Dining with Foodies Galore

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As far as drama in the food blogging world in LA goes, there was no day quite as dramatic as this last Wednesday. As I am sure you all know, there was big controversy about Eater LA posting libelous claims against The Must Bar. This incident brought birth to lawsuit claims towards Eater LA, LA Times articles, thousands of food bloggers chiming and 160+ comment on the actual article. Josie and I often joke that we don’t play hard to get enough, but surely as soon as Sino Soul sent us a DM on Twitter asking us if we wanted to join him and a bunch of bloggers that night for dinner in Koreatown we jumped all over the opportunity. We wanted to eat, laugh, and make new foodie friends. Plus, we wanted an inside scoop on the day’s controversy. Josie arrived from work a half an hour late, but I beat her and was close to an hour late. Sino Soul thinks he’s so snarky and the badass in the food blogging world with his motorcycle and fancy camera, but he is really an extremely sweet guy. He introduced us to everyone (even though he mixes us up), organized the whole dinner, ordered for us, and helped Josie with her multiple UG spills of the night. Our restaurant that played host for the evening was, Jun Won, a modest homestyle diner of Korean food. The high-notes of the meal: the shiso/perila leaves, the eun dae gu jorim (black cod stew), and my favorite was the seafood pancake. One of the fellow diners, Amy of The Roaming Belly said it reminded her of a flaccid penis. I am actually blogging right now with Josie and I said, “I don’t know, I liked it.” She laughed and responded, “You would”. My response was, “That’s true, I do have a thing for limp fries”. The food was mediocre to good but the company was great and it was nice making some new food blogging friends and some new foodemies.

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The other bloggers/food enthusiasts in attendence were:

We asked Steve what he thought of Ludo Bites after Sino Soul said that he had just been. Apparently, along with not liking us, Steve also didn’t like that hot hunk of a French chef of a man known as Ludo Lefebvre. He even entitled his review, Ludo Bites, using the name of the pop-up restaurant that Ludo runs at BreadBar for the remainder of the summer. We took his review with a grain of salt as we realized that Steve seems like a hard man to please and were very excited about visiting the restaurant that Friday. The reason we chose that day was because our food friend and cook book author, Eli of Freshman in the Kitchen, won a contest on Twitter to be Ludo’s sous chef for the night. We were running late as usual and arrived with our friend Jason who is helping us with the UG promo video. As we walked into Breadbar (Ludo Bites for the night), we were in hysterics because as I was walking behind Josie, I found a tag on her shirt which I pulled off while walking through the door. Eli looked up from the open front kitchen as he knew that there were only two girls that would walk in to a restaurant cracking up and with an uncouth moment. Only maybe 5 minutes after being seated we had the lovely Mr. and Mrs. Ludo come to our table and chat. I turned my head to the side and there walking in was Jonathan Gold. The tension in the air began to resonate. He had no reservation and took our Ludo away from us but only momentarily. We joked to our friend, Jason, that all of the most important food critics were in the restaurant that night. We asked Chef Ludo’s wife, who I am sure is tagged as the most hated woman in Los Angeles, to surprise us with some appetizers. She is actually one of the sweetest women and hooked us big time offering us the cantaloupe, chorizo, and cornichon cold soup and the heirloom salad.

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Josie had the veal sweetbread with foie gras and asian pear. I had the hanger steak with black sesame miso and white asparagus. Jason went with the peanut crusted seared duck, which was very good.

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Carina’s Review: Was it one of best meals? No, not at all. Was it one of my favorite experiences in a restaurant? Absolutely. When the first dishes arrived our whole table commented on what good quality balsamic and tomatoes were utilized in the salad. It wasn’t like the $10,000 machine that impregnates each blanched tomato with vinegar that they have at Bazaar, but it was pretty great. Similar to most French cooking, it is quality in simplicity. The cantaloupe, chorizo, cornichon didn’t really work for me. I liked the risk, it was unusual and different, but the cornichon/sweet pickle slush in the soup was a risk that, for me, didn’t resonate. Everyone knows I am lover of pickles, I packed a jar of cornichons in my suitcase from the South of France to LA risking pickle juice all over my clothes and luggage. However, the flavor components of this dish, while interesting, weren’t pleasant on my palate. The steak was good. I rarely order it so it is always a nice treat. Where this restaurant shined most was on service. Chef Ludo’s wife was just as charming if not more, than Chef Ludo. We got pecks on each side of our cheeks by both husband and wife and got invited into the kitchen to say goodbye to Eli. He was very happy with the way that Chef Ludo treated him, allowing him to plate, try everything as it was cooking, and giving him a big piece of foie gras upon entering. It was a fun night and I am grateful that Josie and I make people laugh and be silly with us. It was a great juxtaposition to Jonathan Gold outside who ordered everything on the menu but two items and made even us nervous. We left with big smiles, happy bellies, and a reaffirmation that food, chefs, critics, and restaurants in LA are truly great.

