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.
The other bloggers/food enthusiasts in attendence were:
- Teri aka TeriLA on Twitter
- Jessica of the very clever Eat, Sip, Chew
- Sook of Yutjangsah
- Steve of Infinite Fress -who I think hated us, as Josie kept saying, “He needs to watch The Secret“. Sino Soul even wrote this on his Twitter: dinner w @uncouthgourmand makes @infinitefress hit In N Out 😦
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.
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.
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.