Let’s Get Luxe: 10 Over-the-Top Truffle Dishes You’ll Dig

As the autumn months unfurl, truffles begin showing up on menus across the country. The knobby fungi command thousands of dollars per pound, making them one of the priciest ingredients around. Chefs love to feature them because of their singular, umami-rich flavor, which can take even the simplest of dishes to stunning heights. Here are 10 over-the-top truffle dishes.

Vintage Carnaroli Risotto at Everest, Chicago, Illinois
Carnaroli rice is widely regarded as the best option for risotto because it helps create a creamier texture. Since the grains are slightly longer than other options, they retain their shape better when black Perigord truffles are mixed in. The heat of the dish releases their decadent aroma, amplifying their deep flavors. Make a reservation at Everest.

Truffle Dishes

Soft Polenta with an Organic Egg at Toscana, Los Angeles, California
Italians call this dish polenta con uovo e tartufo bianco, but we Americans know it simply as soft polenta with an organic egg and white truffles. Pop the yolk and mix the sunny liquid with the creamy polenta as the truffles exude their trademark scent. Though it’s a dinner item, we think it would be the most perfect breakfast in the world. Make a reservation at Toscana.

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Alaska King Crab Gnocchi at Mastro’s, New York, New York
Decadence personified. Sweet king crab meat is mixed with sharp aged cheddar to add a slight bite, pillowy potato gnocchi, and earthy black truffles. Taken together in a single forkful, the components unite to form a flavor that manages to simultaneously recall the countryside and the deep blue. Make a reservation at Mastro’s.

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Boudin Blanc at Marcel’s by Robert Wiedmaier, Washington, D.C.
Created in the Champagne Ardenne region, boudin blanc is one of France’s finest inventions. Chef Robert Wiedmaier’s version is spot on, served with caramelized onions, bacon lardons, and a black truffle mushroom puree that is the perfect counterpoint to the light sausage plumped up with foie gras and pheasant. Make a reservation at Marcel’s by Robert Wiedmaier.

truffle dishes

Smoked Ricotta Gnudi at L’Amico, New York, New York
Gnudi are plump, pillowy gnocchi-styled dumplings that seem to melt in your mouth because they’re made with smoked ricotta instead of potatoes. Executive chef Laurent Tourondel lavishes the savory spheres with a sage brown butter and freshly shaved black truffles. Prepared to be wowed. Make a reservation at L’Amico.

truffle dishes

Orecchiette Tartufate at Sophia’s, Austin, Texas
Hats off to this primo pasta. Orecchiette are tossed with cremini mushrooms, asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. The dish features a truffle triple threat: black truffle cream, white truffle oil, and shaved white truffles. Make a reservation at Sophia’s.

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Top Steakhouse Cocktails: Meat Your Match

What better way to celebrate our recent list of the 100 Best Steakhouses in America than with a cocktail made to go with steak. Filets may be the prime attraction at these eateries, but drinks are the gravy of any steakhouse experience. Whether you’re looking for a quick tipple in 30 seconds or less, or you want savor a libation barrel-aged for three months, here are the top steakhouse cocktails that are a cut above.

Goldenrye at Jimmy’s An American Restaurant & Bar, Aspen, Colorado
Jimmy’s is all about sourcing local produce in the heart of Aspen, and Colorado’s rich valleys produce just the right potatoes and grains for vodkas and whiskies, too. Liquor from Woody Creek Distillers — just 20 miles from the restaurant — comes straight from the Centennial State’s bounty, including the favorite of bartender Chris Kelner: the 2- to 3-year aged rye. He puts a twist — literally — on the traditional Gold Rush, blending whiskey and lemon for the Goldenrye, adding ginger liqueur for spicy-sweet notes and a dry sherry finish. Make a reservation at Jimmy’s An American Restaurant & Bar.

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Meat and Potatoes Martini at Lawry’s the Prime Rib, Chicago, Illinois
A meal in and of itself and a perfect homage to Chicago’s meatpacking heritage, Lawry’s Meat and Potatoes Martini even makes the spirit meta with potato vodka. Their signature cocktail includes two colossal olives stuffed with prime rib and horseradish—the perfect meaty pairing for the other menu staple of the “spinning salad,” served tableside with all entrees. It’s fun to kick a few back and laugh as bowls are set in buckets of ice and twirled like Oksana Baiul. Make a reservation at Lawry’s the Prime Rib.

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The Swanson at Steak & Whisky, Hermosa Beach, California
It’s not too hard to decipher just what’s served up at Steak & Whisky, but one of the biggest hits riffs on the beloved Parks and Rec character (and ultimate bacon lover) Ron Swanson. Steak & Whisky’s version of The Swanson incorporates its namesake libation and adds barrel-smoked maple syrup and bitters. Served up on the side is a meaty garnish from the steak and charcuterie board — a beverage truly fit for any plaid-loving, woodworking man’s man. Make a reservation at Steak & Whisky.

