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My New Favorite Restaurateur: Ludacris

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I know there are any number of reasons to worship Ludacris, aka Luda, aka Chris Bridges—for his music, for his videos, for his acting (in case you forgot, Crash won the Oscar for Best Picture), for his new music website wemix; for his charity work, for his good looks, for his gorgeous suits, for his ginormous diamond earrings. But I'm in love with him because he's just opened Straits Restaurant with chef Chris Yeo and brought killer-good modern Singaporean food to Atlanta, a city where I spend a good amount of time. The two had met at an event for the Ludacris Foundation which supports kids, and Luda, it turns out, is something of a foodie. Yeo has three other Straits cafés/restaurants—in Burlingame, Palo Alto and San Francisco, California—and is planning to open more in southern California. But me, I'm all about the Atlanta location and last Thursday's opening party, where Yeo talked about the similarities between Southern and Singaporean food (okra; a Singaporean rice product that's similar to grits). More importantly, Luda helped me figure out what to eat. And I learned this—if Luda offers to order for you, go for it; his suggestions are right on. The bar-snack peanuts, soaked for a day in ginger water and then fried with chile paste, are phenomenal. So is the roti prata (chewy flatbread with a yellow curry dipping sauce); wok-fried filet mignon in black pepper sauce; and parchment-baked sea bass in rice wine, served in an adorable paper box. Luda didn't stay too long, because he had another charity event to go to (the Straits opening party was a $100-a-plate dinner for AID Atlanta; he was headed off to an event at Ralph Lauren that benefited the Ludacris Foundation). But before he left, he asked for a list of my fave NYC restaurants (anyone who has read these blogs for five seconds can guess what they are). How happy was I? So happy that I didn't care that I missed Fergie, who showed up at Straits after I left. I'm not sure she would have cared about my favorite restaurants, anyway.

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