Bohemian San Francisco
Its Restaurants and Their Most Famous Recipes--
The Elegant Art of Dining
By Clarence E. Edwords
Dedication To Whom Shall I Dedicate This Book?
To Some Good Friend? To Some Pleasant Companion?
To None of These, For From Them Came Not The Inspiration.
To Whom, Then?
To The Best Of All Bohemian Comrades,
No apologies are offered for this book. In fact, we rather like it. Many
years have been spent in gathering this information, and naught is
written in malice, nor through favoritism, our expressions of opinion
being unbiased by favor or compensation. We have made our own
investigation and given our own ideas.
That our opinion does not coincide with that of others does not concern
us in the least, for we are pleased only with that which pleases us, and
not that with which others say we ought to be pleased.
If this sound egotistical we are sorry, for it is not meant in that way.
We believe that each and every individual should judge for him or
herself, considering ourselves fortunate that our ideas and tastes are
held in common.
San Franciscans, both residential and transient, are a pleasure-loving
people, and dining out is a distinctive feature of their pleasure. With
hundreds of restaurants to select from, each specializing on some
particular dish, or some peculiar mode of preparation, one often becomes
bewildered and turns to familiar names on the menu card rather than
venture into fields that are new, of strange and rare dishes whose
unpronounceable names of themselves frequently are sufficient to
discourage those unaccustomed to the art and science of cooking
practiced by those whose lives have been spent devising means of
tickling fastidious palates of a city of gourmets.
In order that those who come within our gates, and many others who have
resided here in blindness for years, may know where to go and what to
eat, and that they may carry away with them a knowledge of how to
prepare some of the dishes pleasing to the taste and nourishing to the
body, that have spread San Francisco's fame over the world, we have
decided to set down the result of our experience and study of our
Bohemian population and their ways, and also tell where to find and how
to order the best special dishes.
Over North Beach way we asked the chef of a little restaurant how he
cooked crab. He replied:
"The right way."
One often wonders how certain dishes are cooked and we shall tell you
"the right way."
It is hoped that when you read what is herein written some of our
pleasure may be imparted to you, and with this hope the story of San
Francisco's Bohemianism is presented.
Clarence E. Edwords.
San Francisco, California,
September 22, 1914.
Not to the Future, nor to the Past;
No drink of Joy or Sorrow;
We drink alone to what will last;
Memories on the Morrow.
Let us live as Old Time passes;
To the Present let Bohemia bow.
Let us raise on high our glasses
To Eternity--the ever-living Now.
The Good Gray City
The Land of Bohemia
As it was in the Beginning
When the Gringo Came
Early Italian Impression
Birth of the French Restaurant
At the Cliff House
Some Italian Restaurants
Impress of Mexico
On the Barbary Coast
The City That Was Passes
Sang the Swan Song
Bohemia of the Present
As it is in Germany
In the Heart of Italy
A Breath of the Orient
Old and New Palace
At the Hotel St. Francis
Amid the Bright Lights
Around Little Italy
Where Fish Come In
Fish in Their Variety
Lobsters and Lobsters
King of Shell Fish
Lobster In Miniature
Clams and Abalone's
Where Fish Abound
Some Food Variants
Something About Cooking
Told in A Whisper
Out of Nothing
Paste Makes Waist
Tips and Tipping
The Mythical Land
Appendix (How to Serve Wines, Recipes)
Bohemian San Francisco
"The best of all ways
To lengthen our days
Is to steal a few hours
From the night, my dear."
The Good Gray City San Francisco!
San Francisco! Is there a land where the magic of that name has not been
felt? Bohemian San Francisco! Pleasure-loving San Francisco! Care-free
San Francisco! Yet withal the city where liberty never means license and
where Bohemianism is not synonymous with Boorishness.
It was in Paris that a world traveler said to us:
"San Francisco! That wonderful city where you get the best there is to
eat, served in a manner that enhances its flavor and establishes it
forever in your memory."
Were one to write of San Francisco and omit mention of its gustatory
delights the whole world would protest, for in San Francisco eating is
an art and cooking a science, and he who knows not what San Francisco
provides knows neither art nor science.
Here have congregated the world's greatest chefs, and when one exclaims
in ecstasy over a wonderful flavor found in some dingy restaurant, let
him not be surprised if he learn that the chef who concocted the dish
boasts royal decoration for tickling the palate of some epicurean ruler
of foreign land.
And why should San Francisco have achieved this distinction in the minds
of the gourmets?
Do not other cities have equally as good chefs, and do not the people of
other cities have equally as fine gastronomic taste?
They have all this but with them is lacking "atmosphere."
Where do we find such romanticism as in San Francisco? Where do we find
so many strange characters and happenings? All lending almost mystic
charm to the environment surrounding queer little restaurants, where
rare dishes are served, and where one feels that he is in foreign land,
even though he be in the center of a high representative American city.
San Francisco's cosmopolitanism is peculiar to itself. Here are
represented the nations of earth in such distinctive colonies that one
might well imagine himself possessed of the magic carpet told of in
Arabian Nights Tales, as he is transported in the twinkling of an eye
from country to country. It is but a step across a street from America
into Japan, then another step into China. Cross another street and you
are in Mexico, close neighbor to France. Around the corner lies Italy,
and from Italy you pass to Lombardy, and on to Greece. So it goes until
one feels that he has been around the world in an afternoon.
But the stepping across the street and one passes from one land to the
other, finding all the peculiar characteristics of the various countries
as indelibly fixed as if they were thousands of miles away. Speech,
manners, customs, costumes and religions change with startling rapidity,
and as you enter into the life of the nation you find that each has
brought the best of its gastronomy for your delectation.
San Francisco has called to the world for its best, and the response has
been so prompt that no country has failed to send its tribute and give
the best thought of those who cater to the men and women who know.
This aggregation of cuisinaire, gathered where is to be found a most
wonderful variety of food products in highest state of excellence, has
made San Francisco the Mecca for lovers of gustatory delights, and this
is why the name of San Francisco is known wherever men and women sit at
It has taken us years of patient research to learn how these chefs
prepare their combinations of fish, flesh, fowl, and herbs, in order
that we might put them down, giving recipes of dishes whose memories
linger in the minds of world wanderers, and to which their thoughts
revert with a sigh as they partake of unsatisfactory viands in other
countries and other cosmopolitan cities.
Those to whom only the surface of things is visible are prone to express
wonder at the love and enthusiasm of the San Franciscan for his home
city. The casual visitor cannot understand the enchantment, the mystery,
the witchery that holds one; they do not know that we steal the hours
from the night to lengthen our days because the gray, whispering wraiths
of fog hold for us the very breath of life; they do not know that the
call of the wind, and of the sea, and of the air, is the inspiration
that makes San Francisco the pleasure-ground of the world.
It is this that makes San Francisco the home of Bohemia, and whether it
be in the early morning hours as one rises to greet the first gray
streaks of dawn, or as the sun drops through the Golden Gate to its
ocean bed, so slowly that it seems loth to leave; whether it be in the
broad glare of noon-day sun, or under the dazzling blaze of midnight
lights, San Francisco ever holds out her arms, wide in welcome, to those
who see more in life than the dull routine of working each day in order
that they may gain sufficient to enable them to work again on the
The Land of Bohemia
Bohemia! What vulgarities are perpetrated in thy name! How abused is the
word! Because of a misconception of an idea it has suffered more than
any other in the English language. It has done duty in describing almost
every form of license and licentiousness. It has been the cloak of
debauchery and the excuse for sex degradation. It has been so misused as
to bring the very word into disrepute.
To us Bohemianism means the naturalism of refined people.
That it may be protected from vulgarians Society prescribes conventional
rules and regulations, which, like morals, change with environment.
Bohemianism is the protest of naturalism against the too rigid, and,
oft-times, absurd restrictions established by Society.
The Bohemian requires no prescribed rules, for his or her innate
gentility prevents those things Society guards against. In Bohemia men
and women mingle in good fellowship and camaraderie without finding the
sex question a necessary topic of conversation. They do not find it
necessary to push exhilaration to intoxication; to increase their
animation to boisterousness. Their lack of conventionality does not tend
Some of the most enjoyable Bohemian affairs we know of have been full
dress gatherings, carefully planned and delightfully carried out; others
have been impromptu, neither the hour, the place, nor the dress being
taken into consideration.
The unrefined get everywhere, even into the drawing rooms of royalty,
consequently we must expect to meet them in Bohemia. But the true
Bohemian has a way of forgetting to meet obnoxious personages and, as a
rule, is more choice in the selection of associates than the vaunted
"400." With the Bohemian but one thing counts: Fitness. Money, position,
personal appearance and even brains are of no avail if there be the bar
In a restaurant, one evening, a number of men and women were seated
conspicuously at a table in the center of the room. Flowing neckties
such as are affected by Parisian art students were worn by the men; all
were coarse, loud and much in evidence. They not only attracted
attention by their loudness and outre actions, but they called notice by
pelting other diners with missiles of bread. To us they were the last
word in vulgarity, but to a young woman who had come to the place
because she had heard it was "so Bohemian" they were ideal, and she
remarked to her companion:
"I do so love to associate with real Bohemians like these. Can't we get
acquainted with them?"
"Sure," was the response. "All we have to do is to buy them a drink."
In San Francisco there are Bohemians and Near-Bohemians, and if you are
like the young woman mentioned you are apt to miss the real and take the
imitation for the genuine article.
We mean no derogation of San Francisco's restaurants when we say that
San Francisco's highest form of Bohemianism is rarely in evidence in
restaurants. We have enjoyed wonderful Bohemian dinners in restaurants,
but the other diners were not aware of it. Some far more interesting
gatherings have been in the rooms of Bohemian friends. Not always is it
the artistic combination of famous chef that brings greatest delight,
for we have as frequently had pleasure over a supper of some simple dish
in the attic room of a good friend.
This brings us to the crux of Bohemianism. It depends so little on
environment that it means nothing, and so much on companionship that it
To achieve a comprehensive idea of San Francisco's Bohemianism let us
divide its history into five eras. First we have the old Spanish days--
the days "before the Gringo came." Then reigned conviviality held within
most discreet bounds of convention, and it would be a misnomer, indeed,
to call the pre-pioneer days of San Francisco "Bohemian" in any sense of
Courtesy unfailing, good-fellowship always in tune, and lavish
hospitality, marked the days of the Dons--those wonderfully considerate
hosts who always placed a pile of gold and silver coins on the table of
the guest chamber, in order that none might go away in need. Their
feasts were events of careful consideration and long preparation, and
those whose memories carry them back to the early days, recall bounteous
loading of tables when festal occasion called for display.
Lips linger lovingly over such names as the Vallejos, the Picos, and
those other Spanish families who spread their hospitality with such
wondrous prodigality that their open welcome became a by-word in all
parts of the West.
But it was not in the grand fiestas that the finest and most palatable
dishes were to be found. In the family of each of these Spanish Grandees
were culinary secrets known to none except the "Senora de la Casa," and
transmitted by her to her sons and daughters.
We have considered ourselves fortunate in being taken into the
confidence of one of the descendants of Senora Benicia Vallejo, and
honored with some of her prize recipes, which find place in this book,
not as the famous recipe of some Bohemian restaurants but as the tribute
to the spirit of the land that made those Bohemian restaurants possible.
