Cobb Salad

The first avocado I ever had was at Scandia restaurant in Los Angeles and I hated it. The slippery little green cubes avoided my fork, until finally, I managed to spear one. Once I did, I swallowed it – reluctantly, then avoided the rest of them on my plate. I’m not sure how I came to eventually love avocados, but the city of Los Angeles is a little like that, too; You might not like it at first, but it definitely grows on you.

Half of my family is from there so I got to visit them, and the city, during Christmas vacations when I was a kid. Leaving the East Coast snow behind and stepping out of the plane into the 80º heat, and learning that people had actual swimming pools in their back yard, was a revelation.

Those days were pretty much the tail end of the era of fabulous L.A. eateries. At places like Chasen’s, elite regulars like the Reagan’s and Elizabeth Taylor dined on chili and “Hobo steaks.” Don the Beachcomber fueled America’s fascination with Polynesian fare. And although I never ate there (but every time we passed the sign, we giggled at its nickname), at the Cock’n Bull on Sunset Strip, the Moscow Mule was said to be invented.

My favorite place, though, was Scandia, are airy space on Sunset Boulevard where the impeccable staff would wheel the salad cart to your table and make your salad on the spot, before being heaped on a chilled plate. Most featured crunchy Iceberg lettuce (before the advent of mesclun and micro greens) but the best was chopped romaine, tossed together with a coddled egg and garlic croutons for their Caesar Salad, which I took to right away.

Eventually, the Hansen family sold Scandia in the late 1970s and the new owners couldn’t make a go of it. Like the Brown Derby, where the Cobb Salad was said to be invented, it shuttered and the building was turned into something else. To this day, though, I still associate Los Angeles with generous composed salads.

On a recent trip, I didn’t have much success finding a classic Cobb Salad. One was tossed together in the kitchen before it landed on our table, and another was served in a big, deep bowl, the ingredients correctly divided into piles, but not in the traditional rows.

For those who miss the heyday of Los Angeles dining, you’ll be as intrigued as I was by L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants by George Geary, a fond look back at the iconic restaurants of Los Angeles, some still standing but many, sadly, gone. Everything from Ma Maison and Trader Vic’s, to the less-upscale Hamburger Hamlet and Clifton’s Cafeteria, reminded me being fortunate enough to have gone to some of those places. (See? Growing older does have its rewards.)

Tastes may have changed, but aside from avocados, mine haven’t, and I was craving a classic Cobb Salad. Like a Caesar Salad, sorry, but there are no substitutions on this one. In order to be a Cobb Salad, it has to have bacon, tomatoes, avocados, blue cheese, and chicken. I gave proportions that I used which you can use as a guideline but it’s a salad, not a science project, so you can add a little more of this, and a little less of that.

For some reason, this kind of dressing was dubbed “French” dressing back then. The recipe makes more than you need, but the dressing keep for a week or so, in case you’re feeling nostalgic for another Cobb a few days later, like I was after I made this one.

 

