Thursday, April 8, 2010

LudoBites 4.0 FoodDigger Preview(!!!)

The wait is almost over, Los Angeles foodies! Chef Ludo Lefebvre's LudoBites 4.0 opens tonight at Gram & Papa's in downtown LA.

Thanks to the folks over at FoodDigger, however, Chef Ludo prepared a special preview dinner last night for a group of us lucky, lucky bloggers. Having missed LudoBites 1.0-3.0, my only Ludo-experience was his fried chicken at the LA Street Food Fest. Translation: Noms, Not Bombs was stoked for this dinner.

Gram & Papa's for LudoBites 4.0

LudoBites 4.0 FoodDigger Preview

LudoBites 4.0

Although Chef Ludo and his wife/partner-in-kitchen-crime Krissy wanted the night's menu to be a surprise and did not give us this until the end of the meal, here is our menu for your viewing pleasure.

FoodDigger Preview Menu @ LudoBites 4.0

Jill Bernheimer of DomaineLA provided superb wine pairings for each course of our meal. My personal favorites were the 2009 Donkey & Goat Rose of Grenache Gris and the 2008 Julien Fremont Cider.

LudoBites 4.0

Behold: the lightbox. It was a food blogger's dream to have this at our disposal for the night.

Lightbox @ FoodDigger Preview @ LudoBites 4.0

LudoBites 4.0
That's me!

First up for the table was a crispy, delicious salted baguette served with "three fat textures," which were a lavender lard, clarified butter and whipped brown butter. I never thought that the words "I think I'll have more of the lard" would leave my mouth, but they did...multiple times.

Tartine Plate with "Three Fat Textures" @ LudoBites 4.0

LudoBites 4.0
Chef Ludo plates our next dish

While we were still stuffing our faces with the bread, the next dish arrived-- Carrot Salad with saffron anglaise cream, pearl onions, citrus and mustard powder. The carrots were not only beautiful to look at but also delightful to eat. They had a smoky flavor that made them unlike any other carrot I have eaten.

In an interesting touch, the blood orange, orange and lemon were cooked in such a way that you could eat the rind with the fruit. Yum!

Carrot Salad, Saffron Anglaise Cream, Pearl Onions, Citrus, Mustard Power @ LudoBites 4.0

Next on the menu was an Egg and Potato Mousseline with Lobster and Borage Flower. Although I am Japanese and from Hawai'i, I do not particularly enjoy seafood (Chef Ludo: "You are Japanese...but no seafood??). I recently, however, decided that I would like to try lobster, and here was my opportunity!

The lobster pieces were like little surprises in the sea of potato-y goodness and, to my surprise, I very much like lobster! I did, however, leave the egg. One step at a time.

Egg, Potato Mousseline, Lobster, Borage Flower @ LudoBites 4.0

Then came Chef Ludo's famed Foie Gras Croque-Monsieur with Lemon Turnip Chutney. Foie gras was another first for me, and it paired beautifully with the prosciutto, cheese and chutney.

Foie Gras Croque-Monsieur, Lemon Turnip Chutney @ LudoBites 4.0

After the croque-monsieur, it was time for Burgundy Escargots with Garlic Flan, Green Jus and Yellow Flowers. Krissy correctly guessed that escargot were also new for me and, although I won't rush to eat it again, I did enjoy the overall garlic flavor of this dish and the beautiful presentation.

Burgundy Escargots, Garlic Flan, Green Jus, Yellow Flowers @ LudoBites 4.0

The first protein was Colombian River King Salmon Confit with Spring Cabbage, Orange Skin and Juniper Berries.

Colombian River King Salmon Confit, Spring Cabbage, Orange Skin and Juniper Berries @ LudoBites 4.0

Ludo @ LudoBites 4.0
Chef Ludo plates the next dish

The second protein was Poached Jidori Chicken topped with Crispy Skin and Hazelnuts served with Garden Vegetables and Bacon Royale. A forkful of the chicken + crispy skin + a dollop of the bacon royale= pure heaven.