Of these there is no more tasty and satisfying dish than Spanish Eggs,
prepared as follows:
Empty a can of tomatoes in a frying pan; thicken with bread and add two
or three small green peppers and an onion sliced fine. Add a little
butter and salt to taste. Let this simmer gently and then carefully
break on top the number of eggs desired. Dip the simmering tomato
mixture over the eggs until they are cooked.
Another favorite recipe of Mrs. Vallejo was Spanish Beefsteak prepared
Cut the steak into pieces the size desired for serving. Place these
pieces on a meat board and sprinkle liberally with flour. With a wooden
corrugated mallet beat the flour into the steak. Fry the steak in a pan
with olive oil. In another frying pan, at the same time, fry three
good-sized onions and three green peppers. When the steak is cooked
sufficiently put it to one side of the pan and let the oil run to the
other side. On the oil pour sufficient water to cover the meat and add
the onions and peppers, letting all simmer for a few minutes. Serve on
Spanish mode of cooking rice is savory and most palatable, and Mrs.
Vallejo's recipe for this is as follows:
Slice together three good-sized onions and three small green peppers.
Fry them in olive oil. Take one-half cup of rice and boil it until
nearly done, then drain it well and add it to the frying onions and
peppers. Fry all together until thoroughly brown, which will take some
time. Season with salt and serve.
These three recipes are given because they are simple and easily
prepared. Many complex recipes could be given, and some of these will
appear in the part of the book devoted to recipes, but when one
considers the simplicity of the recipes mentioned, it can readily be
seen that it takes little preparation to get something out of the
When the Gringo Came
To its pioneer days much of San Francisco's Bohemian spirit is due. When
the cry of "Gold" rang around the world adventurous wanderers of all
lands answered the call, and during the year following Marshall's
discovery two thousand ships sailed into San Francisco Bay, many to be
abandoned on the beach by the gold-mad throng, and it was in some of
these deserted sailing vessels that San Francisco's restaurant life had
its inception. With the immediately succeeding years the horde of gold
hunters was augmented by those who brought necessities and luxuries to
exchange for the yellow metal given up by the streams flowing from the
Mother Lode. With them also came cooks to prepare delectable dishes for
those who had passed the flap-jack stage, and desired the good things of
life to repay them for the hardships, privations and dearth of woman's
companionship. As the male human was largely dominant in numbers it was
but natural that they should gather together for companionship, and here
began the Bohemian spirit that has marked the city for its own to the
These men were all individualists, and their individualism has been
transmitted to their offspring together with independence of action.
Hence comes the Bohemianism born of individuality and independence.
It was only natural that the early San Franciscans should foregather
where good cheer was to be found, and the old El Dorado House, at
Portsmouth Square, was really what may be called the first Bohemian
restaurant of the city. So well was this place patronized and so
exorbitant the prices charged that twenty-five thousand dollars a month
was not considered an impossible rental.
Next in importance was the most fashionable restaurant of early days,
the Iron House. It was built of heavy sheet iron that had been brought
around the Horn in a sailing vessel, and catered well, becoming for
several years the most famed restaurant of the city. Here, in Montgomery
street, between Jackson and Pacific, was the rendezvous of pioneers, and
here the Society of California Pioneers had its inception, receiving
impressions felt to the present day in San Francisco and California
history. Here, also, was first served Chicken in the Shell, the dish
from which so many later restaurants gained fame. The recipe for this as
prepared by the Iron House is still extant, and we are indebted to a
lady, who was a little girl when that restaurant was waning, whose
mother secured the recipe. It was prepared as follows:
Chicken in a Shell
Into a kettle containing a quart of water put a young chicken, one
sliced onion, a bay leaf, two cloves, a blade of mace and six
pepper-corns. Simmer in the covered kettle for one hour and set aside to
cool. When cool remove the meat from the bones, rejecting the skin. Cut
the meat into small dice. Mix in a saucepan, over a fire without
browning, a tablespoonful of butter, a tablespoonful of flour, then add
half a pint of cream. Stir this constantly until it boils, then add a
truffle, two dozen mushrooms chopped fine, a dash of white pepper and
then the dice of chicken. Let the whole stand in a bain marie, or
chafing dish, until quite hot. Add the yolks of two eggs and let cook
two minutes. Stir in half a glass of sherry and serve in cockle shells.
Early Italian Impression
Almost coincident with the opening of the Iron House an Italian named
Bazzuro took possession of one of the stranded sailing vessels
encumbering the Bay, and anchored it out in the water at the point where
Davis and Pacific streets now intersect. He opened a restaurant which
immediately attracted attention and gained good reputation for its
service and its cooking. Later, when the land was filled in, Bazzuro
built a house at almost the same spot and opened his restaurant there,
continuing it up to the time of the great fire in 1906.
After the fire one of the earliest restaurants to be established in that
part of the city was Bazzuro's, at the same corner, and it is still run
by the family, who took charge after the death of the original
proprietor. Here one can get the finest Italian peasant meal in the
city, and many of the Italian merchants and bankers still go there for
their luncheons every day, preferring it to the more pretentious
The French peasant style came a little later, beginning in a little
dining room opened in Washington street, just above Kearny, by a French
woman whose name was a carefully guarded secret. She was known far and
wide as "Ma Tanta" (My Aunt). Her cooking was considered the best of all
in the city, and her patrons sat at a long common table, neat and clean
to the last degree. Peasant style of serving was followed. First
appeared Ma Tanta with a great bowl of salad which she passed around,
each patron helping himself. This was followed by an immense tureen of
soup, held aloft in the hands of Ma Tanta, and again each was his own
waiter. Fish, entree, roast, and dessert, were served in the same
manner, and with the black coffee Ma Tanta changed from servitor to
hostess and sat with her guests and discussed the topics of the day on
In California street, just below Dupont, the California House boasted a
great chef in the person of John Somali, who in later years opened the
Maison Riche, a famous restaurant that went out of existence in the fire
of 1906. Gourmets soon discovered that the California House offered
something unusual and it became a famed resort. Somali's specialties
were roast turkey, chateaubriand steak and coffee frappe. It is said of
his turkeys that their flavor was of such excellence that one of the
gourmands of that day, Michael Reece, would always order two when he
gave a dinner--one for his guests and one for himself. It is also said
that our well-beloved Bohemian, Rafael Weill, still holds memories of
the old California House, of which he was an habitue, and from whose
excellent chef he learned to appreciate the art and science of cooking
as evidenced by the breakfasts and dinners with which he regales his
guests at the present day.
But many of the hardy pioneers were of English and American stock and
preferred the plainer foods of their old homes to the highly seasoned
dishes of the Latin chefs, and to cater to this growing demand the
Nevada was opened in Pine street between Montgomery and Kearny. This
place became noted for its roast beef and also for its corned beef and
cabbage, which was said to be of most excellent flavor.
Most famous of all the old oyster houses was Mannings, at the corner of
Pine and Webb streets. He specialized in oysters and many of his dishes
have survived to the present day. It is said that the style now called
"Oysters Kirkpatrick," is but a variant of Manning's "Oyster Salt
At the corner of California and Sansome streets, where now stands the
Bank of California, was the Tehama House, one of the most famous of the
city's early hostelries, whose restaurant was famed for its excellence.
The Tehama House was the rendezvous of army and navy officers and high
state officials. Lieutenant John Derby, of the United States Army, one
of the most widely known western authors of that day, made it his
headquarters. Derby wrote under the names of "John Phoenix," and
Perini's, in Post street between Grant avenue and Stockton, specialized
in pastes and veal risotto, and was much patronized by uptown men.
The original Marchand began business in a little room in Dupont street,
between Jackson and Washington, which district at that time had not been
given over to the Chinese, and he cooked over a charcoal brazier, in his
window, in view of passing people who were attracted by the novelty and
retained by the good cooking. With the extension of his fame he found
his room too small and he rented a cottage at Bush and Dupont street,
but his business grew so rapidly that he was compelled to move to more
commodious quarters at Post and Dupont and later to a much larger place
at Geary and Stockton, where he enjoyed good patronage until the fire
destroyed his place. There is now a restaurant in Geary street near
Mason which has on its windows in very small letters "Michael, formerly
of," and then in bold lettering, "Marchands." But Michael has neither
the art nor the viands that made Marchands famous, and he is content to
say that his most famous dish is tripe--just plain, plebeian tripe.
Christian Good, at Washington and Kearny, Big John, at Merchant street
between Montgomery and Sansome, Marshall's Chop House, in the old Center
Market, and Johnson's Oyster House, in a basement at Clay and
Leidesdorff streets, were all noted places and much patronized, the
latter laying the foundation of one of San Francisco's "First Families."
Martin's was much patronized by the Old Comstock crowd, and this was the
favorite dining place of the late William C. Ralston.
One of the most famous restaurants of the early '70s was the Mint, in
Commercial street, between Montgomery and Kearny, where the present
restaurant of the same name is located. It was noted for its Southern
cooking and was the favorite resort of W. W. Foote and other prominent
Southerners. The kitchen was presided over by old Billy Jackson, an
old-time Southern darkey, who made a specialty of fried chicken, cream
gravy, and corn fritters.
Birth of the French Restaurant
French impression came strongly about this time, and the Poodle Dog, of
Paris, had its prototype at Bush and Dupont streets. This was one of the
earliest of the type known as "French Restaurants," and numerous
convivial parties of men and women found its private rooms convenient
for rendezvous. Old Pierre of later days, who was found dead out on the
Colma road some two years after the fire of 1906, was a waiter at the
Poodle Dog when it started, and by saving his tips and making good
investments he was able to open a similar restaurant at Stockton and
Market, which he called the Pup. The Pup was famous for its frogs' legs
a la poulette. In this venture Pierre had a partner, to whom he sold out
a few years later and then he opened the Tortoni in O'Farrell street,
which became one of the most famous of the pre-fire restaurants, its
table d'hote dinners being considered the best in the city. When Claus
Spreckels built the tall Spreckels building Pierre and his partner
opened the Call restaurant in the top stories. With the fire both of the
restaurants went out of existence, and the old proprietor of the Poodle
Dog having died, Pierre and a partner named Pon bought the place, and
for a year or so after the fire it was one of the best French
restaurants in the city. After Pierre's untimely death the restaurant
was merged with Bergez and Frank's, and is now in Bush street above
Much romance attached to Pierre, it being generally believed that he
belonged to a wealthy French family, because of his education, his
unfailing courtesy, his ready wit and his gentility. Pierre specialized
in fish cooked with wine, and as a favor to his patrons he would go to
the kitchen and prepare the dish with his own hands.
In O'Farrell street the Delmonico was one of the most famous of the
French restaurants until the fire. It was several stories high, and each
story contained private rooms. Carriages drove directly into the
building from the street and the occupants went by elevator to
soundproof rooms above, where they were served by discreet waiters.
The Poodle Dog, the Pup, Delmonico's, Jacques, Frank's, the Mint,
Bergez, Felix and Campi's are the connecting links between the fire and
the pioneer days. Some of them still carry the names and memories of the
old days. All were noted for their good dinners and remarkably low
Shortly after the fire Blanco, formerly connected with the old Poodle
Dog, opened a place in O'Farrell street, between Hyde and Larkin,
calling it "Blanco's." During the reconstruction period this was by far
the best restaurant in the city, and it is still one of the noted
places. Later Blanco opened a fine restaurant in Mason street, between
Turk and Eddy, reviving the old name of the Poodle Dog, and here all the
old traditions have been revived. Both of these savor of the old type of
French restaurants, catering to a class of quiet spenders who carefully
guard their indiscretions.
