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Before I talk about my amazingly delicious dining experience at Best of LudoBites: Foie Gras Night, here are some reasons why I have been MIA:

1. I got bored. Which actually happens quite frequently. I put 110% into whatever I’m interested in at that moment to a point where it becomes annoying and unfortunately, I quickly get sick of it. And frankly, I got sick of talking about food. Compared to most food bloggers my dining experience has been limited and while I may know a little too much information about Tom Ford’s life, what I know about chefs are very limited. My taste buds are not snobby and yes guys, I do eat El Taurino quite frequently and enjoy it. (Carne asada burrito, no beans, with sour cream and cheese. Green and red sauce on the side.) As long as my mouth is happy eating good food, I’m fine dining at a 5-star restaurant or at a questionable hot dog stand on the street.
2. LA in Stilettos was having an identity crisis. Food blog? No. Fashion blog? No. Lifestyle blog? Too general. What is it? I still don’t have the answer to the question. There’s plenty of food blogs you can check out if you want detailed information about where to dine at and what to order and there’s gorgeous fashion blogs where you can really draw inspiration from. Unfortunately, as of now, LA in Stilettos is neither. But I do think Grace and I have something special to offer.
3. Busy with life. I didn’t realize how much time blogging took up and with my upcoming wedding, I’ve had 0 energy and interest. You would also think that 2 people running this blog would mean twice as many posts, but Grace is just as busy as I am finishing courses to graduate early, and working a part-time internship.
4. Does anyone read this?

But despite the reasons that I listed (and others I haven’t), I’ve kind of missed blogging. I may not be a great writer, I’m still working on being a better photographer, and my style may seem just okay, but I’m going to keep blogging. I have no idea where this blog is going, but we all have to start somewhere. Hopefully with age, this blog will only get better (kind of like George Clooney).

——

If I die of a heart attack at the age of 26, please feel free to sue California on my behalf. (A says suing California over my death by foie gras incident isn’t possible, but whatever, I’m going to stick by it.) With the ridiculous foie gras ban going into effect on July 1, 2012, I’ve been consuming an abnormal amount of foie gras. If I’m at a restaurant and there’s foie gras on the menu, I’m getting it. If there’s a special foie gras dinner, there’s a very good chance I’m at it.

Foie Gras Cromesqui “MM”
These balls were such a tease. You pop one in your mouth and it’s an explosion of foie gras and I kid you not, my eyes were closed and I literally moaned. Balls + moaning. We seriously wanted more balls in our mouths. (Insert several dirty jokes and snickers). I’m definitely jealous of the Wednesday diners, because they got two.

Foie Gras Dynamite, Tuna, Lichi

Foie Gras Miso Soup, Radish, Turnips

Foie Gras Black Croque-Monsieur, Grappes
Officially my new comfort food. What’s not to love about Croque Monsieurs? Add some foie gras to it and it definitely becomes a fancy, decadent comfort food that I can see myself devouring on a rainy day. (Seriously, why must this delicious goodness be banned?!)

Foie Gras “Crepinette.” Morels, Pears, Green Asparagus

Foie Gras Sundae, Brioche, Black Berries

Best of LudoBites: Foie Gras Night was definitely one of my favorite foie gras meals. Every dish was fantastic and I generally consume the same “boring” foie gras dish, but all the dishes for this dinner were creative and made me very happy. Not only was the foie gras the star of all the dishes, but it worked so well with all the other ingredients on the plate. I left the meal hoping to return for the 2nd night with A or Grace, but none of them were free until late.

Check back if you want more delicious foie gras photos. You know I’ll be consuming more until the ban! And possibly after if I manage to smuggle some into California.

Best of LudoBites: Foie Gras Night at Gram & Papa’s // 227 E 9th St. Los Angeles, CA 90015

xox Joanna

Un Petit Porc
Gram & Papa’s
227 E 9th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
www.ludobites.com

Note: Everyone (including myself) thought that Chef Ludo Lefebvre was the one behind Porc Night, but the recipes and cooking are all Mike Ilic, owner of Gram & Papa’s. Chef Ludo assisted with the cooking so technically it should be Mike Ilic’s Porc Night with Chef Ludo.

I have a weird relationship with pork. I love bacon and several other Korean pork dishes, but I generally dislike most other ones because of the distinctive taste and smell of pork. Because of my several somewhat traumatizing experiences with pork, I usually avoided it.

