Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who wanted to come and witness my debut, but were sadly turned away due to a full house (I tend to have that effect when I sous:)) Secondly, thank you to those of you who not only made it out, but also opened up your pocketbook just to cheer me on. Thank you!
Friday started with an impromptu lunch at Carina’s old stomping ground bistro, Blair’s, in Silverlake. Carina wanted to talk business but I was tired and groggy. I had three hours sleep the night before and was wondering how the hell I was going to endure a long night of dinner service. I could’ve easily ducked below the table top and slept; the only reason I didn’t was because I wanted to show off the new t-shirt I scored in the Blogger Prom goodie bag (it says, “Born to” on the front and “Blog” on the back). Damn, those guys are smart. I had the gruyere panini and Carina had the barbecue chicken sandwich with a side of mac and cheese. I was unimpressed by my dainty sandwich, but Carina really enjoyed her manwich. All together we spent $60 for a pretty meager lunch. I was most disappointed by the $12 glass of below average white wine that came to me upon recommendation from the waiter. I swear, some people have shit for brains. I left indifferent with the food, beverage, and service. As we left, the couple coming into the restaurant looked strangely at us, or maybe it was my shirt…But I looked over at Carina and jokingly said, “When people look at you weird, do you think it’s because they recognize us?” She laughed uncontrollably and we got into my car. Like my perpetual self, I left late. I was supposed to be at Ludo’s at 4, but it was 2:30 and I was about to sit in some very mortifying traffic.
But now, my Ludo tale….
Bolstered with two Red Bulls in hand, I swept as quickly as I could through traffic and still managed to get there 30 or so minutes late (I am seriously incapable of being on time). When I did get there, everyone had already been working for three hours. So you I’m sure you could imagine how much of a putz I felt like for being so late. Nonetheless, they got me straight to work, but not before a little bit of teasing. I, like always, showed up in hair & make-up and wearing my “Born to Blog” tee. I’m a UG so I always like to look effortlessly striking anywhere I go…..
The French are known to be the biggest antagonists in history, however, I was delighted to see how wonderful an example Chef Ludo’s kitchen was of the contrary. There was no bickering, yelling or demoralizing. In fact, we laughed, ate, and drank! But make no mistake, his male and female teammates were playful, meticulous, and congruent.
Below is a pic of Ludo blaring Tupac Shakur and turning the lights on and off. He’s so silly!
Shrouded behind a tough guy persona, Chef Ludo is an interesting cook. He is sweet, funny, humble, but most of all, extremely talented. As a measure of his own craziness, the menu carefully changes everyday. In fact, he tweets the most random of thoughts throughout the day. This was one of @chefludo ‘s latest tweets “I am not happy with my snails tonight. I will not sleep tonight because of the damn snails. Merde” but mid-service he retweeted “Snails are perfect tonight. I am so happy. I love my snails.” Too funny, right?
First thing I had to do was to mince a copious amount garlic. About 30 cloves into mincing, I turned to Ludo and said, “Why don’t you just buy peeled garlic? You’re giving me carpal tunnel!” He mouthed something in French and smiled at me. To which I replied, “Why do I feel like I am at the nail salon? I swear those Vietnamese girls talk and laugh about me and I think you’re doing the same thing.” He chuckled and told me to keep mincing. After that arduous task, I got to move on to guess what? Another arduous task. I sat behind a box (that seemed larger than I) and cleaned chanterelle mushrooms with a paring knife for what seemed like days. Upon finishing that, dinner service began…
I moved up front with my amigo who was in charge of first courses. I stayed there for the remainder of the night assembling tiny little treasures like salads, scallops, and ahi dishes. I did pretty well with the assembling, but my only mortification came from one thing: salt seasoning. As you may already know, I’m kind of a “salt whore”, so the task of under-seasoning took all the power and restraint in the world to hold back. Luckily, I managed to contain myself for the evening. Despite the fact that there were only three French nationals in the kitchen, I was amazed that almost everyone in Ludo’s kitchen spoke in French. In the restaurant world everyone speaks Spanish, even the Gringos! The Gringos speak “kitchen Spanish”, but nonetheless they all communicate in a similar language. In Ludo’s kitchen everyone speaks at a bare minimum “kitchen French.” I, despite having lived with a French man (roommate not lover-unfortunately) for two and half years never picked it up as well as I should have. I was really amused that everyone in the kitchen referred to Ludo as “Chef”; I renamed that night- I renamed him, “Saadam.” He didn’t like that so much, but it’s evidence of the fun we had all night. Even when he did speak English, I couldn’t understand him. He’d say something to me in English and I’d antagonize him by saying, “Can you please speak English?” he’d respond, “I am speaking English, silly girl!” Hehehehe.
Patrons flooded in at intermittent intervals, and there were lulls throughout the night, but we were mostly busy. Last table seating was at 11P or so, which meant that we were going to get out of there pretty late after clean-up (1:30AM, to be exact).
Dinner service was rough. By the end of the night, my hands and feet were hurting. I don’t know how it is they do it? I just couldn’t imagine having the energy to that everyday. Ludo, you and your teammates are tough.
