Tag Archives: Heirloom Tomato

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.

Florence’s Ringo gets by without help from his friends…but with amazing slow food – June 24, 2009

Our first day in Florence began where it should, at the Uffizi Gallery. Where else? I mean, why not start your day with some Michelangelo, Leonardo, Botticelli, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, and more. But after spending a few hours walking at a snails pace and battling crowds with firmly but gently placed elbows, one builds up an appetite.

A few weeks before we left, I bumped into my friend David, a man known to enjoy a good meal or two in his time. “If you’re going to Florence, you have to go to Ringo’s,” he mandated. “It’s the best lunch in Florence.”

Outside tables at Ringo's

Outside tables at Ringo's

When you enter Ringo’s, located here, just steps from the Boboli Garden side of the Ponte Vechhio, you may ask yourself, “Am I in the right place? Can this tiny space dominated mostly by a kitchen and small bar by a temple of gastronomic pleasure?” Then, you are promptly (and politely) informed that this is a slow food establishment, and that if you are looking for a quick bite to eat, go eat elsewhere. And maybe the “Slow Food” sign helps too. This place means serious business.

Is this a gastronomic temple?

Is this a gastronomic temple?

Ringo’s has been run my the same man, in the same way, for over 42 years. The maestro makes food one order at a time, using only fresh, local (he grows most of the veggies and herbs he uses) ingredients. He has been ably assisted for the past 20 years by his daughter, and with their back and forth banter in a typically expressive, Tuscan manner, gesticulating on each key word, forceful, passionate, respectful and loving all at once, you know that Ringo’s is more than a place to eat, it’s a family. Although it was empty when we entered at half past noon, we sat at the bar with the anticipation of a unique and extraordinary experience. And we were not disappointed.

Sasha and Il Maestro

Sasha and Il Maestro

Ringo’s is famous for his burgers; Roman-sized monsters of high-grade, fresh ground beef, simply grilled and topped with you choice of grilled onions and/or cheese. However, everything on the menu is extraordinary, including his daily pastas (only for 2), garden fresh salads, antipasta plates and desserts. Ringo is so protective of his food, he won’t let you over order. We had to come back twice (and very happily so) to try the breadth of his menu.

Botticelli's Primavera is a fitting image for Ringo's fresh focused cooking

Botticelli's Primavera is a fitting image for Ringo's fresh focused cooking

Il Maestro at work

Il Maestro at work

A simple amuse of grilled bread, fresh sliced heirloom tomato and a sharp, soft blue cheese

A simple amuse of grilled bread, fresh sliced heirloom tomato and a sharp, soft blue cheese

Garden fresh veggies ready for your plate

Garden fresh veggies ready for your plate

Veggie salad with cantaloupe, butter lettuce, arugula, heirloom tomatoes, red onion, basil, salt, pepper and Ringo's special mustard with extra virgin and aceto red wine vinegar served in a fish bowl

Veggie salad with cantalope, butter lettuce, arugula, heirloom tomatoes, red onion, basil, salt, pepper and Ringo's special mustard with extra virgin and aceto red wine vinegar served in a fish bowl

View from the top

View from the top

A sandwich press, a stove top, and a grill; simple, well seasoned tools make simply delicious food

A sandwich press, a stove top, and a grill; simple, well seasoned tools make simply delicious food

Ringo's pasta changes each day (or when he runs out of sauce)

Ringo's pasta changes each day (or when he runs out of sauce)

Pasta is only served in portions for 2 people; On our vist the Daily Pasta was a tagliatelle in a cheesy sweet sausage ragu

Pasta is only served in portions for 2 people; On our vist the Daily Pasta was a tagliatelle in a cheesy sweet sausage ragu

Great hamburgers start with great meat, so fresh and flavorful Ringo doesn't even use salt

Great hamburgers start with great meat, so fresh and flavorful Ringo doesn't even use salt

Every great hamburger joint needs special sauce...but Ringo's is the first mustard based special sauce I have ever had

Every great hamburger joint needs special sauce...but Ringo's is the first mustard based special sauce I have ever had

Ringo hollow outs the bun top and fills it with ketchup; special mustard sauce goes on the bottom bun

Ringo hollow outs the bun top and fills it with ketchup; special mustard sauce goes on the bottom bun

Burgers on the grill...on the way to being eaten

Burgers on the grill...on the way to being eaten

And a radish on top makes it perfect...

And a radish on top makes it perfect...

A mild emmentaler completes the cheese version of Ringo's masterpiece

A mild emmentaler completes the cheese version of Ringo's masterpiece

The "bunless" version: arugula, cherry tomatoes, aceto, grilled sourdough with special mustard sauce and topped with grilled onions
The best tiramisu I have ever eaten, bar NONE, comes served on the spoon

The best tiramisu I have ever eaten, bar NONE, comes served on the spoon

Ciao, Ringo; we can't wait to visit you again

Ciao, Ringo; we can't wait to visit you again