You know I’ve always been interested in how the owners of restaurants decide what name to give to their establishments. And for years I’ve been walking past a restaurant with the inscrutable name No Tomatoes, an Indian café in a mini- mall on Beverley Boulevard.
Why would you call a restaurant No Tomatoes? Why would you choose that name as opposed to, say, No Partridges, or No Bull’s Pizzles. I’ll probably never know.
I walked past it again a couple of days ago. It was first thing in the morning and I was on my way to an appointment. It was early and the place wasn’t open yet, but it looked as though it was still in business. They had even, it appeared, recently taken a delivery of large amounts of tomato. Wha?
But what really caught my eye on the menu displayed in the window was the naan ‘wich – not an especially exotic or difficult thing to make – just curried vegetables and chicken wrapped in naan - but since I’d never had one, I decided it’d buy one on my way home after the appointment.
Back I went, at about 11.30. There were tables outside the restaurant, the front door was open, and as I stepped inside I could smell the sweet rising scent of curry, and see food sitting in warming trays. And behind the counter there was a harassed looking man, obviously Latino rather than Indian, who said, harshly, “Closed. No more open.”
I wasn’t quite sure what that meant. Did it mean maybe that he was getting things ready and the food wasn’t hot yet but he’d be opening later? Or had there been some sudden disaster, a power cut maybe? It did look a bit gloomy in there. I tried to ask for more details, but the guy repeated, a little louder this time, “Closed. No more open.” Well, I can take a hint.
So I headed home, and decided I’d go into the local supermarket on the way, and buy something for lunch. In I went and, blow me down, they had a salami flavored with absinthe!!! I couldn’t resist any more that you’d have been able to.
Man that was a good salami. I tried to convince myself that I could taste the absinthe and maybe I could, but it really wasn’t the full on Green Fairy experience.
But I could definitely taste the hatch chiles, very hot but not burning, and there was something gorgeously rich and greasy about the whole thing.
Probably it was better than a No Tomatoes naan ‘wich would have been, but having looked on Yelp it seems that No Tomatoes is closed permanently, so I suppose I’ll never know. But that still leaves a few unanswered questions. Why was the name still up, why was the menu still in the window, why were their tables outside, why was there food in the heating trays inside, and why had they bought so many tomatoes? Somebody out there possibly knows. Here’s a picture from Yelp that shows what I missed: