Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TiGeorges at Caveman Kitchen

George Laguerre (above), the owner of Haitian restaurant TiGeorges Chicken, which closed due to a fire and has yet to reopen, began working at Caveman Kitchen yesterday. Caveman is owned by a former protege of Laguerre and is his temporary base of operations. As of today he was cooking his goat, just like he used to, and can prepare his traditional chicken with 24 hours notice.

Based on Josh Lurie's report in Feast LA, I made my way today to Vermont Avenue, immediately South of the 10 freeway to try some of Laguerre's famous food.

I had the goat plate ($12), which included stewed goat, rice and beans (mixed together), plantain chips, a slaw and a salad. The goat was surprisingly tender, though not as soft as brisket. It was flavorful and was a mix of meat on and off of the bone. The juices also gave a nice element to the rice and beans. The slaw had a tremendous spicy kick to it, that I was not expecting. It was a large plate of food, a more than ample lunch (see below).

I will return (with notice) to try his chicken. For those of you who don't want to travel to Vermont & 22nd St to sample his Haitian delicacies, he will be cooking at Test Kitchen on September 5th & 6th, this coming Sunday and Monday evenings. Reservations on Open Table.

Caveman Kitchen is located in a stripmall immediately south of the Santa Monica freeway at 2215 South Vermont Avenue @ W 22nd Place. Phone: (323) 737-3717

62nd Emmy Awards Governors Ball: The Food

When the cast of Mad Men and the other Emmy Award winners left the Nokia Theater on Sunday evening, they walked across the plaza to the Governors Ball, where an army of caterers, waiters, florists and planners organized a seated dinner for over 3,500 attendees. This is the largest annual dinner in North America and required months of planning to enable the dinner to go smoothly and each guest to get their food hot and delicious.

With so many celebrities in attendance, this was no rubber chicken dinner. I will leave it to others to dish about who wore what. I will focus on the important stuff: what did they eat? Joachim Splichal's Patina Catering catered the three course meal of Summer Vegetable Salad, Rack of Lamb and Dark Chocolate Decadence. Wines were provided by Beaulieu Vineyards and the cast of Modern Family and Daily Show celebrated their statuettes with Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne. Nobody was going hungry or thirsty at this bash.

The first course (above) was Summer Vegetable Salad, Avocado Mousse, Salsa Verde and Heirloom Tomato Water Gelee. The avocado mousse and the tomato water gelee (at the right side of the plate) provided a nice textural contrast to the fresh vegetables on the left. This year the Emmy Awards were held in August, instead of the traditional September, which provided Chef Alec Lestr, the Executive Chef of Patina Catering, the opportunity to focus "on summer ingredients instead of fall. We have beautiful heirloom tomatoes this year."

The main course was Rack of Lamb with Dried Fruit Crumble, Chickpea Puree, Basil Marinated Grilled Eggplant with Summer Vegetables and Rosemary Juice. The lamb was delicious and made it out to the table pink in the center. Chef Lestr began planning the meal and came up with 80 different dishes. By March he and his team had narrowed the choices to 20 for the Board of Governors to sample and the entree options included beef, lamb and chicken.

For the first time in a decade the Governors chose something other than beef by going with the lamb. For diners who don't eat lamb, the kitchen provided an option of Portobello Mushroom Ravioli or Lemon Studded Salmon Ratatouille. Almost 1,000 pounds of rack of lamb was served to the attendees.

Over 180 chefs and 13 executive chefs were on hand to prepare the food for the full house of 3,600 winners, nominees, presenters and academy members. The dessert course (above) was Dark Chocolate Decadence with Smoked Fleur D'Sel on Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownie. This is not a dish you see every day, combining a dessert mix available in the supermarket with high end fine dining flourishes. Philippe Muze, the Executive Pastry Chef for Patina Catering, created the dish, which was a first for him. "I tested the brownie recipe and it came out well. Coming from France, we don't have these kind of products there. I love fleur de sel. I thought, what can I put with chocolate brownies? Fleur de sel gives some special flavor to the dish."

Chef Lestr (above) was surprisingly calm before the awards, "I wish every day was the Emmys. I want to feed 3,500 people every day. We have such an amazing team. With the theme of Starry, Starry Night, we thought, let's make the food beautiful," he said. His motto is "plan the work, work the plan."