Cobb Salad
Print Recipe
4 main course-size servings
Inspired by L.A.'s Legendary Restaurants by George GearyThe idea of a Cobb Salad, like a Caesar Salad, is to have all the ingredients in the right proportions so one doesn't stand out too much from the others once the salad ingredients are all mixed together. If your chicken breasts are large, you may just need one. And the chicken breasts are thick, you might want to slice them in half horizontally once cooked, i.e.; lay them flat on a cutting board and cut them in half, crosswise across the equator, so you've got two flat pieces of chicken from one breast.To cook the chicken, fill a saucepan with enough salted water so it'll cover the cover the chicken. Bring it to a boil, add the chicken breast, cover, remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. You can peek inside by piercing it with a knife to check for doneness.To hard-cook eggs, bring a pot of water to a boil. Slide in the room temperature eggs and reduce the heat to a low boil. Cook for 9 minutes, remove the eggs from the water, and drop them into a bowl of ice water, to cool them down.To cook the bacon, put the strips between two paper towels on a microwave-safe plate and cook for six minutes in the microwave, or as instructed by the package. You can also cook them in a skillet, if you'd like. If you don't eat pork, swap out turkey bacon.Some like to use peeled, diced fresh tomatoes. I went with cherry tomatoes since the quality and flavor of them is usually better, except in full-on tomato season. To use fresh tomatoes, you can use a tomato peeler, or cut a small x in the bottom of 3 medium tomatoes. Drop them into a pot of boiling water for about 10 seconds (or until the skin loosens away from the flesh), then transfer them to a bowl of iced water to "shock" the tomatoes, which encourages the skins to slip off.
For the Cobb Salad
1 head romain or iceberg lettuce, or a mix of both, chopped
1/2 head watercress, chopped
1 1/2 cups (210g) quartered cherry tomatoes
2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced (see headnote)
6 strips bacon, crumbled
3 hard-cooked eggs, diced
1 large ripe avocado, diced
4 ounces (115g) crumbled Roquefort or blue cheese
2 tablespoons minced chives
freshly ground black pepper
For the French dressing
1/3 cup (80ml) red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small clove of garlic, cut into pieces
1/2 cup (125ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (125ml) canola oil (or another neutral-tasting oil)
For the salad
1. Spread the chopped lettuce and watercress in the bottom of a wooden salad bowl or a large platter.
2. Arrange the tomatoes, chicken, bacon, eggs, avocado, blue cheese, in rows across the top of the lettuce. Sprinkle chives over the top and add a few good turns of black pepper.
For the dressing
1. In the bowl of a food processor, or blender, combine the vinegar, water, Worchestershire sauce, mustard, lemon juice, pepper, salt and garlic. Process or blend the ingredients.
2. With the food processor or blender running, add the olive and canola oils in a slow, steady stream, so they make an emulsion.
3. Toss the salad with approximately 3/4 to 1 cup (180 - 250ml) of the dressing. Leftover dressing can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Related Links

How to Make French Vinaigrette

Take My Mother Please – Los Angeles Tours: If you want to see where all the legendary restaurants were (or anything else in LA, my friend Anne will take you around town.

Fresh Corn, Tomato, Avocado and Basil Salad 


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73 comments

  • May 26, 2017 6:03pm

    Delighted to see this recipe for french dressing … I believe that a great dressing is the key to a great salad. I usually enjoy a simple vinaigrette, but I am curious to try this dressing for a change (with 1/2 EVOO, 1/2 canola oil), thank you !

  • May 26, 2017 7:29pm

    Well, this is a nice idea for a cool dinner tonight — our afternoons in Mexico are reaching 90 F. already. And I, too, appreciate the recipe for French dressing. ~ Kathleen

  • Lucy salenger
    May 26, 2017 7:40pm

    Oh, David. I vividly remember Scandia and those days in LA, absolutely the restaurant heydays. And remember that drive -in at the corner of La Brea or Highland and Wiltshire that served curly cue french fries and put Z sauce on the delicious hamburgers? Thank you for bringing back such great memories. Always love your columns.

    • Gaye Breakstone
      June 1, 2017 9:56pm

      That was Delores Drive-in at LaCienega and Wilshire Blvds. Loved it!

  • Ella
    May 26, 2017 7:42pm

    I am sorry but I am confused by the instructions…you make all those lovely rows and then…you toss them with the vinaigrette?? Lovely looking vinaigrette recipe!

    • May 26, 2017 7:49pm
      David Lebovitz

      Yup!

    • Ambr
      May 28, 2017 9:34pm

      Try tossing the greens in dressing, arranging the rows, then drizzle dressing over the rows and eat without further tossing.

  • Bob Abarbanel
    May 26, 2017 7:53pm

    David – I first had a Cobb in Beverly Hills at The Brown Derby in about 1958.

    My Mom took me there. They delivered the salad in a large round platter. The platter was laid out radially with very finely (very!) chopped veges and avocado and bacon and chicken (usually). Lots of kitchen labor was involved, of course.

    I have ordered Cobb’s worldwide ever since and only found two places to get the “correct” salad. I can’t remember one of them. The other is my own kitchen!

    Go Cobb!

    Bob

  • Carla
    May 26, 2017 8:09pm

    Somehow I always thought Cobb salad had some kind of blue cheese dressing, go figure!

  • bob waks
    May 26, 2017 8:12pm

    Hi David….grew up in LA never had one (frequented Pink’s & Tommy’s) but nostalgic foods seem to be increasingly popular these days..my suggestion would be to poach the often bland breast in some Swansons broth to pick up the flavor (then use it later for?) enjoying your stuff ciao

  • Joan Harvey
    May 26, 2017 8:15pm

    David — I love you, love your recipes, love the gorgeous photographs, but you need a good copy editor!!!