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Vida de Playa at BOA Steakhouse-Sunset, Los Angeles, California
Bar manager Josh Renfree doesn’t compromise quality for speed at BOA, where his diverse list of 15 steakhouse-friendly cocktails can all be assembled in 30 seconds or less. South American-born bartender Pancho Lam lends a hand — and some inspiration — with his Vida de Playa, a playful Peruvian twist on a piña colada incorporating pisco and mango coconut puree. The sour is homemade, as are the natural coconut, mango, and citrus purees, pairing up with menu hits like goat cheese baklava, Thai chili wings, charred tuna tartare, and chilled jumbo saffron prawns. Make a reservation at BOA Steakhouse-Sunset.

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9 Signature Dishes: Edible Icons You Must Not Miss

On rare occasions, a dish transcends the tides of time, the trifles of trends, and sometimes even its inventor to become icons in their own right. Each of these nine signature dishes is a must-order if you’re lucky enough to dine at the restaurant where it was created.

Apple Pie, Blue Duck Tavern, Washington, D.C.
The recipe for this all-American dessert has remained unchanged since chef Brian McBride debuted it in 2006 even though he ultimately left the restaurant. Granny Smith apples sweetened with plenty of brown sugar and cinnamon spiced are enclosed in a butter-rich crust. The big-enough-for-two puck-shaped pie is baked in the wood-burning oven, giving its exterior a golden glow. The flavors evoke autumn, but the spot-on finale is good at any time of year. Make a reservation at Blue Duck Tavern.

Signature Dishes

Chicken for Two, The NoMad, New York, New York
James Beard Award-winning chef Daniel Humm always found roasting chickens a conundrum because white meat and dark meat cook at different rates. To get the dark meat of the legs to the right level of doneness, you have to overcook the white breast meat. So he came up with a clever solution. After guests are presented with the whole roast bird – a bouquet of herbs nestled next to its legs and a beyond decadent foie gras and black truffle brioche stuffing piped under its crackly golden skin – it’s taken back into the kitchen. There the legs are sautéed separately with mushrooms and shallots for just a couple minutes more to ensure they’re done correctly. All the attention to detail adds up to a perfectly cooked dish. Make a reservation at The NoMad.

Signature Dishes

Lamb Carpaccio, The Inn at Little Washington, Washington, Virginia
There are a number of dishes on chef Patrick O’Connell’s menu that could be considered classics at this award-winning gourmand’s redoubt in the Virginia countryside – from the Tin of Sin starter to his clever re-imagination of a butter pecan ice cream sandwich. However, his carpaccio of herb-crusted baby lamb loin served with half scoops of Caesar salad ice cream and brioche croutons may be his most quintessential. Sweet, savory, earthy, and elegant, it’s absolutely unforgettable. Make a reservation at The Inn at Little Washington.

Signature Dishes

Unicorn, Pao by Paul Qui, Miami Beach, Florida
Paul Qui’s cuisine takes its cues from the Philippines, Japan, Spain and beyond at his luxe Miami gastro destination, which debuted earlier this year. However, the Top Chef winner’s standout dish, which has already garnered enough raves to make it an icon, takes an equal amount of inspiration from the $6 million gold-leafed unicorn sculpture by Damien Hirst on display in the dining room. The cleverly conceived Unicorn features tongues of uni on grilled sweet corn pudding (get the name now?) along with touches of sake aioli and arbol chile. Its showstopping presentation in an upside down spiny sea urchin makes it infinitely Instagrammable – if you can stop yourself from immediately taking a bite. Make a reservation at Pao by Paul Qui.

Signature Dishes

Roasted Pig Face, Girl & the Goat, Chicago, Illinois
This well-loved dish from the Stefanie Izard – winner of a James Beard Award and Top Chef – is exactly what it says it is, and yet its flavors are much more complex than the name implies. A pig head is cut up, its meat seasoned with cilantro, lime zest, coriander, salt, and pepper. Rolled up into a log, it’s braised until nearly gelatinous. Two rounds baked to order in the wood fired oven are used to sandwich a thicket of crispy potato sticks. A sunny-side up egg goes on top and there are crisscrossing drizzles of sweet maple gastrique, perky cilantro oil, and tangy tamarind vinaigrette to deepen the flavors. Make a reservation at Girl & the Goat.