The tables were decorated with the theme of Starry Night and the food was cooked on-site, on temporary kitchens set up in the adjacent parking lot and plated adjacent to the ballroom. Your correspondent was unfortunately not able to keep the Emmy statuette pictured in the photo above, despite having a perfect spot for it on my mantle. Below the full expanse of the room is visible in all of its scale and extravagance.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pattaya Savory Hunter cocktail by Chad Solomon

Chad Solomon (pictured above) is one of the best bartenders anywhere, so when he let me know he was doing a one night stint at the Test Kitchen on Saturday with Julian Cox (with Walter Manzke in the kitchen), I made sure to be there. Chad worked at Milk & Honey for years in the beginning of the cocktail renaissance and he and his partner Christy Pope manage Cuff & Buttons and have consulted on cocktail programs all over the world and partnered with Audrey Saunders in the Tar Pit here in Los Angeles, before all three of them left that project.

I took a look at the menu and one drink jumped out at me, the Pattaya Savory Hunter. It is not every day I walk into a bar and find a drink named after me so I was pretty excited. It was also rather surreal to hear people come up to the bar and ask for two Savory Hunters. The drink is a spicy drink, which Solomon knows I enjoy, and is a variation on a beverage that Christy Pope presented at the Red Hot Rover earlier this summer.

It was a fun surprise and very cool. Thankfully I loved my namesake drink and it was among the best selling drinks of the night. Apparently the customers had impeccable taste.

Pattaya Savory Hunter includes: Lemon Myrtle Infused Gin, Coconut, Lime Juice, Cilantro, Thai Chile, Purple Orchid w/ Ginger Essence. The flower on the top is for presentation and to carry the ginger fragrance. The cocktail (pictured below) was spicy but balanced and used several Southeast Asian flavors such as coconut and chiles. Alas the infused gin will make it difficult to replicate at home.

Yes, I removed the flower before I drank the Pattaya Savory Hunter. Watch out Bricia , now we both have namesake drinks! lol

Cocktail All Stars Tonight at First & Hope

Tonight at First & Hope Supperclub, the downtown restaurant and bar opposite the Music Center, Aidan Demarest and Marcos Tello present Cocktail All Stars, where five top bartenders will be mixing cocktails for the sipping pleasure of Los Angeles's growing cocktail community.

Bartenders include Demarest, Naomi Schimek who won a Rising Star award at this year's Tales of the Cocktail, Julian Cox of Rivera restaurant, Sean Hamilton, a finalist in Bombay Saphire and GQ's Most Inspiring Bartender event, and Brent Falco of First & Hope. The party begins at 6 pm and continues through 11 pm. If the Red Rover that Demarest and Tello hosted in the spring at the same location was any guide, this should be a crowded and fun evening.

First & Hope. 710 W. 1st Street (@ Hope St.). Its in the corner of the plaza. Phone: (213) 617-8555. Website: firstandhope.com

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ludo Fried Chicken: Mobile Crispy & Tasty

Ludo LeFebvre has been tantalizing Los Angeles with his Ludo Fried Chicken for months, beginning with the debut of his infamous chicken balls at the LA Street Food Fest downtown in February. His LudoBites truck is bright red and will begin more regular rounds next month, but at this point is still doing special events only. You can catch up with the truck tomorrow at the OC Foodie Fest.

The menu has expanded beyond just the balls to include Buttermilk Chicken Strips, Chicken Wings and Ludo's Crispy Chicken Sandwich (pictured below). The sandwich is made with several of the chicken strips in a bun, with slaw on top. The style is reminiscent of Bakesale Betty in Oakland and the sandwich that the Animal dudes produced for Cart for a Cause.

The new menu also includes side dishes such as french fries, honey lavendar biscuits and Ludo's slaw. There are even desserts. Unlike my previous experiences with the Ludo Truck, the line moved very quickly, perhaps the fastest I have seen at any food truck. The process is continuing to be tweaked to make it go even faster.

And for the lovers of chicken balls, now there are four dipping sauces to choose from: piquillo pepper, honey smoked bbq, Bearnaise mayonnaise, and honey whole grain mustard. Yes, Ludo is loving the honey these days!

You can follow the truck on Twitter to see where it is going next. Stops to date have included Fox, Cube, Sunset Junction and tomorrow's OC Fest. Bring your appetite and if you forget cash, Ludo takes credit cards.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Heaven Hill Dinner tonight at The Den of Hollywood

Tonight Heaven Hill Distilleries, the producer of Evan Williams and Elijah Craig bourbons, will be hosting a dinner at The Den of Hollywood. The five course dinner will feature each course paired with signature cocktails featuring spirits from the Heaven Hill portfolio.