In the early '50s and '60s the most noted places were not considered
respectable enough for ladies, and at restaurants like the Three Trees,
in Dupont just above Bush street, ladies went into little private rooms
through an alley. Peter Job saw his opportunity and opened a restaurant
where special attention was paid to lady patrons, and shortly after the
New York restaurant, in Kearny street, did the same.
Merging the post-pioneer, era with the pre-fire era came the Maison
Doree, which became famous in many ways. It was noted for oysters a la
poulette, prepared after the following recipe:
Oysters a La Poulette
One-half cup butter, three tablespoons flour, yolks of three eggs. One
pint chicken stock (or veal), one tablespoonful lemon juice, one-eighth
teaspoon pepper, one level teaspoon salt. Beat the butter and flour
together until smooth and white. Then add salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Gradually pour boiling stock on this mixture and simmer for ten minutes.
Beat the yolks of eggs in a saucepan, gradually pouring the cooked sauce
upon them. Pour into a double boiler containing boiling water in lower
part of utensil. Stir the mixture for one and one-half minutes. Into
this put two dozen large oysters and let cook until edges curl up and
Captain Cropper, an old Marylander, had a restaurant that was much
patronized by good livers, and in addition to the usual Southern dishes
he specialized on terrapin a la Maryland, sending back to his native
State for the famous diamond-back terrapin. His recipe for this was as
Terrapin a La Maryland
Cut a terrapin in small pieces, about one inch long, after boiling it.
Put the pieces in a saute pan with two ounces of sweet butter, salt,
pepper, a very little celery salt, a pinch of paprika. Simmer for a few
minutes and then add one glass of sherry wine, which reduce to half by
boiling. Then add one cup of cream, bring to a boil and thicken with two
yolks of eggs mixed with a half cup of cream. Let it come to a near boil
and add half a glass of dry sherry and serve.
You may thicken the terrapin with the following mixture: Two raw yolks
of eggs, two boiled yolks of eggs, one ounce of butter, one ounce corn
starch. Rub together and pass through a fine sieve.
Uncle Tom's Cabin, Tony Oakes, the Hermitage, and Cornelius Stagg's were
noted road-houses where fine meals were served, but these are scarcely
to be considered as San Francisco Bohemian restaurants.
The Reception, on the corner of Sutter and Webb streets, which continued
up to the time of the fire, was noted for its terrapin specialties, but
it was rather malodorous and ladies who patronized it usually went in
through the Webb street entrance to keep from being seen. The old
Baldwin Hotel, which stood where the Flood building now stands, at the
corner of Market and Powell and which was destroyed by fire some
fourteen years ago, was the favorite resort of many of the noted men of
the West, and the grill had the distinction of being the best in San
Francisco at that time. The grill of the Old Palace Hotel was also of
highest order, and this was especially true of the Ladies' Grill which
was then, as now, noted for its artistic preparation of a wondrous
variety of good things.
Probably the most unique place of the pioneer and post-pioneer eras was
the Cobweb Palace, at Meiggs's Wharf, run by queer old Abe Warner. It
was a little ramshackle building extending back through two or three
rooms filled with all manner of old curios such as comes from sailing
vessels that go to different parts of the world. These curios were piled
indiscriminately everywhere, and there were boxes and barrels piled with
no regard whatever for regularity. This heterogeneous conglomeration was
covered with years of dust and cobwebs, hence the name. Around and over
these played bears, monkeys, parrots, cats, and dogs, and whatever sort
of bird or animal that could be accommodated until it had the appearance
of a small menagerie. Warner served crab in various ways and clams. In
the rear room, which was reached by a devious path through the debris,
he had a bar where he served the finest of imported liquors, French
brandy, Spanish wines, English ale, all in the original wood. He served
no ordinary liquor of any sort, saying that if anybody wanted whiskey
they could get it at any saloon. He catered to a class of men who knew
good liquors, and his place was a great resort for children, of whom he
was fond and who went there to see the animals. The frontispiece of this
book is from one of the few existing (if not the only one) photographs
of the place.
Equally unique, yet of higher standard, was the Palace of Art, run by
the Hackett brothers, in Post street near Market. Here were some of the
finest paintings and marble carvings to be found in the city, together
with beautiful hammered silver plaques and cups. Curios of all sorts
were displayed on the walls, and among them were many queer wood growths
showing odd shapes as well as odd colorings. A large and ornate bar
extended along one side of the immense room and tables were placed about
the room and in a balcony that ran along one side. Here meals were
served to both men and women, the latter being attracted by the artistic
display and unique character of the place. This was destroyed by the
fire and all the works of art lost.
At the Cliff House
Three times destroyed by fire, and three times rebuilt, the Cliff House
stands on a rocky promontory overlooking the Sundown Sea, where San
Francisco's beach is laved by the waves of the Ocean. Since the first
Cliff House was erected this has been a place famous the world over
because of its scenic beauty and its overlooking the Seal Rocks, where
congregate a large herd of sea lions disporting much to the edification
of the visitors. Appealing from its romantic surroundings, interesting
because of its history, and attractive through its combination of
dashing waves and beautiful beach extending miles in one direction, with
the rugged entrance to Golden Gate in the other, with the mysterious
Farallones in the dim distance, the Cliff House may well be classed as
one of the great Bohemian restaurants of San Francisco.
Lovers of the night life know it well for it is the destination of many
an automobile party. During the day its terraces are filled with
visitors from abroad who make this a part of their itinerary, and here,
as they drink in the wondrous beauty of the scene spread before them,
partake of well prepared and well served dishes such as made both the
Cliff House and San Francisco well and favorably known and whose fame is
not bounded by the continent.
But for a most pleasant visit to the Cliff House one should choose the
early morning hours, and go out when the air is blowing free and fresh
from the sea, the waves cresting with amber under the magic touch of the
easterly sun. Select a table next to one of the western windows and
order a breakfast that is served here better than any place we have
tried. This breakfast will consist of broiled breast of young turkey,
served with broiled Virginia ham with a side dish of corn fritters. When
you sit down to this after a brisk ride out through Golden Gate Park,
you have the great sauce, appetite, and with a pot of steaming coffee
whose aroma rises like the incense to the Sea Gods, you will feel that
while you have thought you had good breakfasts before this, you know
that now you are having the best of them all. Of course there are many
other good things to order if you like, but we have discovered nothing
that makes so complete a breakfast as this.
Some Italian Restaurants
"Is everybody happy? Oh, it is only nine o'clock and we've got all
night." It was a clear, fresh young voice, full of the joy of living and
came from a young woman whose carefree air seemed to say of her
existence as of the night "We've got all life before us." The voice, the
healthful face and vigorous form, the very live and joyous expression
were all significant of the time and place. It was Sunday night and the
place was Steve Sanguinetti's, with roisterers in full swing and every
table filled and dozens of patrons waiting along the walls ready to take
each seat as it was emptied. Here were young men and women just returned
from their various picnics across the Bay to their one great event of
the week--a Sunday dinner at Sanguinetti's.
Over in one corner of the stifling room, on a raised platform, sat two
oily and fat negroes, making the place hideous with their ribald songs
and the twanging of a guitar and banjo. When, a familiar air was sounded
the entire gathering joined in chorus, and when such tunes as "There'll
Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight" came, the place was pandemonium.
Yet through it all perfect order was kept by the fat proprietor, his
muscular "bouncer" and two policemen stationed at the doors. Noise was
rather invited than frowned upon, and the only line drawn regarding
conduct was the throwing of bread. Probably Steve did not want it
It was all free and easy and nobody took offense at anything said or
done. In fact if one were squeamish about such things Sanguinetti's was
no place for him or her. One found one's self talking and laughing with
the people about as if they were old friends. It made no difference how
you were dressed, nor how dignified you tried to be, it was all one with
the crowd around the tables. If you wished to stay there in comfort you
had to be one of them, and dignity had to be left outside or it would
make you so uncomfortable that you would carry it out, to an
accompaniment of laughter and jeers of the rest of the diners.
So far as eating was concerned that was not one of the considerations
when discussing Sanguinetti's. It was a table d'hote dinner served with
a bottle of "Dago red," for fifty cents. You gave the waiter a tip of
fifteen cents or "two bits" as you felt liberal, and he was satisfied.
If you were especially pleased you gave the darkeys ten cents, not
because you enjoyed the music, but just "because."
The one merit of Sanguinetti's before the fire was the fact that all the
regular customers were unaffected and natural. They came from the
factories, canneries, shops, and drays, and after a week of
heart-breaking work this was their one relaxation and they enjoyed it to
the full. Many people from the residential part of the city, and many
visitors at the hotels, went there as a part of slumming trips, but the
real sentiment was expressed by the young girl when she sang out "Is
Sanguinetti still has his restaurant, and there is still to be found the
perspiring darkeys, playing and singing their impossible music, and a
crowd still congregates there, but it is not the old crowd for this,
like all things else in San Francisco, has changed, and instead of the
old-time assemblage of young men and women whose lack of convention came
from their natural environment, there is now a crowd of young and old
people who patronize it because they have heard it is "so Bohemian."
Thrifty hotel guides take tourists there and tell them it is "the only
real Bohemian restaurant in San Francisco," and when the outlanders see
the antics of the people and listen to the ribald jests and bad music of
the darkeys, they go back to their hotels and tell with bated breath of
one of the most wonderful things they have ever seen, and it is one of
the wonderful things of their limited experience.
Among the pre-fire restaurants of note were several Italian places which
appealed to the Bohemian spirit through their good cooking and absence
of conventionality, together with the inexpensiveness of the dinners.
Among these were the Buon Gusto, the Fior d'Italia, La Estrella, Campi's
and the Gianduja. Of these Campi's, in Clay street below Sansome, was
the most noted, and the primitive style of serving combined with his
excellent cooking brought him fame. All of these places, or at least
restaurants with these names, are still in existence.
Jule's, the Fly Trap, the St. Germain and the Cosmos laid claim to
distinction through their inexpensiveness, up to the time of the fire.
All of these names are still to be seen over restaurants and they are
still in that class, Jule's, possibly, being better than it was before
the fire. A good dinner of seven or eight courses, well cooked and well
served, could be had in these places for fifty cents. Lombardi's was of
the same type but his price was but twenty-five cents for a course
dinner in many respects the equal of the others.
Pop Floyd, recently killed by his bartender in an altercation, had a
place down in California street much patronized by business men. He had
very good service and the best of cooking, and for many years hundreds
of business men gathered there at luncheon in lieu of a club. The place
is still in existence and good service and good food is to be had there,
but it has lost its Bohemian atmosphere.
In Pine street above Montgomery was the Viticultural, a restaurant that
had great vogue owing to the excellence of its cooking. Its specialty
was marrow on toast and broiled mushrooms, and game.
To speak of Bohemian San Francisco and say nothing of the old Hoffman
saloon, on Second and Market streets, would be like the play of Hamlet
with Hamlet left out. "Pop" Sullivan, or "Billy" Sullivan, according to
the degree of familiarity of the acquaintance, boasted of the fact that
from the day this place opened until he sold the doors were closed but
once, the keys having been thrown away on opening day. During all the
years of its existence the only day it was closed was the day of the
funeral of Sullivan's mother. Here was the most magnificent bar in San
Francisco, and in connection was a restaurant that catered to people who
not only knew good things but ordered them. The back part of the place
with entrance on Second street was divided off into little rooms with
tables large enough for four. These rooms were most lavish in their
decoration, the most interesting feature being that they were all made
of different beautiful woods, highly polished. Woods were here from all
parts of the world, each being distinctive. In these rooms guests were
served with the best the market afforded, by discreet darkeys. This
place was the best patronized of all the Bohemian resorts of the city up
to the time of the fire. One of the special dainties served were the
Hoffman House biscuits, light and flaky, such as could be found nowhere
Out by Marshall Square, by the City Hall, was Good Fellow's Grotto,
started by Techau, who afterward built and ran the Techau Tavern. This
place was in a basement and had much vogue among politicians and those
connected with the city government. It specialized on beefsteaks.
