November 12, 2020

White truffle with VIP

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My Favorite Birdbrain Cousin wanted to get her white truffle fix, so Hello Kitty promptly pinged Little Rabbit to figure out when 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana might have a table during the very busy white truffle season.  Since I don't really have much of a relationship with the chefs or the group, it was much easier to let a VIP handle this.

We left things up to the chefs, although Hello Kitty did, surprisingly, request a specific dish that wasn't on the menu at the moment.  I was just glad that I didn't have to make any decisions today.

Chanterelles with mushroom foam and white truffle - always nice to start with this amuse bouche and get ourselves in the mood for what's coming.

Marinated shima - aji and puntarelle salad with white truffle - well... the friendly chef Bombana came over and shaved so much white truffle on top that I could no longer see what we were meant to be eating.  But no one would ever complain about that!  About the only thing that peeked out were pieces of radicchio.

Once we removed the layers of white truffle, there was a pile of marinated striped jack buried underneath the strands of puntarelle and a few discs of radish.

Roasted blue lobster and mushroom - we were delighted to see ovoli on the plate, and for once the fungus covering up the other stuff wasn't white truffle...

Besides the blue lobster, we've also got more ovoli - but sautéed.  Shroom shroom heaven.

Raviolo Bergese - I was a little surprised that Hello Kitty asked for this, but it IS a classic.  Naturally this was buried under a serious pile of white truffle, too!

A beautiful egg buried inside the pocket of a raviolo and covered with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Beautiful in its simplicity and purity of flavors.

"Antimo pasta" - OK, so this was actually fettucine with porcini and colatura.  Chef Antimo Merone had proposed this to Little Rabbit before dinner started, so we simply referred it as such when discussing the menu with Chef Bombana.  This was, again, another example of why it's such a joy to be here.  Such a simple dish but just so well executed.  The pasta was pretty salty thanks to the colatura, but biting into the porcini immediately afterwards meant that the mushroom tasted very, very sweet.  The porcini came with a little rosemary, but I guess it wasn't too bad. 

Challand duck with root vegetables, spice duck jus - this would be the first time I'm tasting "Challand" duck in my life, but I gotta say it was really, really nice - like another French duck I really love.  I'm grateful for the chef accommodating my preference to not have beetroot.

Always good to have salad with a dish where the flavors are so heavy.

Now it's time for dessert, and Little Rabbit had very kindly pre-arranged for something special.  I was lamenting on my last visit that I couldn't have a special dessert when I'm not here with my VIP friend, so my friend made sure that we could have the "full experience" tonight.   This bowl of gelato came with three different flavors - fior di latte, hazelnut, and white truffle.

White truffle sgroppino - this was made table side by mixing the three different gelati together, along with some rum, caramelized hazelnuts, and white truffle.

I was in heaven, and I think My Favorite Cousin was, too.  The flavors from the rum were really pronounced tonight, thanks for a certain someone asking for more to be poured into the bowl while mixing.  Of course, that ridiculous amount of white truffle just made my evening.

Wild strawberries, persimmon, yogurt cream - always happy to have fraise de bois, and this was a good combination of fruity and creamy flavors.  The little basil leaves were really strong!     

Pear tart with vanilla ice cream 

Panettone with cream - I remember this from last year, and I was pretty happy to be able to taste it again.

Even though this isn't an apfelstrudel, I chose to heed Colonel Landa's advice to attendez la crème... especially when there's gold foil on top!

Petits fours
Since it was a school night, we decided to be a little reserved when it came to wine.

2015 Dettori Bianco - nose of fragrant spices, almost anise-like, and reminds me of chartreuse.  Pretty short finish.  Not enjoyable.  I wanted to choose something that I hadn't tried from the wine list, and it ended up being a skin-contact bongwater...

2007 La Spinetta Barbaresco Vürsù Vigneto Gallina - decanted for 1 hour prior to serving.  Nose had opened up and was so fragrant, ripe and jammy, with lovely potpourri, almost sweet like bubblegum, and minty.  Still got tannins here, but drinking well now.

2006 La Spinetta Barolo Vürsù Vigneto Campè - decanted for 2 hours prior to serving.  A little more mellow but still fragrant and minty.  Damn, the tannins were so in-your-face!
A really, really happy evening. Many thanks to my VIP friend for the arrangements, to the chefs for indulging us, and to My Favorite Cousin for sharing the wines she brought back from Piedmont.

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