Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Feelings about Truffles.

The fungus-y kind, not the generally-poorly-executed chocolate kind.

For dinner, I had leftovers from lunch. Lunch being pasta with truffle oil, portabella mushrooms, parm, breadcrumbs, and a slightly skimpy layer of "Wisconsin cheese sauce".

It looked much prettier at lunch. I was stuck in office park suburbia, and Noodles & Company was one of the better options. Yay Colorado entrepreneurs!

Colorado entrepreneurs are classy. They do things like make truffled mac n' cheese. I have a sense of humor, and like truffles, so I proceeded to bewilder the counter staff by actually ordering it. He was at first confused, and tried to sign me up for their bacon mac, but I persisted.

The embarrassing punch line is that it was actually pretty delicious.

I've never understood the weird fussiness that surrounds truffledom. Truffles absolutely stink. Supply, demand, blah blah blah, that's why they're pricey. But, in a culinary culture that reveres subtlety and minimalism as a sign of craft and refinement and maturity, that truffles are the quintessential food snob food is really odd. Truffles basically taste like umami and metal, with an acrid, mouth-filling burnt cheese note that's weirdly, impossibly nostalgic.

So, I think it's really awesome that Noodles has democratized truffle flavors. Truffles are so pungent, we should really think of it like garlic, not some fancy, inaccessible crap. Noodles' dish is at least as good as the (admittedly kind of sketchy) white truffle pasta I ate in Florence, for $20 less. I'll be eating it again sometime. Hopefully with a straight face.

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