Gram & Papa's
please note check marks to the right of menu, we argued happily over what to order
Out of town the majority of this Ludobites edition, Krissy & I both exhibited boatloads of patience to make sure D and I got into eat at Ludo 5.0. Direct messages flew back and forth between the two of us more than a few times. I couldn't get in on the reservation making the day the big Opentable snafu went down because I was up in the air flying toward Detroit.
I tried for a reservation the weekend in between Detroit and Bakersfield, but Ludobites was closed on Saturdays during this engagement.
I shot out an entire series of tweets asking (begging) people for their unwanted reservations, a ploy which has worked well at several Hatchi engagements. Alas at Ludobites 5.0, no dice. A little blonde bird told me this engagement brought unprecedented attention, desire and success to the French chef, his wife and their lovely staff.
Finally, almost as a reward for all my travel and hard work, Krissy offered D and I a canceled reservation on my first week back from the long summer of work abroad. We headed in taxi through the hot summer evening toward Ludobites 5.0 with a bottle of wine in tow and curiosity in our bellies, on time for a change.
Poached Egg, Potato Mousseline, Chorizo Condiment #1
Love at first bite.
Poached Egg, Potato Mousseline, Chorizo Condiment #2
D and I spent about 30 seconds digging into this juxtaposition in textures and flavors before he called our server over and ordered a second one to share. He ordered it before our next course had even arrived, and it arrived before we finished the first.
The potato mousseline was light, yet almost densely creamy and thick. I cannot think of another way to describe it. We dug into the mousse, breaking open the sensually slow poached egg, tasting ribbons of chorizo oil and declared it the best breakfast we'd ever had for dinner.
Both of them.
Heirloom Tomatoes, Mozzarella Ice Cream, Basil Crumble
Culinary tom foolery in the best way. A cool summertime salad version of a warm fruit compote...sounds totally weird, was totally delicious.
Large chunks of colorful heirloom tomatoes swimming in a basil infused oil. The crumble on top was almost sweet, a little crunchy. Iono what was in the crumble to create the sweet/savoriness but it was perfectly conceived. I rave on about this not to diminish the wonder of the ice cream. At Ludo 4.0, I declared Ludo's ice cream making skills to rival that of Tai Kim, proprietor and maker of Scoop's ice creams. My initial assessment stands. The mozzarella ice cream was a playful nod at both ice cream and mozzarella cheese, not soft and creamy yet not exactly like the firm slightly springy texture of a buffalo mozzarella either. It was somewhere happily right in the middle. Altogether, the sum of its parts mimicked a caprese, I loved every bite.
Grilled Corms "Mexican" Style, Brown Butter Powder, Fresh Wasabi, Tomatillos, Cilantro
Definitely a drinker of the Ludo Kool-Aid, but also really enjoying some of the lighter dishes Ludo was throwing down during the heat of the summer season, I became overly attached to the Mexican grilled corn. I didn't really taste the "brownness" of the butter powdery, but it was definitely buttery. Mentioned in every astute blog post and write up of Ludobites is Ludo's attention to cultural culinary diversity. To me, this dish is Mexican, it incorporate Japanese flavors, and in its inclusivity and produce it is all California. By the time this rolled out, I was getting full. I finished part of my share, set the rest close by, and woe to the two servers who tried to clear the plate. Grrrrr.
Crispy Veal Sweetbread, Pink Pepper, Peach, Balsamic, Maple Syrup
D was not overly fond of this dish, I know offal is not his favorite food in concept. I insisted. Offal + stone fruit = FTW. However, even for me this helping of sweetbread was a little on the large side. The flavor combo with the gamy meat, pink peppercorns and sweet hot fruit was wonderful but the portion was really large raising even my affective filter around the less desired cuts of beast just a little. The balsamic was a blast though, gelatinized in a firm black strip easily cut to add a little acid to every single savory sweet bite.
Kobe Wagyu Steak, Charcoal Oil, Goat Cheese, Candied Black Olive, Cauliflower
How beautiful is this? Clockwise from 9 o'clock: goat cheese log with candied black olive, Wagyu steak perfectly cooked medium rare covered in lacy shaved cauliflower, and I have no idea what schmeared on the plate at 5 o'clock. The beef is clearly the bride in wedding ruffles...it was very good.
Chocolate Cake, Fleur de Sel, Spicy Olive Oil
This was CRAZY. No WAY did I have room for dessert, but this really intrigued me. A simple moist chocolate cake with generous fleur de sel atop, aside a ramekin of spiced olive oil...spiced with jalapeno pepper. And you could really taste the jalapeno front and center. I dipped a few yummy bites of chocolaty goodness into the oil which just engulfed the cake in the flavors of spicy capsicum. Delightful.
Thank you again, Ludo, Krissy & Staff. We will see you again soon.