Wednesday, November 23, 2016

L.A.'s Legendary Restaurants: Celebrating the Famous Places Where Hollywood Ate, Drank, and Played

For a few years at the time in the 1920s and 1930s, Louise Brooks lived in Los Angeles. And, like other residents and celebrities, she frequented the city's various restaurants and nightclubs.

A swell new book from Santa Monica Press, L.A.'s Legendary Restaurants: Celebrating the Famous Places Where Hollywood Ate, Drank, and Played, by George Geary, gives some sense of what it would have been like to dine out in golden age Hollywood.

From the publisher: "L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants is an illustrated history of dozens of landmark eateries from throughout the City of Angels. From such classics as the Musso & Frank Grill and the Brown Derby in the 1920s, to the see-and-be-seen crowds at Chasen’s, Romanoff’s, and Ciro’s in the mid-twentieth century, to the dawn of California cuisine at Ma Maison and Spago Sunset in the 1970s and ’80s, L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants celebrates the famous locations where Hollywood ate, drank, and played.

Award-winning chef, best-selling author, and renowned educator George Geary leads you on a tour of these glamorous restaurants through a lively narrative filled with colorful anecdotes and illustrated with vintage photographs, historic menus, and timeless ephemera. Over 100 iconic recipes for entrées, appetizers, desserts, and classic drinks are included, and all have been updated by Chef Geary for today’s cook and kitchen.

L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants is sprinkled with fun facts and trivia, from Elizabeth Taylor’s craving for Chasen’s chili on the set of Cleopatra, to Bob Hope’s favorite place to enjoy a hot fudge sundae after the Academy Awards, to the restaurant where a table was sawed off to accommodate a pregnant Lana Turner, to the soda fountain counter where composer Harold Arlen wrote “Over the Rainbow” for The Wizard of Oz.

The book runs the gamut of L.A.’s restaurant scene, covering not only the fashionable, high-priced eateries favored by the Hollywood cognoscenti, but also the drive-ins, drugstores, nightclubs, and bars frequented by the average Angeleno. What book on L.A. restaurants would be complete without tales of ice cream sundaes at C. C. Brown’s, cafeteria-style meals at Clifton’s, late-night breakfasts at Ben Frank’s, or mai tais at Don the Beachcomber?

Most of the locations in L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants no longer exist, but George Geary has brought their memories back to life. And with Chef Geary’s updated recipes, we can still enjoy many of the same iconic dishes that kept customers coming back to their favorite haunts again and again."

The book is organized by when each restaurant was in business. (A few still are.) Early film buffs will enjoy the images of movie stars likeCharlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard, Harold Lloyd and Mildred Davis, Norma Shearer, Thelma Todd, Constance Bennett, Claudette Colbert, Carole Lombard, and the Marx Brothers as they ate out at the Pig 'n Whistle, Brown Derby, Musso and Franks, Romanoff's, Clifton's Cafeteria, Schwab's Pharmacy and elsewhere.

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