    • Terri
      May 27, 2017 3:18am

      Actually, he doesn’t. It’s a blog, not a book. Life is a lot more enjoyable when one learns to let some things go.

    • Bonnie
      May 28, 2017 1:57am

      Joan really.
      Was that necessary? Or just a statement that you think you are a better writer? Or perhaps you are looking for work? It doesn’t advance the food discussion, and seems mean spirited.

  • SCD
    May 26, 2017 8:25pm

    I too am old enough and fortunate enough to have had a proper Cobb at the Brown Derby. And was gifted the recipe for Chasen’s chili by a close friend of David Chasen (who had a fit when she submitted it for the first edition of the SF Junior League Cookbook….it was deleted from subsequent editions) put them together with Blums Coffee Crunch Cake and you can relive the ’50s in California!

    • Bebe
      May 27, 2017 8:42pm

      The first San Francisco Junior League Cookbook is still a tattered, but treasured, part of my extensive cookbook library.

  • May 26, 2017 8:27pm

    Thank you, David, for this virtual visit to the LA of my childhood. Most of the places you mention were too tony for me to have spent much time there–but I definitely remember them as landmarks. The Hamburger Hamlet, though, was in the regular rotation. Thanks again!

  • Judith Greenwood
    May 26, 2017 8:30pm

    Ah well, since I live in the land of sometimes we have, sometimes we don’t, I can’t live up to having al the ingredients, but my sine qua non are bacon, blue cheese, onion and tomato. If and when the other things come along, I’m happy, but without those, it’s no Cobb.
    On the positive side, a real Caesar salad can always be made in Italy. No short cuts, no substitutions.

    • sundevilpeg
      June 14, 2017 4:23am

      Considering that the Caesar salad was invented in Tijuana, Mexico in the 1920’s, that’s a remarkable statement.

      • June 14, 2017 1:55pm
        David Lebovitz

        Yes, it’s interesting that all the ingredients for an authentic Caesar Salad are available in Italy: Parmesan, anchovies (although people debate whether they are authentic in the salad…), garlic, olive oil, sea salt, and lettuce.

  • Sue Fourmet
    May 26, 2017 8:39pm

    Lawry’s, originating in Portland, OR, I believe, but famous in Los Angeles for its prime rib (still around. but not what it once was) served a wonderful salad, tossed in a large bowl resting on ice. My childhood memories from very long ago linger on two ingredients – ice cold julienned beets and a salad dressing that lots of folks have been trying to duplicate forever. Lawry’s called it Sherry French and the actual recipe has evaded discovery. The dressing is apparently still available in bottles but it can only be purchased from the Lawry’s restaurant. (It used to be sold alongside other Lawry’s dressings in super markets, but for some reason they discontinued it.) Is Perrino’s in Geary’s book?

    • May 27, 2017 3:03pm
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, it is. It’s a pretty interesting book and a good overview of the beloved (and in some cases, lost) restaurants of L.A.

    • Bebe
      May 27, 2017 8:44pm

      Lawry’s Prime Rib began (and remains) in Los Angeles. My longer response with credentials ended up down the thread.

    • Bebe
      May 27, 2017 8:45pm

      My longer Reply, telling that Lawry’s Prime Rib began in Los Angeles, ended up down the page. My credentials are included there.

  • Geraldine
    May 26, 2017 8:57pm

    Oh, uuuu, Ah, hearing about Chasens, Cock and Bull, Scandia…places where I dined as a very young woman, THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES.
    I’ve always hated Cobb Salad, last one I had was at the American Embassy in Buenos Aires…. :-) I kept my mouth shut. LOVE Avocados, being a reformed Californian, life would nt have gone on with out these delicious pieces of green joy. Love your articles. Thanks from Barcelna

  • Carola
    May 26, 2017 9:45pm

    Thanks, David. I miss Scandia, too. Just fyi, The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills makes a great Cobb Salad. A bunch of us went last Sunday and we all ordered it!

  • Christina
    May 26, 2017 10:03pm

    Made Cobb salad recently for my ladies who lunch and a light supper for friends before the opera. Looked just like your salad pictured and was a great hit.

  • margaret gault
    May 26, 2017 10:13pm

    I was even luckier, David, because I grew up year round with all those plus Perino’s, Tail o’the Cock on La Cienaga down the street from Lawry’s, WilWright’s, and, best of all, Wimpy’s on the corner of Wilshire and Bundy.