You can RSVP for the event by calling (323) 656-0336. There will be multiple seatings beginning at 6:30 pm. Additional information is here.

Late Night Bar Menu at the Palm

The Palm in Downtown LA recently launched a new Prime Bites menu in the bar area for only $3.50 per dish from 9 pm to closing on Monday - Friday evenings. (Hours vary at other Palm locations.) Dishes include Kobe Beef Sliders, Prime Cheese Steaks and other bites that are normally priced at $7 - $12.

Last week a confederate and I checked out this special, sampling the Kobe Beef sliders, the Filet Mignon Capri Sandwiches, and the Prime Cheese Steaks. The Kobe Beef Sliders (middle picture) were by far our favorite.

If you are looking for a good value or some food to munch on prior to a night of downtown drinking, you can't get more for your money than the Prime Bites menu at the Palm downtown.

Note that the West Hollywood location serves the menu at these prices from 4:30 - 6:30 pm.

The Palm is located at 1100 S. Flower St, at the corner of Flower and 11th Sts. Phone: (213) 763-4600‎ Website: thepalm.com

Deals at the Peninsula Hotel Rooftop Bar Tonight

Tonight the rooftop bar at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills will feature a special happy hour from 5 - 7 pm, for the second week in a row. The drinks will all be half off, and there will be special deals on tickets for the upcoming Taste of Beverly Hills.

The Rooftop Bar is adjacent to the pool on top of the luxury hotel. Drinks, which are normally $16, are only $8 (+tax). The ambiance is comfortable and there is even a firepit to lounge around and enjoy the view and comfortable environment.

At last week's drinks event, Peninsula Executive Chef James Overbaugh spoke about how excited he is about the upcoming Taste of Beverly Hills. At this special happy hour, tickets will be buy one get one free for individual session tickets. For those who don't want to miss a thing, there will also be discounts for the whole weekend tickets aka Festival Passes.

The Taste of Beverly Hills will be Thursday September 2nd - Sunday September 5th. You can learn all the details at their website. In the meantime, why not end the day and begin the evening with a well priced cocktail in an elegant setting, and get a great deal on Taste of Beverly Hills tickets at the same time?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ramen Jinya: lives up to the hype

Ramen Jinya opened up in Studio City only a month ago but immediately began acquiring acclaim, beginning with Rameniac's review, which was quickly followed by that of Jonathan Gold, Joshua Lurie of FoodGPS, and Dylan Ho of Eat, Drink,& Be Merry. I was especially excited as their signature ramen is a chicken broth ramen, not a common option in Southern California, and one I could eat/slurp to the last drop.

I recently headed there with Ron of Sauce Supreme to check out what all the hullabaloo was about. For $12.50, Jinya offers a set meal of salad, gyoza and ramen. The gyoza are also made of chicken and are pictured above. I was starving so ate these in two minutes flat. They were good but the main event was the ramen. I opted for the Spicy Ramen (pictured below), which is chicken broth, chicken meatballs, spicy beansprouts and spinach. The broth was rich and flavorful and the noodles were great. The only weak spot was the chicken meatballs, which were not that tasty. The portion size is large: the soup spoon was ladle sized. The soup is $8.55 a la carte.

The service was quick, friendly and efficient. There is ample free parking in the underground parking structure, which is always a big plus. Overall Ramen Jinya is a winner with good food at reasonable prices, ample portions and good service. Worth going to whether you are in the Valley or not, especially if you eat chicken but not pork.

Ramen Jinya: 11239 Ventura Blvd (in a strip mall with a Marshalls), Studio City. Phone: (818) 980-3977. Website: http://www.jinya-la.com/ramen/

Five O Four: NOLA comes to Hollywood

Five0Four, a new bar and restaurant which brings the cuisine, cocktails and festive vibe of New Orleans to Hollywood is now open on Hollywood Blvd, across the courtyard from the recently opened Te'Kila. Both restaurants were designed by Kris Keith of Spacecraft. All of the seating at Five0Four is on an outdoor patio, with the exception of one large round table in its own nook facing Hollywood Boulevard.

