5 Pounds of Fresh Black Truffles... at the Beach?

07/18/2012 02:58 pm ET | Updated Sep 17, 2012

truffles at thebeach

I am a huge fan of St. Vincent's Meals on Wheels, which was founded 35 years ago by Sister Alice Marie Quinn. An organization which serves its community without regard to race, religion, age or ability to pay. It accepts NO local, state or federal money, and its $8.5 million budget is contributed entirely by foundations, individuals and fund-raising events... like the one I am going to tell you about today.

What they do is remarkable, which is to distribute over 4,700 meals daily to homebound seniors and other vulnerable citizens of Los Angeles. Yes, you heard me correctly, they bring those 4,700 meals each and every day to their apartment doors... and often open up the containers and help them eat them. I have been a supporter for many years, first when it was a joint project of Wolfgang Puck & Barbara Lazaroff at their annual food and wine festival at the Universal Studios backlot. After 27 years, that project was ended but various new efforts have taken its place, and on Thursday evening, July 26, there is a unique event which is both fun and fashionable... and you can attend it shoeless! 'Cause it's at the beach, at the posh Jonathan Club Santa Monica (850 Palisades Beach Rd., right off Pacific Coast Highway.)

Marc Gold of Evaa's

Marc Gold of Eva's Restaurant is there every year to help out.

There, starting at 6 p.m., a raft of top chefs and wineries will gather on the oceanfront sands to serve up sizzling snacks from the grill and pours of boutique wines to people who spend $155 for a ticket to this culinary feast. And yes, thanks to the auto maker Audi, which sponsors the event, ALL proceeds go directly to the St. Vincent's folks. How do the Urbani black truffles fit in? Well, according to Joan Wrede, who has organized this event for several years, the people who import these precious truffles from Italy have donated five whole pounds of the rare ingredient to bemused various chefs at the party. I don't know about you, but I am a dedicated lover of shaved black and white truffles on my pasta, eggs, other dishes. Along with caviar and the now-banned foie gras, they form the triumvirate of unctuous luxury items to us gourmets (and gourmands. (Did you see that 60 Minutes segment this year which described the company as the most prestigious in the truffle business. They control over 70 percent of the world's truffle trade, according to Olga Urbani, who was featured on TV wearing a full-length mink coat while hunting truffles.)

shaving trufffles

Shaving aromatic black truffles onto one of the dishes to be served.

Joan Wrede helped produce event

Joan Wrede is the woman who helps organize this exciting event.

I went to last year's Evening at the Beach and it was a hoot... think bright music, crackling fires, specialty cocktails. I am pleasantly astonished at the number of top chefs who have volunteered their efforts for this evening. So many it make my head spin... from Sally Camacho of WP 24, Jeff of Farmshop Brentwood, Michael Fiorelli of the highly-regarded new Mar'sel at Terreana Resort, the inevitable, estimable Mark Gold of Eva Restaurant, Joe Miller, the 24-year-old whiz John-Carlos Kuramoto of Michel's, my bud Kris Morningstar of Ray's & Stark Bar, of course Mark Peel of Campanile, Kerry Simon from LA Market, the great Mako Tanaka of Robata-Ya... while the guest vintners are legion. (I really love the new Justin Wines you can sip there.) Tickets for the event are not sold at the door, so go to and order them now. See you there.

Justin Wines had a magnum open

Justin Wines opened a magnum of their Justin Isoceles for the evening.

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