I was getting my car serviced at Toyota of Glendale and Josie picked me up for a quick bite. She was tired and nervous and I was starving. We ate lunch and in the car she told me this silly story about Christina of Hot Pink Manolos texting her and her thinking it was someone else. It was hilarious and it seemed Christina wanted to go to Ludo Bites to see Josie but was told the same thing I was-that they restaurant was completely booked. I had no doubt I was going to go and I texted Christina to see if she wanted to go anyway with me. She was totally down and as a Pasadena local we decided to carpool. I thought we should go to the restaurant at 9:30 and she agreed and would be meeting another friend there. I was sitting at home on my computer and texted Josie to see how she was doing. There was no response and I was slightly concerned for her. Around 6:20 I received two texts from her, that read:
Someone got yelled at 4 using the phone. I’m in the bathrm. Someone asked who I came in with last time and I said, “My baby mama.” haha. I am a riot here. Jokester has arrived. Tweet this for me, please! Gotta Go!
I was laughing but I listened to my master’s orders and logged on to Twitter. I couldn’t believe it as soon as I, a Twit, tweeted I noticed that Chef Ludo had just done the exact same thing. His tweet said:
@chefludo running late for service b/c Josie @uncouthgourmand was busy putting on make-up. girls….
Christina was tweeting to me as well to see if I could read all of this silliness and of course I could and could not stop laughing. I called Christina to see if she wanted to meet up earlier to check out a new wine bar in Pasadena that was going to do a soft-soft-opening. She happily obliged. She picked me up, I asked her for shoe advice, must I mention her blog name again-Hot Pink Manolos, and we headed on out. Noir Food and Wine is on Mentor just above Colorado Blvd. next to the Ice House and my favorite consignment shop, Ritz Resale, which is next to a medical marijuana store. Anyway, the $50 Dior skirt suit deals are made more entertaining by the pungent aroma that enters from their neighbors. We walked right in, got a seat at the bar, and were poured some of very nice glasses of wine by the sommelier, Jared. We were also introduced to the owner, Mike, who was part of Vertical Wine Bar and opened Wine Bar 112 and Red Carpet Wine Bar in the past. It was clear that Mike knew two things: wine and the area. When Jared showed us his pride and joy, the wine list, he had to admit that most of the list was made by Mike. In case you haven’t gotten it yet from their name, Pinot Noir is their main wine. It takes up a good 4 pages of the wine list.
The whole experience was so enjoyable; we got some complimentary appetizers and upon talking to the staff it became clear that everyone had worked for Mike before in some capacity or at one of his older projects. This was also the first time I had hung out with Christina alone and she was cracking me up telling me about the texts from Josie and her inner dialogue saying, “I am not who Josie thinks I am…just please don’t text me anything dirty”. We left with more than a couple of glasses in our system and while we were exiting Mike was sitting outside with a man who was down on his luck. I asked Mike for a picture with him and the man, whom I am sure has not had a nice bite to eat or a fine wine to drink in quite a while, said that he would love to be in the picture as well. I was groped a little bit but it was all quite nice. Christina and I both mentioned what a kind gesture that was of Mike, and how we gained so much more respect for him. The restaurant will open sometime between this Friday and next Tuesday and I really can’t wait to go back. Small space but unusually friendly people and great wine.
I received another text from Josie saying that there had been some cancellations and to come in at 9:30 as planned. I texted her back asking her to put us on the list for 3. Christina and I got to LudoBites around 9:50 and her friend had been waiting awhile. I talked to Chef Ludo’s wife and told her we had a reservation. She looked perplexed and said, “Are you sure? I talked to you on the phone the other day and said that we were all booked up”. I said, “Yes, but Josie put us down for 9:30”. Josie peaked out from the kitchen and said, “Sorry, I haven’t been allowed to look at my phone.” Anyway, his wife is the best and said we could have a table in a half an hour. We ( Christina, her friend Elise, and I) all walked to Third Stop for yet another glass of wine. It was here that I said my funniest line of the night, “OMG, I am so hungry! I haven’t eaten anything since lunch…wait, is that normal?” The girls were laughing and Christina said that was definitely going in her blog.
We walked back to Ludo Bites and were so ready to eat. We ordered a lot, almost as much as Jonathon Gold did the first night we were there. We had the heirloom salad, the green bean and apple salad, the escargot, the lobster medallions, the polenta and the cod. The food was all good and the cod that I ordered was by far my favorite of the night. I really don’t want to complain as my other half, who is practically me, made it. Although, I did Tweet at one point, “Josie assalted my food”. The girl loves salt and at one point in the night she passed a note through the busboy Luis that read, “I am finding it difficult to control my seasoning (salt & pepper) Help! -J”
When Chef Ludo came out I told how much I liked our Australian waiter and the busboy, Luis, who was passing me notes from Josie and even drew me a picture. Chef Ludo laughed and said, “Okay, well then, I will keep him and you take her back (pointing at Josie)”. I laughed and he said she was a princess and was very messy. I can say that in a perfect French accent, just ask Josie but I have to be drunk for it to come out well. I told him she is not that much of a princess, I won’t even go in the kitchen. He smiled, shook his hand and head, and walked back in to the kitchen. Oh I forgot the best part. Josie was being blamed for dropping the last foie gras cupcake on the floor and thus not giving Christina her ordered dessert. We all believed that was the truth as it came from Ludo, the waiter, and more. Josie swore they were just blaming her and Chef Ludo brought out some panacotta with caramel and caviar on the house since they were out of the two desserts. I managed to drop this dessert multiple time on my leg. I literally had to lick caviar off my knee…talk about an uncouth gourmand. It was a great night and I was so proud of Josie. I got a ride back with her and we celebrated at Tony’s Bar until we left when the bartenders were locking up. I would say we had our first drunken sleepover in a long time but we are trying to dispel lesbian rumors which are running rampant!