However, my relationship with pork changed when I dined at LudoBites 5.0 (my first LudoBites experience) and had Chef Ludo’s Confit Pork Belly, Raw Choucroute Thai Style, Guinness Emulsion. Oh gosh, this pork belly dish was fatty, rich, juicy, crispy, and perfectly tender — everything a pork belly should be. I loved it so much, I ordered a 2nd dish and was not willing to share with my dinner companions.

Confit Pork Belly, Raw Choucroute Thai Style, Guinness Emulsion from LudoBites 5.0
Photo Credit: kevinEats

Since Chef Ludo changed my perspective and relationship with pork, it was only fitting that I dined at Porc Night at Gram and Papa’s. The meal was served family style with a Boston Lettuce Salad as an appetizer; an entree choice of Porchetta or Capresa Sandwich; four sides of Greens, White Bean, Cheesy Polenta, and Burnt Potatoes; and a Roasted Apple and Vanilla Ice Cream with dessert.

Boston Lettuce Salad


Porchetta Sandwich

Spicy Au Jus for Porchetta

Greens

White Bean

Cheesy Polenta

Burnt Potatoes

Roasted Apple with Caramel and Vanilla Ice Cream

My only experience at Gram & Papa’s has been with LudoBites. Gram & Papa’s is only open for lunch and I haven’t had the chance to make it over for lunch so it was nice to taste Mike Ilic’s delicious Porchetta Sandwich over some beer and wine.

xox -

Joanna

LudoBites 007
Gram & Papa’s
227 E 9th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
www.ludobites.com
Dinner – Friday, 09/09/2011

I have been fortunate enough to visit LudoBites 007 3 times (Opening Night dinner and 2nd visit here and here) and honestly, I feel a bit selfish since I know several people that still haven’t tried Chef Ludo’s food. But in my defense, the 2nd visit was semi-spontaneous and the 3rd visit came out of nowhere.

For the 2nd LudoBites 007 dinner post, I wrote some tips on how to get a table at LudoBites. I listened to my own advice and by chance got a table for 6 through OpenTable the night before. I took 4 other people that have been dying to try LudoBites and was more than happy to introduce more people to a delicious dining experience.

Lavender Ginger Lemonade

Choucroute Tarte Flambée

Prawn & Scallop Ceviche, Aji Amarillo, Red Berries

Masala Fried Chicken, Chicken Fat Vinaigrette

Foie Gras Crudo, Raw Mushrooms, Grapes, Brioche, Hazelnut Oil

Salt Cod Panna Cotta, Whipped Fingerling Potato, Smoked Tapioca

Braised Oxtail Beef, Rainbow Carrots, Shallots, Amaranth

Squid, Black Ash, Baby Leeks, Spring Onions, Chorizo

Pig’s Head Compressed, Mimolette, Barbeque Gelée, Pickles Melons

Egg, Sea Urchin, Caviar, Champagne Beurre Montee

Crispy Tandoori Octopus, Yogurt, Cauliflower, Grapefruit

Duck, Cherry, Spicy Saucisse, Beets, Radish

Foie Gras, Corn, Coconuts

Lamb Cooked in Fat “Moroccan Style”, Artichoke, Mint

Pick-Up Stick Cantal Cheese, Curry White Chocolate

Chocolate Cake, Chipotle, Orange

Lavender Tropezienne Tart, Aloe Vera, Peach

All 3 dining experiences for LudoBites 007 were delicious and I can’t wait to see what 8.0 will bring. If you can’t get a reservation for 8.0, please follow my tips and just be patient. A friend listened to my advice and arrived early for a walk-in and guess what? He got a table!

Once again, these are the tips so keep them in mind if you don’t get reservations for 8.0!

