John Tallichet

Black Truffle Pizza

S.Y. Kitchen, Santa Ynez, Calif.

I usually order a different entree every time I eat at S.Y., but when the Black Truffle Pizza is available as a special, it’s always part of my meal. The pizza is made with shaved truffles, truffle oil and burrata cheese on a thin, crisp crust—simple but delicious. We throw it in the middle of the table to share, treating it like a side dish.

Bacon Burger

Sides Hardware & Shoes, Los Olivos, Calif.

This restaurant, converted from an old hardware and shoe store, cures and smokes its own meats. We all eat a lot of burgers, but this one stood out. The flavor of the bacon blended so well with the burger. And Sides is the kind of place where you can wear jeans and relax.

Brisket BBQ

Bludso’s Bar & Que, Los Angeles

The Hollywood location of this restaurant is the one I frequent most. The chef is a real Texas barbecue guy and smokes the brisket on the premises with a technique that keeps it tender and moist. The spicy-sweet barbecue sauce nicely complements the meat.

The O.G. sandwich

Burro Cheese Kitchen, Austin, Texas

The O.G. stands for “original grilled cheese” at this food truck. It’s parked along Rainey Street in Austin, and the bar/late-night crowd gravitates here for grilled cheese sandwiches after enjoying the town. This one is made with Havarti cheese on slightly sweet King’s Hawaiian bread. The combination was very buttery and flavorful. My son and I ate here two nights in a row!