    • May 27, 2017 3:08pm
      David Lebovitz

      How did not know you were from L.A.?!
      : )

  • May 26, 2017 10:13pm

    I live in NYCand the best Cobb Salad I ever had was in LA at a Jewish lunch spot called Greenblatts. I still think about that salad, that’s how good it is.

  • Mickey
    May 26, 2017 10:37pm

    Oh my! What an unexpected trip down memory lane and an homage to the LA of my youth. I vouch for the authenticity of Geary’s book — a treasure. Thank you for your wonderful post.

  • Linda
    May 26, 2017 10:59pm

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!
    Westlake Joes in Daly City serves a very good Cobb salad, very similar to yours. Try it next time you are in SF.

  • Len
    May 26, 2017 11:59pm

    Back then, at its peak, Scandia was the ultimate cheap date spot. Take your date to the bar, have a Martini, and feast on the free Frikadeller (Danish meatballs)!

    In later years we were told that, although not on the menu, we could have a small filet (with caramelized onions) for $5 if we ordered it with a Smörgås Bricka. Them were the days!

    Finally, you left out one key place from the treasured past that still remains — the Apple Pan. Went there some 60 years ago in my days at UCLA (!), and except for the prices and slightly newer help, it’s exactly the same today.

  • Gavrielle
    May 27, 2017 12:15am

    This may not make me sound like a world-weary sophisticated globe trotter, but the best Cobb salad I’ve ever had was at the Disney recreation of the Brown Derby at Disneyworld. Yes, Disney! Their buildings are fake but their Cobb salads are real. This looks just as delicious.

  • Walter G Bollinger
    May 27, 2017 12:23am

    Looks like a great recipe. My question is, if the emphasis of the presentation is on the composition of the salad, i.e., ingredients in rows, why do you say in the instructions for the salad dressing that the salad should be “tossed” with 3/4 of a cup of the dressing?

    • June2
      May 27, 2017 5:00am

      It’s your salad, you can do as you like. I always eat mine without tossing as I love the rows and each flavor separately.

      Also, I’m vegan and snobby enough that when my mother took me to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch on a recent visit I cringed with ugly snobbish shame at thought of eating there. But when I ordered their vegan Cobb I found it amazingly great. It was a brand new venue so I guessne they were on it in the kitchen. I’ve gone on to recreate it several times at home and it is now firmly in my rotation.

      I’ll try it with this excellent sounding dressing, thank you!

  • Roberta
    May 27, 2017 12:50am

    As Bob Hope might say, “Thanks for the Memory” AND the recipe!

  • Susan
    May 27, 2017 12:54am

    Hi David,
    I went on a not so cheap date to Scandia in the 60’s and I’ll never forget it. Love the feelings of
    nostalgia your posting brought up for restaurants of that era. I am still a little confused because you said tossing in the kitchen was not quite right, nor having things in piles, and then said after lining up everything you add the dressing and toss, so I’m assuming for it to be truly authentic, you bring it to the table in rows and then toss it together after everyone sees it with the lovely rows? If that isn’t quite right please correct me. I know I certainly associate salads being composed and tossed ar the table with that era,when it was commonplace in many fine restaurants. It has the added benefit of being such a healthy but hearty and pretty meal. Just also curious why you don’t go all olive oil, but blend it with canola.

    • Bebe
      May 27, 2017 8:36pm

      While you’re waiting for David, I’ll ring in and say “yes”. Composed as reported by David and tossed at table.

      All olive oil is considered to be far too heavy for a good salad dressing.

  • May 27, 2017 1:04am

    I remember Don the Beachcomber’s in Marina del Rey and we used to go to Trader Vic’s in Scottsdale back in the day. Impressionable lad that I was I thought they were the epitome of fine dining. And Caesar’s Salads made at the table? Exquisite.

    • Linda H
      May 27, 2017 3:38am

      I loved the Trader Vic’s in Scottsdale. It was just plain fun.

  • Sue
    May 27, 2017 1:47am

    Being born and raised in California, I’ve always loved avocados, but I can understand why some people needed time to come to like them. One of my dear friends was born in Missouri and one Christmas they got a package of dried fruit from a friend in California. (Aside — if you were a child in CA during the 50’s I’m sure you can still sing the Mission Pack ad.) Right in the middle there was a big, hard green fruit. They knew that it was an “alligator pear”, but didn’t know anything more about it. When it came time to eat it, they cut it open and tried the very hard interior flesh. It tasted horrid, so they decided that that could not be the part you ate. Then they tried the big brown part in the middle. That was also obviously not edible, so they tried the skin. The only conclusion they could come to was that Californians were crazy since they ate such dreadful stuff.

