Tag Archives: Black Truffle

Ludo Bites “pop-ups” michelin style french cuisine without the stuffyness

Where’s a respectable foodie to take his newly ‘ringed’ fiance? A fine, romantic, french restaurant you say? Well this is Los Angeles, where The Rainbow still rocks and the Hollywood Hills roll all the way down to the Malibu surf. Why get dressed up when you can have the same meal dressed down?

Ludo Lefebvre is the Axl Rose of traditional French cuisine. His resume is a who’s who of chefs and restaurants: Marc Meneau, Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Passard, Guy Martin, L’Orangerie, and Bastide.

With Ludo Bites, Ludo reinvents himself and the fine dining experience. A ‘pop-up’ restaurant, currently located in the BreadBar location on Third Street (here) and open only for dinner (when BreadBar is closed), Ludo Bites is affordable Michelin style french cuisine, with a hip, casual attitude.

If you don’t make it over to Ludo Bites before its current incarnation closes on August 22, 2009, be sure to look out for whenever it ‘pops-up’ in a new location sometime soon.

With the best corkage fee in town ($5), we BYO'd a french style Pinot Noir, the 2003 Domaine Alfred Califa from the Chamisal Vineyard, Edna Valley, Central Coast California

With the best corkage fee in town ($5), we BYO'd a french style Pinot Noir, the 2003 Domaine Alfred Califa from the Chamisal Vineyard, Edna Valley, Central Coast California

The Fois Gras Black Croque-Monsieur with Ham, Cherry and Amaretto is creamy, rich and delicious.  The perfectly grilled bread gets its color from squid ink.

The Fois Gras Black Croque-Monsieur with Ham, Cherry and Amaretto is creamy, rich and delicious. The perfectly grilled bread gets its color from squid ink.

A new style greek salad comes together with Marinated Heirloom Tomato, Feta Mousse, Red Onion and Olives.  The creamy, sorbet-like feta mousse balances the sharpness of the olives.

A new style greek salad comes together with Marinated Heirloom Tomato, Feta Mousse, Red Onion and Olives. The creamy, sorbet-like feta mousse balances the sharpness of the olives.

The baked escargot with herb butter, spinach and curry-yogurt is one of the more interesting versions of the classic french dish.  Don't forget the garlicky crouton at the bottom of the dish; it balances the spinach beautifully.

The baked escargot with herb butter, spinach and curry-yogurt is one of the more interesting versions of the classic french dish. Don't forget the garlicky crouton at the bottom of the dish; it balances the spinach beautifully.

Grilled Duck Breast with Leeks Salad, Ginger, Capers and Black Truffle is a contrast in extremes.  The perfectly cooked duck shines in black truffle, but can get easily overpowered by the one-two acidic punch of the leeks and ginger.

Grilled Duck Breast with Leeks Salad, Ginger, Capers and Black Truffle is a contrast in extremes. The perfectly cooked duck shines in black truffle, but can get easily overpowered by the one-two acidic punch of the leeks and ginger.

Beef Tenderloin and Smoked Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Shallots, Chive Flower and Radish is Chef Ludo at his finest.  The beef, a perfect medium rare, explodes with char-grilled flavors, only enhanced by the smokeyness of the eggplant.  The goat cheese and carmelized shallots combine to taste like a fully loaded backed potato without the potato.  This is definately one of LA's best beef dishes.

Beef Tenderloin and Smoked Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Shallots, Chive Flower and Radish is Chef Ludo at his finest. The beef, a perfect medium rare, explodes with char-grilled flavors, only enhanced by the smokeyness of the eggplant. The goat cheese and carmelized shallots combine to taste like a fully loaded backed potato without the potato. This is definately one of LA's best beef dishes.

Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta with Caramel and Caviar is perfectly executed contrast in flavors; the soft, creamy panna cotta is enveloped by the sweet, smooth caramel and then taken to an entirely new level by the salty, burst in your mouth caviar.

Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta with Caramel and Caviar is perfectly executed contrast in flavors; the soft, creamy panna cotta is enveloped by the sweet, smooth caramel and then taken to an entirely new level by the salty, burst in your mouth caviar.

The Chocolate Cup Cake with Fois Gras Chantilly, Candied Bacon-Almonds and Maple Syrup is a meal unto itself.  Rich, savory, smokey and sweet all at once, this dessert is not for beginners.

The Chocolate Cup Cake with Fois Gras Chantilly, Candied Bacon-Almonds and Maple Syrup is a meal unto itself. Rich, savory, smokey and sweet all at once, this dessert is not for beginners.

