“*after some Argentinian Spanish* She says, In traditional Pesto there’s no such thing as adding Lemon. Argentinian flavors aren’t that way. “Well I’m just stating my opinion, since she asked me… *sigh*”
Initially what started as a small argument, soon came to peaceful conclusion about what food meant to Mr. and Mrs. Giacobbe. However let’s back track to the starting point of this entire experience. I’ve heard of this place for quite sometime and it was nearby an old dance studio I used to do gigs for. When I parked into the plaza, walking in greeted with smiles…
The clashing of red, yellow and orange reinforced by the natural color scheme of tomatoes. Being whisked away in a tiny Spanish influenced Bodega more than anything. The decor follows as a minimalist background and offers a LCD screen in the intersection of the room as a focus for those to enjoy the finer things in life, like Argentinian soccer (every Southern American Country is prideful of their own team).
As I sat down, offered a few slices of french baguette and these two peculiar items:
Looking at this tiny bowl I knew it held something special. It wasn’t as overwhelmingly tangy or oily compared to other Chimichurris I’ve had in the past. The ratio was just right and in some cases, I wish I had enough to conduct a Brazilian shower.
The Mint Lemon water had an interesting taste, I thought it was Basil the moment it splashed down the tip of my tongue. Most people who know me, understand that I dislike mint if it is used in anything other than liquid cocaine shots, toothpaste, mouthwash and chewing gum. As I stand corrected and I didn’t realize until the latter hour, playing an important role for the rest of the meal.
As soon as this Argentinian sandwich hit the table, I had to snap a photo before devouring this tiny masterpiece. It’s simple and the lettuce is vibrant in color. However after taking a few bites the lettuce got in the way of what I really wanted, the steak. It was tender and flavorful, give it a splash of that chimichurri and you got yourself a meat injection worth committing sodomy in the state of Texas (too soon?)
I wanted to give you a more intimate look (no I did not eat only 2/3rd of a dish). Sprinkled confetti of spinach, last-minute adding of Parmesan (should have requested more) and mini lake of Pesto completed the landscape of this dish. However as I took one bite after another, for some reason I felt the dish was somewhat incomplete. As if it lacked a certain contrast… and then that’s when Susana asked me,
“How did it taste?”
“Well, I feel it’s lacking something… like maybe a little lemon?”
She then turned to one of her staff members and insisted just by hand gestures and notions, that I was in the wrong. Which brings us to where we left off and after we settled our differences of opinion, I finally asked for dessert. After some debating I came up with these two choices:
Every meal needs a conclusion and for this one, wouldn’t be right without adding some Latin sweetness to the pot. Enter the Canoncitos, a croissant finely shaped into an ice cream cone, with the creamy filling of their dulce de leche. Filled from the outer ring to the small cavity interior. The taste? A brown-eyed heaven worth revisiting.
The Alfajorres was good, no complaints on flavor profile (Shortbread cookie was crumbly and moist and the dulce de leche is just right in sweetness). Definitely tasted everything except there’s one problem, I’m just not a fan of coconut, at least in shortbread (or macaron form). Arguably their portions are much bigger compared to Renzo’s a Taste of Peru (Irvine, CA). On a side note, the mint lemon water went well, with these desserts as a palate cleanser and on top of that blended well in flavors with the spinach tagliatelle (which is probably why my craving for some type of lemon juice or zest alluded to earlier in the meal).
The meal was over, I requested for my check and sad to say my cover was blown (they found out my nefarious intentions with food). They agreed for a small interview and in the process shared a few things one of them being this:
My stomach was fully loaded on this carb filled experience, but fuck (no not anal probing) I couldn’t reject free food so I scarfed it down… then it all came back to me.
One thing’s for sure I’ve never been to Argentina and I do recall my good friend Knoxbox telling me the essentials of the Argentinian diet: Meat, cheese and bread. Even Mr. and Mrs. Giacobbe were highly satisfied when a random set of Argentinian tourists gave their Pebete sandwiches the thumbs up of South American approval.
As our interview went on, they shared more about themselves. Del Tomate the phrase roughly translated as “A Little Crazy Dream.” After 15+ years of catering through their small bakery, they finally came to California in the early 2000s, working various hospitality/restaurant jobs here and there. Soon enough they opened up this spot and I concluded our interview with one simple question, “Why do you want people to come to Del Tomate?” They both responded,
“They want people to taste the freshness of Argentinian flavors; From the pasta to the desserts made everyday. This spot brings our culture, passion and family atmosphere that we like to embrace.” – Mr. and Mrs. Giacobbe via Del Tomate Staff Translator
If you haven’t gotten today’s message, lemme spell this out for you, it’s passion. The passionate rage, she got when I questioned their food. To the compassionate approach of maintaining the integrity of both Argentinian and Italian flavors in all their dishes. Thankfully, no trace of passion fruit in my water, otherwise it would have ruined the meal. Cheers.
P.S. If you’re a gnocchi whore, go to this spot every 29th of the month. They make a fresh batch and one of these months, I’ll most certainly check it out.