Last week when Karina was in town she suggested a group dinner at Ludo Bites, a collaboration between Breadbar, Beverly Hills Cheese Store and Chef Ludovic Lefebvre. This sounded intriguing. I’ve never had Chef Ludo’s food before at L’Orangerie or Bastide, either being a poor student or a poor college graduate depending on what year it was. Dinner at Ludo Bites turned out to be an absolutely amazing night of food, fun and excitement. A night of beautiful quenelle of feta mousse over juicy and sweet heirloom tomatoes; an amazing spread of cheeses with equally amazing condiments most of which were made by Chef himself, especially the addicting pink grapefruit confit; chile spiked chocolate mousse; and so much more. Karina and Dawn both wrote great posts on this magical dinner with beautiful photos to accompany.
That dinner was basically awesome. We were high off the excitement, the food, and the utterly charming nature of Chef who was paying extra attention to our table. I credit that to Karina’s knowledge of food and ingredients which pleased the big chef. Or perhaps because Karina and I had our faces attached to the prep counter and he got scared, haha. Just gotta say this guy is absolutely passionate about food and it shows through his food and skills he’s honed throughout his life. I so regret not dining at his restaurants before. Who needs to spend money fixing a broken car or pay bills when amazing life-changing food is waiting just around the corner? I was mesmerized by everything – the color of the condiments, the way they fell of the spoon into a little plop, the cutting of the cheese with a beautiful big shiny knife, how beautiful quenelles formed with just a flick of a humble spoon. These little details and observations make food so exciting for me.
So what else could I do except go back to Ludo Bites this week? This time around I went with another food-lover Julie and two other friends. The last dinner was all about cheese and desserts but this time around we got to taste some delicious creations. Also this time around we took advantage of the byob no corkage policy and brought five bottles of wine. Um, there were four girls. I am guilty one of bringing two wine but I just had to bring a bottle of bubbly to start off the night.
In fact the Cava was perfect with our first plate of soppressata. Then we took advantage of the lasting tomato season and ordered the Heirloom Tomato with Feta Mousse. The texture of the feta mousse is amazing and the strong salty brininess is subdued just leaving enough of that characteristic to season the sweet tomatoes along with the little black olives and slivers of red onion. And as you already know I am completely smitten with perfect quenelles. Such a visually pleasing shape. Not that I mind digging into it with a hungry spoon a second after admiring it.
Four of us girls moved in on the meat section next without any hesiation. Foie Gras Terrine graced our table in no time. The Artisan foie gras was served with sliced mushrooms which sandwiched lemon puree. I was blown away by this combination. I would have never expected these flavors to go together but it went so well. The citrusy lemon puree brought a spark of brightness to the earthy mushroom and foie gras. Wow.
Next came the Chicken Liver Mousse with Green Apple Gelee. The texture of the mousse was amazing – so light and fluffy. The chicken liver with the green apple gelee was a stellar. Who woulda thunk? Well obviously Chef did! Amazing. I will dream about this chicken liver mousse.
The crowing dish of the night was the special of the day – Black Croque Monsieur. Sandwiched between the black slices of bread (I forgot to ask what kind of bread. Sowee.) was foie gras, two types of cheese one of which was mimolette, and a paper thin slice of cured ham. As much as all the detailed info I’m missing on this dish it was absolutely amazing. The dish that really brought silence to the table as we downed this sandwich. The flavors just melted in my mouth and the slight crispiness of the bread brought the perfect amount of texture to the rich and smooth foie gras. My mouth waters now just thinking about this perfect sandwich. Oh and the shiny pieces stuck on the monsieur? Silver paper, not “foil” and Julie and I first thought.
We were still going though. Next up was the Marinated Hangar Steak with Shallots Confit. Can we girls eat enough meat? Apparently not. This was also delicious. The meat was perfectly cooked of course and great with the confit’d shallots and the bright parsley sauce.
Finally we were ready for the huge cheese plate Chef prepared for us. Blue de chevre, reblochon, tonneau and a ton of other which I could not remember the names. I tell you this is a hard feat to try to keep everything in order especially with my lack of knowledge of cheese. Next time I go I’m taking a pen with me to be more organized. I gobbled down the pink grapefruit confit again. The recipe for this is in his book Crave which I need to pick up asap.
We had dessert of finish off the night. The LUDO Chocolate Mousse is to die for. The texture once again amazingly light, formed into a beautiful quenelle, topped with a bright pink flower to contrast with the dark Hawaiian chocolate which just melts in your mouth. I love the spike of spiciness that’s infused into the mousse with a red jalapeno. I love spicy. I love this. I love Chef Ludo’s food.
I feel like a different person after having these two amazing meals prepared by Chef. His food is so inspiring, beautiful and absolutely delicious. His enthusiasm and passion for food really rubbed off on me. I can’t wait to get his book and cook!