Remembering LudoBites With Mind of a Chef and Ludo Lefebvre

Shooting with Ludo, Krissy & Mind of a Chef Crew

When you get approached to reminisce about a certain time and place, nay, a certain chef and his concept – on-camera – you know you’ve been hit with something very special. In the present age of reality TV, of course, you might have suspicions it could be exploitive, but then you know the show. And multi-Emmy-award-winning Mind of a Chef just so happens to be one of your favorite shows on cooking and the culture of food.

Furthermore, when you hear that the particular episode you’re asked to be a part is about LudoBites, and you’ll get to experience Ludo recreating a few dishes right in his own brand new kitchen. you know that it’s going to be good. There’s just so much to unpack, there.

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Twenty-One Reasons to dineL.A.: January 19 – February 1, 2015

Lobster Roll – Blue Plate Oysterette

DineL.A. is back and it’s time to scour the menus of participating restaurants all over town. I’ve come up with some reasons to jet to a particular dining establishment near you, whether for lunch or for dinner. Some restaurants offer exclusive dishes to dineL.A., others are offering a particularly enticing lunch and/or dinner menu. There are also participants that might normally be out of your price range or sense of adventure, but dineLA might just be the right occasion to give them a try.

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Drunken Udder Ice Cream: Artisanal, Booze-Infused Dessert for Adults

Salted Butter Caramel infused with Bourbon

It probably goes without saying that, when ordering ice cream, you’ve never had to worry about showing your ID.

That’s about to change, thanks to The Drunken Udder, an artisanal, mom-and-pop shop ice cream company which sells its deliciously boozy product via wholesale and other storefronts. (It doesn’t quite have the liquor license to sell retail on its own.)

Yesterday, I sampled a few flavors including Salted Butter Caramel infused with Bourbon (boozy, salty-sweet deliciousness), Pumpkin Spiced Praline infused with Maple Liqueur (boozy, crunchy fall on a cone), Raspberry-Orange Sorbet infused with Orange Vodka (fresh, tangy booziness) and Bailey’s Jameson Caramel (especially boozy sweet caramel flavor).
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Just One Essential LudoBites 6.0 Dish

Marinated Mackerel, Leche Del Tigre, Baby Leeks, Verdolagas Leaves ($15)

It must be stressed that when one scores a reservation to LudoBites, practically every dish is essential. But that’s not to take away from my having been especially inspired by Ludo’s mackerel. The sugar glaze on the skin of the salty fish is ingenius, actually. Add to that the lush but sturdy leaves of verdolagas – with its slightly acidic taste matching a note of the true flavors of the mackerel – and you have a masterpiece. The baby leeks add a subtle kick to things and “tiger’s milk” – plus whatever unbeknownst oils that lay at the base of the plate – will have you sopping whatever pools that lay with the provided green petals.

And that is just one LudoBites memory I choose to share with you all. I hope you got a reservation. Apologies if not. Check OpenTable regularly and be sure to follow Krissy (@frenchchefwife) for cancellations. Per the website: “ Typically cancellations come in during the morning after reminders have been sent out, so best time to check for availability on a given day is that morning.” Good luck.

(And for those who have selfishly secured more than 1 reservation for themselves, all I have to ask is, “Really?” Give someone else a shot, maybe?)

Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit

2nd half of 6.0: November 30 – December 5, 2010

6 – 9:30 PM

LudoBites 6.0
13355 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

Pitfire Pizza Introduces New Spring Menu

Since Pitfire is one of my favorite Southern California pizza joints – serving beer and wine to boot – I was excited to hear Executive Chef Michael Ainslie is launching a new spring menu. Each of the new items highlight ingredients that are in season as our temperatures get warmer:

  • Grilled Pineapple & Appalachian Country Ham Pizza ($10.25) – Grilled Pineapple, Charred Poblano Chile, Benton’s Country Ham, Red Onion, Mozzarella
  • Roasted Artichoke Pizza ($9.95) – Roasted Artichoke Slices, Blistered Cherry Tomatoes, Wilted Spinach, Black Olives
  • Sausage and Spring Greens Pizza ($9.95) – Fennel Sausage, Arugula, Charred Scallion, Roasted Fennel, Fresh Mozzarella, Fresh Garlic
  • Spring Salad ($9.00) – Grilled Asparagus, Roasted Pee-Wee Potatoes, Radish, Goat Cheese, Pine Nuts, Lemon Champagne Vinaigrette
  • Broccoli Rapini Pasta ($8.95) – Gemelli Pasta, Pepperonata, Rapini “Pesto,” Parmesan
  • Farmer’s Market Plate ($9.95) – Chili-Roasted Fennel, Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Rosemary & Garlic, Grilled Treviso Raddichio with Balsamic, Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan
  • BBQ Chicken Panini ($8.95) – Avocado, Gouda, Coleslaw, Homemade BBQ Sauce

I’m especially excited to try the Sausage and Spring Greens Pizza – I love fennel and in my past experience at Pitfire, the produce has been nothing but fresh. The crust has lots to be vouched for; rarely do I find a crust this interesting, especially on this coast!! It’s nice and buttery when you get to the edge of the pie.

Check below for the nearest Pitfire to you…

Pitfire North Hollywood
5211 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
818.980.2949
Mon – Wed: 11 AM – 9 PM
Thur – Sat: 11 AM – 10 PM
Sun: 12 PM – 9 PM

Pitfire Downtown LA
108 W. 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213.808.1200
Mon – Sat: 11 AM – 10 PM
Sun: 12 PM – 10 PM

Pitfire Westwood
2018 Westwood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
310.481.9860
Mon 11 AM – 9 PM
Tue – Fri 11 AM – 10 PM
Sun 12 PM – 9 PM

Pitfire Mar Vista
12924 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90066
424.835.4088
Mon – Sat 11 AM – 10 PM
Sun 12 PM – 9 PM

Beer vs. Wine: A Contest For the Ages

Photo credit to xd360 Flickr

Oh yes, they did. Let’s put away all niceties and put on the gloves, shall we? Beer geeks and vinos (or shall we say brewmasters and master sommelier?) will be going head to head this coming weekend at College of the Canyons to determine just which – beer or wine – goes better with food. Guiding you will be Gev Kazanchyan – who is a Professor of Culinary Sanitation, Environmental Health, Food Safety at College of the Canyons, Cal State University Northridge and El Camino College.

Expect three rounds of pairings – cheese, entree and dessert paired to wine and beer, each – during which you are the judge. Experts will give you the run-down on each dish and paired wine and beer before you taste. To keep things on an even playing field, price points for beer are limited to $35 per bottle and $45 per bottle of wine. Carefully complete your scorecard because it ultimately determines the winner. Heading the wine pairings will be Elizabeth Schweitzer, the only master sommelier in Los Angeles and 1 of 8 female master sommeliers on Earth – as well as fellow tastemasters of her choosing.

And check out the heavyweights in beer’s corner: Manneken-Brussel Imports & Lost Coast Brewery rep Jay Baum, Beachwood BBQ chef-owner Gabe Gordon, Blue Palms Brewhouse proprietor Brian Lenzo, Stone Brewing Co. sales rep Nate Sellergren, Verdugo Bar/The Surly Goat co-owner Ryan Sweeney and former Fifth Amendment Alehouse beer consultant Dave Watrous, who is now head bartender at Tony’s Darts Away. After the contest is done, pick their brains and even enjoy a few more tastings…you’ll undoubtedly come away that much more knowledgeable about beer and wine – and their contrasts to each other.

Ticket sales close at the end of tomorrow and only a few spots are left, so don’t sleep on this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Further reading:

Epic College of the Canyons Beer Vs. Wine Battle – Food GPS

I-CuE Asks Community: Beer or Wine? – The Signal

Sunday, March 28, 2010

2 – 5 PM

Tickets – $55 each, $100 for pair
Under ‘donation information’ choose OTHER & type ‘Beer vs. Wine.’

