Off Topic..

Some days you just let things get away from you, and this was one of them.  I should have been diligently testing the perfume I got a sample of on Friday, but I had something happen to me that rarely does; I was socially in demand.  So I’ll have to actually save the review of Lubin Black Jade until next time.

I will write that this unexpected burst of friends asking to eat lead to a Sunday of retro food.  First was eggs benedict at the fountain coffee room at The Beverly Hills Hotel, which was one of the few things about the hotel that was basically left alone during the hotel’s refurbishing in the 90’s.  That’s a good thing, since it’s a slice of 1949.  The prices aren’t even bad. considering that it’s a luxury hotel; breakfast and coffee for two was a shade over $40.  Not every-day for me, but if you’re in town it’s worth it for the experience, and the eggs benedict is really delicious: simple, classic and not screwed with.

The friend who suggested it (and paid, thank goodness) was a little annoyed that his new Porsche Cayenne didn’t get the beauty spot space in the Valet.  Poor bunny.  He freely admits that it’s his mid-life crisis with 4-wheel drive, so good on him.  Were I in his income bracket I’d have gone for a Boxster, but what do I know?  I take the bus.

The afternoon was a movie with my new movie pal, a wonderful, funny new friend who has a partner who doesn’t care for the kind of movies she likes.  He likes things that explode, makes noise and are generally in the Bey/Bruckheimer oeuvre.  She’s more of a rom-com kind of gal, and so am I.  So off to “Friends With Benefits” we went.  It was a cute movie.  Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake are enormously charismatic and while the flick was so formulaic you could see the cogs turning it was still very enjoyable.  We stopped for a bite after at The Capital Grille, which opened up in the Beverly Center where the Hard Rock used to be.  I had French onion soup, which I don’t think I’ve had since maybe 1977 when I was a kid.  It was absolutely delicious.  Again, a classic recipe done with the best ingredients and not “updated” or “deconstructed” or “rethought”.  Just great stock, onions, real pumpernickel and a hearty layer of gruyere blasted under the broiler.  Yum.

Next time, back to the subject at hand.  If you have a classic recipe that you thing should be brought back, please say so in the comments.

  • Ninara Poll says:

    Potatos au gratin. I have not had decent potatos au gratin in years.

  • Joanna says:

    Baked Alaska still amazes me. I remember my grandpa teaching me how to make it. He would also let me take a sip of his Brandy Alexanders and they still remind me of him.

  • Perfumista8 says:

    I often crave but am hesitant to make the coconut date balls my mom made, only at Christmas. I would eat dozens. A while back she found the recipe and only then recalled that they are made with raw eggs. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to try that these days.
    Tom, love your comment : simple, classic and not screwed with. This can be applied to many good things in life.

  • Patty says:

    Macaroni and cheese! Just like you said, it shouldn’t be modernized, reconstructed, re-thought, re-interpreted.

    • Nan says:

      I’ve been searching and searching for just the right macaroni and chesse recipe. For that matter, I also have been searching for just the right minestrone soup recipe. Minestrone with fresh veggies, properly cooked beans and pasta, and a drizzle of pesto or pistou is just heaven.

    • tmp00 says:

      Not to be contrary, but with this one I disagree. I love changing out the cheeses, adding truffle butter, etc,

      It does however have to be macaroni & cheese. Nothing added in beyond that, If you want to have macaroni & cheese & broccoli or macaroni & cheese & tuna or macaroni & cheese & the kitchen sink then bully for you, but don’t serve it to me.

  • DinaC says:

    Your recent meals sound great. Love food classics that aren’t messed with. One of my favorites is the Club sandwich. I never get tired of it, but my husband knows I usually only finish three out of the four enormous triangular sections. :-)

    Love perfume classics, too, and I likewise wish that they could stay un-reformulated and un-messed-with. I’m a purist that way, whether it comes to food or fragrance.

    I’m not a big onion fan, but now I’ve got a yen for French onion soup. I’ll have to search some out some this fall when the weather cools down.

  • Dilana says:

    I’ve never heard of using pumpernickel for onion soup gratinee, and growing up near French Canada, I had a lot of this soup growing up. (yes, I know that I have mixed English and French). However, it sounds like a terrific idea, giving the broth a bit extra rich flavor. So I think they did give the classic recipe a tiny update or twist which sounds delicious.

    As for classic recipes, please, the classic NY cheesecake does not need any chocolate chips, weird fruit goo, peanut butter or even white chocolate. The lovely taste of cheesecake, with natural cream cheese (like the plain grocery brand), a grahm cracker crust, orchid extra (otherwise known as Vanilla) and a tiny bit of lemon peel, is exquisite.

