I was invited to a special dinner hosted by Fooddigger with several local bloggers. I love events like these because it lets me meet the person behind the blog, get to know them, and of course have a delicious dinner to boot. It’s one of the times I don’t feel odd about taking pictures at the table, although I’m starting to get used to it around non- bloggers.
This was my first Ludobites events with Chef Ludo Lefebvre at the helm of course. I heard so many raves about Ludobites starting with the event last Fall at Royal T and at Breadbar. Ludobites has such a cult following among foodies that I jumped at the chance to attend this event held after hours at Gram & Papa’s in Downtown LA.
We were each greeted with a champagne toast to a great night. Great was an understatement!
The meal started with a fresh baguette served alongside three butters that showcased three different fat textures which included a clarified butter with chablis, a sweet emulsified brown butter, and a lavender infused whipped lard. While each texture was unique in its own right, I found myself going back for seconds, thirds, fourths….and tenths of the clarified butter, even when it started to solidify! The chablis added a sweet, smooth & slightly fruity taste to the butter which melded well with the chewy baguette.
Up next was the Carrot Salade served with saffron anglaise, pearl onions, and citrus fruits. I loved the presentation which was very bright and summer like. The two long carrots had been poached, but were still very crunchy and the shredded carrot was served in an orange juice & orange blosson sauce which was rather faint and light. My favorite part of this dish was the oranges which were cooked fully so that you could eat the rind as well which was rather unique. The oranges had a slight spice to them that added a nice kick.
One of the dishes that generated a lot of buzz at the table was the Potato Mousseline that was served atop an egg and a lobster sashimi. The potatoes were so creamy, the egg balanced the dish and I can’t say enough about the lobster which tasted very fresh. Combine the three and you have a delectable explosion of flavor in your mouth. Potato, egg, and lobster, who knew? Chef Ludo apparently!
The Potato Mousseline was a tough act to follow but Chef Ludo exceeded our expectations with his Foie Gras Croque Monsieur with Lemon Turnip Chutney served on a squid ink dyed bread with the obligatory ham & cheese. I for one am not a fan of foie gras but the combination of the foie gras & ham made a believer out of me. I didn’t care for the chutney too much, I would have just enjoyed the sandwich by itself. My only complaint here was that the other half of my sandwich was missing!
The obligatory escargots were next but Chef Ludo took this staple French dish to a new level. The Burgundy Escargots were served with a garlic flan, green parsley jus and yellow flowers decorated the dish. The snails sitting on a green canvas was a salute to their former lives roaming free on a meadow. Now they’d be roaming in my belly! I loved the fresh & creamy parsley jus as it helped to calm the otherwise overpowering garlic down. It also helped to mellow the earthy taste of the snails. Mix them together and you have perfection in a bowl.
About to meet my stomach next was a Columbian River King Salmon with Spring Cabbage, Orange Skin, and Juniper Berries. Salmon is known for its rich & buttery texture but Chef Ludo cooked this in a way that it tamed the richness & what was left was a smooth & juicy piece of fish accompanied by crunchy salmon skin that went along great with the red wine sauce. I didn’t care too much for the cabbage that was too tart for my taste.
The final main course was a Poached Jidori Chicken with ended the night with a bang. To the naked eye, it looked like a bone marrow dish but instead was a juicy piece of chicken underneath crispy chicken skin. If that wasn’t enough, a side of bacon royale accompanied the dish. The bacon royale and the skin alone told me that I needed to take 3 hours of kick boxing the next morning to burn this all off, but it’d be totally worth it!
A beautiful napoleon composed of brie whipped for two hours between two thin slices of rustic toast with honeycomb was next. The brie was so smooth, it felt like a butter sandwich, not that there’s anything wrong with that at all! The honeycomb helped cut through the creaminess of the cheese. It made me want to whip up this concoction at home as brie is my favorite cheese. A dish like this needs to be served at a sandwich shop. I know I’d be the first in line for it!
A dark chocolate souffle with black pepper milk chocolate ice cream & chocolate cream was a sweet way to end the night. The souffle was light yet rich. The chocolate cream was a welcome addition. My table mates said that the black pepper ice cream helped cut the richness of the chocolate, which it did, however I’m so sensitive to spiciness that while I appreciated it balancing the dish, it felt like little daggers were hitting my tongue. So I happily finished my souffle with the chocolate cream. All I needed was a glass of milk.
This experience was one of a kind. I love trying new cuisines & Chef Ludo took this to a new level! All the hype about Chef Ludo is well worth it. He made a believer out of me & I invite you all to check his events out. You won’t be disappointed. I thank Chef Ludo & his staff for making a dinner that I will be talking about for a great while & I thank the staff of FoodDigger for organizing this event. I’m truly grateful to have been a part of something so great! I look forward to the next one!
Check out some of my fellow foodies’ reviews of Ludobites!