    • May 27, 2017 3:07pm
      David Lebovitz

      My grandmother in L.A. had a huge avocado tree, back when avocados were plentiful…and cheap. The raccoons would spend the night dropping them in the roof above her bedroom so she finally had the tree removed. It was a decision she told me she really regretted when the price of avocados were skyward, and she realized she would not longer have an unlimited bounty of avocados. (Although I think she slept better…!)

      • Amanda
        May 29, 2017 6:37am

        Growing up in Sydney in the 60s, we had a lovely tall avocado tree in our back garden. My father grew it from a stone he planted on the grave of our cat Zipper who died, and it shot up like Jack’s beanstalk, thanks to Zipper, I’m sure. Avocados were still rather exotic in Australia then, so we were thought to be quite progressive! It had several bumper seasons, then just stopped producing, but that’s how I learned to love avos (as we call them) at an early age. Thanks for the fun post!

  • Janet
    May 27, 2017 2:40am

    Just wanted to mention that when I was in Reykjavik last weekend I had the most delightful pastry at Braud, and the rye bread ice cream at Cafe Loki. Thought of you!

    • May 27, 2017 3:05pm
      David Lebovitz

      Happy you liked the bakery … and the ice cream!

  • Mjanel
    May 27, 2017 3:18am

    I, too, have such fond memories of Scandia. I have searched and searched for a recipe for the amazing apple cake covered with meringue and drizzled with caramelized sugar. Perhaps you or one of your readers have a recipe or a recollection about how it might be made. Meanwhile I’ll make the salad.

  • Meredith
    May 27, 2017 3:18am

    So happy to see this authentic Cobb Salad. So many times I see it with mixed greens, no avocado (!), and ham (!). This is the real deal and I wish more restaurants would stick to it.

  • Len
    May 27, 2017 3:35am

    A final comment — My wife Judy was involved in redoing the “Commissary” at the “Previous Century” Fox film studio, back, I think, in the late ’70s. One of the waiters there had worked at the Hollywood Brown Derby in earlier days, and, when ordered, would bring a Cobb Salad strikingly similar to the one shown above.

    The delight of the salad was that it would be brought out in all its lineal beauty, and then tossed at the table. It’s our recollection that this is how a Cobb always was done, from its inception at the Brown Derby onwards.

    • May 27, 2017 3:05pm
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, it was my recollection that the salad was composed and/or presented tableside, then tossed and served on very chilled plates.

  • Judith Basham
    May 27, 2017 2:24pm

    Clifton’s Caferetia!! Oh my goodness, a name from the distant past. It was an extra special treat to have one’s parents take you there – memories have popped into my head from a lovely nostalgic childhood. And yes, indeed, age does have its advantages! ;)

  • Victoria
    May 27, 2017 7:43pm

    I’m sure many will consider this heresy but in south Texas, I’ve had Mexican Cobb Salads. Instead of eggs they substitute black beans and corn relish, and queso fresco in place of blue cheese. They add pepitas, sometimes a few crispy tortilla strips and a spicy green creamy dressing — it’s a nice twist and change from the original Cobb. It’s always served with everything in rows — very pretty and delicious.

    • Bebe
      May 27, 2017 8:22pm

      One wonders why they’d call it a Cobb? It bears no resemblance to the original which was a very specific salad, which was like no other, from a very specific place – the Brown Derby – and named for its owner, Bob Cobb. Why not just call it Southwest Salad and be done with it? :-)

      • Victoria
        May 27, 2017 9:45pm

        Yes, it bears a huge resemblance to the original Cobb as I described, but with a few changes to add a twist. That’s why they named it Mexican Cobb Salad :)

      • Victoria
        May 27, 2017 9:52pm

        It’s very similar to the original Cobb and includes lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, chicken, avocados, in rows — the only difference is they substitute black beans and corn relish in place of the eggs, and queso fresco in place of the blue cheese, and add pepitas. Hence the name Mexican Cobb Salad :)

        • Victoria
          June 23, 2017 12:51am

          Also, it was created and is served in a Mexican restaurant, not a “southwest” restaurant so I’m assuming that’s why they named it Mexican Cobb Salad….

