As foods that seem too precious to do at home go, squash blossoms are high on the list—they seem mighty sensitive and tender for a stuffing. So I like ordering them out, and there are none better than the ones that Toma is serving right now, for a host of reasons.
First, these are flash fried, as opposed to heavily battered; it’s all good squash-flower-power flavor and just enough crunch. Then the stuffing itself is a creamy goat cheese laced with preserved lemon, balancing richness with acid.
But the kicker is the sauce. Often this dish shows up with some marinara variant, and sure, tomatoes and summer, we get it.
Instead, Chef Nat Ely bathes the blossoms in an orange citronette that totally lifts the dish to another dining plane. It connects with that lemon in the stuffing so the sauce isn’t just an afterthought. It’s light, bright, and very California, perfect for this attractive room across from the beach. That there are also fresh peas and pea shoots adorning the plate is both wonderful for the eye and a delicious way to provide a bit of bass note.
$14; 324 W. Cabrillo Blvd., (805) 962-0777, tomarestaurant.com