Under the St. Ann building, at Eddy and Powell streets, was the Louvre,
started and managed by Carl Zinkand, who afterward opened the place in
Market above Fourth street, called Zinkand's. This was distinctly German
in appointments and cooking and was the best of its kind in the city.
Under the Phelan building at O'Farrell and Market was the Old Louvre in
which place one could get German cooking, but it was not a place that
appealed to those who knew good service.
Bab's had a meteoric career and was worthy of much longer life, but
Babcock had too high an idealization of what San Francisco wanted. He
emulated the Parisian restaurants in oddities, one of his rooms being
patterned after the famous Cabaret de la Mort, and one dined off a
coffin and was lighted by green colored tapers affixed to skulls. Aside
from its oddities it was one of the best places for a good meal for Bab
had the art of catering down to a nicety. There were rooms decorated to
represent various countries and in each room you could get a dinner of
the country represented.
Thompson's was another place that was too elaborate for its patronage
and after a varied existence from the old Oyster Loaf to a cafeteria
Thompson was compelled to leave for other fields and San Francisco lost
a splendid restaurateur. He opened the place under the Flood building,
after the fire, in most magnificent style, taking in two partners. The
enormous expense and necessary debt contracted to open the place was too
much and Thompson had to give up his interest. This place is now running
as the Portola-Louvre.
Much could be written of these old-time restaurants, and as we write
story after story amusing, interesting, and instructive come to mind,
each indicative of the period when true Bohemianism was to be found in
the City that Was.
An incident that occurred in the old Fior d'Italia well illustrates this
spirit of camaraderie, as it shows the good-fellowship that then
obtained. We went to that restaurant for dinner one evening, and the
proprietor, knowing our interest in human nature studies, showed us to a
little table in the back part of the room, where we could have a good
view of all the tables. Our table was large enough to seat four
comfortably, and presently, as the room became crowded, the proprietor,
with many excuses, asked if he could seat two gentlemen with us. They
were upper class Italians, exceedingly polite, and apologized profusely
for intruding upon us. In a few minutes another gentleman entered and
our companions at once began frantic gesticulations and called him to
our table, where room was made and another cover laid. Again and again
this occurred until finally at a table suited for four, nine of us were
eating, laughing, and talking together, we being taken into the
comradeship without question. When it came time for us to depart the
entire seven rose and stood, bowing as we passed from the restaurant.
Impress of Mexico
Running through all the fabric of San Francisco's history is the thread
of Mexican and Spanish romance and tradition, carrying us back to the
very days when the trooper sent out by Portola first set eyes on the
great inland sea now known as San Francisco Bay. It would seem that the
cuisinaire most indelibly stamped on the taste of the old San Franciscan
would, therefore, be of either Spanish or Mexican origin. That this is
not a fact is because among the earliest corners to California after it
passed from Mexican hands to those of the United States, were French and
Italian cooks, and the bon vivants of both lands who wanted their own
style of cooking. While the Spanish did not impress their cooking on San
Francisco, it is the cuisine of the Latin races that has given to it its
greatest gastronomic prestige, and there still remains from those very
early days recipes of the famous dishes which had their beginnings
either in Spain or Mexico.
There is much misconception regarding both Spanish and Mexican cooking,
for it is generally accepted as a fact that all Mexican and Spanish
dishes are so filled with red pepper as to be unpalatable to the normal
stomach of those trained to what is called "plain American cooking."
Certain dishes of Mexican and Spanish origin owe their fine flavor to
discriminating use of chili caliente or chili dulce, but many of the
best dishes are entirely innocent of either. The difference between
Spanish and Mexican cooking is largely a matter of sentiment. It is a
peculiarity of the Spaniard that he does not wish to be classed as a
Mexican, and on the other hand the Mexican is angry if he be called a
Spaniard. But the fact remains that their cooking is much alike, so much
so, in fact, as to be indistinguishable except by different names for
similar dishes, and frequently these are the same.
The two famous and world-known dishes of this class of cooking are
tortillas and tamales. It is generally supposed that both of these are
the product of Mexico, but this is not the case. The tamale had its
origin in Spain and was carried to Mexico by the conquistadors, and
taken up as a national dish by the natives after many years. The
tortilla, on the other hand, is made now exactly as it was made by the
Mexican Indian when the Spanish found the country. The aborigine
prepared his corn on a stone metate and made it into cakes by patting it
with the hand, then cooked it on a hot stone before an open fire. It is
still made in that manner in the heart of Mexico, and we could tell a
story of how we saw this done one night in the midst of a dense tropical
forest, while muleteers and mozas of a great caravan sat around their
little campfires, whose fitful light served to intensify the weird
appearance of the shadows of the Indians as they passed to and fro among
their packs, but this is not the place for such stories.
Of the old Mexican restaurants, those of us who can look back to the
days of a quarter of a century ago remember old Felipe and Maria, the
Mexican couple who kept the little place in the alley back of the old
county jail, off Broadway. Here one had to depend entirely upon
sentiment, or rather sentimentality, to be pleased. The cooking was
truly Mexican for it included the usual Mexican disregard for dirt.
Chattering monkeys and parrots were hanging around the kitchen, peering
into pots and fingering viands, and they served to attract attention
from myriads of cockroaches that swarmed about the walls. One could go
to this place just on the theory that one is willing to try anything
once, but aside from its picturesque old couple, and its Dantesque
appearance, it offered nothing to induce a return unless it was to
entertain a friend.
Everyone who lived in San Francisco before the fire remembers Ricardo,
he of the one eye, who served so well at Luna's, on Vallejo and Dupont
streets. Ricardo had but one eye but he could see the wants of his
patrons much better than many of the later day waiters who have two.
Luna's brought fame to San Francisco and in more than one novel of San
Francisco life it was featured. Entering the place one came into the
home life of the Luna family, and reached the dining room through the
parlor, where Mrs. Luna, busy with her drawn work, and all the little
Lunas and the neighbors and their children foregathered in the window
spaces behind the torn Nottingham curtains which partially concealed the
interior from passers on the street. The elder sons and daughters
attended to the wants of those who fancied any of the curios displayed
in the long showcase that extended from the door to the rear of the
Passing through this family group one came to the curtained dining room
proper, although there were a number of tables in the family parlor to
be used in case of a rush of patrons. Luna's dinners were a feature of
the old San Francisco. They were strictly Mexican, from the unpalatable
soup (Mexicans do not understand how to make good soup) to the "dulce"
served at the close of the meal. First came the appetizers in form of
thin slices of salami and of a peculiar Mexican sausage, so extremely
hot with chili pepino as to immediately call for a drink of claret to
assuage the burning. Then came the soup which we experienced ones always
passed over. The salad of modern tables was replaced by an enchilada,
and then came either chili con carne or chili con polle according to the
day of the week, Sundays having as the extra attraction the chili con
pollo, or chicken with pepper. In place of bread they served tortillas,
which were rolled and used as a spoon or fork if one were so inclined.
Following this was what is known among unenlightened as "stuffed
pepper," but which is called by the Spanish, from which country it gets
its name, "chili reinas." To signify the close of the meal came
frijoles fritas or fried beans, and these were followed by the dessert
consisting of some preserved fruit or of a sweet tamale. Fifty cents
paid the bill and a tip of fifteen cents to Ricardo made him as happy
and as profuse with his thanks as the present day waiter on receipt of
half a dollar.
Accepting Luna's as the best type of the Mexican restaurant of the days
before the fire, our inquiry developed the fact that the dish on which
he specialized was chili reinas, and this is the recipe he used in their
Roast large bell peppers until the skin turns black. Wash in cold water
and rub off the blackened skin. Cut around the stem and remove the seed
and coarse veins. Take some dry Monterey cheese, grated fine, and with
this fill the peppers, closing the end with a wooden toothpick.
Prepare a batter made as follows: Beat the yolks and whites of six eggs
separately, then mix, and stir in a little flour to make a thin batter.
Have a pan of boiling lard ready and after dipping the stuffed pepper
into the batter dip it into the lard. Remove quickly and dip again in
the batter and then again in the lard where it is to remain until fried
a light, golden brown, keeping the peppers entirely covered with the
Take the seeds of the peppers, one small white onion and two tomatoes,
and grind all together into a pulp, add a little salt and let cook ten
minutes. When the chilies are fried turn the remainder of the batter
into the tomatoes and boil twenty minutes, then turn this sauce over the
This is a most delicious dish and can be varied by using finely ground
meat to stuff the peppers instead of The cheese.
Mexican restaurants of the present day in San Francisco are a delusion,
On the Barbary Coast
Much has been said and more printed regarding San Francisco's Barbary
Coast--much of truth and much mythical. Probably no other individual
district has been so instrumental in giving to people of other parts of
the country an erroneous idea of San Francisco. It is generally accepted
as a fact that in Barbary Coast Vice flaunted itself in reckless abandon
before the eyes of the world, showing those things usually concealed
behind walls and under cover of the darkness. According to the purists
here youth of both sexes was debauched, losing both money and souls. To
speak of seeing Barbary Coast brought furtive looks and lowered voices,
as if contamination even from the thought were possible. No slumming
party was completed without a visit to the "Coast," after Chinatown's
manufactured horrors had been shuddered at.
One cannot well speak of the Barbary Coast without bringing into
consideration the Social Evil, for here was concentrated dozens of the
poor unfortunates of the underworld, compelled to eke out miserable
existence through playing on the foibles and vanities of men, or seek
oblivion in a suicide's grave. We do not propose to discuss this phase
of Barbary Coast as that is not a part of Bohemianism.
We have visited the Coast many times, at all hours of the night, and
beyond the unconcealed license of open caresses we have seen nothing
shocking to our moral sense that equaled what we have seen in Broadway,
New York, or in some of the most fashionable hotels and restaurants of
San Francisco on New Year's Eve. Dancing, singing and music--all that
is embodied in the "wine, women and song" of the poets, was to be found
there, but it was open, and had none of the veiled suggestion to be
found in places considered among the best.
In Barbary Coast we have seen more beautiful dancing than on any stage,
or in the famous Moulin Rouge, or Jardin Mabile of Paris. In fact, many
of the modern dances that have become the vogue all over the country,
even being carried to Europe, had their origin in Pacific street dance
halls. Texas Tommy, the Grizzly Bear, and many others were first danced
here, and some of the finest Texas Tommy dancers on eastern stages went
from the dance halls of San Francisco's Barbary Coast.
Vice was there--yes. It was open--yes. But there was the attraction of
light and life and laughter that drew crowds nightly.
Barbary Coast was a part of San Francisco's Bohemianism because of its
unconventionality, for, you know, there is conventionality even in Vice.
Here was the rendezvous of sailor men from all parts of the world, for
here they found companionship and joviality.
Up to the time of the closing of Barbary Coast molestation of women on
the streets of San Francisco was almost unheard of. Since its closing it
is becoming more and more hazardous for women to walk alone at night in
the only large city in the world that always had the reputation of
guarding its womankind.