Since LudoBites reservations are hard to come by, here are some tips on getting a table:
- Do not angrily Tweet, message, etc. Chef Ludo and his wife, Krissy.
- Follow Krissy Lefebvre on Twitter (@FrenchChefWife) and keep your eyes open for cancellation Tweets.
- Check OpenTable periodically and hope for a cancellation!
- Walk-ins! Yes, there are some walk-ins available. At 6.0, there was a communal walk-in table available on a first-come, first-serve basis. For 007 there are 2 2-seaters on the sidewalk. Go early for these walk-ins.

xox -

Joanna

LudoBites 007
Gram & Papa’s
227 E 9th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
www.ludobites.com
Dinner – Wednesday, 09/07/2011

I was lucky enough to dine at LudoBites 007 for the 2nd time (Opening Night dinner here) with my friend PIGletventures (aka Violet Kim), a LudoBites virgin. We didn’t have reservations for this dinner, but we arrived at Gram & Papa’s at 4:50 PM to grab one of the walk-in tables on the sidewalk or try our luck at a table inside (there’s always cancellations). Since it’s the last week of LudoBites, there were no cancellations, but we had no problem enjoying the open air of Skid Row. The LudoTruck was also parked right next to us so we enjoyed episodes of LudoBites America while eating.

Since LudoBites reservations are hard to come by, here are some tips on getting a table.
- Do not angrily Tweet, message, etc. Chef Ludo and his wife, Krissy.
- Follow Krissy Lefebvre on Twitter (@FrenchChefWife) and keep your eyes open for cancellation Tweets.
- Check OpenTable periodically and hope for a cancellation!
- Walk-ins! Yes, there are some walk-ins available. At 6.0, there was a communal walk-in table available on a first-come, first-serve basis. For 007 there are 2 2-seaters on the sidewalk. Go early for these walk-ins.

Lavender Ginger Lemonade

Masala Fried Chicken, Chicken Fat Vinagrette

Gloves for the Chicken

Egg, Sea Urchin, Caviar, Champagne Beurre Blanc

Plancha Tandoori Octopus, Yogurt, Cauliflower, Grapefruit

Squid, Black Ash, Chorizo

Lamb Cooked in Fat Moroccan Style, Artichoke, Mint

Foie Gras, Corn, and Coconuts

Pistachio Brown Butter Cake, Mascarpone, Red Berries

Since it was only 2 of us, we didn’t order everything off the menu and the few dishes we ordered, we were barely able to finish, but of course, every bite was delicious. Like opening night, everything about dinner was great and I know Violet really enjoyed her first time at LudoBites. And of course, being the little piggies that we are, we grabbed a snack from LudoTruck after.

xox -

Joanna

LudoBites 007
Gram & Papa’s
227 E 9th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
www.ludobites.com
Dinner – Wednesday, 08/03/2011

A picture is worth a thousand words… here are 15 photos. You do the math. Enjoy!

Open kitchen at Gram & Papa’s

Lavender Ginger Lemonade

Onion Tart, Bottarga

Dorade Ceviche, Cucumber Water, Cornichons, Borrage Flower

Tomato Soup, Carrots, Squid

Salt Cod Panna Cotta, Whipped Fingerling Potato, Smoked Tapioca, Black Olive Bread

Pig’s Head Compressed and Cheddar, Barbeque Gelee

Egg, Sea Urchin, Caviar, Champagne Beurre Blanc

Plancha Tandoori Octopus, Yogurt, Cauliflower, Grapefruit

Foie Gras Ravioli, Crispy Kimchi, Sake-Black Truffle Cream

Duck, Cherry, Spicy Saucisse, Beets, Radish

Roasted Beef, Horseradish Cream, Green Beans, Dried Mollet

Epoisse Cheese Risotto, Hazelnut, Egg Yolk, Herb Salsas

Peach Melba Vacherin, Lavender

Crustless Lemon Tart, Limoncello, Thyme

Park sisters with Chef Ludo

xox -

Joanna & Grace

Ludo Bites America at Casa Pulido
228 Avenue I
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
www.ludobites.com
Dinner – Wednesday, 06/01/2011

If you haven’t heard of Chef Ludo Lefebvre and his wife, Krissy, you’re living under a rock. A pretty damn big rock.

If you happen to be the few that live under this “pretty damn big rock”, you will soon be able to learn all about this husband and wife duo that basically invented the concept of pop-up restaurants by tuning into the Sundance channel on July 19th at 9pm. Chef Ludo got his own show, Ludo Bites America, where he tours different states and only has a few days to set up a pop-up restaurant. Sounds easy, right? Especially since he does it all the time! The catch: he has to work in an unfamiliar kitchen with different cooks and servers. Also, most of these people and servers living in middle-of-nowhere, Nebraska have never even heard of half the things he cooks.

