Way back when it was at its Cambie Street location, Tomato was on our regular lunch rotation. We always looked forward to Tomato day, partly because of the sandwiches, and partly because it meant that our office assistant, Lawren, would have to deal with the individual who came to be known as “Surly Counter Guy”. For some reason, whenever Lawren would phone in our order, he would be met with an attitude usually reserved for English-speaking retail shoppers in Paris. “You realize you won’t be able to pick up this order until lunch time, right?”was one particularly memorable reprimand. But in spite of the attitude and the fact that Lawren’s no-mayonnaise-please requests always seemed to fall on deaf ears, we were willing to cut the place some slack because the turkey and cranberry jelly sandwiches on multigrain were that good and, of course, Lawren was our point man and, thus, the only one to suffer Surly Counter Guy’s derision.
It’s felt like ages since I’ve enjoyed Tomato’s trademark sandwich and so, when Fondy suggested we have dinner at the new Kits location, I was all in.
We arrived at a little before 7:00 p.m. to a fairly full house. As we took our seats, I had to admire the new digs. The restaurant follows the same red and white motif of its predecessor, but offers the added bonus of a more spacious eating environment accented by actual trees that adorn the dining area. Upon checking the menu, I was disappointed to discover that the turkey sandwich was not available for dinner. Might I prefer something else? Not really. But the pork schnitzel special certainly intrigued. As did the poached pear and candied pecan organic baby salad.
Fondy had the misfortune of ordering the rigatoni. Looking at the plate, one couldn’t help but think the cook’s heart was in the right place. It was a healthy portion of rigatoni and chorizo served in a tomato sauce studded with eggplant, artichoke hearts, and oven-roasted tomatoes that tasted as if it had been tossed in an ashtray before serving. What the pasta had done to deserve its sodden, overboiled fate I cannot begin to imagine but I can only assume whoever prepared it harbored some sort of grudge.
The pork schnitzel was golden-fried to tender perfection but, unfortunately, suffered from a lack of any discernible seasoning. A bland tomato and mushroom sauce that adorned my side of pasty fettuccine didn’t help. On the other hand, the asparagus that accompanied the schnitzel was fragrant and fork-friendly.
The spinach salad – an appetizer that I opted to have as a side with my main – was another game effort. Good baby spinach and tasty candied pecans tossed in an inconspicuous port dressing, topped with a passable goat cheese round and flanked by flabby pieces of pear, whatever flavor they once possessed reduced to the faintest of whispers.
No complaints about the quick, friendly service or the modest price point. Still, in the future, I’ll sooner risk the familiar lunch-time peevishness of Surly Counter Guy than hazard another dinner at Tomato.
The mailbag is back –
FargateOne writes: “Which stories of s10 SG1 eps would have done ( or deserved to be ) a good feature film, considering that to do a film is not the same thing that a tv show?”
Answer: Be All My Sins and Midway would have made great features.
Jen Kirk writes: “ Since you and Fondy work, what do you do with the children, er, dogs during the day?”
Answer: The pugs go to doggy daycare while Lulu will be going to work with Fondy and assume the role of pet shop mascot.
Anonymous #1 writes: “Lorne and Zelenka have had such a great fan reaction since they were introduced – was it your intention to keep them as recurring characters from the beginning or did it just sort of evovle? Have you ever planned to keep a recurring character and then decided it wouldn’t work?”
Answer: Lorne and Zelenka are great examples of peripheral characters who were created for a specific episode and ended up recurring because we saw something we liked. On the other hand, there were characters that we had hoped would pop, but didn’t.
Pauline writes: “By the way has the chocolate I sent you arrived yet?”
Answer: Yup. They were great. I’ll be putting pics up tomorrow. Thanks!
Anonymous #2 writes: “I was shocked at the immaturity of the whole panel from Gary Jones to the questions to many of the replies, seemed more like a waste of time to me.”
Answer: Yeah, I told everyone to stop having so much fun but would they wouldn’t listen. In the future, I’d suggest you check out early episodes of the MacNeil/Lehrer Report which may be more your pace.
Miles writes: “Do you have any feelings on Atlantis being put back in the 10pm timeslot on SciFi? Is it going to be a good thing in the long run?”
Answer: I think it will be a very good thing.