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.

Continue reading

Talking ABC’s The Taste and Petit Trois with Vanessa Lauren and Ludo Lefebvre

Ludo Lefebvre and Vanessa Lauren

If you’ve been following the third season of The Taste on ABC, you’re familiar with contestant Vanessa Lauren of Team Bourdain. Eliminated on last week’s semi-finale (ep. 6), Vanessa has somewhat since defected to Team Ludo – in the sense that since taping this season’s episodes, she’s been in Ludo Lefebvre’s kitchens at Trois Mec and now Petit Trois. I sat down with Vanessa Lauren and Chef Ludo the other day in anticipation of The Taste finale, which airs tonight.

Continue reading

Giveaway: Two Tickets to Le Grand Fooding Pre-Event Dinner on April 25, 2013

Wolvesmouth and Miles Thompson of Allumette at Le Grand Fooding Pre-Event Dinner (Credit: Wolvesmouth, Le Grand Fooding)

You have probably already heard about Le Grand Fooding: Crush, the posse’s upcoming inaugural event in Los Angeles on April 26-27. In fact, tickets went on sale a month ago, and a glance at the event website’s signage would indicate they’ve already sold out the duo of dates.

Therefore, it would be cruel of me to rehash that participants include Nancy Silverton (Mozza), Ludo Lefebvre (Trois Mec), Josef Centeno (Bäco Mercat, Bar Ama), Roy Choi (Kogi BBQ, Chego, A-Frame, Sunny Spot), Jordan Kahn (Red Medicine) and Carolynn Spence (Chateau Marmont) as well as Parisian chefs such as Inaki Aizpitarte (Le Chateaubriand), Gregory Marchand (Frenchie), Jean-François Piège (Restaurant Jean-François Piège) and for VIPs, Sven Chartier (Saturne). …And yet!

Continue reading

Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Food (Truck) Fight

Courtesy of Artstechnica.com, Marvel, Capcom

Q: What do Marvel & Capcom video games and food trucks all have in common? A: Very little

But there’s no better excuse to celebrate your anticipation for either the new Marvel vs. Capcom 3 video game and/or Chef Ludo Lefebvre (LudoBites) and Chef Eric Greenspan’s (The Foundry on Melrose) awesome food than to attend tomorrow’s tailgate launch party at Kim Sing Theatre. It’s from 11 AM – 3 PM so it’s prime time for lunch or linner.

Food and drinks will be served off food trucks for this event and you’ll get to try out the brand new video game on-the-spot. A live DJ will be spinning tunes to help create that unique gaming atmosphere. What’s on the food menu, you ask? Dishes and bites inspired by the video game, itself.

So come out and check out your potentially new gaming addiction while enjoying food from two of the most talented (and yes, famous) chefs in the city. See you there!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

11 AM – 3 PM

Email: [email protected]

Kim Sing Theatre
722 N. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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?)

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

6 – 9:30 PM

LudoBites 6.0
13355 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

Tastes From Angeleno Magazine’s Chefs Night Out

Beef Tartare Crostino with Guanciale Zabaglione & Shaved Black Summer Truffles & Baby Artichokes in Casseruola | Angelini Osteria - Chef Ori Menashe

Brad A. Johnson of Angeleno Magazine bestowed his awards on the best of Los Angeles, as he does every year, and it was time to celebrate. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to participate in this celebration, and boy did it impress.

Capesante day boat scallops with farro, summer corn, heirloom tomatoes, scallions, English peas and citronette | Culina - Chef Victor Casanova

So I didn’t get to try everything before the tastes ran out – but I don’t really blame the event organizers. I blame my sloth pace at really savoring every bite there was in the Fairmont Miramar’s beautifully appointed parking circle, which surrounds probably the oldest tree I know in Los Angeles. I was happy to note that Oxley Gin was a liquor sponsor (along with Veev), and whom created the cocktails with which I washed down all the heavenly plates of food. It was an impressive showing, indeed.

The beef tartar could have stood on its own – nevermind that the shavings of black truffles put it over the top in the best possible way. I had two.

Cauliflower Panna Cotta Topped With Transmontanous Caviar | Petrossian - Chef Ben Bailly

Another favorite was Chef Ben Bailly’s Cauliflower Panna Cotta topped by Petrossian Transmontanous caviar. So indulgent and so delicious – it was like creamy heaven accented with that perfect, almost briny zest caviar gives. I, again, had two.

Chef Ludo Lefebvre was there to deliver punches to the mouth. Not literally, of course, but his Heirloom tomato smoothie came accented with its own extractions from the sea: Squid ink vodka jelly and seaweed tartar. As with LudoBites, the combination of everything together was done amazingly well – while in fact I love tomatoes, seaweed, squid ink and vodka individually. The shooter was surprisingly spicy, with the umami of the squid ink and seaweed probably augmented by the vodka. Delicious.

