Category Archives: Downtown

LudoBites 007: The Man with the Golden Pan, or Live and Let Dine

Last week, I found myself playing host to two friends from Germany visiting L.A. for their first time. On their last night in town, they asked me to join them out at a few bars before their flight in the morning. I had to politely decline, of course, knowing full well that I had previously scheduled a reservation for Ludobites 7.0 at downtown’s Gram and Papa’s, a slot that had taken a fair amount of wrangling to a obtain. I explained to them with great gusto the importance of a Ludo Ledfvre dinner: a renowned chef creates a menu only available for a few weeks, served in a guest location, with seats that fill up faster than a Bundesliga finals match. It as a bit odd explaining a “pop-up” restaurant, much less one that was booked solid in less than a few seconds, to someone to whom the concept was completely foreign.

So, that brings up the obvious question. Why is so much importance placed on a single, near inaccessible meal? Is it simply assigned value because of economic scarcity, like with diamonds or Beanie Babies? The hell I knew. It was my first Ludobites, and given the meteoric rise in popularity chef Ludovic Lefebvre has seen after the debut of his reality show, Ludo Bites America, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was my last. I had read over the accounts previous dinners rapturously, and was eager for the answers to these questions as anyone else.

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Turkish Delight: The Search For LA’s Best Döner Kebab

Spitz's Döner Kebab Sandwich

     For anyone who has traveled through Europe on a shoestring budget the significance of the döner kebab can’t be overestimated. Imported by Turkish immigrants in the seventies, the döner has become one of the most popular and affordable street foods in all of Europe. Travel through the subcontinent and you will no doubt find yourself quickly addicted to the kebab stands that never lie to far from the nearest bar or club. The döner kebab is a close of cousin of the Lebanese shawarma and the Greek gyro, consisting of roast meat shaved from a vertical spit tucked inside a split pocket of bread then garnished with salad, yogurt, and a pungent red chili sauce. The sandwich makes for a satisfying meal that is both portable and compact, essential elements of any great street food. In fact, döner has reached such levels of populist acclaim in Germany that it is the subject of a well-known drinking song, “Ich Bein Ein Döner” whose chorus roughly translates to “sandwiches makes you fat, sushi makes you crazy, pizza makes you horny, but döner makes you beautiful”. Needless to say, something is lost in translation. Continue reading

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