When LudoBites auteur Ludovic Lefebvre dropped by The Foundry last week and discovered that chef Eric Greenspan wasn't there, he tweeted that he should have taken over the kitchen. @chefgreeny invited @chefludo to come fry some chicken on a Tuesday night, Foundry's Blues Night, when he fries chicken himself.
Tweets were exchanged. Flyers were photoshopped. Extra fryers were borrowed from Akasha Richmond of the Culver City restaurant Akasha. The idea of a fried-chicken grudge match obsessed the small, happy universe of Los Angeles food tweeters, although @chefgreeny was careful to emphasize that it was a fried chicken expo; that fried chicken “was a non-quantifiable proposition.” OpenTable reservations were made, and @chefludo's devotees, many of whom had recently waited three hours in line at L.A.'s Street Food Fest for a taste of his fried chicken, a certified Thing To Eat in Los Angeles Before You Die, fretted that the chicken would be gone before they got to the restaurant, that they would miss another shot at the bird. @FrenchChefWife, Kristine Lefebvre, who plays the Lucy to @chefludo's Ricky Ricardo, joked all weekend about her husband's chicken balls, to the universal merriment of the small, happy flock of Twitterversistas.
If you were a Foundry regular who happened to wander into the restaurant on the night of the battle, intent on an ordinary, quiet Bluesy Tuesday, you could have been excused for wondering what sort of hysteria had taken over the place. The restaurant was packed with people known to each other only through their twitternames, and on each table were glasses of creamy chorizo veloute, left over from the Weekly's Gold Standard event last Sunday, spiked with crunchy, icy slivers of cornichon granita. Cocktails seemed to outnumber wineglasses maybe three to one; @MyLastBite, @eStarLA, @shopeatsleep, @gastronomnom, @theminty, @samkimsamkim, @HobsonsChoiceLA – and a million others – worked the room, which seemed to have been taken over by @FrenchChefWife.
I was an hour late for my reservation, but when I slid into a seat at the table next to @domainela and the Weekly's own @RitzBites, the cheer was as thick as the smell of chicken grease in the air. I got a skillet of @chefgreeny's vinegared greens and a plate of the cheese grits. I downed the chorizo soup as quickly as I did my bourbon. And then came the chicken, two pieces to a plate, one of @chefludo's trademark chicken balls, crisp and juicy and laced with rosemary, somehow Provencal despite the little pill cup of chile sauce; and a fat thigh from @chefgreeny, buttermilk-tart, garnished with waffle shards and a jigger of maple syrup. France v. America; chef v. chef; pop-up v. brick-and-mortar. I was just happy to be eating chicken, to be drinking bourbon, to be alive on a happy Tuesday night.
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