So. I did it.
I really diiiiiiid it.
I finally made it to LudoBites!!!
Quick back story: I made my first ressie in June to celebrate me and Don’s 3rd anniversary. Then I got sick and had to cancel my ressie. It took me a week to recover (turns out, my cold made a come back Blink 182 style and kicked my ass), and we had lunch at Marche Moderne instead.
The SECOND time, I was invited to a ginormous blogger bash towards the end of July, which I gladly accepted. I was soooooo excited… Until I ran over a screw and busted my tire. In fear of a tire explosion, I kicked and screamed and reluctantly declined my invite (I also had to change all four of my tires that weekend because it was that time of the year. Fail.)
I was thinking of giving up LudoBites this time around (it’s a pop up restaurant that’s only open for a limited time. Read up on the concept here on Nation’s Restaurant News
), since by the time August rolled around I had moved south of Irvine and the drive back from LA became grueling (and sleep inducing.) Plus, after two failed attempts and my friends having to cancel their reservations, I was starting to feel like there was this… Curse, of some sorts, latching on to me.
…BUT everybody tweets
about the squid ink croque monsier! The foie gras tart! The foie gras CUPCAKE! And how they get to hang out with this rock star of a chef! Jealosy ensued, and it quickly became unbearable. I had to try just one more time, I had to.
So I did. 7 PM, Saturday.
I went to LA for work, with a good luck charm
on hand (okay, it was a scholastic good luck charm that Don got me in college, but still… I was desparate), and the whole time I was counting the hours, the minutes, the very seconds to my ressie. After my work was done, we wiggled through the labyrinth that is LA and made it to BreadBar (in one piece!), where Ludobites was held, on time. Or so I thought. Turns out, I remembered the wrong reservation time and arrived an hour early! I totally blanked out from being nervous about this the whole day, but Krissy graciously let us in, saying that it was okay because another party canceled.
So, on to the food.
We started with something that sounded light: Hawaiian Tuna, Spicy White Chocolate, Grilled Peanuts Oil
. Blood red tuna is actually pretty tasty with sweet chocolate and sesame-like flavors of the peanut oil, and the grilled baby peppers (shishitogarashi?) adds a nice mesquite touch. Japanese people approved!
We had some veggies too: Marinated Heirloom Tomato, Feta Mousse, Red Onions, Olive. It’s pretty self explanatory – vinegary, salty, yummy goodness with a lace of fat from the light mousse – but fricking delicious.
And then something the Twittersphere won’t shoosh about: Foie Gras Black Croque-Monsieur, Ham, Cherry, Amaretto. And, well, no wonder. This is fricking good. Smooth foie and ham, heat sealed with squid ink bread is good enough… But add the cherry-amaretto jelly and it is sublime. Crunch and mmmm, crunch and mmmm.
Something hearty for the boys: Poached Beef Tenderlon in Red Wine, Goat Cheese, Radish, Smoked Eggplants. Unfortunately I was a little meh about this, because I’ve been on a little beef overload as of late, but Twiggy loved it eggplants and all.
The Lacquered Pork Belly, Mustard Ice Cream, Vadouvan wowed us though. The outside of the pork belly was crispy like rib skins, with burnt sugars, but the inside was soft and juicy like a kakuni (Japanese stewed pork belly). The fluffy mustard ice cream was a delicious surprise, and surprisingly cooling. Plus, the frilly leaves had a great curry flavor, and who doesn’t like curry?
“Pooooleeeeeentaaaaa!” is my favorite line in Bill Buford’s Heat. It’s also how I found out that this delicious corn goop doesn’t only come in tubes from Albertson’s. Chef Ludo’s Creamy Polenta, Cantal Cheese , Oxtail Beef, Black Truffle is very, very rich in savoriness – I bet if you take out the polenta and put in ramen noodles, it’ll still be good. Scoops of gooey polenta exposes shredded oxtail, and remotely reminds me of tamales. Twiggy, our resident carbs freak, was dying over this.
We ran into Jo and Noelle, fellow bloggers and tweeters, who had an earlier reservation that night. They told me that I HAD to get this new dish, and that I will my change my life. If the grown ups say so… Why not! So we ordered the Homemade Boudin Noir Terrine, Potatoe Puree, Mustard, Black Currants. Chef Ludo asked me if I knew what it was, just to be sure. I told him that I knew that it was something black and it came in terrine form, and he laughed. Oh my.
What came out is a dark mousse with a purple wine-y sauce, with smooth potato puree and green banana x passionfruit seed salad. One fearful bite, and it hits me instantly: ooooooh, pig’s blood! The stuff in bun bo hue (Vietnamese spicy pork and beef noodle soup)! It wasn’t so scary after that, and we enjoyed it very much. It’s super good if you scrape the sauce with bread chunks.
We finished our meal with a Chocolate Cup Cake, Foie Gras Chantilly, Candied Bacon-Almonds, Maple Syrup. This was all over the blogosphere too, so I HAD to try it. Dense chocolate cake, piled on with rich foie cream Mrs. Beasleys style, and chunks of sugary bacon and nuts = weirdly yummy. I reckon this is similar to what a Foie Gras macaron from Pierre Herme would taste like – simply put, it’s sugar-laced liver-ness. Twiggy was a bit irked by it, but I thought it was a nice finish to the meal.
I was sooooo nervous, that I couldn’t talk much at first. But then when Chef Ludo made his rounds to say hi to his guests, Twiggy blurted out, “CAN WE TAKE A PICTURE WITH YOU?!”. Her defense: because I wouldn’t ask myself (which is true). Then it was all down here from there: I couldn’t stop talking, I blushed, I got drunk fast, and I even shamelessly asked for an autograph. But Chef Ludo and Krissy were very nice and welcoming, and we all had a grand time.
Too bad there’s only a week left though… get your reservation while you can!
As I was leaving, Krissy told me to be careful because, you know, with all that bad luck I’ve been having prior to the dinner. Which made the whole dining experience even more better… They care about their clients!
I really really really want to come back again before they close shop… We’ll see what happens.
LudoBites at BreadBar
8718 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048