Lobster Tapioca with Uni | Chef Laurent Quenioux - Bistro LQ

Laurent Quenioux from Bistro LQ’s Lobster Tapioca topped with uni was amazing as always. Once upon a time I did the tasting menu at Bistro LQ and the lobster tapioca in particular, as one of the starters, was my favorite dish. It was a decadent revisit and one I was glad to have.

My favorite fish of the night, however, was prepared by Chef Josiah Citrin of Mélisse. The loup de mer, or seabass, still had the skin on which helped retain a lot of the flavor and came in a pool of appropriately oily broth, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers and basil.

Loup de mer, Heirloom Tomatoes and Cucumber-Basil | Chef Josiah Citrin - Melisse

It was refreshing yet surprisingly weighty. The tiny filets were cooked to a perfectly tender consistency, and I was amazed I could appreciate the flavor in such a small piece of fish.

There were a few things that ran out by the time my leisurely pace took me to the other side of the courtyard, unfortunately, like Hatfield’s Braised Pork Belly, Craft’s White Wine Braised Octopus and Comme Ca’s Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Terrine. But as usual, it was good to enjoy the blogger company that was there, like Lindsay of LAist, Caroline on Crack, Hadley of GrubStreet LA, Josh of FoodGPS, Kevin Eats, Jo of My Last Bite, Kat of Eater LA, Mattatouille and much, much more. This was a great event with a great turn-out, and there was no better occasion than to celebrate this year’s winners (the first award of which I was very happy Lazy Ox Canteen won):

  • Best New Restaurant: Lazy Ox Canteen
  • Best New Chef: Michael Voltaggio (formerly The Langham)
  • Chef of the Year: Michael Cimarusti, Providence
  • Restaurant of the Year: Hatfield’s
  • Pastry Chef of the Year: Zoe Nathan, Huckleberry Café & Bakery
  • Outstanding Wine & Spirits: The Bazaar
  • Outstanding Service: The Grill on the Alley
  • Vanguard Award: Water Grill

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
101 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404

L.A. Times Celebration of Food & Wine: September 5, 2010

L.A. Times Wine & Food Festival at Paramount Pictures Studios | Photo credit to isayx3 on Flickr

It’s another culinary bazaar (we here in Los Angeles know how often these come around) but this time, it’s our city-wide flagship publication pulling out all the stops. It looks like the L.A. Times will live up to their name, too, because there are names to be had at this event held at on New York Street (yeah, pretty funny) in the backlot of Paramount Pictures.

Feelin’ a little indie with your wine? There will also be music, as She & Him are scheduled to headline the event with a full set. Angela McClusky will support.

Demonstrations will be taking place for your pleasure and education, as will panels by the following:

  • Michael Voltaggio – Winner, Top Chef Season 6
  • Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo – Animal Restaurant
  • Mark Peel –Campanile, The Tar Pit, Top Chef Masters Seasons 1 & 2
  • Suzanne Goin –AOC, Lucques, Tavern and The Hungry Cat
  • Jimmy Shaw -Loteria Grill
  • Ludo Lefebvre – LudoBites
  • Betty Fraser – Grub, Top Chef Season 2
  • Chris “C.J.” Jacobsen – The Yard, Top Chef Season 3
  • Alex Reznik – Ivan Kane’s Cafe Was, Top Chef Season 7
  • John Sedlar – Rivera
  • Barrie Lynn – The Cheese Impresario
  • Ricardo Zarate – Mo-chica
  • Russ Parsons – Food Editor, Los Angeles Times
  • Noelle Carter – Manager, Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen
  • Rene Lynch – Assistant Food Editor, Los Angeles Times
  • Jessica Gelt – Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times
  • Betty Hallock – Deputy Food Editor, Los Angeles Times
  • Krista Simmons – Associate Editor, Brand X

And of course, high brow or not, it wouldn’t truly be a Los Angeles food event without food trucks present. Don Chow Tacos, Wahoo’s, The Sweets Truck, The Buttermilk Truck, DosaTruck, Coolhaus will all be there if you so prefer your food off a 4-wheeler.

Wine, sake and spirits from various vendors will help you wash down your bites. Blackheart Spiced Rum, Broc Cellars / Broadside Wines, Conway Family Wines, Dutcher Crossing Winery, Evan Williams Hong Reserve Bourbon, Flora Springs Winery & Vineyards, Gekkeikan Sake, Hook & Ladder Winery, Lunazul 100% Agave Tequila, Kook Soon Dang Beer, Michael David Winery, Rideau Vineyard, Sinatra Family Estates, and Venteux Vineyards will all be present during the event.

