LudoBites Forever

I tend to fall a little bit in love with my favorite chefs, and subsequently fall a whole LOT in love with their food.

Ludo @RoyalTCafe 1, MyLastBiteLike meeting a favorite actor or musician, I almost regress into my 13-year old obsessive self. If I could get away with covering my bedroom walls (and ceiling) with giant posters and framed Tiger Beat-ish (Food & Wine) glossies, I would. My husband Peter has nixed that idea of course, so I pin up snapshots around my kitchen pantry instead.

As a teenager I dreamt of being David Bowie’s “China Girl” and even threw birthday parties in his honor every year, hoping the thin white duke would be my “Modern Love” someday. I still have EVERY Bowie album (on vinyl) from my youth, tucked away on shelf in the closet. By the way, Happy Birthday David. I’ll be thinking of you on January 7th.

LudoBites 12/20/09Peter and I recently took my family to LudoBites @RoyalT Cafe for a pre-Christmas holiday dinner. This most recent pop-up event (aka “3.0”) was for thirteen days only, a very limited engagement that made it feel like LudoBites was a rock band on tour.

I attended five LudoBites evenings in December, and shared incredible meals with fellow food lovers and friends including Bob, Andrew, Lisa, Dave, Katrina, Phil, Julian and of course, Peter.

LudoBites 12/15/09The night I brought my good friend Jazz (Jitlada Thai Restaurant owner) was quite a treat. Mostly because she never actually takes time off to “eat out” during business hours. As she walked into the dining room, I saw heads turn to greet her. One person wrote on Twitter the next day, that seeing Jazz was like “spotting the queen” in the house. So true!

Family night was extra special of course, and everyone was blown away by the food and also the shopping! RoyalT Cafe houses a dangerous Hello Kitty collection, and I’m embarrassed to admit how much I spent during several visits. Let’s just say, that Peter won’t be buying me any valentines or birthday presents in 2010!

LudoBites 12/20/09Dining out with my niece and nephews is always fun, but I especially got a kick out of watching the twins (Chace and Kindal, 13) react to Ludo as though he were a bona fide rock star. The whole family is enamored with both Ludo and Krissy (his beautiful wife and brilliant business partner). They all first met at one of our garden parties over the summer, and my 20-year old nephew Cody had been with us to LudoBites 2.0 @BreadBar in July.

LudoBites Catering Event 9/17/09My own love affair with LudoBites started with the Foie Gras Croque Monsieur (also during 2.0). This masterpiece starts with terrine of duck foie gras, ham and cheese grilled between two pieces of pain de mie (bread) with black squid ink, and a cherry-amaretto compote on the side. It was the first thing we ordered (if it was on the menu) during seven stellar evenings on the summer tour.

Ludo @RoyalTCafe 1, MyLastBiteWhen LudoBites 3.0 was announced, Ludo stated that he would NOT repeat any previous dishes, including the beloved croque. That was a shot to my heart (and belly), and felt like when Bowie announced that he would never again sing “Changes” live in concert. Absolute heart ache.

Recently, Krissy hinted (via Twitter) that the next LudoBites (4.0) may include “Greatest Hits”, so I’m hopeful that chef Ludo reissues the classic croque.

Twins, Ludo Fans!Weeks before our family LudoBites dinner, the twins were both on FaceBook posting how excited they were to finally eat at LudoBites. None of their friends knew who Ludo was, but they were quickly educated on the awesomeness of Ludovic Lefebvre. If he and Krissy ever decide to do a pop-up restaurant in Glendora or San Dimas, they’ll have plenty of junior high school kids waiting in line!

LudoBites 12/20/09Ludo changes his menu daily, so you never know what to expect. I was absolutely thrilled to see his (now legendary) Ludo’s Fried Chicken (aka LFC) available for our family night. Imagine a large, boneless chicken nugget, extremely juicy (not greasy), seasoned perfectly, way better than KFC!

I promptly ordered LFC for each of us (eight plates total), and we spent the next few hours sharing and tasting the entire menu. At the end of the night, Ludo came out to say hello (not just to our table), and I watched my niece’s face almost explode with joy. I knew that familiar look… a shy smile, rosy cheeks and an inability to stay still in her seat. Of course, Kindal was crushing on Ludo! Don’t we all?

LudoBites 12/20/09Then it struck me… Ludo is HER Bowie. I thought about how I would’ve reacted if I met my crush at thirteen. Mostly likely, I would have screamed and probably hidden. But Kindal is so much more confident than I was back in 1977 (her brother Chace is too). She even brought chef Ludo a plate of her home made “Kindal’s Christmas Krackle”. That would be akin to me writing a song, recording it onto a cassette and mailing it to Ziggy Stardust himself.

There have been plenty of other chef crushes in 2009. Just take a look at my “Chef Photos” for evidence. But I have to say, the pure enjoyment of LudoBites has been my biggest crush of all. I wish there was some sort of foodie yearbook that I could sign… “Have a Gr8 New Year Ludo and Krissy. U guys r the coolest. LudoBites 4Ever!”