The City That Was Passes
Times change and we change with them is well evidenced by the restaurant
life of the present day San Francisco. Now, as before the fire, we have
the greatest restaurant city of the world--a city where home life is
subordinated to the convenience of apartment dwelling and restaurant
meals-but the old-time Bohemian finds neither the same atmosphere nor
the same restaurants.
True, many of the old names have been retained or revived, but there is
not felt the old spirit of camaraderie. Old personalities have passed
away and old customs have degenerated. Those who await The Call feel
that with the passing of the old city there passed much that made life
worth living, and as they prepare to cross to the Great Beyond, they
live in their memories of the Past.
With reverence we think of the men and women of the early San Francisco
- those who made the city the Home of Bohemia--and it is with this
feeling that we now come to discuss the Bohemian restaurants of the New
Sang the Swan Song
In the latter part of April, 1906, when the fire-swept streets presented
their most forbidding aspect, and when the only moving figures to be
seen after nightfall were armed soldiers guarding the little remaining
of value from depredations of skulking vagabonds, a number of the old
Bohemian spirits gathered at the corner of Montgomery and Commercial
streets, and gazed through the shattered windows into the old dining
room where they had held many a royal feast. On the blackened walls
might still be seen scarred pictures, fringed by a row of black cats
along the ceiling. They turned their steps out toward the Presidio,
hunted among the Italian refugees and there found Coppa--he of the
wonderful black cats, and it took little persuasion to induce him to go
back to his ruined restaurant and prepare a dinner, such as had made his
place famous among artists, writers, and other Bohemians, in the days
when San Francisco was care-free and held her arms wide open in welcome
to all the world.
It was such a dinner as has been accorded to few. Few there are who have
the heart to make merry amid crumbling ruins of all they held dear in
the material world. The favored ones who assembled there will always
hold that dinner in most affectionate memory, and to this day not one
thinks of it without the choking that comes from over-full emotion. It
was more than a tribute to the days of old--it marked the passing of
the old San Francisco and the inauguration of the new.
It was Bohemia's Swan Song, sung by those to whom San Francisco held
more than pleasure--more than sentimentality. It held for them
close-knit ties that nothing less than a worldshaking cataclysm could
sever--and the cataclysm had arrived.
The old Coppa restaurant in Montgomery street became a memory and on its
ashes came the new one, located in Pine street between Montgomery and
Kearny streets, and for a number of years this remained the idol of
Bohemia until changed conditions drove the tide of patronage far up
toward Powell, Ellis, Eddy and O'Farrell streets. At that time there
grew up a mushroom crop of so-called restaurants in Columbus avenue
close to Barbary Coast such as Caesar's, the Follies Cabaret, Jupiter
and El Paradiso, where space was reserved in the middle of the floor for
dancing. Coppa emulated the new idea by fitting out a gorgeous basement
room at the corner of Kearny and Jackson, which he called the Neptune
Palace. It represented a great grotto under the ocean, and here throngs
gathered nightly to dance and eat until the police commissioners closed
all of these resorts, as well as Barbary Coast.
Coppa became financially injured by this venture and was forced to take
a partner in his old restaurant, and finally gave up his share and went
beyond the city limits and opened the Pompeiian Garden, on the San Mateo
road, and there with his heroic little wife tried to rebuild his
shrunken fortunes, leaving the historic restaurant with its string of
black cats and its memorable pictures on the walls to less skilled
hands. He struggled against hard times and at the time of this writing
he, with his wife, their son and his wife, are giving the old-time
dinners and trying to make the venture a success.
In the old days it was considered a feat of gormandizing to go through
one of Coppa's dinners and eat everything set before you for one dollar.
Notwithstanding the delicious dishes he prepared and the wonderful
recipes, the quantity served was so great that one would have to be
possessed of enormous capacity, indeed, to be able to say at the end of
the meal that he had eaten all that was given him.
In his Pompeiian Garden Coppa still maintains his old reputation for
most tasty viands and liberal portions, and if one desire to find the
true Bohemian restaurant of San Francisco today, one that approaches the
old spirit of the days before the fire, he need but go out to Coppa's
and while he will not have his eyes regaled by the quaint drawings with
which the old-time artists decorated the walls, nor the hurrying
footsteps along the ceiling to the famous center table where sat some of
the world's most notable Bohemians on their visits to San Francisco, nor
the frieze of black cats around the cornice, nor the Bohemian verse,
written under inspiration of "Dago red," he will find the same old
cooking, done by Coppa himself.
We asked Coppa what he considered his best dish and he gave us the
Irishman's reply by asking another question:
"What do you think of it?"
There are so many to choose from that our answer was difficult but we
finally stopped at "Chicken Portola." It was then that the old smile
came back to Coppa's face.
"Ah! Chicken Portola. That is my own idea. It is the most delicious way
chicken was ever cooked."
This is the recipe as Coppa gave it to us, his little wife standing at
his side and giving, now and then, a suggestion as Coppa's memory
Chicken Portola a la Coppa
Take a fresh cocoanut and cut off the top, removing nearly all of the
meat. Put together three tablespoonfuls of chopped cocoanut meat and two
ears of fresh, green corn, taken from the cob. Slice two onions into
four tablespoonfuls of olive oil, together with a tablespoonful of diced
bacon fried in olive oil, add one chopped green pepper, half a dozen
tomatoes stewed with salt and pepper, one clove of garlic, and cook all
together until it thickens. Strain this into the corn and cocoanut and
add one spring chicken cut in four pieces. Put the mixture into the
shell of the cocoanut, using the cut-off top as a cover, and close
tightly with a covering of paste around the jointure to keep in the
flavors. Put the cocoanut into a pan with water in it and set in the
oven, well heated, for one hour, basting frequently to prevent the
A bare recital of the terms of the recipe cannot bring to the
uninitiated even a suspicion of the delightful aroma that comes from the
cocoanut when its top is lifted, nor can it give the slightest idea of
the delicacy of the savor arising from the combination of the cocoanut
with young chicken. It is not a difficult dish to prepare, and if you
cannot get it at any of the restaurants, and we are sure you cannot, try
it at home some time and surprise your friends with a dish to be found
in only one restaurant in the world. If you desire it at Coppa's on your
visit to San Francisco you will have to telephone out to him in advance
(unless he has succeeded in getting back to the city, which he
contemplates) so that he can prepare it for you, and, take our word for
it, you will never regret doing so.
Coppa has many wonderful dishes to serve, and he delights so much in
your appreciation that he is always fearful something is wrong if you
fail to do full justice to his meal. He showed this one evening when he
had filled a little party of us to repletion by his lavish provision for
our entertainment, and nature rebelled against anything more. To us came
Coppa in tears.
"What is the matter with the chicken, Doctor? Is it not cooked just
It was with difficulty that we made him understand that there was a
limit to capacity, and that he had fed us with such bountiful hand we
could eat no more. Even now when we go to Coppa's we have a little
feeling of fear lest we offend him by not eating enough to convince him
that we are pleased.
Coppa's walls were always adorned with strange conceits of the artists
and writers who frequented his place, and after a picture, or a bit of
verse had remained until it was too familiar some one erased it and
replaced it with something he thought was better. We preserved one
written by an unknown Bohemian. We give it just as it was:
Through the fog of centuries, dim and dense,
I sometimes seem to see
The shadowy line of a backyard fence
And a feline shape of me.
I hear the growl, and yowl and howl
Of each nocturnal fight,
And the throaty stir, half cry, half purr
Of passionate delight,
As seeking an amorous rendezvous
My ancient brothers go stealing
Through the purple gloom of night.
I've seen your eyes, with a greenish glint;
You move with a feline grace;
And when you are pleased I catch the hint
Of a purr in your throat and face.
Then I wonder if you are dreaming, too,
Of temples along the Nile,
Where you yowled and howled, and loved and prowled,
With many a sensuous wile,
And borrowed the grace you own today
From that other life in the far-away;
And if such dreams beguile.
I know that you sit by your cozy fire,
When shadows crowd the room,
And my soul responds to an old desire
To roam through the velvety gloom,
So stealthily stealing, softly shod,
My spirit is hurrying thence
To the lure of an ancient mystic god,
Whose magnet is intense,
Where I know your soul, too, roams in fur,
For I hear it call with a throaty purr,
From the shadowy backyard fence.
Bohemia of the Present
San Francisco's care-free spirit was fully exemplified before the ashes
of the great fire of 1906 were cold. On every hand one could find little
eating places established in the streets, some made of abandoned boxes,
others of debris from the burned buildings, and some in vacant basements
and little store rooms, while a few enterprising individuals improvised
wheeled dining rooms and went from one part of the city to another
The vein of humor of irrepressible effervescence of spirit born of
Bohemianism gave to these eating places high sounding names, and many
were covered with witty signs which laughed in the face of Fate.
Fillmore became the great business street of the city now in ashes, and
here were established the first restaurants of any pretensions, the
Louvre being first to open an establishment that had the old-time
appearance. This was on the corner of Fillmore and Ellis, and had large
patronage, it being crowded nightly with men and women who seemed to
forget that San Francisco had been destroyed. Thompson opened a large
restaurant in O'Farrell street, just above Fillmore, and for two years
or more did a thriving business, his place being noted for its good
cooking and its splendid service. One of his waiters, Phil Tyson, was
one of the earlier ones to go back into the burned district to begin
business and he opened a restaurant called the Del Monte in Powell
street near Market, but it was too early for success and closed after a
Thompson enlisted others to join with him in opening a magnificent place
under the new Flood building at the corner of Powell and Market street,
but through faulty understanding of financial power Thompson was
compelled to give up his interest and the place afterward closed. It has
since been reopened under the name of the Portola-Louvre, where now
crowds assemble nightly to listen to music and witness cabaret
performances. Here, as well as in a number of other places, one can well
appreciate the colloquial definition of "cabaret." That which takes the
rest out of restaurant and puts the din in dinner. If one likes noise
and distraction while eating such places are good to patronize.
Across the street from the Portola-Louvre at 15 Powell street is the
modernized Techau Tavern now known as "Techau's". Here there is always
good music and food well cooked and well served, and always a lively
crowd during the luncheon, dinner and after-theatre hours. The room is
not large but its dimensions are greatly magnified owing to the covering
of mirrors which line the walls. This garish display of mirrors, and
elaborate decoration of ceiling and pillars, gives it the appearance of
the abode of Saturnalia, but decorum is the rule among the patrons.
Around at 168 O'Farrell street, just opposite the Orpheum theatre, is
Tait-Zinkand restaurant, or as it is more popularly known, "Tait's".
John Tait is the presiding spirit here, he having made reputation as
club manager, and then as manager of the Cliff House. One of the
partners here was Carl Zinkand, who ran the old Zinkand's before the
While these three restaurants are of similar type neither has the
pre-fire atmosphere. They are lively, always, with music and gay
throngs, and serve good food.
One of the early restaurants established after the fire was Blanco's, at
857 O'Farrell street, and later Blanco opened the Poodle Dog in Mason
street just above Eddy. Both of these restaurants are of the old French
type and are high class in every respect. The Poodle Dog has a hotel
attachment where one may get rooms or full apartments.
If you know how to order, and do not care to count the cost when you
order, probably the best dinner at these restaurants can be had at
either Blanco's or the Poodle Dog. The cuisine is of the best and the
chefs rank at the top of their art. Prices are higher than at the other
restaurants mentioned, but one certainly gets the best there is prepared
in the best way.