Grace and I have been huge fan of Chef Ludo for awhile now, and since we can’t get Chef Ludo’s food whenever the mood strikes, we get vicious whenever we hear about his pop-up. One early morning, Grace and I found out on Krissy’s Twitter (here) that the last stop of the Ludo Bites America tour would be in none other than LA! (Redondo Beach, to be exact.) Casa Pulido a family-owned Mexican restaurant, was turned into Casa PuLUDO for one night!

I’m not going to go into detail about what we did in order to get reservations, because it’ll seem borderline crazy…so I’ll just continue with some photos from that night. (FYI, We’re still amateurs so our photos aren’t as great as other bloggers. If you want better photos and more behind the scene shots, check out kevinEATS and Darin Dines.)


Casa Pulido in Redondo Beach. Location of the last stop for Ludo Bites America. We couldn’t get a better shot, because of the foie gras protestors…and I didn’t feel like running across the street in my Louboutins. I’m willing to sacrifice my waistline for food, but not my shoes!

The menu and spray-paint coq placemat.

Brocamole & Chips
Grace kept calling this dish BRO(like frat bro)-camole. Since she called it BRO-camole, we couldn’t figure out what it was for the longest time. And of course, I sounded like a ditz on camera by saying bacon was in this dish. FYI, it’s BROCCOLI. Hence the name, “Brocamole” and pronounced BRA-camole. Thanks Grace.

Ceviche, Cucumber Water, Purlane

Chilled Red Tomato Soup, Carrot, Smoked Fish

Monterey Squid, Chorizo, Banana, Honey Clementine

Crispy Octopus, Smokey Chipotle, Piquillos Pepper Polenta
This was my favorite dish of the evening. Every time I’ve eaten octopus, it’s always been tough and boring so whenever I see it on a menu, I don’t even bother with it. However, since this was LudoBites, we ordered one of everything and I was very excited as soon as I bit into this dish. The octopus was perfectly cooked and I couldn’t get over how soft it was! I also love that the peppers gave the dish a nice little, spicy kick.

Brandade Tacos, Dandelion, Creamy Extra Virgin Olive Oil
When I think dandelion, I think of the pesky weed on your lawn. I definitely don’t imagine it on my plate of brandade (an emulsion of salt cod and olive oil) tacos. But I happily munched on it along with the tacos. Our group of three definitely loved this dish.

Foie Gras Quesadilla, Crispy Cabbage, Juniper Berry Oil
There was a group of foie gras protestors outside the restaurant in the beginning of the night. At first, all I saw was a sign that said “Hudson Valley Foie Gras” and the first thing that crossed my mind was, “ARE THEY GIVING AWAY SAMPLES?!” Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Instead, pamphlets protesting foie gras were shoved in my face and I was lectured about animal cruelty. Now, I hope no one is offended by this comment and I know I may be getting emails from PETA really soon…BUT, I really don’t give a rat’s…butt. You’re preaching to the wrong choir. LudoBites fans are clearly knowledgeable about food and we all know how foie gras is made. Yet, we choose to eat it. So chanting things like “hey, hey, ho, ho, foie gras has got to go” only makes me chant back “hey, hey, ho, ho, foie gras has got to go… into my belly!” Honestly, this foie gras was worth it. I’m still thinking about this foie gras quesadilla. In fact, maybe I’ll go online right now to Hudson Valley Foie Gras and order some foie gras…

Roasted-Poached Beef in Lard, Squid Ink Risotto, Lemon Confit, Dried Mole

Guacamole Sorbet, Catalan Cream, Fruit Salsa, Tequila

Ancho Chili Pepper Chocolate Brownie, Caramel Leche, Red Beets & Rhubarb

“Salsa-Rita”
(Salsa Tomato Water, Lime, Cilantro, Real Reposado Tequila, Sugar Chilie Rim)

The Park sisters with Chef Ludo

Chef Ludo signed menu. Adding to the collection of signed LudoBites menus.

It’s always fun going to LudoBites pop-ups, but this was a different experience. Several diners have been following Chef Ludo since his first pop-up at Breadbar so it was great to hear (aka eavesdrop) about their LudoBites experiences. I also loved spotting some bloggers that I regularly follow and I wanted to stop by and say “hi”, but I got shy…Haha. Next time, I’ll definitely make a point to run up to some of them and scream “I stalk your blog!!”

LudoBites 7.0 is happening this summer, so come back to find out more information!

xox-

J

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