episode 43 :: the french connection

[Bravo Photo: Jaimie Trueblood/NBC Universal Inc]

Our experience at Ludo Bites
last month was eye opening. Everything we tasted that night was something I’d tasted before, but not nearly in the same context that Chef Ludo Lefebvre presented it to me. Chef Ludo does more than give you a new tasting experience, he challenges you to change whatever preconceived notions you may have about the ingredients he’s presenting you with.  The food was amazing, the ambience at The Bread Bar was as laid back as you can imagine, and for a $5 corking fee, we were able to enjoy our own wine and beer from our collection.

The situation is unique, because Ludo’s not cooking in his own kitchen. The Bread Bar is open for breakfast and lunch. After that, it closes and Ludo and his staff move in, and it’s open for dinner under the name “Ludo Bites.”  His stint at The Bread Bar behind him, we don’t know where he’ll end up next. Visit his web site to keep up with his future plans or follow him on Twitter @chefludo

Listen to My Life as a Foodie Listen to the french connection here.

To see some of the deliciousness that we enjoyed, watch this short slideshow:

But wait, there’s more!  Also in this episode:
• Rogue’s XS Old Crustacean Barley Wine
• A very off-topic discussion of an off-topic ad for No Reservations
• Esquire’s “What Men Eat” has it all wrong
• Work is important, but so is your lunch break
• Top Chef Season 6 update

Music in this episode from Crystal Method’s “Drive” available from the iTunes store.

And if you own an iPod and you’re interested in making your workouts more fun, visit nikeplus.com. For $30, it’ll change the way you get in shape.

Special thanks to Kuranuk for his Sandra Lee mash-up that provided material for this episode’s intro. See the whole thing on YouTube.


  1. Hi Phil! I really hope you’ll be nice to me and never do to me what you did to Sandra Lee LOL

  2. Never, Florentina!

    I doubt you’ll ever design recipes with ready-made ingredients, pre-packaged, thoughtless, and quick – just so you can hurry up and get it over with and get back to your vodka-induced buzz.

    That’s someone who could care less about fresh and healthy, and bringing love to the table. That’s not you.

    Thanks for listening! 🙂

  3. hahahaha God I love that Sandra Lee clip.

    Its been awhile since I’ve had Old Crustacean so i may have to grab one to add to my collection.

    Did you say Ox Tail? Lobster ice cream? serious? wow. I need to go to the west coast

  4. I’m not sure how you do it… But you somehow kept my attention that whole show, even though beer was not really a part of it. This Ludo bites thing sounds great. Must be nice to be SO close to something so wonderful!

  5. Thanks guys!

    LA is not that close for us – it’s an hour to 90 minute drive, depending on traffic. But it’s worth it to experience these things, and we feel fortunate to have so many opportunities. A chef like Ludo, you can sense he’s going to be a household name before long, if he’s not already.

    The Old Crustacean is fantastic. And again, a barley wine that sits that well with me is something I never thought I’d say I not only enjoyed, but would want to revisit time and time again. Really impressive beer.

  6. Great episode, as usual.

    I have to agree that Bourdain’s demo is a bunch of horny women. That little skit you did with the buzzing in the office was hilarious.

    The thing that perplexes me the most about the whole thing–So the store can carry cherry-flavored Astroglide but you have to buy your “personal massagers” online?

    Thanks for commenting on my Somymom blog, too. If you ever feel like you’re becoming your mother, I’m going to do an installment of men turning into their moms. 🙂

    Oh, and I’m FINALLY going to post the video of the Inedit tasting. Your Gumballhead will be there soon!

    • Thanks Jennifer. And I think that these personal items tend to lend themselves to more a private shopping experience. That explains why mail order companies like Adam & Eve have stayed in business for as long as they have.

      I would SO like to be a part of the “so my mom” experience. I was raised by my mother (no father) so I picked up a lot of my mothers attributes and keep them to this day. Most drive my wife crazy, since they’re the same attributes that got on her nerves whenever my mother would visit – but I can’t change that.

      Can’t wait to see the Inedit tasting video. I’m sure it will be spectacular.