Five0Four is the brainchild of Joshua Kopel (above) and his partners. Kopel is a New Orleans native and he said he had to get the food right as his mom would be visiting soon to check out the restaurant and would not be shy about letting him know about anything that isn't authentic. The menu includes classic new orleans and cajun dishes such as Po' Boy Sliders, Chicken & Sausage Gumbo and Jambalaya, all priced attractively. The entrees top out at $15, with most at $12 or less.

When it comes to beverages, in addition to New Orleans favorites such as the Hurricane and the Sazerac, Five0Four has five frozen daiquiri machines, with flavors such as Pina Colada, Drunken Watermelon and Blue Citrus, for cool drinks on warm nights. Several different Abita beers (from Louisiana) are on tap, including their Turbo Dog, and Abita root beer is available by the bottle as well. At the opening party, Jack Sparrow (pictured above), joined Charlie Chaplin, Superman and the Incredible Hulk in enjoying the bounty of Five0Four's NOLA flavor.

The one table inside is a booth for up to a dozen diners in the turreted room pictured above. Five0Four is unpretentious and is geared to providing their customers with a good time. The kitchen is open late (4 am on weekends), although note that some of the New Orleans specialty entrees are only available until 10 pm. Thankfully Po' Boy sandwiches are available until closing. Beignets from the recipe of Cafe du Monde are available, for a classic and powered sugar mess of a way to end your visit.

Five0Four: 6541 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood. Phone: (323) 960-0224. Website: http://five0four.com/

Friday, August 13, 2010

Villains Tavern: Downtown Dangerous

Villains Tavern opened last month in the Downtown Arts District, not far from Tony's Saloon and Church & State Bistro. The new bar from Dana Hollister has a bar inside with a giant gothic church window behind it reconfigured as a mirror (pictured above) and church pews outisde. The eye catching space also has an extensive patio with an additional bar serving beer and shots and more than 25 beers on tap.

The location is somewhat isolated but has the element of a hidden discovery about it. The steampunk decor is truly unique, unlike anywhere else in town. When you enter the doorway to the patio from the parking lot, you leave downtown behind and enter the world of Hollister's imagination.

Dave Whitton (pictured above), formerly of Seven Grand, created the cocktail list, which as of last week had ten beverages. Cocktails are named in accordance with the Villainous theme, with names such as the Belladonna, Fatal Hour and Poison Apple. I sampled the Fatal Hour, described as "A Rittenhouse Manhattan with an Evil Twist." The evil twist in this case was chocolate bitters, although one of the bartenders said she is continually asked whether absinthe is the secret ingredient.

Whitton said he looked to make his drinks both delicious and accessible, so that customers could enjoy them so much, they'd be happy to order drink after drink off of the list, rather than stick with their standard orders.

A signature element of the drinks menu is the Mix & Match, in which customers get a jar of beer with a shot of alcohol for only $8. There are 20 options each for the beer and booze, which is a great selection. The choices include such beers as Deschutes Porter, Lagunitas IPA, Stella and Racer 5 in addition to mass market beers such as Pabst and Bud Light. Shot selections include Rittenhouse 100 Rye, Elijah Craig Bourbon and Fernet Branca for the medicinal enthusiasts.

There is also a premium Mix and Match for $14 with Guinness, Old Rasputin, Maredsous 10, Chimay, Lucifer, Affligem, Spaten Optimator and Framboise as the premium options.

In addition to the extensive beverage menu, Villains also offers a pub food menu of burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, french fries etc.

Villains tavern is open Wednesday - Saturday from 5:30 pm - 2 am, with live music nightly. The outdoor patio looks to be an excellent spot to chill, enjoy a nice beverage and listen to some tunes.

Villains Tavern: 1356 Palmetto @ Santa Fe, Downtown. Phone: (213) 613-0766. Website: VillainsTavern.com

Salt's Cure: Opening Saturday

Tomorrow Salt's Cure, a new restaurant and butcher shop, will open on Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood. Initially it will be open for lunch during the week and brunch on the weekends, and should be open for dinner service around Labor Day. Note that Salt's Cure is closed on Tuesdays.

The brunch menu this weekend will include dishes like biscuits and gravy with fried eggs on top as well as oatmeal pancakes with cinnamon butter on top, from a recipe by the mother of one of the chefs.

Salt's Cure is a small restaurant and will have a highly edited menu focusing on cured meats and local ingredients. The lunch menu will be mostly sandwiches, soups and salads. Expect to see sandwiches like pulled pork, corned beef, and BLTs. There is a small butcher case (pictured below) in the front of the restaurant, of which 100% of the contents are sourced from California producers.