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Six Top LA Wine Bars: Where to Wine Like a Pro in Los Angeles

Top LA Wine BarsPeople say that one of the best things about living in LA is that at any given moment, you’re about an hour away from every natural playground you could ever want — the seasonally snowy mountains, the forest, the desert, the beach, and Santa Barbara’s thriving wine country. Yes, we are counting any and all wine growing regions as natural playgrounds. With some of the country’s best wines within reach, including Napa and Sonoma, and easy access to a dizzying portfolio of international wines, it’s no wonder that Los Angeles restaurants are boasting some of the best wine programs in the country.

We’ve rounded up six of the city’s top wine bars in restaurants with programs as progressive and exciting as they are approachable. So whether you’re a newbie who’s never ventured far from Franzia or a hardcore oenophile who’s watched Somm 100 times, there is something here for every palate – and that includes the food.

Smoke.Oil.Salt / Poco Wine Bar
This Iberian gem, housed underneath a tattoo and piercing parlor on LA’s iconic Melrose strip, features one of the city’s most thoughtfully curated Spanish wine lists, thanks to co-owner and wine director Stephen Gelber. With a 130-plus bottles and 30 wines by the glass list showcasing exclusive Spanish gems like Txakoli and Godello, an extensive selection of sherry flights, and wine cocktails, you don’t need a passport to tour Spain’s rich wine regions. Even more boast-worthy is Smoke.Oil.Salt’s use of the Coravin, a tool that extracts wine through the cork without ever having to open the bottle — thereby leaving the wine preserved. This gives Gelber the opportunity to let guests taste rare and prized bottles of wine that most would never be able to experience otherwise.

For a more casual experience, stop by the walk-in only POCO, the newly opened wine bar concept housed next door. POCO gives Gelber a little bit more room to taste and test wines — all at incredible prices. The weekly rotating glass list features a red, a white, and a sparkling from $5-$7, and everything on the small tapas menu is under $10. Everyone wins! Keep an eye out for soon-to-come monthly “wine socials” like women-only wine nights, sommelier-led tasting classes, and themed industry nights. Make a reservation at Smoke.Oil.Salt.

Top LA Wine Bars

Wilde
At Wilde Wine Bar and Restaurant, where the wine selection focuses on small production and sustainable wines from all over the world, it’s all about discovery and adventure. “We want to break down the intimidation behind ordering wine. It should be a fun journey,” says owner and wine director Lorna Donohoe. “We’re excited to introduce customers to unusual wines like ancient grapes being revived in Greece or wines grown so high on The Alps only donkeys can be used to access them.” With themed nights like Vino and Vinyl, where guests can bring in their own records to play, Thirsty Thursdays, where guests create their own wine-inspired cocktails at a DIY cocktail bar, and Fried Chicken and Bubbles every Sunday, there is absolutely no shortage of fun, discovery, and adventure. Be sure to check their website for an updated events list as super cool happenings and weekly series are constantly being added. Make a reservation at Wilde.

Top LA Wine Bars

Napa Valley Grille
With a name like Napa Valley Grille, you can look forward to a list featuring the best of California’s famed wine country and a passionately educated staff to expertly guide you through it. In addition to tastings and weekly educational emails to his staff, wine and beverage manager Chris Shannon also created a separate (ahem, leatherbound) wine list for servers with tasting notes highlighting the nose and palate of every wine on the list. The restaurant group also proudly features its own collection of exclusive and reserve wines under the Tavistock Reserve Collection in addition to a curated selection of international wines. “One of my favorite things to do,” says Shannon, “is taste someone on a pinot noir from Burgundy versus a pinot noir from California or taste a guest through the delicate difference between a Napa chardonnay and a Sonoma chardonnay. I feel so lucky to be able to ask people what they want instead of telling them what they want. I think it’s important to be a place that’s educational and accepting of everyone’s tastes.” Consider yourself in good hands. Make a reservation at Napa Valley Grille.

Top LA Wine Bars

Bestia
At downtown acclaimed Italian favorite, wine director Ryan Ibsen admittedly calls the wine list “a complete and chaotic immersion,” but trust us, that’s a good thing. “At any given moment, I can find just as many unexpected great French pairings as I can Italian pairings. Running a progressive wine program means finding the right tone and voice that appeals to everyone.” When Ibsen notices someone excited about the wine list but unsure about what they want, one of his favorite things to do, whether it’s a single diner at the bar or a party of six, is to provide pairings across the meal rather than the traditional bottle service. “It gives the people a chance to see what we’re all about and helps us to create a customized experience.” And despite the wine list’s exquisite range, Ibsen is quick to stress, “The educational tone is always to make the guest feel comfortable rather than holding the wine over their head.” At Bestia, go for the food and stay for the wine. You never know, you just may find yourself in the middle of an unexpected and unforgettable wine tasting! Make a reservation at Bestia.

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