Josie’s Review: I fell in love with the place! Ludo Bites is a quaint spot with dismal lighting and fantastic food! I, being the truest commitment phobic, was in love. The cantaloupe and chorizo soup- a true tantalizer. At first, I didn’t know what the slush was (truth is, I hardly ever read about what I’m about to put in my mouth until after I’m swallowing) and in fact, as I chewed I grimaced and thought to myself, “what the f!@* was that?” However, after a brief moment, I was pleasantly surprised! The taste teetered on the balance of unfamiliar and exciting. Quick gratitude came to my mind and I thanked Ludo’s wife for sending it over and introducing us it. As for my veal, I loved it as well. My only complaint was that there wasn’t enough to satiate my robust appetite, but I need to cut down and start watching my waistline anyway, I suppose. Above anything, I felt a little French for the night. In true French fashion, the marriage of food, fun, and friendships rolled full circle. The process of eating was not only about fulfilling a desire to eat, but rather to get to know each other by conversing and laughing. The process of eating became almost ancillary, but not forgotten; mainly so, because the food at Ludo challenges you to do something a bit more ambitious than to put something in your mouth and swallow-it challenges you to think about what it is you’re tasting. It’s good to be reminded of such things in our busy fast-food everyday life. In short, kudos to Ludo Bites!

Afterwards we headed to Third Stop for a drink and for a shared nutella, chocolate, and berry pizza for dessert. It was good but we were still on such a high from Chef Ludo and our favorite sous chef, Chef Eli.

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12 Comments

  1. I left Jun Won hungry and disappointed. That was all. I really enjoyed dining with you and the others, and I apologize if I offended the Uncouth Gourmands.

    In addition, I simply named my Ludobites entry after the restaurant – “LudoBites” — my customary practice. I did not use the offensive and cheap title “Ludo bites.” To be fair, I liked Ludo a lot; I just thought his execution was off the night I was there.

  2. I apologize if we got the wrong idea. We tend to be somewhat self-deprecating and thought Sino Soul’s tweet was brilliant and hilarious. Furthermore, we must have read your title wrong. I read one of your wife’s tweets about your love of complaining and just assumed that is what you meant. Once again, we apologize for the many confusions and would love to dine with you again in the near future.

  3. Why do you think my husband needs to watch “The Secret?”
    -Marisa (Steve’s wife)

  4. It was really nice meeting the two of you at Jun Won. Okay, the food was so-so. Good company prevails. 🙂

    Love your blog!

    Teri [in Los Angeles]

  5. Still no response to my query? I’m really curious. Not sure if you’re being funny or just mean.

  6. Marisa,

    I apologize for the delayed response, it was a long holiday night. In response to your question it was in an attempt to be funny. We weren’t at Steve’s table and so really only interacted briefly. We are silly girls and always uncouth and happened to just watch The Secret in attempt to end our dating drought and build the UG empire. We really liked your husband but he was just rather “uninterested” in us. I told him about our blog and he said, “eh maybe, I’ll check it out”. Everyone at our table laughed and Josie said “Denied”. It was really all in good fun. When I mentioned that we were going to LudoBites, Tony recommend that we asked Steve about it and we did. He said he didn’t recommend it and I think that is when Josie said, “Oh man, he needs to read The Secret”. That was it, we weren’t offended and hope we didn’t offended you or Steve.

    When I got back that night I read what you wrote on Twitter that said: @GastronomyBlog In case you haven’t noticed, Steve’s favorite hobby besides eating is complaining. It’s his raison d’etre. — the wife

    I laughed and just thought it was his nature.

    Anyway, we weren’t offended in any way and actually the whole encounter reminded me a lot of this photo of Jonathon Gold where we were a bother and he just wasn’t that interested in us http://uncouthgourmands.com/photo-gallery/img_05311/
    That’s all, and if a joke needs this much explaining clearly it is not that funny. I wish you were at the dinner and look forward to meeting and eating with you at some point.

  7. Ah, thank you for the clarification. Of course, Steve has no idea what “The Secret” is; if you explained it to him, he probably wouldn’t believe you. Then again, I’d imagine post-millennial dating in LA is rather tough and the food blogging business equally so. So, best of luck to you girls with all of it. Keep up the good work, and I’ll hope to meet you both soon.

  8. Ladies,

    It was swell meeting you two. This was a monster post (in a good way). As for J.Gold, I’ve seen pics of him with other bloggers and he always looks like he’s about to either a) pass out from boredom or b) walk off in a snit. I think that’s just his gen. demeanor. did he actually eat everything on the menu? btw, the only blogger missing from your rollcall is roaming belly. see you gals around!

    • Good, I’m glad we are not the only ones that J. Gold is disinterested in. We left around 11 and he was still eating. I know it is a long post, that is how must of our posts are, but The Roaming Belly is there with the flaccid penis remark and all.

  9. HAHA! DEENIED by the Fresser. I had to look up “The Secret” after I got home. Was totally confused… Til next time chicas (which, inappropriately, will be tonight?). You’ll meet my imaginary girl.

  10. […] Best Meal (High End):  From the second I finished my meal on my first visit to Ludo Bites this past summer, I knew that his kitchen honored the spirit of cooking. Ludo, a true […]

  11. […] mean that food is any better….remember that less than mediocre dinner with all of the bloggers at Jun Won? If you are just beginning to dip your feet into Korean food, as a couple at the table was doing, […]


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