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More Memories

October 20, 1994

Thank you for the delightful memories you brought back with the articles on wonderful Las Angeles restaurants of the past ("Celebration of Restaurants Past," Sept. 29). May I add two of my old-time favorites--the Spanish Kitchen on Beverly Boulevard and the "old" Taix French restaurant. The section was a grand trip down a gastronomic memory lane.


Your article proved nostalgic to so many of us. Many a night our motorcycles headed out to Lincoln Heights to Ptomaine Tommy's open-all-night restaurant. We'd cross the sawdust-covered floor to the captain's chairs stationed at wrap-around counters and feast on their chili size, a huge hamburger smothered with mouth-watering chili, topped with chopped onions and served with oyster crackers. And what about the Chili Bowls (shaped like real bowls) located all over Los Angeles. If Jonathan Gold's cast-iron stomach ever gives out, I'll join his many fans and contribute to getting him back on his feet, so he can eat and eat!


In reading Colman Andrews' article on old restaurants today, I got a sudden rush of nostalgia when he referred to "something called farmer's chop suey." This dish made a wonderful supper on a hot summer day, and I thought your readers might enjoy the recipe as my parents prepared it:

Cut up equal parts of the following and combine in a salad bowl: head lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, green onions. Remember, equal parts; this is not a lettuce salad trimmed with other vegetables. Tomatoes (you might want to add them after the salad is tossed) or a little celery would also be OK. If you've got black olives on hand, you can throw some in. No carrots and no mushrooms. Toss with some salt, then add copious amounts of regular cottage cheese and sour cream in equal parts and toss again. (Low fat in either didn't exist yet.) When you've added enough, everything will be bound together. Serve with fresh buttered pumpernickel or corn rye bread.


What delicious memories the fabulous "Restaurant History" articles brought back! Although my eating at any of these wonderful restaurants was usually a happy accident (my parents would never have brought me to these expensive places on purpose!), I guess that is the reason why I love those memories all the more.

A sweet-16 party at the Luau (the next year it was gone, and being that it was my first and last time there, I sometimes wondered if I hadn't dreamed the whole thing, often times confusing it with the Tahitian Terrace restaurant in Disneyland, yet another long gone favorite).

My aunt Milly's gift to me of a sweet 16 all my own at Robaire's, (my first real French food), my parent's indulgent engagement party for my future husband and me at Scandia (yes, they did finally take me to a forbiddenly expensive restaurant, and it was so delicious that I can still taste the gravad lax 16 years later).

But surely the most wonderful long-lost restaurant memory is when, in my senior year at Beverly Hills High School, my best friend's mother took us for dinner at the Tail o' the Cock. Don't ask me what we ordered, don't ask me what I ate. I can't remember a thing about that evening except that I was sitting next to Barbara Bernstein (my best friend) and her mom (Florence Henderson), and I couldn't swallow a bite!


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