La Bucaccia – A family run jewel under the Tuscan sun

About an hour’s drive south of Florence, in the southern Tuscan province of Arezzo, high in the hills near Lake Trasimeno, site of Hannibal’s great defeat of the Roman Army under Gaius Flaminius in June 217 B.C., lies the commune of Cortona. Founded by the Etruscans, Cortona is known by the expression “mother of Troy, grandmother of Rome” due the myths which connect the town to the founding of both of those great cities. More recently, the commune is famous for being the setting of the book and film Under the Tuscan Sun.

Exactly 1782 years and 2 days after Rome’s defeat by Hannibal’s armies, Sasha and I, along with our dear friends Cosimo, Christine, Domenico and Angelina, arrived in Cortona.

Of all the Etruscan gateways to Cortona, there is only one that remains intact, the Porta Bifora, called “La Bucaccia” or “evil hole”. La Bucaccia owes its fame (and its name and closure until 1996) to 1258, when the citizens of Arezzo and the exiled Cortonese Guelphs entered Cortona through this gateway and sacked the town.

Porta Bifora "La Bucaccia"...the "evil hole"

Just up Via Ghibellina from the Porta Bifora sits a stunning example of Tuscan cuisine at its finest, Hostaria La Bucaccia. This restaurant, heretofore overlooked by Micheline, is sure to one day receive the star it well deserves. Run by Romano Magi and his exceptional, master chef of a wife Agostina, with ample help from their adorable daughter Francesca, La Bucaccia is not only the best restaurant in Cortona, but of all the places we ate on our Italian tour, it was my favorite.

Romano and Agostina Magi and Chad

Romano and Agostina Magi and Chad


La Bucaccia - Sign
Entrance to Hostaria La Bucaccia

Entrance to Hostaria La Bucaccia


The interior of La Bucaccia is the former cellars of the 13th century Palazzo Cattani

The interior of La Bucaccia is the former cellars of the 13th century Palazzo Cattani


Cinghiale Paradise - wild boar sausage, prosciutto con melone, salame, finocciono with apricot, and bresola with apples.  You sure can't get this in the US.

Cinghiale Paradise - wild boar sausage, prosciutto con melone, salame, finocciono with apricot, and bressola with apples. You sure can't get this in the US.


Carpaccio of black pork with fresh greens and balsamic

Carpaccio of black pork with fresh greens and balsamic


Tagliatelle with fresh black truffle, fresh ingredients perfectly cooked with that wonderful truffle flavor

Tagliatelle with fresh black truffle, fresh ingredients perfectly cooked with that wonderful truffle flavor


Sant’Egidio style chestnut Ravioli filled with ricotta and sprinkled with mint flavored porcini mushroom sauce

Sant’Egidio style chestnut Ravioli filled with ricotta and sprinkled with mint flavored porcini mushroom sauce


Pappardelle with wild boar ragu; savory and sweet, rich and delicious, this is a classic cortonese/tuscan dish that perfectly captures place and transcends time

Pappardelle with wild boar ragu; savory and sweet, rich and delicious, this is a classic cortonese/tuscan dish that perfectly captures place and transcends time


An up close look at one of my favorite pasta dishes ever: pappardelle al cighiale ragu (wild boar)

An up close look at one of my favorite pasta dishes ever: pappardelle al cinghiale ragu (wild boar)


Sliced steak of black pork in a peppercorn sauce - an Agostina speciality

Sliced steak of black pork in a peppercorn sauce - an Agostina speciality


Grilled steak with lemon

Grilled steak with lemon


Grilled steak topped with a smoky bacon flavored sauce

Grilled steak topped with a smoky bacon flavored sauce


Grilled steak in a sweet red wine reduction sauce

Grilled steak in a sweet red wine reduction sauce


Chocolate cake with cream and chocolate sauce

Chocolate cake with cream and chocolate sauce


Tiramisu

Tiramisu


Strawberry gelato

Strawberry gelato


Biscotti perfectly compliment Vin Santo as a way to finish a great meal

Biscotti perfectly compliment Vin Santo as a way to finish a great meal


Vin Santo "La Bucaccia" riserva 1977 shown with the decanting pourer
Vin Santo 3 ways, all of them delicious

Vin Santo 3 ways, all of them delicious


In this small but well equipped kitchen, Agostina makes magic happen

In this small but well equipped kitchen, Agostina makes magic happen


In Agostina's kitchen, with husband and partner Romano and sous chef

In Agostina's kitchen, with husband and partner Romano and sous chef