If you buy in advance, you’ll save $10. The best part is that general admission attendees also get to enjoy a good number of pours (8 to be exact) with their food. But if VIP is more your speed, you’ll get unlimited pours and in addition, you’ll get to taste bites from these participants. Benefiting from ticket sales are Share Our Strength and the Los Angeles Times Family Fund, so you can feel good that you’ve spent your day also supporting worthy causes.

Seems like a it’ll be a great debut. I’ll see you there.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

12 – 8 PM

$125 VIP Admission ($135 door)
$55 General Admission ($65 door)
$40 Concert Only, advance and door

Tickets

L.A. Times Celebration of Food & Wine at
Paramount Pictures
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Taste of Beverly Hills On September 2-5, 2010: Tickets On Sale Today

Overview of Beverly Hills

Looks like Beverly Hills wants officially mark themselves on the map as a culinary event destination in Los Angeles – as the first annual Taste of Beverly Hills will take place on September 2 – 5, 2010. With no event legacy, the first thing I’m drawn to is that it spans over 4 days – and over Labor Day Weekend, at that! The second? The price.

Of course, it wouldn’t be L.A., much less Beverly Hills, without all the hot names on the ticket. Names like (Top Chef Season Six winner) Michael Voltaggio, Walter Mazke (formerly of Church & State), Ludo Lefebvre (LudoBites), John Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Animal) all showcasing their work for visitors to the event.

The weekend will commence on Thursday with an ever appropriately named picnic matched to its date, “9.02.10 City of Beverly Hills Celebration.” You’ll sit under the stars with guests such as Larry King and others while enjoying live musical performances. Remember: This event is separately ticketed and not included in the all-inclusive price.

Enjoy food from over 50 chefs and restauranteurs, beer, wine, cocktail tastings, and chef demos within the Grand Tasting area throughout the weekend. The schedule is curated by KCRW’s “Good Food” Host and Chef Evan Kleiman while the tunes are directed by Jason Bentley, KCRW music director and host of “Morning Becomes Eclectic.” The schedule that’s planned in the Grand Tasting area:

  • “The Art of Mixing” (Friday evening)—the city’s top mixologists and DJs “mix” their talents. Ooh, la la!
  • “Secrets From the Kitchen and Cellar” (Saturday afternoon)—chefs and master sommeliers showcase the tricks of their trades.
  • “Taste of Something Better” Cooking Competition (Saturday afternoon)—three finalists will vie for the crown of “America’s Top Amateur Chef” and compete to represent the United States in the 2010 LG “Life Tastes Good” global cooking competition in Seoul, South Korea, this fall.
  • “Date Night” (Saturday evening)—an evening of good food, wine, music, and one-on-one time with master sommeliers and vintners.
  • “The Art of Brunch” (Sunday afternoon)—free-flowing brunch cocktails, live gospel and jazz performances, a 50-foot grand table featuring the city’s finest pastries and breads, along with KCRW’s annual pie contest hosted by “Good Food” Host Evan Kleiman.

Okay, Beverly Hills! Show us what you got. Tickets are available today for $125 per person for a day session pass, $150 for an evening session pass and $500 per person for an all-access weekend package. Again, the “90210 City of Beverly Hills Celebration” on Thursday is an individually ticketed event for $150.

Thursday, September 2 – Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tickets: $125, $150 or $500

The Taste of Beverly Hills, Presented by Food & Wine
Adjacent to:
Beverly Hilton
9900 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
877.434.TOBH (8624)

Favorites From LudoBites 4.0

White Asparagus Velouté, Mozzarella Mousse, Fennel, Candied Olive, Salmon Roe ($14)

Oh look. It’s the obligatory LudoBites 4.0 post on e*starLA. Like it’s really an LA food blog without it, you say. Well, you’re right. So while I’m at it, I’ll also remind everybody that 1) It’s completely booked, but also: 2) There are always cancellations. Follow Krissy Lefebvre (@frenchchefwife) for notice of these cancellations. And after you score that reservation, remember to BYOB it. A great wine shop to consult for your purchase is Domaine LA (@domainela), where Jill recommended a lovely ’08 Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir that got rave reviews from my tablemates. Also check out the recommended wine list for LudoBites diners.

Scallop, Almond Puree, Pickled Grapes, Capers, Curry Oil & Cauliflower Ice Cream ($14)

Last night was another Ludo fried chicken night at Akasha which doubled as a viewing party for Ludo’s return to Top Chef Masters. It was buffet-style and some lucky diners got to take home the leftovers. I was not so diligent in securing some for myself, I’m sad to say. But it was so fun to see how our favorite social media-entwined chef got “cast” as the crazy Frenchman in reality TV land, getting 100% subtitled and well, playing the part quite expertly. The party attendees sat and watched the episode intently, while smug that we got to experience Ludo’s drama – live and in the flesh.

