Rounds of sliced-thin, pink, white-speckled mortadella are popping up on sandwiches, on charcuterie plates and even in the occasional cocktail in Los Angeles, but it’s hard to view any food item depicted in ancient Roman carvings as a flash in the pan. The Italian deli meat that traces its roots to Bologna and as far back as the Etruscans isn’t new, but of late it’s been gaining the kind of star power that salami and prosciutto have hogged for too long.
At Grandmaster Recorders the aromatic deli meat is draped gently around piping hot, freshly fried cacio e pepe-flavored zeppole (doughnuts) all buried under freshly grated pecorino. At Pizzeria Bianco, it takes sandwich form on a round of focaccia with goat cheese and arugula, while La Sorted’s showcases the thin slices on even fluffier focaccia with burrata and a slick of slightly sweet pistachio cream. It’s served as an option on the cured-meat plate at Capri Club, a new addition to the best bars in L.A., and cocktail bar Thunderbolt even recently experimented with crafting a cocktail employing the deli meat, creating an old-fashioned that featured mortadella-washed bourbon.
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