And thus the city is an oeuvre, closer to a work of art than a simple material product. If there is production of the city, and social relations in the city, it is a production and reproduction of human beings by human beings, rather than a production of objects.
—  “The Right to the City”, Writing on Cities, Henri Lefebvre

I entered a little contest today- the prize?  A 4 top on opening night of the highly-anticipated 7th iteration of Chef Ludo Lefebvre’s Pop Up, LudoBites 007, on August 3rd, 2011 at Gram & Papas in downtown LA.

Pop Up restaurants and are very popular these days…Ludo (@ChefLudo) is largely responsible for this explosion.  Thousands upon thousands of Ravenous eaters CRASHED OpenTable when ressies went live for LudoBites 6.0 at MAX.  This time around, OpenTable held up, as the 5 week session booked up entirely in about 15 seconds.  Needless to say, this is a hot table.

When I saw that LA Food Blogger, Darin Dines (www.darindines.com), was giving away a 4 top on opening night, I gave it a go.  He asked his readers to talk about their favorite dishes from past LudoBites or fantasy dishes they might hope to see (you really never know what will be on the menu - Ludo’s food is truly off-the-wall).  I decided to write about past favorites - after all, it’s Chef’s job to come up with the new menus, not mine.  This was a great exercise; one which got me very excited for the upcoming session.  He’ll disclose the winner on Sunday.  My submission follows.  Fingers crossed!

Great question and even better contest! It has been an awesome exercise thinking back through all of the different ludo dishes (ludobites?) over the years. So many hits; some misses. But all progressive and playful. The cobwebs have been dusted off and I’m back in ludo mode.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the space at Ludo 6.0 at MAX, but my two all time favorite plates came from 6.0: The marinated mackerel, leche del tigre, baby leeks, and verdolagas leaves and the creme fraiche panna cotta, caramel, and caviar. I guess he’s offered similar desserts at Bastide and Breadbar, but that’s beside the point.

Mackerel in that preparation has always been among my favorites- i really enjoy it with a cold beer at my favorite izakayas. I particularly enjoy it at Wakasan, where they charmingly call it Vinegarized Mackerel. love it. Anyway- it was awesome to get ludo’s take on this traditional Japanese concept. The accoutrements were playful and supportive, balancing out the dish really nicely. the tart, rich leche del tigre (from the mackerel, presumably? awesome.) matched the sweet pickle on the fish. the slight char on the skin gave it a nice bite and texture, too. For me, 6.0 was all about this dish. hands down.

The creme fraiche panna cotta was so fun! seriously so fun! I want to put that plate in front of my grandma and watch her squirm!!!!!! It was executed perfectly- both the custard itself and the sticky, thick, blemish-free caramel sauce. Flavor-wise, the pale tartness of the creme fraiche was a perfect match for the sweet sauce. the complex saltiness of the caviar brought it to the next level. in this day and age where salted caramel is so popular, this was such an amazing way to turn the concept on it’s head and make it his own. And it was so simple! Man! I was so impressed with this dish.

I hope to see you on the third!

In the Kitchen: LudoBites 8.0

Cliffs:

  • A behind the scenes look at LudoBites 8.0 @ Lemon Moon
  • Photos taken February 2, 2012
  • View the 300+ photo set on My Flickr

I.  Transformation:  Lemon Moon to LudoBites

II.  Food Prep

III.  Staff Meeting & Meal

IV.  Opening the Doors

V.  Service

Brioche Seaweed Yuzu Butter - $5

Chicken Tandoori Crackling - $5

Sweet Shrimp, Miso Cream, Beans, Smoked Salmon - $16

Escabéche Mackerel, Buttermilk, Buckwheat, Apple - $15

Black Truffle (French) Scrambled Eggs - $35

Day Boat Scallop, Leek, Potato, Black Truffles - $29

Monterey Squid, Burned Squid Dashi, Potato, Squid Ink, Ash - $16

Uni Créme Brûlée, Coffee - $24

Razor Clam “Meuniere”, Yuzu Cream, Grilled Onions - $19

Foie Gras, Tamarin, Turnips, Daikon - $22

Big Eye Tuna, Tahitian Vanilla, Somen, 7 Flavor Vinaigrette - $25

Monkfish Liver, Cucumber, Cornichons, Mustard Seeds - $20

John Dory, Squash, Spelt, Fennel, Tonka Beans $22

Veal, Black Olive Tapenade Crust, Orange Caramelized Endive, Clementine Beurre Blanc - $28

Jidori Half Chicken, Parmesan, Celery Root Soubise, Walnuts - $26

"Newport Pride Natural" Hanger Steak, Red Beets, Shallots - $25

Goat Cheese Profiterole, Pistachio, Crispy Kale - $15

Brown Butter Almond Cake, Apples, Salted Caramel, Orange Creamsicle - $13

Lemon Meringue, Poppy Seed Crumble, Extra Virgin Olive Oil - $13

VI.  Consumption, Celeb Life, and End of Service

Spectacle and neomanagerialism

Though we believe that a society should not oppose freedom of speech, this does not include every kind of speech nor every kind of freedom. Freedom of speech is not of equal importance with the freedom of work, education, health, housing and the city, and a declaration of the material rights of material man would be neither more nor less effective than the former declaration. Freedom of speech might possibly be placed on a par with the freedom of the city as a skyline of civilisation, more than as a right claiming institutional recognition; moreover only critical and poetic speech can be considered in this context, and these forms of speech owe their acknowledgement to their own power; terrorism will always try to silence such voices and it is therefore up to them to find ears that will hear, cracks in the walls of discipline through which they can infiltrate… Henri Lefebvre … 1971.

This was written against the state of terror that Keynesian liberalism created, a terror doubdled by neoliberalism and which the developing technocratic neomanagerialism will attempt to make worse. It will be worse because the depth of the class society can only become deeper, the distance between the rich and poor will be managed to become greater…

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