Poached Jidori Chicken topped with Crispy Skin, Garden Vegetables & Bacon Royale @ LudoBites 4.0

By this point, I was pretty full...but then the Brie Chantilly Napoleon with Honey Comb, Frisee Salad and Balsamic drizzle arrived. The brie was whipped for an astounding two hours before it reached our plates and was incredibly fluffy and light. The brie, honeycomb and balsamic were absolutely phenomenal together.

Brie Chantilly Napoleon, Honey Comb, Balsamic, Frisee Salad @ LudoBites 4.0

When we all turned around to see what was in store for dessert, a universal "whoa" spread throughout the room. A giant souffle?! After all that food? I couldn't possibly! Oh well, if you insist.

This was no ordinary souffle, but a Dark Chocolate Souffle with Black Pepper Milk Chocolate Ice Cream and Chocolate Cream. The ice cream was bold and peppery--a strange mix of spicy and sweet that was fantastically delicious.

Dark Chocolate Souffle, Black Pepper Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate Cream @ LudoBites 4.0

After the dinner, Chef Ludo spoke with us about his love for pushing the envelope in his cooking and how he looks forward to changing up the menu throughout LudoBites 4.0's run. He hinted that the menu may get more "provocative" after the first two weeks.

What a lovely night! Although I, of course, enjoyed the food, I also loved the wonderful company of my fellow blogger friends (nice to meet you all!), the fantastic FoodDigger crew and the whole LudoBites team.

LudoBites 4.0 runs from April 8-May 28 but, if you don't already have your reservations, you had better get looking for someone who does; reservations were 100% booked within 24 hours.

Thank you to Chef Ludo and Krissy, FoodDigger, DomaineLA for an unforgettable night!

LudoBites 4.0 @ Gram & Papa's
227 E. 9th St.
Ludo Bites 4.0 at Gram and Papa's in Los Angeles
Ludo Bites at Gram & Papa's on Urbanspoon


  1. Ooh! What a fantastic recap! Can't wait to try Ludo Bites 4.0 in May!

  2. Fabulous to finally meet you, Ms. Misty! I was happy to be present for some many firsts :-)

    Eggs are our friends!

  3. It was so nice meeting you last night! Yay for being the first one to post! Good job for been adventurous ;)

  4. Misty! you are sooo fast! i love it! it was great to meet you! :)

  5. Fantastic meeting you last night. Thank you for coming out and sharing such a special meal with us. I'm honored that you took the opportunity to try so many new things. That lobster dish was out of this world!

  6. Another early bird blogger! I didn't get to meet you, I was the girl in the red in the first pic on your blog :) That meal was to DIE FOR! I can still taste the foie gras croque monsieur!

  7. you're way too adorable misty. too bad you sat so far time, hand gestures and gang signs across the long table so we can communicate.

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. My first bites of foie gras and escargots came courtesy of Ludo too! I wasn't sure about the foie at first, but his croque totally sold me on it. Glad you enjoyed it too! Nice write-up! :)

  10. Thanks, Diana! The croque WAS great. I ended up splitting the sandwich and spreading little bits of the foie gras on the prosciutto half. Otherwise, it would have been too much for me, I think.

    Also, a few people last night told me that we need to meet since our blogging is leading both of us to many new food "firsts" haha.

  11. Though I wanted to be the one to break her into lobster and the other items she tried, I'm happy she had a lot of peer pressure :)

    Next thing we need to get her to try....CRAB.

  12. So happy you enjoyed the wines. Those are two of my faves as well. And can't believe you made it back for round two already!

    Hope to cross paths again. Cheers!

  13. So many firsts for you! Including first blog post up that night, I think.

    Good to meet you and share such a memorable meal.

  14. Great to meet you Wednesday night & great post!


  15. Looking good!! I can't wait to go back to Ludobites!