Just a FEW of my favorite dishes from LudoBites @RoyalT Cafe:

LFC Ludo's Fried Chicken
Ludo’s Famous Fried Chicken, Cantal Polenta, Baby Corn, Mole Sauce 

LudoBites 12/15/09
Tuna Sashimi, Sushi Rice Ice Cream, Soy Sauce Gelee, Smoked Ginger Oil

Ludo @RoyalTCafe 1, MyLastBite
Marinated Hanger Steak, Crunchy Escargot, Baby Corn, Bok Choy & Black Olive Mole

LudoBites @ RoyalT Cafe 3, MyLastBite
Crispy Confit Pork Belly, Burnt Eggplant Puree, Plantain, Coconutt, Thai Chili Emulsion

LudoBites 12/15/09
Striped Bass Teriyaki, Mashed Potatoes, Picked Garlic, Lemon-Miso

LudoBites 12/15/09
Foie Gras Beignet, Saffron-Dried Apricots

Ludo @RoyalTCafe 1, MyLastBite
Fourme d’ Ambert Tourte, Red Pears, Honey-Balsamic

LudoBites @ RoyalT Cafe 2, MyLastBite
Chocolate Mousse (SPICY!!) , Lichis, and Sesame Paste

Many, many more LudoBites friends & food photos on Flickr!

Ludo @RoyalTCafe 1, MyLastBiteLudoBites Website

RoyalTCafe Website

Dates: (LudoBites 3.0)12/2, 12/10, 12/15, 12/20, 12/22

Kindal’s Christmas Krackle

LudoBites 2.0 @BreadBar

Check out this awesome LudoBites piece by MyLifeAsAFoodie

Jitlada Thai Restaurant

David Bowie

Chef Photos

ALL my Ludo photos on Flickr

Ludo Video

Happy New Year Everyone!! Here’s to more fun and tasty bites in 2010!!

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26 Comments

Filed under Eating Out, Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.), Hot Chefs

26 responses to “LudoBites Forever

  1. You’re not a player, you just crush a lot!

    Ludo 4-eva!

  2. No wonder why u love LudoBites! It looks fabulous. Glad you got to sample so many goodies with your fam. Great food, a cutie chef and Hello Kitty? You are right, it can’t get better than that. The Croque looks very interesting with that black ink!
    Happy New Year!
    I am in the OC near Phil, I would love to meet u sometime!

  3. I love when you write pieces like this with this kind of passion. I know that Ludo holds a special place in your heart – and especially his food. And Ludo’s accessibility is one of the things I think really helps people warm up to him. It’s akin to a rock star finishing a concert, then walking out into the crowd and chatting it up with the people who attended the concert, talking about the songs, and how his performance went.

    I can’t wait for 4.0 — whenever that may happen. Ludo defines this whole “Chefs are Rock Stars” thing.

    Thanks for the plug too! You’re the best.

    • Ludo certainly makes it difficult to eat in “mainstream” restaurants…

      “What? I can’t go in the kitchen and hang out, then jump from table to table and talk to everyone?”

  4. Kat

    Jo I LOVED this story. I think Phil said it best when he said Ludo is “approachable.” When you have such a amazing culinary experience, to be able to personally thank the person who provided that joy truly completes the adventure. To be able to sit and have a glass of wine with that chef afterward is “priceless.” Thank you for introducing us to Ludo and Krissy (aka Kristy) and allowing us to share the experience.

  5. Wonderful post! Love it. You are sooo right: Chefs ARE Rock Stars. Ludo and his food are prime examples of why. Sorry we missed 3.0; we will definitely make it to 4.0!

  6. Remil (LIMER35)

    What a fabulous write-up Jo!!! So glad to see you and Peter at the two LudoBites 3.0 I attended. I one day hope to taste the famed Black Croque. Chef Ludo is amazing and I’m so fortunate to savor his artwork. Here’s to a great 2010!!!

  7. Another great post Jo looks like a December to remember!
    Loved the family photo, you all look so wonderful.
    The food looks so delicious… And yes Legendary Chef Ludo is a Rock Star!

  8. And like every great rock star, there’s the threat they will never tour again, so you never want to miss a show! So glad to have rocked out this December to more LudoBites. Wish I had taken a T-shirt home as a souvenir instead of these additional ten pounds around my already curvy frame, but I will yell from the rooftops that Ludo is worth every calorie!

    Many thanks to Jo and Peter for my first invite to Ludo 2.0 that has lead to the subsequent meals and many new friendships. Without a question, one of my favorite highlights of 2009!

  9. tokyoterrace

    I totally know what you mean about chef crushes. Although I’ve never met chefs that I have admired, there are many that I would certainly treat like a rock star or movie star if I ever met them. Not in a creepy way…just to clear that up. Haha

    Great post! Looks like a great line-up of dishes and a fun time with excellent people. Cheers!

  10. Yutjangsah

    I LOVE the thin white duke too! Damn that Iman! Hehee. ‘With her long blonde hair and her eyes of blue, the only thing got from u is sorrow sorrow…’ Great analogy, great photos and great post. Your niece is a cutie!

  11. I feel the same way about the foie croque – one of my favorite bites of 2009. Here’s to greatest hits for 4.0! :)

  12. JO! I want to experience the concert of LudoBites!! Please tell him to come to NY! I’ll even help him find a space (well try).
    Happy New Year!

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