  • Bebe
    May 27, 2017 8:15pm

    I am so blessed to have experienced some of these great Los Angeles restaurants in their heyday. Scandia was a regular – we sat in big wing chairs in the Viking Room and George, our captain, made steak tartare for me, shaping it into a heart for serving. The Bistro, L’Ermitage, Ma Maison, Valentino, a broad spectrum over time.

    I have misplaced “in plain sight” my recipe for the original Brown Derby Cobb Salad, which I used to make regularly, presenting it in the original way – with all the special ingredients in strips across the bed of mixed finely cut greens (Most don’t do that fine cutting, which was key to the whole thing.) The dressing was also quite special and the original recipe made 1 quart.

    Relying on my memory this comes the closest to what I made. I remember searching for chicory. It’s “bite” is also essential.

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/the-brown-derbys-original-cobb-salad-1228258

    Thank you, David, for bringing this wonderful salad to life again. The so-called replicas in today’s restaurants are pathetic.

    • Bebe
      May 27, 2017 8:17pm

      Note: In those days, lettuce meant iceberg lettuce. Romaine was romaine. And so forth. So when an old recipe calls for lettuce, it means iceberg.

  • Bebe
    May 27, 2017 8:40pm

    Lawry’s Prime Rib originated in Los Angeles. Many years ago I was executive secretary to its founder Lawrence L. Frank and to his late son Richard, who became CEO of the restaurant company and the food company that began when they started commercial production of their Seasoning Salt and other products used in their restaurants.

    • Sue Fourmet
      June 1, 2017 4:24pm

      Thanks, Bebe. I was 8 years old, living in Portland, Oregon in1953 when I ate at “The Prime Rib”, (didn’t know the name at the time) on Sandy Blvd. Apparently it was, and maybe still is, a deliberate copy of Lawry’s. The first time I ate at Lawry’s in Los Angeles (in the 60s) it seemed identical to my 1953 experience in Portland and I just assumed that the Portland restaurant was also a Lawry’s. Thanks for the correction. My brother and I often revisit the Portland experience in our memories and could never figure out what happened to the Lawry’s where we remembered eating.

      • Bebe
        June 1, 2017 11:23pm

        Hi, Sue…I don’t remember their ever being in Portland. Beverly Hills (the original), Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas and there are 6 international restaurants.
        Lawry’s was short for the founder, Lawrence L. Frank. His son Richard N. Frank was responsible for growing the restaurant and food business. His son Richard R. now runs the restaurants. The foods business was sold off some years ago.

  • Lynda
    May 28, 2017 2:18am

    Wonderful post, thank you! Cobb salad is a favorite of my husband’s, and I’m confident he’d love this one.

    We were a San Francisco family, but our maternal grandparents lived in Oxnard, Grandpa being a career Seabee and stationed at Port Hueneme. For his 16th birthday in 1959, they took my brother to dinner at the Brown Derby in Hollywood. I remember him saying that the service was amazing. “They did everything except cut my steak for me!”

  • Jeanne
    May 28, 2017 6:11am

    The Los Angeles Times California Cookbook (1981) references many of LA’s iconic recipes and restaurants. A fun read.

  • Anne
    May 28, 2017 10:42pm

    Delayed reading emails as I was en route home to LA from Scotland on Friday. This blog brought a huge surge of memories when I read it. I am a native Angelena, born at Queen of Angels Hospital. My hometown, Beverly Hills — and indeed, the Westside of LA — had the great dining spots, (and some not so grand but having equally good food) where one could rub elbows with celebrities while enjoying the ultimate in service and terrific food. I remember Tail of the Cock, Cock n’Bull, Armstrong-Shroeder, The Pig’ n Whistle, Frascati, Lawry’s, House of Murphy, Scandia, Romanoffs, Trader Vics, MFK in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (for coffee sodas with a sidecar of coffee ice cream perched on the side of the soda glass), Wil Wrights, Patrones on La Cienega for the most marvelous Northern Italian food, Don The Beachcomber, Musso-Frank, Les Freres Taix, Pacific Dining Car, The Lobster (Santa Monica Pier) The Shack (Hollywood), Cassells (Mid-Wilshire) Langers Deli (ditto) Jean Leon’s Las Scala, The Polo Lounge, The TeaRoom at Bullocks Wilshire. The list goes on. Sadly, I never made it to Perino’s. But I feel most fortunate, because on almost a weekly basis, my folks took the family to their country club– Hillcrest, for the legendary Sunday evening buffet, where I honed my palate for delicious food.