College of the Canyons Institute for Culinary Education
23400 Town Center Drive
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
Info: 661.362.3434

Dine LA Restaurant Week Launches Sunday

Last week, the food and restauranteur community of Los Angeles gathered at The Hollywood Roosevelt to celebrate the launch of the winter installment of Dine LA – a two-week-long collaborative effort to offer diners three-course lunches and dinners at six specific price points.

$      Deluxe Dining   $16  $26
$$    Deluxe Dining   $22  $34
$$$   Fine Dining       $28  $44

Burger Slider

The red carpet was out and almost 100 chefs – many donning their white jackets straight from the kitchen – were the stars of the night. Oh – plus Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Writers, journalists, bloggers – what have you – were or weren’t donning our white “PRESS” badges. The purpose was clear: To celebrate food’s imminent role in Los Angeles culture – and the accessibility every man has to fine dining. And why don’t we enjoy some fixins from Dakota Chop House and 25 Degrees with cocktails from Matt Biancaniello of Library Bar to wash them down while we’re at it? Pork belly, tacos, quesadillas, salads, burger sliders and even a shiitake mushroom-infused Manhattan were passed around – but the hits of the night were undeniably the spicy burger sliders and Biancaniello’s arugula gimlet.

Arugula Gimlet

If you haven’t already, make your reservations soon; Dine LA runs Jan 24 – 29 and Jan 31 – Feb 5. The bevy of restaurants this round tops 243. Schedule a lunch in there to save a few dollars – it’s a great occasion to take an extended break from work. Eva (lunch or dinner), Palate (dinner), Cube (lunch or dinner) and Petrossian (lunch or dinner) rise to the top of my personal list.

And don’t forget to enter the daily contests Dine LA is holding: Starting 10 AM and running all day, answer a trivia question to be entered to win $100 gift certificates to participating restaurants (today’s is Petrossian, lo and behold). Also follow @dine_la on Twitter for updates.

Bonus: If you’re an American Express card holder, all you have to do is “do” Dine LA three times and you get a $20 credit on your statement. Just spend more than $21 per time.

And if you’re interested in the names behind the scene in Los Angeles food, it might interest you to peep the Dine LA Family Tree to see how they – and we – are all interconnected. Food brings us all together, doesn’t it?

Further reading:

DineLA Flickr Set

Restaurant Deals Ahead: It’s dineLA, the winter version; plus a “family tree” of L.A. chefs & restaurants – LATimes

DineLA Restaurant Week Kicks Off With Celebri-Chef Party – LAist

Dine LA Restaurant  Week Launch Party – ShopEatSleep

Jan 24 – 29 and Jan 31 – Feb 5, 2010

Dine LA Website
Various locations throughout Los Angeles
Call early for reservations

Lindsay, Dawson and Sabrina

Dining Out To End Cancer

diningoutReady to dine out for a good cause?

Buy a Dining Out to End Cancer card for $25 and for the month of November, get 20% off the entire check – excluding alcohol, tax and gratuity – at participating restaurants.

Proceeds from the sale of Dining Out to End Cancer cards will support highest priority cancer research at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC). Woohoo! My alma mater!  And what better way to support than to support cancer research?

