The Truffle's Rob Lawler on Spam musubi, brains, glutards and his favorite cheese
Favorite local ingredient and where you get it: There's a ton of good food in Colorado right now, which is really inspiring. Justin Brunson is making some terrific bacon that we sell at the Truffle. It's Niman Ranch pork bellies, cured very well and smoked pretty heavily; I like it a lot. There's also cheese that's as good as any in the world being made right here, too, and I'm also looking forward to selling our friend Milan's pickles. He's Indian, owns the Queen Anne B&B, and has USDA approval to do open-vat unpasteurized vegetable fermentation. He's got good stuff like traditional sauerkraut working, and his produce is from Sprout City Farms.
Favorite spice: Pimente d'espelette. It reminds me of France, and it tastes great.
One food you detest: Natto. It's fermented, slimy, rotten soybeans, and just thinking about it makes me sorry for the poor, half-starved Japanese bastard who first ate them and then decided they were going to be dinner.
One food you can't live without: Japanese rice. Karin and I eat it three to four times a week. It's our go-to easy dinner, along with salmon collar, hamburger and egg, furikake, unagi, avocado or a fried egg.
Favorite music to cook by: Elephant, by the White Stripes.
Rules of conduct in your store: Making sure that when someone comes into our shop, it's the best part of their day.
What's never in your shop? Processed cheese food -- like Velveeta and Cheez Whiz. It's neither cheese nor food.
What's always in your shop? Raw cow's milk. Karin, the boys and I drink four gallons of milk a week. We get it from our friend Michael Amen, who raises goats, chickens, ducks and cows on the Ugly Goat Dairy in Elizabeth. He's got the cleanest henhouse I've ever seen, and he treats his animals as well as most Cherry Creekers treat their little entitled dogs. We're trying to talk him into getting a pig for us. The love he has for his animals really comes through in the end.
What do you cook at home that you never make at the Truffle? I cook pretty simply at home -- lots of pasta and Japanese foods. Most people are surprised at how little cheese we actually eat -- well, probably more than your average person, but I think we eat less cheese than people would think.