  7. Hey Phil, just listened! Very nice job re Ludo. You really captured him and his food! Being that I also went with Jo it was like hearing a repeat of our evening. I think there were a few dishes you had that we didn’t have. It was pretty amazing. Glad I got to go. I laughed out loud at the ‘vibrating touch’ bit. That thing is all over late night Food Network. Robert and I see it all the time (and are sick of it). Made me laugh. Loved the fast food bit especially what Ripert said – so true, so sad. Another great episode, loved the music again. Look forward to the next!

    • Thanks Charles! Coming from someone who has eaten at Ludo Bites, it’s comforting to know that I hit the mark as much as I’d hoped. I found some of it indescribable. The man simply knows how to make flavors work outside of their natural elements.

      So the Vibrating Touch ad is playing on Food Network too? How small do I feel now, saying that they’d NEVER run it. I have a little more respect for them now. I have to wonder . . . I’ll bet that thing is selling like hotcakes.

      Thanks again for your thoughtful and supportive comments, as always.

  8. Hey Phil,
    Another winner! As everyone else, I thought the Sandra Lee thing was hilarious. Do you edit those yourself? Nice. By the way, I thought I was the only one who watched Giada for what she wears rather than what she cooks. Maybe I shouldn’t admit that…
    I knew when I saw Chef Ludo on Top Chef Masters that we would be seeing him again. What a character! I loved when they brought out the offal cuts for the chefs to prepare, he couldn’t believe the reaction of some of the other chefs. “I know ‘ow to cook ze ‘eart’, ze liver, ze pigs ear…I’m French!” Great.

    I was jealous about your beer gifts! I had some Oskar Blues “Old Chub” this weekend. Terrific!

    • Thanks a lot Steve! I chopped up an existing mash-up that some evil genius spent God knows how long putting together. I found it on YouTube. You can see his original work using the link in the post (above). It was too funny not to use. 🙂 I give that dude full credit.

      Hey, you’re a man. Men watch Giada for a number of reasons. She does cook really simple food, and the things she prepares really are fantastic. She rarely uses pre-made ingredients on her show, so it’s food worthy. But truth be told, sometimes I can’t even remember what she’s cooking if she’s wearing something “fascinating” (for lack of a better word). You’re not alone, my friend.

      You nailed that Ludo impression. He’s not intimidated by any ingredient. I actually got a chance to meet him the day I released this show at a party in LA. He’s an incredibly nice guy, very passionate about cooking, and says if he can’t cook, he doesn’t know what he’ll do. He’s meant to do this. He was born to do it.

      I love Old Chub. I love all things Oskar Blues. Good pick!! Thanks again for listening, and for commenting, Steve.

  9. you got some great friends, phil!
    i need to give the old crustacean a try. rogue is so hit and miss for me, that i write them off too often as an over-hyped brewery, but they do come out with some really great brews time and again.

    and you’re killing me with the ludo bites dining experience! even more than the bazaar! sounds ridiculously delicious!

    thanks for keeping up with the shows. i’ve been batchin’ it since the beginning of summer and finding the impetus to keep cooking interesting and creatively fulfilling things has been a challenge since i’ve only been cooking for one (with the exception of having some friends over). maybe i’ll start a blog about it! 🙂

    cheers, dude.
    and i’m sure someday they’ll be advertising viagra or fleshlights on giada’s and sandra lee’s show.

    • Hey Nik,

      I DO INDEED have some great friends. They laid three great beers on me that night, and the next one will be featured on the show as well.

      I’m so with you on Rogue. They are hit and miss with me too, and I’ll be honest here — had Old Crustacean not been a gift, I more than likely would have totally passed on it. So actually getting it from Ray & Afaf was a true blessing, because I’d have missed out on a pretty decent barley wine had they not.

      I know it’s hard to muster the energy to cook when you’re living the single life for a while, but I always use that time to experiment with new things. When Katrina left for a few days earlier this Summer, I went crazy in the kitchen. Some things I’m glad she wasn’t around to taste, but others passed the test and I was able to make them for her, knowing she’d like them. So use your time wisely. Play around in the kitchen a bit, try some new recipes. When she gets back, you’ll WOW her!

      The minute they start advertising sex toys for men on the Food Network is the day the sky will open up. As Charles said above, they’re advertising that vibrating touch on late night Food Network. I think that’s as far as they’ll go. I’m surprised to see them go that far, to be honest. I have to eat my words a little here.

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