But the same food, prepared equally well, is to be found in a number of
less pretentious places. At the two mentioned one pays for the
surroundings as well as for the food, and sometimes this is worth paying
The restaurants of the present day that approach nearest the old
Bohemian restaurants of pre fire days, of the French class, are Jack's
in Sacramento street between Montgomery and Kearny; Felix, in Montgomery
street between Clay and Washington, and the Poodle Dog-Bergez-Franks, in
Bush street between Kearny and Grant avenue. In either of these
restaurants you will be served with the best the market affords, cooked
"the right way." In Clay street opposite the California Market is the
New Frank's, one of the best of the Italian restaurants, and much
patronized by Italian merchants. Next to it is Coppa's, but it is no
longer run by Coppa. In this same district is the Mint, in Commercial
street between Montgomery and Kearny streets. It has changed from what
it was in the old days, but is still an excellent place to dine.
Negro's, at 625 Merchant street, near the Hall of Justice, has quite a
following of those whose business attaches them to the courts, and while
many claim this to be one of the best of its class, we believe the claim
to be based less on good cooking than on the fact that the habitues are
intimate, making it a pleasant resort for them. The cooking is good and
the variety what the market affords.
In Washington street, just off Columbus avenue, is Bonini's Barn, making
great pretense through an unique idea. So far as the restaurant is
concerned the food is a little below the average of Italian restaurants.
One goes there once through curiosity and finds himself in a room that
has all the appearance of the interior of a barn, with chickens and
pigeons strutting around, harness hanging on pegs, and hay in mangers,
and all the farming utensils around to give it the verisimilitude of
country. Tables and chairs are crude in the extreme and old-time
lanterns are used for lighting. It is an idea that is worth while, but,
unfortunately, the proprietors depend too much on the decorative feature
and too little on the food and how they serve it.
The Fly Trap, and Charlie's Fashion, the first in Sutter street near
Kearny and the other in Market near Sutter, serve well-cooked foods,
especially soup, salads, and fish. Of course these are not the entire
menus but of all the well-prepared dishes these are their best. Felix,
mentioned before, also makes a specialty of his family soup, which is
Spanish dinners of good quality are to be had at the Madrilena, at 177
Eddy street, and at the Castilian, at 344 Sutter street. Both serve good
Spanish dinners at reasonable prices. They serve table d'hote dinners,
but you can also get Spanish dishes on special order.
Under the Monadnock building, in Market street near Third, is Jule's,
well liked and well patronized because of its good cooking and good
service. Jule is one of the noted restaurateurs of the city, having
attained high celebrity before the fire. His prices are moderate and his
cooking and viands of the best, and will satisfy the most critical of
At the corner of Market and Eddy streets is the Odeon, down in a
basement, with decorations of most garish order. There is a good chef
and the place has quite a vogue among lovers of good things to eat.
Probably at no place in San Francisco can one find game cooked better
than at Jack's, 615 Sacramento street. His ducks are always cooked so as
to elicit high praise. He has an old-style French table d'hote dinner
which he serves for $1.25, including wine. Or you may order anything in
the market and you will find it cooked "the best way." One of the
specialties of Jack's is fish, for which the restaurant is noted. It is
always strictly fresh and booked to suit the most fastidious taste.
As it is in Germany
When you see August (do not fail to pronounce it Owgoost) in repose you
involuntarily say, that is if you understand German, "Mir ist alles an,"
which is the German equivalent of "I should worry." When August is in
action you immediately get a thirst that nothing but a stein of cold
beer will quench. August is the pride of the Heidelberg Inn at 35 Ellis
street. All you can see from the street as you pass around the corner
from Market, is a sign and some stairs leading down into a basement, but
do not draw back just because it is a basement restaurant, for if you do
you will miss one of the very few real Bohemian restaurants of San
Francisco. Possibly our point of view will not coincide with that of
others, but while there are dozens of other Bohemian restaurants there
is but one Heidelberg Inn. Here is absolute freedom from irksome
conventionality of other people, and none of the near Bohemianism of so
many places claiming the title.
At the Heidelberg Inn one need never fear obtrusiveness on the part of
other visitors, for here everybody attends strictly to his or her own
party, enjoying a camaraderie that has all the genuine, whole-souled
companionship found only where German families are accustomed to
congregate to seek relaxation from the toil and worry of the day.
An evening spent in Heidelberg Inn is one replete with character study
that cannot be excelled anywhere in San Francisco--and this means that
everybody there is worth while as a study, from the little, bald-headed
waiter, Heme, and the big, imposing waiter, August, to the "Herr Doctor"
who comes to forget the serious surgical case that has been worrying him
at the hospital. Here you do not find obtrusive waiters brushing
imaginary crumbs from your chair with obsequious hand, nor over zealous
stewards solicitous of your food's quality. It is all perfect because it
is made perfect by good management. Here are German families, from
Grossfader and Grossmutter, down to the newest grandchild, sitting and
enjoying their beer and listening to such music as can be heard nowhere
else in San Francisco, as they eat their sandwiches of limburger, or
more dainty dishes according to their tastes.
One can almost imagine himself in one of the famous rathskellers of Old
Heidelberg--not at the Schloss, of course, for here you cannot look
down on the Weiser as it flows beneath the windows of the great wine
stube on the hill. But you have the real atmosphere, and this is
enhanced by the mottoes in decoration and the flagons, stems and plaques
that adorn the pillars as well as typical German environment.
It is when the martial strains of "De Wacht am Rhein" are heard from the
orchestra, which of itself is an institution, that the true camaraderie
of the place is appreciated, for then guests, waiters, barkeepers, and
even the eagle-eyed gray-haired manager, join in the swelling chorus,
and you can well understand why German soldiers are inspired to march to
victory when they hear these stirring chords.
But there is other music--sometimes neither inspiring nor beautiful
when heard in a German rathskeller--the music of rag time. If there is
anything funnier than a German orchestra trying to play rag-time music
we have never heard it. It is unconscious humor on part of the
orchestra, consequently is all the more excruciating.
But if you really love good music--music that has melody and rhythm and
soothing cadences, go to the Heidelberg Inn and listen to the concert
which is a feature of the place every evening. And while you are
listening to the music you can enjoy such food as is to be found nowhere
else in San Francisco, for it is distinctly Heidelbergian. We asked for
the recipe that they considered the very best in the restaurant, and
Hirsch, with a shrug of his shoulders, said: "Oh, we have so many fine
dishes." We finally got him to select the one prized above all others
and this is what Chef Scheiler gave us:
German Sauer Braten
Take four pounds of clear beef, from either the shoulder or rump, and
pickle it for two days in one-half gallon of claret and one-half gallon
of good wine vinegar (not cider). To the pickle add two large onions cut
in quarters, two fresh carrots and about one ounce of mixed whole
allspice, black peppers, cloves and bay leaves.
When ready for cooking take the meat out of the brine and put in a
roasting pan. Put in the oven and brown to a golden color. Then take it
out of the roasting pan and put it into a casserole, after sprinkling it
with two ounces of flour. Put into the oven again and cook for half an
hour, basting frequently with the original brine.
When done take the meat out of the sauce. Strain the sauce through a
fine collander and add a few raisins, a piece of honey cake, or ginger
snaps and the meat of one fresh tomato. Season with salt and pepper and
a little sugar to taste. Slice and serve with the sauce over it.
For those who like German dishes and German cooking it is not necessary
to confine yourself to the Heidelberg Inn, for both the Hof Brau, in
Market just above Fourth street, and the German House Rathskeller, at
Turk and Polk streets are good places where you can get what you want.
The Hof Brau, however, is less distinctively German as the greater
number of its patrons are Americans. The specialty of the Hof Brau is
abalone's, and they have as a feature this shell fish cooked in several
ways. They also have as the chef in charge of the abalone dishes,
Herbert, formerly chef for one of the yacht clubs of the coast, who
claims to have the only proper recipe for making abalone's tender. Under
ordinary circumstances the abalone is tough and unpalatable, but after
the deft manipulation of Herbert they are tender and make a fine dish,
either fried, as chowder or a la Newberg. In addition to abalone's the
Hof Brau makes a specialty of little Oregon crawfish. While there is a
distinctive German atmosphere at the Rathskeller of the German House,
the place is too far out to gather such numbers as congregate at either
the Heidelberg or the Hof Brau, but one can get the best of German
cooking here and splendid service, and for a quiet little "Dutch supper"
we know of no place that will accommodate you better than the
On special occasions, when some German society or club is giving a dance
or holding a meeting at the German House, the Rathskeller is the most
typical German place in San Francisco, and if you go at such a time you
will get all the "atmosphere" you will desire, as well as the best the
market affords in the way of good viands.
In the Heart of Italy
What a relief it is sometimes to have a good waiter say: "You do not
know what you want? Will you let me bring you the best there is in the
house?" Sometimes, you know, you really do not know what you want, and
usually when that is the case you are not very hungry. That is always a
good time to try new things. It is also possible that you do not know
what you want because you do not know how to order. In either instance
our advice is, if the waiter gets confidential and offers his assistance
you will certainly miss something if you do not accept his good offices.
This was the case with us, one day when we were over at 1549 Stockton
street, near Washington Square, at the Gianduja. The proper
pronunciation of this is as if it were spelled Zhan-du-ya. This is one
of the good Italian restaurants of the Latin quarter. At the Gianduja
you get the two prime essentials to a good meal--good cooking and
excellent service. It matters not whether you take their thirty-five
cent luncheon or order a most elaborate meal, you will find that the
service is just what it ought to be. We asked Brenti what he considered
his most famous dish, and like all other proprietors, he shrugged his
shoulders and said, with hands emphasizing his words:
"We have so many fine dishes."
"Of course we know that, but what do you consider the very best?"
"There is no one the 'very best'. I could give you two."
"Let it be two, then," was our immediate rejoinder, and here is what he
gave us as the best recipes of the Gianduja.
First, let us give you an idea of the difficulty under which we secured
these recipes by printing them just as he wrote them down for us, and
then we shall elaborate a little and show the result of skillful
questioning. This is the way he wrote the recipe for Risotto Milanaise:
Risotto ala Milanaise
"Onions chop fine--marrow and little butter--rice--saffron--chicken
broth--wen cook add fresh butter and Parmesan cheese seasoned."
What was embodied in the words "wen cook" was the essential of the
recipe and here is the way we got it:
Chop one large onion fine. Cut a beef marrow into small dice and stir it
with the chopped onion. Put a small piece of butter in a frying pan and
into this put the onion and marrow and fry to a delicate brown. Now add
one scant cup of rice, stirring constantly, and into this put a pinch of
saffron that has been bruised. When the rice takes on a brown color add,
slowly, chicken broth as needed, until the rice is thoroughly cooked.
Then add a lump of fresh butter about the size of a walnut, and sprinkle
liberally with grated Parmesan cheese, seasoning to taste with pepper
and salt. This is to be served with chicken or veal.
The second recipe was for Fritto Misto, and he wrote it as follows:
"Lamb chops and brains breaded--sweetbreads--escallop of veal--fresh
mushrooms--Italian squash when in season--asparagus or cauliflower--
fried in fresh butter--dipped in beaten eggs--lime jus."
"Fritto Misto" means fried mixture, and the recipe as we finally
elucidated it is as follows:
Take a lamb chop, a piece of calf brain, one sweetbread, a slice of
veal, a fresh mushroom, sliced Italian squash, a piece of asparagus or
of cauliflower and dip these into a batter made of an egg well beaten
with a little flour. Sprinkle these with a little lime juice and fry to
a delicate brown in butter, adding salt and pepper to taste.
