For all of you who constantly check Los Angeles chef Ludo Lefebvre's Twitter feed and LudoBites website for updates on his latest pop-up, who surf the Sundance Channel and drive by Gram & Papa's to check for rooster paraphernalia, who DM the chef and his wife offers of babysitting, soon you can thumb through the LudoBites cookbook instead. Cook some of Ludo's recipes. It's even more fun than stalking!

Ecco won't publish LudoBites: Recipes and Stories From the Pop-Up Restaurants of Ludo Lefebvre until early October, but you can pre-order the book on Amazon if it'll make you feel better.

Spanning 368 pages and seven chapters, the book has recipes from all seven of the pop-ups (hence the seven chapters) including such favorites as Ludo's black foie gras croque monsieur, his white asparagus velouté with mozzarella ice cream, the chocolate cupcakes with foie gras chantilly (lotsa foie, which means you maybe will want to take this cookbook on a road trip to a state that doesn't ban the stuff) and the squid carbonara.

The book has more than recipes, of course, and covers the territory preceding LudoBites as well as the pop-ups themselves. Thus we'll get stories of L'Orangerie, of Bastide, of life with mercurial Bastide owner Joe Pytka (“I don't think Joe would disagree with me if I said he could pass for a homeless man”), of the early incarnations of Ludo's migratory restaurant: “What did you expect? I'm cooking in a fucking bakery.” A boring cookbook this is not.

Writing credit goes to Lefebvre himself, also to Krissy Lefebvre and JJ Goode; the recipes were tested and written by Rochelle Palermo. And the gorgeous photography comes not from a single photographer but from many, a group effort from bloggers and professional photographers (including L.A. Weekly's Anne Fishbein and Shayla Deluy). As Krissy Lefebvre told us, they wanted the art to be “of the moment rather than studio shots.” Also credit the chef's wife's lightbox.

For those keeping score, this is Lefebvre's second cookbook. His first, Crave, was published in 2005 and was notable not least for its stunning photos, including one of Ludo emerging shirtless from the surf with a whole fish, a photo that was taped to the wall of the Los Angeles Times' food editor's office wall for some years. (You'd rather look at James Beard? Right.)

In the meantime, to keep yourself out of trouble while you wait for the good folks at Amazon to ship your book, you can make Ludo's foie gras miso soup, the recipe for which is below. You've got 10 days until California's foie gras ban goes into effect, so maybe don't put this one off.

Credit: from the LudoBites cookbook

Credit: from the LudoBites cookbook

Foie Gras Miso Soup


Serves: 4

¼ cup fresh English peas

¼ cup shelled fava beans, outer skin removed

2 ounces enoki mushrooms, ends trimmed

¼ cup very thinly sliced red onion

1½ tablespoons very thinly sliced fresh peppermint leaves

½ sheet nori, cut into very fine strips

16 Four (2-ounce) cubes Grade A foie gras

Fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper

8 teaspoons light yellow miso

5 cups dashi (recipe follows)

Chive blossoms for garnish

1. Blanch the peas and fava beans in a saucepan of boiling salted water just until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool; drain well.

2. Divide the peas, beans, mushrooms, red onion, peppermint and nori among four miso soup bowls. Score both sides of the foie gras slices in a crosshatch pattern and set the cubes in the bowls. Sprinkle the foie gras with fleur de sel and pepper. Smear 2 teaspoons of the miso on one edge of each bowl.

3. Put the dashi in a heavy small saucepan, cover, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Pour the simmering broth into the bowl, covering the foie gras and vegetables.

4. Garnish with chive blossoms and serve immediately.


Makes: about 7 cups

8 cups water

Two 6-by-4-inch pieces kombu

4 cups packed bonito flakes (about 1½ ounces)

1. Combine the water and kombu in a medium saucepan and let stand for 15 minutes.

Bring the water to a simmer over high heat, then remove the saucepan from the heat and remove and discard the kombu. Add the bonito flakes, cover, and steep for 20 minutes.

2. Strain the dashi though a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.

Reprinted from LUDOBITES: Recipes and Stories From the Pop-Up Restaurant by Ludo Lefebvre, with permission from Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins.

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