Lunch

December 1st, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

SJ has discovered the pleasures of lunch. That’s what he reports in his enlightening blog, OishiGevalt.com. (The blog is a must read for anyone interested in food, sharp writing, Tokyo and life). SJ lives in Tokyo after years in New Jersey, Chicago, Manhattan and Brooklyn. SJ finds lunching in Tokyo a wonderland of treats. Every variation of fresh fish, meat, noodles. Best of all, these quality lunches are cheap. In SJ’s lunch post on Oishi Gevalt (“The $5 Lunch Special”, SJ mentions HG’s breakfasts of long ago consisting of black coffee and numerous Marlboro cigarettes and HG’s four-martini lunches (Those were the days when HG was a New York/New Jersey public relations biggie). No, SJ, four-martini lunches are suicidal. HG had modest two-martini lunches (plus wine or beer and post meal brandy). And where did HG lunch with alcohol loving journalists? Three places near the Times, Herald-Tribune, Newsweek and Business Week: Blue Ribbon (German food and world’s best steak tartare); Artists & Writers (German food with a specialty of konigsberger klops, a savory dish of meat balls in a cream and dill sauce); Sardi’s (lamb chops with a grilled kidney). Lunch with clients was at the Bar Room of the Four Seasons (Pool Room was for tourists). Other client lunch spot was Christ Cella, the great steak house (This was also convenient for lunching with journalists from the News, Mirror, Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine and Barron’s). These days HG has a lusty breakfast, a spartan lunch and a lavish dinner. BSK, interested in keeping HG healthy and reasonably sober, has prevailed upon HG to substitute white wine for pre-dinner vodka martinis.

Art In Restaurants

July 5th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

One of the nice things about living in Santa Fe is the art. Of course, there are scores of galleries (some kitsch but mostly first rate) and a surprising number of museums for a city its size. But, there’s quality art almost everywhere–in banks, restaurants, public buildings, shops, offices, etc. HG’s doctor, for example, has a splendid Dali hanging in her consulting room. One of HG’s favorite spaces is the very good Compound Restaurant on Canyon Road. In an old adobe building, the restaurant was designed by the late Alexander Girard and the sun washed interiors are decorated with a few striking pieces of primitive art. (Girard contributed 106,000 pieces to Santa Fe’s Museum Of International Folk Art). New York has some splendid restaurant art, much enjoyed by HG during HG’s long residence in HG’s once beloved city (now a theme park for the international oligarchy). The now threatened Four Seasons Restaurant in Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building has a Lippold sculpture, Bertoia curtains, and a revolving display of paintings by modern masters (The Picasso ballet curtain, alas, has been removed). There is no better place for cocktails than The King Cole Bar in the St. Regis Hotel. (HG/BSK have a special fondness for the hotel since, just abut 52 years ago, the duo had an afternoon reception in the elegant Library room following a morning wedding). King Cole, that merry old soul, is celebrated at the bar with a majestic Maxfield Parrish mural. Gaze at it in wonder as you sip a martini during your next New York visit. But, bring an active credit card. Drinks and snacks are very expensive (but worth it). Another wondrous interior is the Cafe des Artistes (now called Leopard at des Artistes).on W.67th Street. The walls are adorned with frolicking, bare-breasted forest nymphs painted by Howard Chandler Christy. Enchanting. (Some 5l years ago, HG/BSK lived next door to the des Artistes at 27 W. 67th and sometimes popped into the cafe for a drink). The long closed Jams Restaurant introduced Alice Waters-influenced California cuisine to New York. The owners, Melvin Masters and Jonathan Waxman, hung striking modern art on the walls. There are two restaurants with caricatures on the walls–Sardi’s and Palm. Sardi’s features theatrical figures and Palm has Depression era stuff by cartoonists from nearby newspapers (The artists got a free meal). Palm has restaurants throughout the country and has caricatures of local personalities (and good customers) on its walls. When HG resided in Denver, HG often lunched at the Denver Palm outpost at a booth beneath a flattering caricature of HG. Fame.

