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8Apr/1018

Ludobites 4.0 – Gram and Papas

Everyone has an opinion about Ludo and his pop up restaurant Ludobites. Whether it's love, hate, or apathy, it's hard to ignore the guy. He is a marketing machine. Ludo is everywhere: he's on Top Chef Masters, he's frying chicken out of a truck at the LA Street Food Festival, or he's frying chicken with Eric Greenspan and Akasha Richmond. Love him or hate him, he's a constant topic in the LA restaurant scene. With all the hype around Ludo, it's no surprise that his next pop up location, a two month stint at Gram and Papa's in downtown Los Angeles, was fully booked within 72 hours (correction, make that 18 hours, thanks Krissy) of the reservation lines opening up.

Gram and Papas - Ludobites 4.0
Gram and Papas, home of Ludobites 4.0

While I do have a few reservations lined up for Ludobites 4.0, I was fortunate enough to be invited as a guest to the FoodDigger TastEvent: Ludobites 4.0 Preview Dinner. The evening was hosted by FoodDigger (aka: I didn't pay a dime), wine pairings were provided by Domaine LA, and the food, obviously provided by Chef Ludo.

Since this was a FoodDigger event, this meant that there would be bloggers. And there were lots of them.

Bloggers at Ludobites 4.0

Bloggers mingling and breaking some ice prior to dinner.

LA Times photographer at Ludobites 4.0

The LA Times was in attendance this particular night.

Shooters everywhere at Ludobites 4.0

Point and shoot cameras were the camera of choice for this evening. If memory serves me right, I counted 3 dSLRs in the group. It brought a smile to this Canon S90 point and shoot user.

IMG_4614

After a few glasses of bubbly, we jumped right into the first course.

Tartine Plate "Three Fat Textures" at Ludobites 4.0
Tartine Plate "Three Fat Textures"

What were the three fat textures: lavender lard, clarified butter and whipped brown butter. Diners at Ludobites 2.0 will remember the lavender, although this version doesn't share the same sweetness as 2.0. Needless to say, you'll be asking for more lard, sweet or not.

No, I didn't scoop the fat textures right into my mouth. I had this nice baguette to use.

Salted baguette at Ludobites 4.0

While getting my fill of lard, I noticed the wineglasses had some engravings on them.

Domaine LA Wineglasses at Ludobites 4.0

Domaine LA Wineglasses at Ludobites 4.0

Before I continue with the food, I just have to say Jill of Domaine LA did an AMAZING job pairing wines with the preview dinner. If you are going to Ludobites, I strongly recommend you stop by her store. In fact I suggested that she create a Ludobites wine pairing package so that folks could stop by and pick up all the right wines for this dinner.

Ludo at work at Ludobites 4.0

Chef Ludo is Iron Man.

Carrot Salad, Saffron Anglaise Cream, Pearl Onions, Citrus, and Mustard Powder at Ludobites 4.0
Carrot Salad, Saffron Anglaise Cream, Pearl Onions, Citrus, and Mustard Powder

Carrot Salad, Saffron Anglaise Cream, Pearl Onions, Citrus, and Mustard Powder at Ludobites 4.0

The saffron cream really brought this course together.

Ludo at Ludobites 4.0

Chef Ludo is always working hard.

Egg, Potato Mousseline, Lobster and Borage at Ludobites 4.0
Egg, potato mousseline, lobster, borage flower

Not much to look at right?

Well, dig a little deeper and you get to the surprise.

Egg, potato mousseline, lobster, borage flower at Ludobites 4.0

This was freaking fantastic. I'm already trying to figure out how to ration this out on Friday. More than likely, we'll each be getting one...yes it's that good.

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Jill from Domaine LA always made sure our courses were properly paired.

Foie Gras Croque-Monsieur, Lemon Turnip Chutney at Ludobites 4.0
Foie gras croque-monsieur, lemon turnip chutney

The foie gras croque-monsieur makes its triumphant return from Ludobites 2.0. Chef Ludo used lemon turnip chutney since cherries are not yet in season.

Kitchen staff hard at work at Ludobites 4.0

In addition to his sous chef, Chef Ludo has quite a few interns this go around and it was fun watching them get harassed. The completely open kitchen will make for some interesting moments.

Burgundy Escargots, Garlic Flan, Green Jus (Parsley), Yellow Flowers at Ludobites 4.0
Burgundy Escargots, Garlic Flan, Green Jus (Parsley), Yellow Flowers

Saying that this dish is rich would be an understatement.

Kitchen Staff at Ludobites 4.0

Saying that Gram and Papas is all kitchen would also be an understatement.

Kitchen Staff at Ludobites 4.0

There's a whole lot of coqs in the kitchen.

Synchronized Plating at Ludobites 4.0

It's a good thing all these coqs in training have mastered the art of synchronized plating.

Columbian River King Salmon Confit, Spring Cabbage, Orange Skin & Juniper Berries at Ludobites 4.0
Columbian River King Salmon Confit, Spring Cabbage, Orange Skin & Juniper Berries

This salmon, which was cooked to 85 degrees, was amazingly tender. The crispy salmon skin brought this dish home for me.

Poached Jidori Chicken, Crispy Skin with Hazelnuts, Garden Vegetables, Bacon Royale at Ludobites 4.0
Poached Jidori Chicken, Crispy Skin with Hazelnuts, Garden Vegetables, Bacon Royale

Tender moist chicken, you'd almost think this was prepared sous-vide, but no, it was poached. And crispy skin?

