Places To Eat In Los Angeles: LudoTruck, Guerrilla Fried Chicken [Now Closed]
When was the last time you had a meal so delicious, so satisfying you could not bring yourself to think about food for the rest of the day? (And you know me, getting me to stop thinking about eating, making, photographing or writing about food is no mean feat!) The last time I had a meal that good was in June 2011 the first time I ever visited the village Auberge in the tiny rural village of La Fontanelle in Brittany, Northern France for their set 12,50€ Menu du Jour and experienced simple rural French food at its finest in the no frills, no fuss dining room alongside the local farmers and a large carafe of red wine. I can still remember the way my steak melted in my mouth that day almost two years later, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to remember my first ever meal from what so many have called one of the very best food trucks in LA: LudoTruck for years to come.
A little bit of background. I’ve been waiting for this roaming food truck to park up somewhere in my neck of the woods for weeks, and I finally caught up with it on Thursday afternoon when it was parked up on Wilshire Boulevard in Mid City. In case you missed me wax lyrical about French Chef Ludo Lefebvre last week, he is a mind blowingly awesome chef who graduated from running the kitchens of top restaurants first in France then in LA, onto Ludo Eats (one of the original pop up restaurants we have to thank for inspiring some of our favourite roaming eateries) and this, LudoTruck his food truck serving up succulent fried chicken dishes that are unlike any other fried chicken you have ever eaten before (it is not just physical thousands of miles between LudoTruck and the undesirable chicken shops I had to walk past and inhale the smells from every day when I was living in London’s Mile End. The one thing new freshers were always told by second and third years in our first week at university was it does not matter how drunk you are don’t eat Dixie Chicken!)
Even though it is all savoury at LudoTruck, me being, well, me I decided to go for a three course feast of options. After all, it was only lunchtime, I could always just have a salad in the evening and I had no idea when I’d be able to swing by the truck again (I want to try their chicken sandwich!) To start I went for two Crispy Breast Strips with a serving of three day cooked fries. While with the exception of a good In-N-Out Burger I can usually be found turning my nose up at fast food, I will admit to occasionally indulging in the odd piece of KFC, especially on a cold and rainy day in East London. The problem is, after trying these chicken pieces I don’t think I’ll be able to enjoy the Colonel’s secret recipe ever again; it is Chef Ludo’s I want. I don’t know any other way to describe it than to steal Jonathan Gold’s verdict: “impossibly juicy.”
As for the fries, they were less remarkable but still perfect. They’re what I like to call ‘dirty’ fries; darker and more rugged rather than the crisp, straight and upright fries that usually have come straight from their first fry. Think Five Guys fries rather than McDonalds offerings. What I will say about LudoTruck’s fries, however, is that when you stop getting distracted on all the delicious things there are to dip them in available (more on that in a minute) you’ll realise that they are perfectly soft, light and fluffy like clouds in the middle. The effect can only be achieved by preparing them over the space of days; Chef Ludo described how they were done (the key is soaking, as much as the type of potato used) at his cooking demo earlier in the month.
All the side dips and sauces are homemade which got me rather excited. I opted for a pot of the Spicy Mayo and one of Honey Mustard, with the idea that the Honey Mustard would go perfectly with my chicken and the Mayo my chips, though I tried them with both. There was nothing particularly noteworthy about the Mayo; it was just delicious and well executed, but the Honey Mustard got me excited and wondering why I can’t seem to get the perfect balance of flavour so that you first get sweet, then a mustard flavour then a pleasant after kick of acid with every taste when I make it at home myself.
Now lets move on to the plat de résistance, the main reason why it will be a very, very long time before I forget this meal. These are Honey-Garlic Chicken wings and as I started tearing the first of my trio apart a few metres away from the truck in a very un-ladylike fashion the two words to describe the delicious sauce the impossibly juicy, succulent and crispy wings had been marinated in were ‘nectar’ and ‘elixir’. These wings are the perfect example of no fuss food where less is more and the flavours used are really allowed to sing. You can really taste the honey; sweet and rich but not too much so (it took me back to the big jars of local Kent honey my mother used to buy in the local village shop before it closed or at school fetes when I was a child) followed by the fantastic taste of the garlic; not so strong that it is hot or sharp, or it destroys your breath for the rest of the afternoon but unmistakably the second flavour of these wings in a way that can’t be ignored. These wings have to be up there as one of the best things I’ve ever eaten and I will now be adding to my bucket list of meals without even a hope of ever being able to work out how to make them myself to enjoy more often.
To round off the meal my tastebuds and I headed down South for a deliciously fresh and warm Honey-Lavender biscuit with a thick and runny topping of more of the unadulterated delicious honey from the wings (you can imagine how sticky my fingers were by now!) I think I have made it clear by now I thought everything I ate at the truck was fantastic so I’ll highlight what I though was done particularly well with this biscuit; the sprinkling of rough salt on top which did a really good job of balancing out the hit of sweet, I just wish there had been a little bit more of it!
If you live in Los Angeles, or your planning on visiting the city sometime soon you can check the LudoTruck website, or follow it on Facebook or Twitter to find out where it will be popping up next. Also, do any of my LA readers have any other food truck recommendations I should start trying to track down?