Mushroom Magic

While there are over 10,000 varieties of mushrooms, you may be familiar with only a few types of this superfood. Get to know some of the others.

From black trumpet to truffles, the nutritional value of mushrooms is solid—from vitamin D to fiber—and they are often substituted for meat in plant-based entrees. Here are some of the best ways to enjoy them in L.A. this winter.


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Start your day with a mushroom staple from Tex-Mex favorite HomeState in Pasadena. Its blanco breakfast taco is a morning vegetarian option, and features Chino Valley organic egg whites, shiitake mushrooms, and Monterey Jack.

Located on Jerry Moss Plaza at The Music Center, Abernethy’s is a modern Filipino restaurant where Executive Chef Geter Atienza was hand-selected as part of a culinary incubator by his mentor, chef Ray Garcia. The restaurant features a vegan version of the traditional pancit bihon, with rice noodles and forest mushrooms roasted with thyme and garlic, sugar snap peas, carrots, sweet peppers, and grilled lemon.

“Mushrooms are such a staple in a vegan diet today because they can take on flavors from different cuisines,” Atienza says, “plus they are so versatile when it comes to how you can prepare them from braising, frying, and roasting, and the nutritional value from brain health to lowering cholesterol.”

At Garcia’s Asterid you will find maitake mushrooms prepared with turmeric aioli, lemon, and parsley. “Maitakes were chosen for their nutty flavor as well as their cluster formation, which provides texture when fried and depth to the presentation,” Garcia says.

Otoño in Highland Park serves a paella with sunchoke, black vinaigrette, and two types of mushrooms: oyster and shiitake. Another must-try rice-based favorite, farro risotto, is made with wild mushrooms, roasted corn, truffles, parm tuile, and herbs at Los Feliz’s Messhall. Chef Joana Cruz of Sparrow Italia at Hotel Figueroa makes a rich and earthy tartufo pizza with wild mushrooms, smoked mozzarella, and seasonal truffle for a great sharable starter or entrée.

Mushroom flatbread or miso wild mushrooms from Marcel Vigneron’s Lemon Grove at The Aster pairs well with a whole branzino, while the mushroom served “escargot style” at Brandon Kida’s Gunsmoke in the Vinyl District can be a whole meal with a crusty baguette and glass of wine.


Head Hunting

Farmer Joni Albers, owner of Hungry Gardens Urban Farm in Sun Valley, grows half-a-dozen varieties of exotic mushrooms that are snapped up by restaurants such as Spago and Republique. You can find lion’s mane, black pearl, blue oyster, and cinnamon caps at her stand at the Montrose Harvest Market on Sundays and Burbank Farmers Market on Saturdays.

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