Poached Jidori Chicken, Crispy Skin with Hazelnuts, Garden Vegetables, Bacon Royale at Ludobites 4.0

Yes, crispy skin. I just wanted to emphasize that one more time: CRISPY SKIN. And BACON royale.

Brie Chantilly Napoleon, Honey Comb, Balsamic, Frisee Salad at Ludobites 4.0
Brie Chantilly Napoleon, Honey Comb, Balsamic, Frisee Salad

The brie was churned for 2 hours. I feel sorry for the poor coq in training that had to do that. Thank you though, it took me 30 seconds to inhale this thing.

Brie Chantilly Napoleon, Honey Comb, Balsamic, Frisee Salad at Ludobites 4.0

I just loved how this dish was plated. And anything that was churned for 2 hours deserves more love than just one shot.

Krissy Lefebvre at Ludobites 4.0

Krissy does it all.

Dark Chocolate Souffle, Black Pepper Mill Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate Cream at Ludobites 4.0
Dark Chocolate Souffle, Black Pepper Mill Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate Cream

The black pepper mill chocolate ice cream was intense.

Chef Ludo Speaking at Ludobites 4.0

After dinner, Chef Ludo spent a few minutes chatting with the group. Ludobites 4.0 is his twist on classic French cooking. As previous Ludobites diners know though, this is bound to change. Even Chef Ludo admitted that he'll likely bore of the classic French cooking concept in a few weeks, so it will be interesting to see how the menu evolves over the next eight weeks. A chef's imagination, especially Chef Ludo, cannot be restrained!

Preview Dinner at Ludobites 4.0

The preview dinner and wine pairing menu.

Gram and Papas - Ludobites 4.0

Ludobites 4.0 at Gram and Papas
227 East 9th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 624-7272

From 4/28/2010 - 5/28/2010

Post Script: There is ABUNDANT free street parking on 9th Street after 6p. My recommendation is to park on 9th or at the intersection of 9th and Los Angeles or 9th and Santee. If you do park on Santee, I recommend parking on the North side (left) of Santee rather than the South. Lots are available, but they are a bit farther away and there's really no need to park that far.

Ludobites 4.0 pkg

Insider Tip: The yellow loading zone is free and parking ticket free AFTER 6p and there are 2 spaces directly in front of the restaurant and 2 more across the street, so take advantage of those spots!

Food Digger. Gram and Papas. Ludobites 4.0

This dinner was free and sponsored by FoodDigger.

Ludo Bites 4.0 at Gram and Papa's in Los Angeles

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Comments (18) Trackbacks (3)
  1. Fantastic photos!…I love that they look amazing without the light box. It was so great meeting you in person. I wish we had been introduced earlier in the night. By the time we started talking, I was already slipping into a major food coma haha. Hopefully we’ll meet again soon!

  2. Good stuff. Salivating already. Looking forward to my reservation next week!

  3. Awesome! I’m not going until May and I can’t wait =)
    I notice some dishes from LudoBites 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 to go with new ones as well.

    Great pics as always.

    How is the parking in this area?

  4. So how many S90s were there? I should get one, too! Great work! :)

  5. Christina – Thanks! Sorry we didn’t connect earlier. I know what you mean about the food coma. We should plan on another group dinner soon!

    Caleb – Definitely salivating inducing. And food coma inducing as well.

    Daniel S – Yes, reiterations of old 1.0-3.0 are back, and new shapes and sizes. Parking is decent, albeit sketchy. The yellow loading zone in front of the street is free after 6p and there is a TON of street parking. Seeing as how the resto only seats 38, street parking should be readily available.

  6. Weezermonkey – Just me! Although I spotted a few other high end P&S cameras on the table.

  7. your little camera did that?! dang! nice to meet you julian and your writing is perfectly write (get it). as long as you don’t use deliciousness or goodness…please don’t.

  8. Your blog is so great and easy to read! Your pictures really compliment your writing! A+

    Having said that, your blog post has me eagerly anticipating checking out 4.0
    next month!

  9. Thanks Julian :) happy you enjoyed the wines. Ludo’s food is complex, so pairing isn’t an easy task. Just happy it didn’t bomb!

  10. I hereby proclaim you the best P+S food photographer! Your shots are AWESOME! A pleasure meeting you last night. Next time around, I hope we’ll actually talk!

  11. Agree w/ Cathy – I wish my point and shoot shots looked like that! Wow!

  12. agree w/ cathy! nice shots and nice seeing you guys!

  13. I echo what everyone else has said about your pics – My goal is to get my S90 skills down as good as you do.

    Btw, thanks for the parking info. Always nice to know before driving around DLTA aimlessly!

  14. I can almost SMELL the crispy skin and bacon royale.

    now can u just make ur photos scratch’n sniff, pls?

    GET ON THAT! kthxbai

  15. You are the master of the S90, my friend. Your crazy macro focal length might even convert this DSLR user. Someday.

  16. Julian,

    So nice to meet you and dine across from you. Great shots. I was watching you take them and had no idea they would be so vibrant!

    I want an old mix of yours…

    -Elliott

  17. Sorry, I kinda eavesdropped on your comment wall… was thinking of getting the Rebel T1i but after seeing your photos, I may get the S90!

    Didn’t get to meet you on Weds but hopefully in a future Fooddigger event!

  18. Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments!


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