At the Gianduja, as at all other Italian restaurants not much affected
by Americans, you will find an atmosphere of unconventionality that is
delightful to the Bohemian. There is no irksome espionage on the part of
other patrons, all of whom are there for the purpose of attending
strictly to their own business, and the affairs of other diners are of
no consequence to them. There is freedom of expression and
unconsciousness, most pleasing after having experienced those other
restaurants where it seems to be the business of all the rest of the
guests to know just what you are eating and drinking. There is little of
the obnoxious posing that one finds in restaurants of the downtown
districts, for while Italians, in common with all other Latins, are
natural born poseurs, they are not offensive in it, but rather impress
you with the same feeling as the antics of a child.
One of the little, out-of-the way restaurants of the Italian quarter is
the Leon d'Oro, at 1525 Grant avenue, and it is one of the surprises of
that district. Lazzarini, he with the big voice, presides over the tiny
kitchen in the rear of the room devoted to public service and family
affairs. Soft-voiced Rita, with her demure air and her resemblance to
Evangeline, with her crossed apron, strings and delicate features, takes
your order, and soon comes the booming sound from the neighborhood of
the range, that announces to all patrons, as well as to some who may be
in the vicinity on the street, that your order is ready, and then
everybody knows what you are eating. As you sit, either in curtained
alcove or at the common table in the main room, little Andrea will visit
you with his cat. Both are institutions of the place and one is, prone
to wonder how a cat can have so much patience with a little boy. Andrea
speaks Italian so fluently and so rapidly that it gives you the
impression of a quick rushing stream of pure water, tumbling over the
stones of a steep declivity. He is not yet old enough to understand that
it is not everybody who knows how to speak Italian, but that makes not
the slightest difference with him, for he talks without ever expecting
Lazzarini understands the art and science of cooking, and some of the
dishes he prepares are so unusual that one goes again and again to
partake of them: Possibly his best dish is the following:
Chicken a la Leon D'oro
Cut a spring chicken into pieces. Place these in a pan containing hot
olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Turn the chicken until it is
thoroughly browned, and add finely chopped green peppers. Let it cook
awhile then add a finely chopped clove of garlic and a little sage. Put
in a small glass of Marsala wine, tomato sauce and French mushrooms and
let simmer for ten minutes. Before taking from the pan add half a
tablespoonful of butter and serve on a hot plate.
Lazzarini also makes a specialty of snails, and they are well worth
trying while you are experimenting with the unusual things to eat. The
recipe for these is as follows:
Snails a la Bordelaise
Put ten pounds of snails in a covered barrel and keep for ten days. Then
put in a tub with a handful of salt and a quarter of a gallon of
vinegar. Stir for twenty minutes until a foam rises, then take out and
wash thoroughly until the water runs clear. Put in a large pot a pint of
virgin olive oil, four large onions and eight cloves of garlic, all
chopped fine, and a small bunch of parsley, chopped fine. Put the pot
over the fire and when the onions are browned stir in some white wine or
Marsala and then put in the snails. Cover and let simmer for thirty-five
minutes. While cooking add a pint of meat stock, a little butter and
some anise seed. When done put in a soup tureen and serve. To remove the
snails use small wooden toothpicks.
A Breath of the Orient
San Francisco's world-famed Chinatown, like the rest of the city, is
changed since the big fire, and the Chinatown of today is but a
reminiscence of the old Oriental city that was set in the midst of the
most thriving Occidental metropolis--The City That Was. There has never
been much of Chinatown that savored of Bohemianism, but it has always
been the vogue for visitors to make a trip through its mysterious
alleys, peering into the fearsome dark doorways, listening to the
ominous slamming doors of the "clubs," and shuddering in a delightful
horror at the recumbent opium smokers, pointed out to them by the
industrious guide. And when they were taken into one of the gambling
houses and shown the double doors, and the many contrivances used to
prevent police interference with the innocent games of fan tan and then
were shown the secret underground passage leading from one of the
gambling houses to the stage of the great Chinese theatre, two blocks
away, they went home ready to believe anything told them about "the ways
that are dark and tricks that are vain," for they were sure "the heathen
Chinee was peculiar."
Chinese restaurant life never appealed to Bohemians, and when it became
necessary to entertain visitors with a trip to a Chinatown restaurant
the ordinary service was of tea and rice cakes, served from lacquered
trays, in gaudy rooms, and the admiring visitors could well imagine
themselves in "far off Cathay."
Then came the fire and Chinatown, with the rest of the down-town portion
of San Francisco, passed away. In the rebuilding the owners of the
properties concluded to give the quarter a more Chinese aspect and
pagoda like structures are now to be found in all parts of the section.
The curiosity of the tourist is an available asset to Chinatown, and
with queer houses and queerer articles on sale there is always plenty of
uninitiated to keep the guides busy, but from a city of more than
twenty-five thousand Orientals in the midst of an enlightened city--an
Asiatic city that had its own laws and executed its criminals with the
most utter disregard for American laws, it has changed into one of the
most law-abiding parts of the great city. With the passing of the queue
came the adoption of the American style of dressing, and much of the
picturesqueness of the old Chinatown has disappeared.
But with the changed conditions there has come a change in the
restaurant life of the quarter, and now a number of places have been
opened to cater to Americans, and on every hand one sees "chop suey"
signs, and "Chinese noodles." It goes without saying that one seldom
sees a Chinaman eating in the restaurants that are most attractive to
Americans. Some serve both white and yellow and others serve but the
Chinese, and a few favored white friends.
Probably the best restaurant in Chinatown is that of the Hang Far Low
Company, at 723 Grant avenue. Here is served such a variety of strange
dishes that one has to be a brave Bohemian, indeed, to partake without
question. Ordinarily when Chinese restaurants are mentioned but two
dishes are thought of--chop suey and chow main. But neither is
considered among the fine dishes served to Chinese epicures. It is much
as if one of our best restaurants were to advertise hash as its
specialty. Both these dishes might be termed glorified hash. The
ingredients are so numerous and so varied with occasion that one is
tempted to imagine them made of the table leavings, and that is not at
all pleasant to contemplate.
We asked one of the managers at the Hang Far Low what he would order if
he wished to get the best dish prepared in the restaurant, and he was
even more emphatic in his shrugs than the French or Italian managers. He
protested that there were so many good things it was impossible to name
just one as being the best. "You see, we have fish fins, they are very
good. Snails, China style. Very good, too. Then we have turtle brought
from China, different from the turtle they have here, and we cook it
China style. Eels come from China and they are cooked China style, too.
What is China style? That I cannot tell you for the cook knows and
nobody else. When we cook China style everything is more better. We have
here the very best tea."
This may be taken as a sample of what to expect when visiting
Chinatown's restaurants, and while we confess to having some excellent
dishes served us in Chinatown, our preference lies in other paths of
endeavor. We suppose it is all in the point of view, and our point of
view is that there is nothing except superficiality in the ordinary
Chinese restaurants frequented by Americans, and those not so
frequented are impossible because of the average Chinaman's disregard
for dirt and the usual niceties of food preparation.
We wish it were in our power to describe a certain dinner as served us
in a Japanese restaurant in the days that followed the great fire.
Desiring to observe in fitting manner a birthday anniversary, we asked a
Japanese friend if he could secure admission for a little party at a
restaurant noted for serving none but the highest class Japanese. We did
not even know where the restaurant was but had heard of such a place,
and when we received word that we would be permitted to have a dinner
there we invited a newspaper friend who was in the city from New York,
together with two other friends and the Japanese, who was the editor of
the Soko Shimbun. He took us to a dwelling house in O'Farrell street,
having given previous notice of our coming. There was nothing on the
outside to indicate that it was anything but a residence, but when we
were ushered into the large front room, we found it beautifully
decorated with immense chrysanthemums, and glittering with silver and
cut glass on a magnificently arranged table.
In deference to the fact that all but our Japanese friend were
unaccustomed to chopsticks, forks were placed on the table as well as
the little sticks that the Orientals use so deftly. At each place was a
beautiful lacquer tray, about twelve by eighteen inches, a pair of
chopsticks, a fork and a teaspoon. Before the meal was over several of
us became quite expert in using the chopsticks.
When we were seated in came two little Japanese women, in full native
costume, bearing a service of tea. The cups and saucers were of a most
delicate blue and white ware, with teapot to match. Our first cup was
taken standing in deference to a Japanese custom where all drank to the
host. Then followed saki in little artistic bottles and saki cups that
hold not much more than a double tablespoonful. Saki is the Japanese
wine made of rice, and is taken in liberal quantities. At each serving
some one drank to some one else, then a return of the compliment was
necessary. Having always heard that Orientals turned menus topsy-turvy
we were not at all surprised when the little serving women brought to
each of us two silver plates and set them on our trays. These plates
contained what appeared to be cake, one seeming to be angel food with
icing, and the other fruit cake with the same covering. With these came
bowls of soup, served in lacquer ware, made of glutinous nests of
swallows, and also a salad made of shark fins. We ate the soup and salad
and found it good, and then made tentative investigation of the "cake."
To our great surprise we discovered the angel food to be fish and the
"icing" was shredded and pressed lobster. The "fruitcake" developed into
pressed dark meat of chicken, with an icing of pressed and glazed white
meat of the same fowl.
Following this came the second service of tea, this time in cups of a
rare yellow color and beautiful design, with similar teapot.
The next course was a mixture of immature vegetables, served in a sort
of saute. These were sprouting beans, lentils, peas and a number of
others with which we were unfamiliar. The whole was delicately flavored
with a peculiar sauce.
After a short wait, during which the saki bottles circulated freely, one
of the women came in bearing aloft a large silver tray on which reposed
a mammoth crayfish, or California lobster. This appeared to be covered
with shredded cocoanut, and when it was placed before the host for
serving he was at loss, for no previous experience told him what to do.
It developed that the shredded mass on top was the meat of the lobster
which had been removed leaving the shell-fish in perfect form. It was
served cold, with a peculiar sauce.
Now followed the piece de resistance. A tub of water was brought in and
in this was swimming a live fish, apparently of the carp family. After
being on view for a few minutes it was removed and soon the handmaidens
appeared with thinly sliced raw fish, served with soy sauce. Ordinarily
one can imagine nothing more repulsive than a dish of raw fish, but we
were tempted and did eat, and found it most delicious, delicate, and
with a flavor of raw oysters.
Next came the third service of tea, this time in a deep red ware. Then
came a dessert of unusual flavor and appearance, followed by preserved
ginger and fruit.
It must be remembered that during the meal, which lasted from seven
until past midnight, saki was served constantly yet no one felt its
influence in more than a sense of increased exhilaration. It is
customary to let the emptied bottles remain on the table until the close
of the meal, and there was a mighty showing.
It was impossible to eat all that was set before us, but Japanese custom
forbids such a breach of etiquette as an indication that the food was
not perfection, consequently the serving maids appeared bearing six
carved teak boxes, and placed one at each plate. Into these we arranged
the food that was unconsumed, and when we went away we carried it with
us. To cap the climax the Japanese stripped the room of its bounteous
decoration of chrysanthemums and piled them into our arms and we went
home loaded with food and flowers.
Proprietor and all his household accompanied us to the door with many
bows and gesticulations, wishing us best of luck, and we went back to
our homes in the desolated city with the feeling of having been
transported to Fairyland of the Orient.