But back to LudoBites: My camarades and I tasted the entire menu, but today is not the day for the forever-scrolling blog post. So on with the favorites from the LudoBites 4.0 menu as we knew it (Ludo regularly changes and evolves his menu):

I love all the daring contrasts in flavors that Ludo features in his dishes, especially when it comes to soup. I’m sorry, I meant velouté. Why yes certainly, it is velvety, which is such a perfect background for when the salmon roe delivers a sort of salt shock. And the candied olive is actually sweet, yes. The fennel gave the dish its center texture and had good flavor. It blew my mind – because it’s not every day where you are treated to food that requires that you think. Ahh…Ludobites is back.

Burgundy Escargots, Garlic Flan, Green Jus, Violet Flowers ($12)

I also loved the Red Snapper Ceviche – a dish I couldn’t figure if more flavorful or refreshing. Jalapenos and red onions gave it a proper kick while tomatoes were an effective cooling agent. I snuck an extra helping of this one onto my plate. The scallop dish was an adventure of sorts, combining the perfectly seared bivalves (with that perfect ring on the outside) with almond puree and cauliflower ice cream. There were many little nuances from all over the place, especially when you also combined them with the pickled grapes and curry oil. The bite, however, wasn’t complete until you included a little of the caper paste smeared onto the plate. And after that was done, I found myself going back to the cauliflower ice cream – just to make sure it really was cauliflower that I tasted in the creamy – yet quickly melting – cold scoop. There were super-thin slices of raw cauliflower on top of each scallop which together were drizzled in a slightly spicy curry oil.

Continue reading

Ludo’s Lucious Fried Chicken Balls

Ludo Fried Chicken (Lemon Aioli, Collard Greens & Smashed Potatoes)

Oh, balls. I say such with adulation, not lamentation – since I was lucky enough to squeeze into Sam and Zach‘s reservation for a special Monday night. Ludo Lefebvre’s latest one-off collaboration took place at Akasha Restaurant in Culver City earlier this week – and the foodies were out in full force. This time, it wasn’t so much a showdown as it was an opportunity for LudoBites fanatics to get a taste of his famed chicken - juicy, fried goodness to which reservations were fully booked 12 hours (or less) after the reservation line went live.

Akasha Onion Rings (Garlic Aioli, Ketchup)

Akasha has not one but two deep fryers - and Ludo’s chicken certainly benefitted from the tools. We were each provisioned three rosemary chicken balls, this time furnished with a lemon aioli (as opposed to the sweet chili sauce provided at The Foundry). Rounding out each order were two side dishes – coleslaw, collard greens, sweet potato fries or smashed potatoes. There was a more lucrative $18 price point to match the chicken’s popularity (at The Foundry, the two pieces of chicken were just $6 – without sides). The sides at Akasha were delicious, but of course we couldn’t forget Akasha’s own specialty, their perfectly-breaded-and-fried onion rings. Not too greasy or bready, the rings – with their side of ketchup and garlic aioli – actually had me wishing more came per side order.

Sour Orange Pie (Key Lime Style) With Whipped Cream & Preserved Kumquat

Focus now! The chicken! As per usual, the chicken was perfect – a tad darker in mere color than I remember – but I was glad that there was an extra helping of breadding on my plate. It was seasoned with rosemary which was contrasted well by the citrus tang of lemon aioli; the juicy texture enabled each round nugget to fall at my fork. Before I was finished, I heard on my left, “If you leave that on your plate, you’ll never hear the end of it.” Yes, it was recent NYC ex-pat Zach of Midtown Lunch, the fan of all things greasy and succulent. He spoke too soon, as I savored each bite – including the extra skin – and washed it down with Syrah. Each intonation from the jazz trio that played nearby was lost on me as I concentrated on my palate. Thankfully, the movement the music provided to the already-cool, bustling and somewhat industrial-yet-well-lit (great for us food photographers) atmosphere of Akasha was not.

We finished off with dessert. It was perfectly tangy and sweet – I would come back to Akasha for this pie alone. The crust was perfectly buttery – and Ludo and I joked that we could replace the crumbs on top of the pie with chicken breadding! And as always, the Ludo event had food bloggers and others in the scene crawling out of the woodwork – with out-of-town visitors and @thejgold himself to boot. Foursquare check-ins (“with 19 other people”) were at an all-time high. Krissy and Ludo made their warm, welcoming rounds. It’s always a party – and I’m lucky to be a wallflower. Did I mention Ludo ran the LA Marathon the day before?! How is that for star power?

If you don’t have your LudoBites 4.0 reservation, be sure to stay tuned for the wait list queue – which begins March 28.

Further reading:

Ludo Lefebvre Reveals International Location, Gram & Papa’s Menu and More – Eater LA

Akasha Restaurant
9543 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA‎ 90232
310.845.1700
@akashacc

LudoBites

@chefludo
@frenchchefwife‎