    • Sue Fourmet
      June 1, 2017 4:01pm

      Oh, yes! The TeaRoom at Bullocks!

    • Marian Drabkin
      June 9, 2017 5:27am

      Native Angelena here too, born in Hollywood Hospital, just as Poland was being invaded by the Nazis (which may have brought about my premature arrival into this world). You mention all the great celebratory places of my childhood: Scandia (that rum pudding with lingonberry sauce!),
      Lawry’s for family birthday dinners; Tick-Tock tea room with that awful green sherbet that was served halfway through dinner; Wil Wrights, where I was rewarded for good report cards and where Mom took me when she just had to have ice cream to help her stresses (and where their bittersweet chocolate sundae with chocolate burnt-almond ice cream was one of the most delicious desserts I’ve ever eaten!); Dolores Drive-In; Trader Vic’s (first date, first cocktail because they didn’t card you back then); Tail of the Cock (my Sweet Sixteen! Also my first encounter with bearnaise sauce, not a good one).
      I love Cobb Salad, But I dislike avocados. Those soapy fat bits do nothing for me. So maybe, despite four-generation credentials, I’m not Californian after all?

  • Patricia
    May 29, 2017 12:15am

    I’m so in love with your description and photo of your Cobb salad that I have set it up as the wallpaper on my phone!

  • Rosemary Leicht
    May 30, 2017 3:52pm

    Seems strange but I had a great Cobb Salad at the Hard Rock Café on Maui, 16- 17 years ago. I enjoyed it so much, I went back the next night and ordered it again. Your recipe is right on target!

  • Joan
    May 30, 2017 7:41pm

    One simple thing elevates a Cobb Salad.

    Sizzle the bacon at the last…to order.

    It must be hot when served…plays off the other, cool ingredients…and when isn’t hot bacon the best?

  • Elizabeth Smith
    June 1, 2017 5:57am

    David,
    I really wanted to leave a comment on one of your ice cream posts, but I’m too late. I just want to say that all of your ice cream recipes are AMAZING and WOWZA!!! Thank you for putting all of this wonderfulness out into the world!!

  • Nancye Tuttle
    June 7, 2017 6:07pm

    I loved this post since it brought back fond memories of my trip to LA in 1957 when I was a teenager and visiting my actress Aunt Marge and her husband, my Uncle Tom, who produced TV’s The Life of Riley sitcom. They took me to the Brown Derby, where I met Jane Russell and got her autograph. Also Trader Vic’s and Chasens. I have ordered the LA Restaurant book and look forward to more nostalgia when I read it. And I look forward to trying your Cobb Salad recipe…another great memory! Love your blog and eagerly look forward to reading it.

  • Morgan
    June 10, 2017 6:34pm

    I made this last Saturday for a salad dinner and it was OUTTA THIS WORLD. Thanks so much for the cobb salad inspiration, it’s not a salad one really thinks to make but once you have it you wonder, “why don’t I made this more often?” The star really was the accompanying dressing- I used leftovers on all kinds of things throughout the week. Thanks a lot!

    • June 11, 2017 2:53pm
      David Lebovitz

      Glad you liked it. It’s actually one of those salads that’s not too hard to make (especially because you can make a lot of it in advance), but is so good, and really a complete meal, if you want it to be.

  • Michael
    June 24, 2017 4:29pm

    David: My girlfriend and I were students at USC during the mid-’70s heyday of Scandia. It was our “special” date place. I remember, very fondly, the pumpernickel boats topped with Parmesan that they gave you when you sat down.

    Funny Scandia story. Dick Martin (“Laugh In”), Bob Newhart and Don Rickles were often there. We would see them nearly every time we ate there. They were great friends and would dine with their wives. One night, Rickles and I went to the restroom at the same time. Standing next to each other at the urinals, he looks over at me and says, “What are you lookin’ at?” A second later he cracks up. Made my 19-year-old life–I was heckled by the Master.

    My dad had a house account at Chasen’s, another of the great old LA restaurants that are now gone. Perino’s, Trader’s, Don the Beachcomber. Those were the days. Thanks for the recipe.

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