The two partners in the business are Zak Walters (pictured below) and Chris Phelps, who used to work together at The Hungry Cat. Walters said the food they serve will be very clean and simple, with no smoke and mirrors. "We are doing a small menu, so with everything we do, we can hit a high note," he commented. Phelps added that the small menu will rotate, as they offer different dishes, although certain offerings will likely have a permanent home on the menu.

In addition to sourcing locally, the duo's philosophy is to source exceptional quality ingredients from people that are excelling in what they do. Walters is from Oklahoma and brought a love of smoking meats and fish to the operation and Phelps is from Baltimore and has a passion for making pates, terrines and rillettes. Pictured below is the bacon produced in house.

Salt's Cure is a neighborhood spot with ambition, rather than a destination restaurant. It is a small operation with owner operators who are excited to share their love of food, especially meats, with their customers.

Salt's Cure: 7494 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood. Phone: (323) 850-7258. Website: www.saltscure.com

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sunday Lunch at Waterloo & City

Waterloo and City, the British Gastropub which recently opened in Culver City is now home to a Sunday Lunch, a more savory version of Sunday brunch, and a development I heartily approve of. I was invited to check out the new offerings and dutifully ate my way through much of the menu. Chef Brendan Collins (pictured below), a partner in the restaurant, was there to talk about his philosophy. Collins is a believer in nose to tail dining, "You should respect the animal and every part of the animal should be used. A chef should be able to make every part of the animal taste good," he said.

We began the meal with a groaning board of pastries, including croissants, scones, chocolate chip cookies and fixings including Nutella. The scones were not too dense and the croissants were airy and flaky.

One of the main attractions of Waterloo & City, whether at lunch or dinner, is their house made charcuterie. The options include smoked salmon and potato terrine, chicken liver and foie gras mousse, beef drippings in a jar, foie gras in a jar, duck country pate with orange marmalade and a venison terrine, among others. We arranged for a sampler platter, pictured below. Collins mentioned that demand for these dishes had far exceeded expectations and they had been selling out of many of their charcuterie dishes daily.

My favorite of the terrines and pates was the smoked salmon terrine with fried egg and gribiche. The salmon was alternated with potato in a beautiful pink and white striped presentation. The fried egg sat on top. This dish is an ideal way to begin a Sunday Lunch as the salmon calls to mind the traditional lox of brunch but the dish is raised to a new level of refinement. The photo below does not do the dish justice.

Another favorite was the foir gras in a jar, simply decadent and a great way to spread the love (and salt and fat) around a piece of toast. Creamy in texture and full of flavor, this is foie done right. A jar is enough for several lunchers to share and could work as an appetizer, side dish or dessert.

As we are in the peak of summer, corn soup is a great way to take advantage of the bounty. The corn soup was sweet. The portion is large rather than dainty, so be prepared.

When I saw Corned Beef Hash, Eggs, Bernaise on the menu, I knew I had to order this dish. It arrived to the table in a skillet with the egg and sauce on top of the hash and some small toasts fanned out on top. Surprisingly this was not my favorite element of the meal, so my quest for great corned beef hash in Los Angeles continues. The beef is prepared in house, not like the canned varieties you see all over town. In fact, over 95% of the components of the dishes are prepared in house, whether its the pastries, the charcuterie or the corned beef.

A fellow fresser ordered the Roast Beef, which came with Yorkshire Pudding and some veggies. This is the traditional British Sunday Lunch and was well executed. The roast beef had real beefy flavor and the puddings were fluffy; this is a real meal, not some wimpy pancakes and is only available on the Sunday Lunch menu, not the dinner menu.

When it comes to desserts, I'd usually rather have a nice piece of cheese, but I make an exception for the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Milk Ice Cream and Salted Caramel. This is an appropriately rich way to end your lunch, with a stick to your ribs dessert. The toffee pudding was gooey, sweet, salty and delicious.

Overall Collins & crew have created a comfortable environment with ambitious but accessible cuisine, where the vibe is comfy and genial. The starters are $9 - $11, the egg dishes are $10 - $16 and the mains are $15 - $19. Desserts are $6 and are large enough to share, even if you want to keep them all to yourself.

