Where to Get Your White Truffle Fix Around LABy Lesley Balla
November 6, 2013
Italian white truffles are one of the most intoxicating delicacies during the fall. What's not to love about the earthy, buttery, musky aroma that it adds to plates of pasta, risotto, pizza or simply over eggs? The best and most prized are those from Alba in the northern Piedmont region of Italy, but they aren't easy to come by nor cheap: the season is only a couple of months long, and the largest nuggets can go for as much as $300,000 apiece. Truffle season is just kicking off here in LA - here's where to find them. Be prepared to splurge.
Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air
Is there a better way to start the day? Sunday brunch at the Hotel Bel-Air includes this decadent white truffle feast with two organic eggs served your way plus truffles, two pancakes with truffle butter and truffle maple syrup, and house-made pork, veal and truffle sausage. The dish is available for $95 now through December (701 Stone Canyon Rd.; 310-472-1211).
Look for a special four-course Piedmontese menu featuring porcini mushrooms and white truffles from Langhe, local and organic beef, fresh pasta, and Italian wines on Tuesday, November 19, at the Century City restaurant. The dinner starts at 7:30 PM. Call 310-556-2452 to reserve a spot (10250 Santa Monica Blvd.).
Every year Piero Selvaggio hosts a fabulous white truffle dinner paired with wonderful Piedmontese wines - he was the first to bring white truffles to LA, after all - this year taking place on December 3. The menu begins at $200 per person, and truffles can be added to any course for a $50 supplement each. Wine pairings are $70. Until then, a white truffle menu with a la carte dishes like beans and porcini salad, pasta with Parmesan fondue, and braised beef with root vegetables is available now (3115 Pico Blvd.; 310-829-4313).
SAAM at The Bazaar
Throughout truffle season, the hidden dining room at the SLS Hotel restaurant serves 16 courses of truffle-filled bites. Dishes this year include cotton candy truffle dumplings with brioche "air," Iberico pork cheeks with truffles, white truffle and white chocolate for dessert, and even a cocktail, Truffle Mist, made with rum, pomegranate, mescal, lime and truffle syrup. The decadent affair - $325 per person, and optional wine pairings for $150 or $300 - is available Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings through November 23 (465 S. La Cienega Blvd.; 310-246-5555).
Serving more than just the truffle burger and fries, the Umami Restaurant Group has an entire truffle menu available at locations nationwide now through December. Debunking the myth that anything with white truffles has to break the bank, nothing on the menu is more than $15. And there's even truffle ice cream. For those who do want to splurge, the Money's No Object burger is back, which, if you live anywhere other than California, comes with a hunk of foie gras, onion marmalade and a 1/4-inch-thick layer of white truffles. But since we're here, minus the foie the MNO is $65. Look for it on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Umami Broadway (formerly Umamicatessen) beginning December 5.
One of the first to get white truffles this season, chef Andrea Cavaliere offers the delicacy on hand-cut tagliolini, risotto for two served in a pecorino wheel, and on the pizza with burrata and zucchini blossoms. "They are from the Molisa region of Italy and a very high quality. I even personally know who picked them," says the chef. The truffled dishes range $60-$80, with top-dollar going for an ounce of shavings on any dish on the menu. Available now through December (8764 Melrose Ave.; 310-432-2000).
Chef Mirko Paderno's truffle menu at the Avalon Hotel includes a few dishes made with winter black truffles, like a house-made Italian sausage with Parmesan sauce or black truffle risotto. But his white truffle contribution this year is a beef tartare with truffle fondue and two ounces of shaved white truffle from Molise. That one will set you back $350. Want it at home? The chef will deliver it personally in his Oliverio-branded Fiat 500 with 48 hours notice. Delivery is available Thursday through Saturday from 6-10 PM (9400 W. Olympic Blvd.; 310-277-5221).
Josiah Citrin always brings it during truffle season. This year he creates dishes like the rich truffle egg, hand-made tagliatelle with brown butter froth and Parmesan, and a five-cheese agnolotti, all of which are amped up with shaved white truffles ($120 each). You can also add four grams of truffles to any dish for $65 a pop (1104 Wilshire Blvd.; 310-395-0881).