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The Four Seasons

June 3rd, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

If there is one restaurant that symbolizes the splendor, the taste, the cosmopolitan flavor of New York it is The Four Seasons. It is located in an iconic building, the bronze beauty — the Seagram Building situated on a lovely Park Avenue plaza. The building is a masterwork by the great architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (HG was honored to be Mies’s publicist while Mies was developing projects in Newark and Baltimore). Designed by Mies in collaboration with Philip Johnson, the restaurant opened in 1959 and is a supreme example of the best in mid-century design. HG/BSK dined there often (in the shimmering Pool Room) and HG would meet with public relations clients in the Grill Room, home of “power lunches.” Marvelous art and artifacts (tableware designed by L. Garth Huxtable is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art). Rotating art featured work by Jean Miro and other greats. Sculpture by Richard Lippold and metal curtains by Frank Bertoia. Jackson Pollock’s “Blue Poles” had a temporary home there (rented from collector/dealer Ben Heller). A striking feature, hung between the Pool Room and the Grill Room, was Pablo Picasso’s curtain designed for the Ballet Russes ballet “Le Tricorne.” Following a dispute with the Seagram Building’s owner, Aby Rosen, the curtain has been removed and now hangs in the New York Historical Society Building. Disputes with Rosen have continued and it now appears the restaurant may have to move from the building to another location. This is a tragedy. It means the destruction of a seamless work of art, one that defines New York and the era in which the restaurant was created. Yes, when HG mourns the end of Lindy’s, Luchow’s, Tip Toe Inn and many lesser eateries, HG can be accused of Old Fogeyism. The Four Seasons is another matter. Moving from the Seagram Building means the desecration of a work of timeless art.

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Putting on the Ritz

February 1st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

HG has never enjoyed pricey, upscale, high cuisine restaurants. In many decades of dining, only four have given HG pleasure commensurate with the expenditure. One, Le Pavillon, in New York is long gone, but memories of their fillets of smoked eel topped with a horseradish-infused whipped cream will linger on the HG palate forever. Another, the Connaught Hotel Restaurant in London offered the quintessential civilized English dining experience — perfect Dover Sole (de-boned at the table), Stilton and Port to finish (with a cigar service for those who indulged – and HG did just that). Alas, the Connaught has changed so much that it is unrecognizable. Two, both in New York, are alive and well. One is Le Bernardin and the other is the Four Seasons Restaurant in the Seagram Building. Le Bernardin is flawless, simply the best seafood in the world prepared with flair and imagination. Fabulous wine list supervised by a renowned sommelier. Very, very expensive but not insane. Lunch Prix Fixe is $72 (three courses) and Dinner Prix Fixe is $127 (four courses). Tasting menu is more extravagant — $237 with paired wines. HG was a frequent diner at the Four Seasons during HG’s New York career. The Pool Room is the most beautiful restaurant space in the world. Curiously, New York big shots never ate there. They chose the more austere Grill Room. Menu is the same in both rooms. The Four Seasons used to be expensive but affordable for tax deductible meals. Now, the prices have gone through the roof. An appetizer of Spaghetti with Poached Egg and Black Truffles is $75. Grilled shrimp appetizer is $38. Venison, lamb chops, bison and steak are about $75. If you want to sample Four Seasons cuisine without going broke, take a seat at the bar. The Bar Menu is delicious and affordable (comparatively).

How Did We Do It?

May 27th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

That’s a question HG often puts to himself. HG is referring to drinking habits in the 50s and for most of the 60s. In those halcyon days, HG lunched daily in Manhattan restaurants with journalists, pals or HG’s public relations clients. Typical lunch at the Blue Ribbon, very good German restaurant on W. 45th (convenient for journalists from Times, Herald-Tribune, Newsweek and Business Week): Two dry martinis with Rollmops Appetizer (Bismarck herring rolled around a dill pickle); steak tartare or bratwurst or Kassler Rippchen (smoked pork chop) washed down with two large, dark beers. Cognac and a cup of black coffee to finish. At Russian Tea Room, HG drank chilled vodka throughout a lunch of Eggplant Oriental, Borscht with Pirozhki (flaky meat pastries) or Siberian Pelmeni (tiny Russian ravioli in a rich chicken consomme infused with generous quantities of chopped dill, sour cream and strong mustard). Wine, of course, accompanied the food at Sardi’s, Four Seasons, Gino’s. Patsy’s, Charles, Christ Cella, etc. But, two martinis always jump started the lunch. After lunch, an energetic HG was back at work. Focused. Productive. HG was not alone. Men (and women) drank cocktails at lunch — Martinis, Manhattans or Whiskey Sours. How could we function with so much lunchtime booze? We did. And, it was fun.