Waterloo & City: 12517 West Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles/Culver City. Phone: (310) 391-4222‎. Website: waterlooandcity.com‎

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ludo Bites 5.0: Hottest Ticket in Town

Chef and provocateur Ludovic Lefebvre is back downtown for a soldout run at the Gram and Papa's Theater, where he is performing nightly as Ludo, the star of Ludo Bites 5.0. This is the fifth iteration of Ludo's pop-up restaurant concept, the first two having been at Bread Bar, the 3rd at Royal Tea Salon in Culver City and the 4th at Gram and Papa's, where he has returned for a repeat run but with new dishes.

I was fortunate to get through to Ticketmaster, as OpenTable was briefly known the day the demand for LudoBites tickets was so high it crashed the system, and procure two seats for the performance last Thursday evening. My dining partner brought two bottles of wine, which were enjoyed but I did not record them for posterity.

We began the meal with the Cheese Cupcake, Foie Gras-Chicken Liver & Chantilly, Tangerine, Cornichon. This dish, pictured above, has become one of the signature dishes of Ludo Bites 5.0 and was one of my favorites of the meal. The cheese cupcake had the foie gras and chicken liver mousse as the frosting, which made this a very savory cupcake. The cornichon were shredded and sprinkled on top and tangerine puree was on the side. The dish is very playful, offering a rich and savory bite in the form of a traditional sweet dessert. I was thrilled that this dish was offered with foie & chicken liver the night I was there as it was made with ham and chicken liver on the first night of 5.0, and I would have missed out on this treat as I don't eat pork.

Next Vadouvan Naan Bread with Salted Cocount Butter arrived. The naan (pictured above) was hot and we were starving and ate this dish quickly. The coconut butter melted quickly on the bread and so I had my second piece without the butter, and it was even better.

The third dish we were served was Raw Wagyu Beef, Dried Miso, Somen Noodle, Peanut Vinagrette, Watermelon. This take on beef tartare with the raw beef in strips instead of diced and the egg yolk on top as usual was a nod to the traditional dish, while the mint leaves, watermelon and bed of somen noodles brought it squarely into the realm of fusion cuisine. The nuts added some good texture and the egg when cracked and mixed in, bound it all together.

Poached egg, Potato Mousseline, Chorizo Condiment was the fourth dish we had. It was presented with edible flowers strewn across the field of white potatoes. The potato mousseline was as rich and creamy as those of Joel Robuchon's. I only had a tiny taste off of the top of this dish (pictured above) so as to not eat any of the chorizo sauce. The egg was cooked at a precise temperature so that the egg white and yolk would have the same consistency.

My dining companion's favorite dish, Goat Cheese Soup, Bacon, Lardo, Tofu, Green Apple, Frissee Salad, is pictured above. There was a double dose of pork in this scene, with the bacon and lardo providing a one-two punch.

Confit Pork Belly, Raw Choucroute Thai Style, Mustard Ice Cream was my dining companion's other favorite. The mustard ice cream was visually dramatic with its bright yellow hue, and the crunch provided by the pork confit was enthusiastically enjoyed.

The last savory course we had was the Steamed Duck Lemon Verbena, Crispy Skin Puree, White Peach, Radish & Balsamic. The grilled peach was sweet and had a good solidity to it, while the layer of crispy skin puree on top of the steamed duck made the dish for me. The radish salad was like a high class slaw and removing the skin from the duck and serving it as a separate element was a risky touch that worked for me.

Our first dessert was Campfire Smoked S'mores, Guacamole Sorbet. The S'mores had a nice smoky kick to them. The guacamole did not add much to the dish, so we chose to leave it and eat all of the s'mores.

We finished up with the Caramel Souffle, Blanco Grapefruit, Fleur de Sel Ice Cream. The caramel souffle had risen perfectly and was delicious. The unusual tweak to this dish was the fleur de sel ice cream. I have had salted caramel ice cream but never caramel dessert with salt flavored ice cream. I happen to love salt, so this really worked for me, both as two individual elements and together. The grapefruit was fine as a refreshing touch but wasn't necessary.

Overall the service was helpful and enthusiastic and Ludo's wife Krissy brought several of our dishes to the table. Even Ludo broke the fourth wall and was able to speak to us, although in character, about the menu and his excitement about the recent rave LudoBites received in the New York Times.

I am hoping that this sold out run is extended and am glad not to have had to pay a scalper to get my front row seats. At this point your best bet may be to stand outside looking for a shady dude saying, "tickets, tickets, anyone selling tickets."

Ludo Bites 5.0 @ Gram & Papas. http://www.ludolefebvre.com/ludobites