Has it really been 4 months since I updated this blog? That’s a lot of unreported interesting meals in and out. The events of July escape me, largely because I worked like a dog so I could take time off in August. The story of August will have to wait until I work out where all my photos have got to. September was catch-up month, but one where Santos came to town and twisted the arms of her food-loving pals to check out what chef Ludo Lefebvre was up to in his special engagement at the Breadbar on 3rd St: ludobites. An engagement so special they branded some chopping boards especially for the occasion. Something like branding cows for a dowry, but not quite.
It was the third week of Ludo @ the breadbar, and the first night they had tables right up against the food preparation area (looked somewhat like where the sandwiches are prepped of a normal work day). Having shrunk from a party of eight to 6, we were able to partake of the atmosphere within. An astute Susan chose the table right by the chef himself. And for the rest of the night, she and Santos were transfixed by the hairy chef.
MarshallTM kept us supplied with bread (specialty of the house) with Beurre Echiré (from Poitiers; I have friends in Poitiers, and it’d be a hard call to make between them and a slab of this “crisp” butter). I had my heart set on a few of the rarer fromages (e.g. Abbaye de belloc and Epoisse, the latter of which I’ve loved for years but never found outside France), and by subtle manoeuvering (i.e. saying nothing) had my deepest desires fulfilled when the table plumped for the large cheese platter with condiments (above photo), some trademarked Brocamole and heirloom tomatoes. The tomatoes were a revelation; I’ve never eaten tasty large tomatoes. I’d always thought the term large tomato was something of an oxymoron (think back to beef tomatoes and you’ll get what I mean). These old-school tomatoes were pleasantly sweet, probably helped along by the shreds of red onion.
And from there, the evening turned… weird/strange/fantastical/magical. It started with some poor attempts at butter photography and ramped up with chef and maître d’ mapping our complex cheeseboard for us. But the straw on the proverbial camel’s back was the staring at chef Ludo. Guilty parties: you know who you are… You are responsible for the plates of Fourme d’ambert (creamy cow’s blue chees with medium intensity), Tonneau (semi-soft cow’s milk Swiss cheese with a nutty finish) and the unforgettable Santerre/Sanitaire(sp?) Saint Nectaire (bitter beyond belief; like a Morbier gone ash-crazy).
Subtle flirting with chef Ludo pays dividends. Ogling at his quenelling skills leads to a plate of apple cake and mashta ice cream gratis. Noticing the note of spice (of the Jalapeno variety) in his LUDO chocolate mousse results in his pushing bowls of avocado soup (with almonds and grilled bananas) on your table. Only for him to be horrified that he’s done so to a table with an avocado allergy. No matter! Chef Ludo to the rescue with his sublime coconut pannacotta drizzled with passionfruit and basil seeds. Oh yes, noticing the basil seeds makes him happy too. Ah… An evening to remember. Never have I eaten so richly for so little money. The guilt made us tip heavy; lucky Marshall!
Update: The sexed up and exciting version of events is up here at Santos’ LaLaBlog, and I’ve finally after a couple of years, made my way to Susan’s place, where she has an account of LudoBites: Redux.