and sugars caramelize. But more than anything, I want to come back later in the summer with a crew and order this dish.

But I found out that the DeFazio’s have sweetened the pot even further.
Because now there is another private party option beyond just getting a long banquet table in the import store. And by the way, eating in the import store is a ton of fun if you’ve never done it before. You can even ask for pizzas to be double-cut so you can squeeze 16 slices out of pie, which means with a big group you can taste your way through a good handful of pizza varieties.

DeFazio’s now has a beautiful, private, outdoor patio in the back.

Previously, if you wanted to eat al fresco at DeFazio’s you were at a table on the sidewalk overlooking beautiful 4th street. This backyard option is a game changer. I always want to go out for pizza with a crowd anyhow. Right?

The crowning touch? Gelato. Made in house. From Battenkill dairy milk. In both classic flavors like stracciatella to intense creations like chocolate and chili pepper.

Okay. That’s it. All my DeFazio’s secrets have been spilled.

I just hope I’ll be able to score a ressie for the back patio during tomato season, and that there will still enough tomatoes for everyone to get some.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2017 9:58 am

    You are so caught up with “ripe” tomatoes. Here is a secret – from the day a green tomato acquires it’s sheen, to the day when a tomato is pretty much ready to fall from the vine, there is a preparation that can make the tomato shine.

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