    • Nan says:

      Agreed. But I beg to differ a bit about the cheese. Classic NY cheesecake is made with fresh farmer’s cheese (IIRC a type of fresh cottage cheese). This year my son and I made a plain cheesecake for my husband’s birthday using a mix of plain cream cheese, marscarpone, and full fat greek yogurt (the dairy I could find in the fridge). At my son’s suggestion, we left it plain — just a tad of vanilla and lemond rind. My husband pronounced it the best cheesecake he has ever had, and he has had plenty.

    • tmp00 says:

      Maybe I’m misremembering it, but I swore that in New England it was pumpernickel. So I assumed it was for this one. It could have been french bread; the stick was so rich and highly flavored it stained the bread dark.

      Cheesecake I think can be fooled with. There are so many ways to do it that are delicious that I don’t mind the variations at all. Your classic is of course drool-worthy.

  • kathie says:

    I love a good old fashioned patty melt with grilled onions that are grilled almost brown with a couple of layers of swiss cheese, a fat piece of grilled beef and rye. I keep ordering a patty melt now and then but its never like the ones I had in my youth in California. Colorado just doesn’t make them right. I even was served one with raw onions once. Sigh…………

  • Musette says:

    Tom –

    The CF Room is one of my favorite places in BH! I miss Old-School Beverly Hills. It was so Go Big, in a vaguely classy-tacky way… I dunno why but last night I was thinking about Luckille Ball and Desi Arnaz (had Desi Arnaz Way (just off Sunset) on my mind for some strange reason…”WHAT mind?” you might ask? 8-|

    A favorite old recipe? The creamed spinach at the late-lamented Berghoff in Chicago.

    xo >-)

    • Teri says:

      Bowing my head in a moment of silence for the late, great Berghoff. :(

    • Nan says:

      I never had it there but about a year ago I made some homemade creamed spinach with real cream and fresh nutmeg. (I had a bit of leftover cream from some special event recipe that I wanted to use up.) The whole family loved it, and so did the visiting teen. None of them had ever had anything like it. Yum.

    • tmp00 says:

      I love creamed spinach- I made I made it one year for turkey day. I pulled the stems and veins and chiffonaded about s cubic ton of spinach (which I will never do again) and cooked it with real cream and some brie. It was sooo good that my fellow diners begged me NOT to tell them what was in it.

      They could taste they were going off their diets eating it and did not want to know exactly how far.

  • Ann says:

    Hi, Tom. Great post and a great retro Sunday. I second your classics; they’re hard to find and even harder to find done just right, not mucked up and “updated.”

  • Musette says:

    You guys!!! This is great minds, thinking alike! Come back tomorrow, too! You’ll see why…;)

    xo >-)

  • k-scott says:

    green goddess dressing! yum yum yum :-D

  • Sherri M. says:

    My most-loved cookbook is from Sunset that I’ve had since the 70’s. It is a treasure trove of simple, classic recipes using quality natural ingredients. (French Onion Soup and Creme Brulee are my specialty, btw, though I confess my recipes are very simple and easy to reproduce.)

    Anyway, the 70’s Sunset cookbook has been revised many times. The version I bought a few years ago has been done with healthier food choices in mind, which I do appreciate, but I miss the old classic with things like Fettucine Verde with all that wonderful artery-clogging real butter and cream…I’m very health conscious, but I can’t help thinking a little butter and cream once in a while can’t be so bad for you.

    I’ll spare you a novel this morning, but let me know if you’d like any of the recipes.

    • tmp00 says:

      I could write a novel of eating now versus eating then. Those recipes were caloric, sure but when your Mom made them you were served a salad beforehand that you had to eat and vegetables with it that you also had to eat before you could even think about desert. Now we greab a la carte fast food and go straight to the entree The largest size french fries and soda at Mickey D are now the smallest one, and instead of having that as a treat we’re basing our diets on it. For all the health food we have now, I think people are much fatter.

  • Meg says:

    Gin Fizz! Actually, I’ve never had one. But when I read up on the origin of Lubin’s scent, I was intrigued, and I have wanted to try one since. However, every bar I’ve tried to order one from (decent establishments!) have given me a baffled cold shoulder.

    • Madea says:

      Hear hear!

    • DinaC says:

      I tried a Sloe Gin Fizz in my 20s, and it was great. Might have been the first mixed drink/cocktail I ever had. I probably read about it in a book and was curious. Definitely worth searching out and finding.

    • Julie says:

      Yes, sloe gin is not a common liqueur and a sloe gin fizz is a very retro drink, so I assume most bars probably don’t have a bottle of it. It is super fun to make, so I would recommend picking up a bottle and making them at home – they’re very festive!