Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ludobites 4.0 @ Gram & Papa's

When Will from FoodDigger invited me to a pre-opening Ludobites dinner, I literally jumped up for joy. After I regained my composure, I couldn't help wonder what magical dishes Ludo would come up with. Oh what I would give to be a synapse in his brain just so I can see how his mind works.

Given that the restaurant was the only dining establishment in that area, Gram and Papa's was fairly easy to find with ample street and lot parking. A lot of the food bloggers were already there sipping on champagne and excitedly chatting away about the amazing meal to come.

tartine plate 'three fat textures": clarified butter, brown sugar butter, whipped lavendar lard


To start, we were given crispy baguette with three different kinds of "fat textures." The lavender lard seemed to be the crowd favorite, but I personally loved the clarified butter.

2009 Donkey & Goat, Rose of Grenache Gris, California

carrot salad, saffron anglaise creame, pearl onions, citrus, mustard powder

This was a preparation of carrot two ways and a fantastic way to start the meal. The two thicker cut of carrots were cooked in their own juice and then caramelized, as you can see in the photo above. The other carrots were thinly cut and infused with orange blossom giving the carrots a fruity finish. The different variety of oranges gave a wonderful acidity that went so well with the saffron. But, my absolute favorite part was the pickled pearl onions! The rose was floral and on the fruity side - nice pairing with the carrots and oranges.

2009 Bedrock Wine Company, Compagni Protis Vineyard, 'Heirloom

egg, potato mousseline, lobster, borage flower

Before I rave about this review, please give me a moment to wipe my keyboard down, not to mention the drool on my face...... Okay, so this had to be one of my favorite dishes of the night. It had everything that I love! The potato mousseline was deliciously buttery and the lobster was wonderfully cooked. The egg was key in combining all the flavors together to this fantastic dish. I thought the wine pairing for this was spot on. The crisp wine was refreshing and allowed the delicate flavor of the lobster and creamy, buttery finish of the potato to really shine through.

2008 Julien Fremont, Cidre Brut Par Nature, "Greniers," France

foie gras croque-monsieur, lemon turnip chutney

Arguably Chef Ludo's most beloved dish and making it's second appearance on the Ludobites menu, the foie gras croque-monsieur definitely lived up to all the rave. When you bite into the squid ink-dyed bread with the luscious foie gras and ham, you cannot help but rolls your eye back in absolute bliss. The tangy tartness from the lemon turnip chutney is a nice contrast to the sandwich. Paired with this dish was a cider which was made from dried apples that was stored for two to three months. When you drink the cider alone, the sweetness from the fruits really come through. But when taken with the foie gras, the sweetness almost disappears and the apples play a more citrus-like role.

2008 Benaza Godello, Spain

burgundy escargots, garlic flan, green jus, yellow flowers

Ludo's preparation of the escargot was not as buttery as other preparations I have had. Although I did miss over indulging in the wonder that is butter, I thoroughly enjoyed the garlic flan and green jus. Garlic, for me, makes everything better - just don't tell bacon I said that. The snails were paired with a bright Spanish white wine which was full of citrus notes. By this point, I was getting really full and a bit tipsy - so please forgive me that I forgot to take a picture.

 2007 Palacios Mencia, "Petalos," Spain

columbian river king salmon confit, spring cabbage, orange skin & juniper berries

Next up was poached salmon with cabbage cooked in red wine. The salmon was so moist while the skin was perfectly crispy. However, the bitterness of the cabbage and juniper berries, for me, seemed disconnected from the dish. I did appreciate the spicy notes from the wine which I thought went nicely with the salmon and cabbage when eaten together.

poached jidori chicken, crispy skin with hazelnuts, garden vegetables, bacon royale

Our last savory course proved to be the strongest and one of my favorite dishes of the night. The chicken, having been poached without the skin, was unbelievable moist and juicy, while the crispy bits of salty skin provided the perfect amount of crunch and flavor. The bacon royale was dangerously addicting and the leek salad gave a mild onion flavor that I always yearn for. This dish was paired with 2008 Benaza Godello, previously seen with the escargots. By this time, I had about three different glasses in front with three different wines. I'd be lying if I told you I paired this dish with the correct wine - all I knew was that this dish made my soul cry.

2006 Jo Pithon "Les 4 Villages," Coteaux du Layon, France

brie chantilly napoleon, honey comb, balsamic, frisee salad

I have a lot of "favorites," and cheese is very high on that list. If you speak with any one of my friends, they will tell you that I am a bonafide cheese "freak." One of my favorite things to eat is cheese and honey on a cracker. I felt like this cheese course was specially made for me! Okay, I know that may not be the case here... But when food speaks to you in such a way, you can't help but wonder if there is some cosmic supernatural force working to bring you and such a dish together. The creamy whipped brie with the honeycomb was fantastic and I loved the presence of the frisee salad, making this a real cheese sandwich. The dessert wine was sweet, but not overly sweet especially when paired with the cheese.

2003 Pietri-Geraud Banyuls, "Cuvee Mediterranee," France

dark chocolate souffle, black pepper milk chocolate ice cream, chocolate cream

For our last dessert course, we were presented with our very own impressive chocolate souffle. The souffle was so light and airy. It went superbly with the fruity notes from the wine. The black pepper ice cream was really overwhelming when eaten alone. The souffle and chocolate cream did tone down the strong black pepper flavor, but it was still too strong for me.

This being Chef Ludo's 4th installment, I have to say with much confidence that it has become my favorite installment of his so far. This epic meal was unforgettable and I cannot thank Chef Ludo, Krissy, the staff and the kind people at Fooddigger enough for providing me with such an awesome experience. Thank you also to DomaineLA for the wonderful wine pairings that greatly enhanced the meal. Always pushing the boundaries and constantly searching for innovative ways to provide his fans with soul-satisfying food, Chef Ludo has a gift in making our foodie dreams into reality.

I am so excited that I made my own reservations in late May as I know he will be changing up his menu towards the end. I cannot wait to see what else he adds onto the menu and until then... thank you and happy eating!

Ludo Bites at Gram & Papa's on Urbanspoon

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

Ludobites @ Gram & Papa's
227 E 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 624-7272


gastronomnom said...

Nice pics and recap! I absolutely loved that lobster dish too!

christina said...

great write-up! it was so nice meeting you that night and thanks again for the ride home!

Gastronomer said...

Do you have room for one more on your May reservation? I'm dying to return ;-)

A pleasure meeting you last Wednesday night. I look forward to seeing you at Plate by Plate, if not sooner!

Bianca @south bay rants n raves said...

It was a pleasure to meet you! See you at the next one! Thanks for the wonderful pics & recap!

nelehelen said...

linden - i still have dreams about that lobster dish!

christina - great meeting you and no prob about the ride! glad i could help :)

cathy - i wish i had room for one more! cuz if i did, you'd totally be more than welcome! hopefully i'll see you sooner than Plate by Plate. I'll send you more info so keep a look out in your email! :)

bianca - great to meet you too! hope to do it again very, very soon!

bagnatic said...

yay, you finally wrote it helen! it's like reliving the meal all over again. mmmm...i'm jealous you have may, and i have but a memory....*amy runs away and cries SILENTLY*

nelehelen said...

lol amy! you're hilarious!

all we need in life are memories any way right? oh and food... delicious, delicious food!

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