Global Warming Endangers Black Truffles; Gourmands Despair at God’sWe had a good bit of sport over the astronomical prices paid this past summer for white truffles in New York restaurants. But what if their black cousins, long the déclassé branch of the family, became even more expensive? Or disappeared entirely? That wouldn’t be so funny. And it wouldn’t be good for the price of white truffles, which, like Beluga caviar and shark-fin soup, could become a purely plutocratic pleasure sooner than we expected. (Not that truffles are evil in the way of Beluga caviar and shark-fin soup; we’re just thinking of endangered luxury foods, you understand.) An article in USA Today suggests that the global warming is currently bringing the hammer down on black-truffle production and that (gasp) “France’s black truffle will one day be just a memory.” It’s a similar story around the world, as fish stocks are depleted, ecosystems are knocked out of whack, and global demand for things like toro and truffles move beyond a small cluster of ascot-wearing bons vivants.
Bobby Flay Enters the Burger Game; Serendipity 3 ReopensBobby Flay is entering the upscale-burger game with a chain of restaurants called Bobby’s Burger Palace. [GlobeSt.com via A Hamburger Today]
Gossip Girl fanatics will be happy to know that Gilt has added Serena’s much-beloved grilled cheese with truffle oil to the bar menu. Only $50! [Zagat]
Related: Is ‘Gossip Girl’ the Most Restauranty Show Since ‘Sex and the City’?
The Times says the entrée is on its way out at restaurants all over the country, thanks to a loss of interest in “big, protein-laden main dishes.” [NYT]
Back of the House
Biggest Truffle Yet Commands Record Price, Blah Blah Blah“This looks like the brain of a man … but it’s nice, very nice,” says Alfonso Iaccarrino, chef at the Lisboa Hotel in Micau, the new owner of the world’s biggest and most expensive white truffle, a 3.3-pound monster for which the hotel paid $330,000. That’s way out of proportion to the already insane low-double-digit figures being paid for previous giant truffles, but since there can apparently never be too much truffle coverage, it’s our grim duty to direct you to it. Grub Street is your source for truffle news on the march, even when they look like brains.
Giant Truffle Sold at Auction [Reuters]
Related: What Chef Rides the Truffle Train for Free?
Breaking: Another Freakish White Truffle Comes to Town
Have White Truffles Finally Gone Too Far?
What Chef Rides the Truffle Train for Free?Last we heard, white truffles were going for about $3,400 a pound. If we know, the chefs certainly do, which makes the following story so awful: It seems that a certain well-known chef came into one of the city’s top Italian restaurants recently and having announced himself, proceeded to order a tasting menu — with lots of truffles. Course after course came out, including several with the prized shavings on them, each one described in person by the restaurant’s equally famous chef. But when it came time to present the bill, the visitor wouldn’t pay it, claiming to be just a hardworking fellow cook. After much fury in the kitchen, and to avoid a further scene, the chef’s truffles were comped. He received a nominal bill of a $130 for the feast and tipped $20.
That’s all we can say, we’re afraid, but if you have any guesses as to who the parties involved might be, feel free to make them in the comments. If you get it right, we will nod knowingly here at our desk.
Earlier: Have White Truffles Finally Gone Too Far?
Chefs Bored With Food, Move to Clothes; Pricey Plates and Polygamy Just GoWondering who actually orders $1,000 bagel or a $28,000 bejeweled sundae? Serendipity 3 owner Stephen Bruce “wouldn’t be surprised if soon we get a call from a Middle Eastern prince or Shah willing to give something sweet to his many wives on his next trip to the city.” [News.Com.Au]
Related: Have White Truffles Finally Gone Too Far?
Breaking: Serendipity 3 Closed by DOH
Since chefs, mixologists, and their restaurants are the newest breed of celebrity, it’s about time they started designing clothes. Get dressed at Freemans, Death & Co., and PDT. [Mouthing Off/Food&Wine]
Restaurateur Jimmy Bradley on the source of his managing prowess: “The Art of War by Sun Tzu taught me many leadership and organizational lessons.” [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
In the Magazine
The Truffle Madness Continues for Another Week
It’s truffle time at New York — a three-part celebration of the original Magic Mushroom (and you know how we feel about that). Moving beyond the fabulous fungi, Adam Platt made his way down to Allen & Delancey and was so impressed with the place that he almost gave it three stars — before remembering that he was Adam Platt.
Have White Truffles Finally Gone Too Far?We have some bad news. The bagel, that beloved, affordable symbol of New York cuisine, has gentrified. Chef Frank Tujague of the Westin hotel in Times Square (where else?) has unveiled the $1,000 white-truffle bagel, “topped with white truffle cream cheese and goji berry infused Riesling jelly with golden leaves.” Now we love all truffles, far too much to ever be so rash as to declare them to be so over, and there may not be a thing on earth that’s not improved by them (we’ve even considered using truffle oil as conditioner — it probably works wonders for split ends). But now that truffles are toying with the doughy purity of simple bagels, we have to wonder: Is this white-truffle thing not getting just a bit too precious?
Citywide Truffle Shortage; A New Eastside Fro-Yo FoeA citywide truffle shortage can explain why “the Waverly Inn jacked up the price of its infamous truffle-topped mac & cheese from $55 to $85. The dish was an amusing punch line at $55; at $85, it’s just obscene.” [NYP]
Related: Le Cirque Bids High for Monster Truffle
Bruni eschews all the courtesies one suffers at the dinner table, which he refers to as restaurantspeak: “Would I ‘enjoy coffee with dessert?’ I don’t know; it depends how good the coffee is. I’ll have some, yes, then we’ll see.” [NYT]
FR.OG has now lost Jean Georges alum chef Didier Virot to the Plaza’s new restaurant-to-be, the Palm Court, set to open later this year. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]