Take a look at the participating restaurants for the full scoop:

Blvd 16 Restaurant and Lounge
BONDST Beverly Hills
Border Grill – Santa Monica
Carousel Restaurant
Catalina Restaurant
Chakra Cuisine – Beverly Hills
Chakra Cuisine – Irvine
Ciudad
Coupa Cafe – Beverly Hills
Grub
Il Grano Restaurant
Ketchup
La Fonda on Wilshire
La Poubelle Bistro & Bar
Literati Cafe
Literati 2
MINX Restaurant and Lounge
O Bar and Kitchen
Pastina Trattoria
POP Champagne and Dessert Bar
Sam’s by the Beach
Spark Woodfire Grill – Beverly Hills
Spark Woodfire Grill – Huntington Beach
Spark Woodfire Grill – Simi Valley
Spark Woodfire Grill – Studio City
Susan Feniger’s STREET
Taste on Melrose
Taste at the Palisades
The Yard
Vinoteque on Melrose
West Restaurant & Lounge

Woo Street! Woo Vinoteque! Woo BONDST! Get out there and save 20% in the name of cancer…

Cards are $25

Savings good for month of November

This Weekend: Beach Cleanup, BevMo!, Beer…and Kitty. And Food.

Americans on a non-American beach (autumn in Italy)

Wow. There is so much going on this weekend – I can’t wait to tell all of them to you because I won’t be in town to enjoy hardly any of them! (I also can’t wait to be done with the press releases that are coming out of my ears!!) Too bad I can’t pull my weight at the Blogger Beach Cleanup – put on by Siel of Green LA Girl and Sara Bayles of The Daily Ocean! 🙁 The cleanup fun starts at 4 PM on Saturday between lifeguard stations 26 and 27 in Santa Monica – and the best part is, you don’t even have to be a blogger to participate. Also, afterwards you’ll even reap rewards beyond your eco-conscience and get to enjoy an awesome happy hour at Pourtal. I mean, who wouldn’t get a chance to hang out with Siel and Caroline on Crack?!?!?!?!?! (You’re crazy.)

I’ll be at a wedding, which is a welcome obligation (yeah – I guess you could call him a “Good friend”) much aided by the fact that it’s at a winery in Paso Robles. That’s north, which means that I will be able to catch The Food Event in Malibu on my way back to LA. Super excited about that! In the meantime, here are the plethora of things to choose from this weekend…

Saturday, October 24, 2009

BevMo! Torrance Grand Opening

There’s a new BevMo! opening in Torrance and the launch party is on Saturday. You’ll have the opportunity to donate $15 to The Boys & Girls Club of South Bay, plus take home a 100th store commemorative wine glass and a goody bag full of miscellaneous … goodies. Complimentary hors d’ouerves will be served as well as Jim Beam BBQ. BevMo! will also be hosting a silent auction and live entertainment. I think it’s a good day to make it to the South Bay as any – especially with a chance to taste $6,000 cognac!

11 – 5 PM

BevMo!
2533 Pacific Coast Highway, Suite A
Torrance, CA 90505

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Boneyard Bistro Packs the Cheesecake

“We ran out of The Donut.” Aaron Robins, owner of Boneyard, didn’t bother being gentle with the news. It seemed a common occurrence. But still. The chili donut with tangy mustard and spicy chili? No more? Not possible. I came over the hill and was in Sherman Oaks – how could I be denied “The Donut?” (Okay – the donut hole.)

There was the stellar fried chicken – with a perfect, fluffy layer of breading on the outside waiting to be pulled away to reveal succulent juicy meat on the inside. And of course, the deliciously smoked BBQ and the spicy hush puppies. Yes, there were those. But no chili donut? That was a novelty item on the list to check off.

Aaron didn’t disappoint. And why would he? He’s always experimenting with different creations and I’m just happy to be on the sidelines. This particular night he brought out the cheesecake donut (hole). He decidedly made the cheesecake filling creamier than cheesy to compliment the soft, hot and golden shell. Accompanying the dessert was a dark, rich chocolate sauce made to pour and berries scattered around the plate. I shut up.

Perfect. Aaron did it again. Besides, I could always go for dessert.

Further Reading: Boneyard Bistro Doesn’t Hold Back (1st visit) – e*starLA

Mon – Thu: 6 – 10 PM
Sat: 6 – 11 PM
Sun: 5 -9 pm

Mondays: Half-off (a very impressive) beer list

Boneyard Bistro
13539 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423-3825
818.906.7427