We discovered later that our Japanese friend was of the family of the
Emperor and was here on a diplomatic mission.
Old and New Palace
One cannot well write a book on Bohemian restaurants of San Francisco
without saying something about the great hotel whose history is so
intimately intertwined with that of the city since 1873, when William C.
Ralston determined that the city by the Golden Gate should have a hotel
commensurate with its importance. San Francisco and the Palace Hotel
were almost synonymous all over the world, and it was conceded by
travelers that nowhere else was there a hostelry to equal this great
To the bon vivant the grills of the Palace Hotel contained more to
enhance the joy of living than anywhere else, and here the chefs prided
themselves with providing the best in the land, prepared in such perfect
ways as to make a meal at the Palace the perfection of gastronomic art.
There are three distinct eras to the history of the Palace Hotel, the
first being from 1876 to 1890, the second from 1890 to 1906, and the
third from 1906 to the present day. In the earlier days the grills, both
that for gentlemen and that for ladies, were noted for their magnificent
service and their wonderful cooking. A breakfast in the Ladies' Grill,
with an omelet of California oysters, toast and coffee, was a meal long
to be remembered. Possibly the most famous dish of the old Palace was
this one of omelet with California oysters, and it was prepared in the
(For two): Take six eggs, one hundred California oysters, one small
onion, one tablespoonful of butter, one tablespoonful of flour, salt and
pepper to taste. Beat the eggs to a froth and stir in the onion chopped
fine. Put the eggs into an omelet pan over a slow fire. Mix the flour
and butter to a soft paste with a little cream, and stir in with the
oysters, adding salt and pepper to taste. When the eggs begin to stiffen
pour the oysters over and turn the omelet together. Serve on hot plate
with a dash of paprika.
This is the recipe of Ernest Arbogast, the chef for many years of the
old Palace. The slightly coppery taste of the California oysters gives a
piquancy to the flavor of the omelet that can be obtained in no other
way, and those who once ate of Arbogast's California oyster omelet,
invariably called for it again and again.
We asked Jules Dauviller, the present chef of the Palace, for the recipe
of what he considered the best dish now prepared at the Palace and he
said he would give us two, as it was difficult to decide which was the
best and most distinctive. These are the recipes as he wrote them for
Planked Fillet Mignon
Trim some select fillet mignon of beef, about four ounces of each,
nicely. Saute these in a frying pan with clarified butter on a hot fire.
Dress on a small round plank, about four and a half inches in diameter,
decorated with a border of mashed potatoes. Over the fillet mignon pour
stuffed pimentoes, covered with a sauce made of fresh mushrooms, sauteed
sec over which has been poured a little chateaubriand sauce. Serve
chateaubriand sauce in a bowl.
The second is:
Cold Fillet of Sand-Dabs, Palace
Select six nice fresh sand-dabs. Raise the fillets from the bone skin
and pare nicely, and season with salt and paprika. Arrange them in an
earthenware dish. Cut in Julienne one stalk of celery, one green pepper,
one cucumber, two or three tomatoes, depending on their size.
With the bone of the sand-dab, well cleaned, make a stock with one
bottle of Riesling, juice of one lemon and seasoning. Add chervil and
tarragon. Season to taste and cook the Julienne ingredients with some of
the stock. When the rest of the stock is boiling poach it in the fillets
of sand-dab, then remove from the fire and let get cold. Put the
garnishing around the fillets and put on ice to get in jelly. When ready
to serve decorate around the dish with any kind of salad you like, and
with beets, capers, olives and marinated mushrooms. This must be served
very cold and you may serve mayonnaise sauce on the side.
We asked Dauviller what he considered his most delicate salad and he
gave us this recipe:
Palace Grill Salad
Select three hearts of celery and cut them Julienne. Cut some pineapple
and pimentoes into dice. Mix all well together in a bowl and add
mayonnaise sauce and a little whipped cream. Sprinkle some finely
chopped green peppers on top and serve very cold.
At the Hotel St. Francis
On the morning of April 18, 1906, one of us stood in the doorway of the
Hotel St. Francis, and watched approaching fires that came from three
directions. It was but a few hours later when all that part of the city
was a mass of seething flames, and in the ruins that lay in the wake of
devastation was this magnificent hostelry.
Before business in the down-town district was reorganized, and while the
work of removing the tangled masses of debris was still in progress the
Merchants Association of San Francisco called its members together in
its annual banquet, and this banquet was held in the basement of the
Hotel St. Francis, the crumbling walls, and charred and blackened
timbers hidden under a mass of bunting and foliage and flowers. Here was
emphasized the spirit of Bohemian San Francisco, and it was one of the
most merry and enjoyable of feasts ever held in the city.
It was made possible by the fact that the management of the Hotel St.
Francis was undaunted in the face of almost overwhelming disaster. The
same spirit has carried the hotel through stress of storm and it stands
now, almost as a monument to the energy of James Woods, its manager.
There has always been a soft spot in our hearts for the Hotel St.
Francis, and it is here that we have always felt a most pleasurable
emotion when seeking a place where good things are served. Whether it be
in the magnificent white and gold dining room, or the old tapestry room
that has been remodeled into a dining room, or in the electric grill
below stairs, it has always been the same.
We asked Chef Victor Hertzler what he considered his best recipe and his
answer was characteristic of him.
"I shall give you Sole Edward VII. If this is not satisfactory I can
give you a meat, or a salad or a soup recipe." We considered it
satisfactory, and here it is:
Sole Edward VII
Cut the fillets out of one sole and lay them flat on a buttered pan, and
season with salt and pepper. Make the following mixture and spread over
each fillet of sole: Take one-half pound of sweet butter, three ounces
of chopped salted almonds, one-fourth pound of chopped fresh mushrooms,
a little chopped parsley, the juice of a lemon, salt, pepper and a
little grated nutmeg.
Add to the pan one-half glassful of white wine and put in the oven for
When done serve in the pan by placing it on a platter, with a napkin
Hertzler has another recipe which he prizes greatly and which he calls
"Celery Victor," and this is the recipe which he gave us:
Take six stalks of celery well washed. Make a stock of one soup hen or
chicken bones, and five pounds of veal bones in the usual manner, with
carrots, onions, parsley, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Place the celery
in a vessel and strain the broth over it. Boil until soft and let cool
off in its own broth.
When cold press the broth out of the celery with the hand, gently, and
place on a plate. Season with salt, fresh ground black pepper, chervil,
and one-quarter white wine vinegar with tarragon to three-quarters of
best olive oil.
Amid Bright Lights
Streets centering around Powell from Market up to Geary, may well be
termed the "Great White Way" of San Francisco, if New York will permit
the plagiarism. Here are congregated the most noted of the lively
restaurants of the present day San Francisco. Here the streets are
ablaze with light at night, and thronged with people, for here is the
restaurant and theatre district proper of the city.
Among the restaurants deserving of special mention in this district are
the two Solaris. When Solari opened his restaurant at 354 Geary street,
where he continues to attract good livers by the excellence of his
cooking, he at once achieved fame which has never waned. It so happened
that there were two brothers, and as sometimes occurs brothers disagreed
with the result that Fred Solari withdrew and opened a restaurant at
Geary and Mason, just a short distance from the original place.
Evidently the recipe for what is considered best in both of the Solari
restaurants came from common ownership, for each of these places gave in
response to a request for its best recipe, the following:
Chicken Country Style
Cut a chicken in eight pieces and drop them into some cold milk,
seasoning with salt. After soaking for a few minutes dry the chicken in
flour and lay in a frying pan in good butter. Place in the oven and let
them cook slowly, turning them occasionally until they are nice and
brown on all sides, when remove them. In the gravy put a tumblerful of
cream and a pinch of paprika, mix well and let it cook for ten minutes,
until it gets thick, then strain and pour over the chicken and serve.
The following "don'ts" are added to the recipe: Don't use frozen
poultry. Don't substitute corn starch and milk for cream.
Around Little Italy
San Francisco holds no more interesting district than that lying around
the base of Telegraph Hill, and extending over toward North Beach, even
as far as Fisherman's Wharf. Here is the part of San Francisco that
first felt the restoration impulse, and this was the first part of San
Francisco rebuilt after the great fire, and in its rebuilding it
recovered all of its former characteristics, which is more than can be
said of any other part of the rebuilt city.
Here, extending north from Jackson street to the Bay, are congregated
Italians, French, Portuguese and Mexicans, each in a distinct colony,
and each maintaining the life, manners and customs, and in some
instances the costumes, of the parent countries, as fully as if they
were in their native lands. Here are stores, markets, fish and vegetable
stalls, bakeries, paste factories, sausage factories, cheese factories,
wine presses, tortilla bakeries, hotels, pensions, and restaurants; each
distinctive and full of foreign life and animation, and each breathing
an atmosphere characteristic of the country from which the parent stock
Walk along the streets on the side of Telegraph Hill and one can well
imagine himself transported to a sunny hillside in Italy, for here he
hears no other language than that which came from the shores of the
Mediterranean. Here are Italians of all ages, sexes and conditions of
servitude, from the padrone to the bootblack who works for a pittance
until he obtains enough to start himself in business. If one investigate
closely it will be found that many of the people of this part of San
Francisco have been here for years and still understand no other
language than that of their native home. Why should they learn anything
else, they say. Everybody around them, and with whom they come in
contact speaks Italian. Here are the Corsicans, with their peculiar
ideas of the vendetta and the cheapness of life in general, and the
Sicilians and Genoese and Milanese. Here are some from the slopes of
Vesuvius or Aetna, with inborn knowledge of the grape and of wine
making. All have brought with them recipes and traditions, some dating
back for hundreds of years, or even thousands, to the days before the
Christian Era was born. It is just the same to them as it was across the
ocean, for they hear the same dialect and have the same customs. Do they
desire any special delicacy from their home district, they need but go
to the nearest Italian grocery store and get it, for these stores are
supplied direct from Genoa or Naples. This is the reason that many of
the older men and women still speak the soft dialect of their native
communities, and if you are so unfortunate as not to be able to
understand them, then it is you who are the loser.
Do you wish to know something about conditions in Mexico? Would you like
to learn what the Mexicans themselves really think about affairs down in
that disturbed republic? Go along Broadway west of Grant avenue, and
then around the corner on Stockton, and you will see strange signs, and
perhaps you will not know that "Fonda" means restaurant, or that
"Tienda," means a store. But these are the signs you will see, and when
you go inside you will hear nothing but the gentle Spanish of the
Mexican, so toned down and so changed that some of the Castilians
profess to be unable to understand it.
Here you will find all the articles of household use that are to be
found in the heart of Mexico, and that have been used for hundreds of
years despite the progress of civilization in other countries. You will
find all the strange foods and all the inconsequentials that go to make
the sum of Mexican happiness, and if you can get sufficiently close in
acquaintance you will find that not only will they talk freely to you,
but they will tell you things about Mexico that not even the heads of
the departments in Washington are aware of.
Perhaps you would like to know something about the bourgeoise French,
those who have come from the peasant district of the mother country. Go
a little further up Broadway and you will begin to see the signs
changing from Spanish to French, and if you can understand them you will
know that here you will be given a dinner for twenty-five cents on week
days and for thirty-five cents on Sundays. The difference is brought
about by the difference between the price of cheap beef or mutton and
the dearer chicken.
Up in the second story on a large building you may see a sign that tells
you meals will be served and rooms provided. One of these is the
rendezvous of Anarchists, who gather each evening and discuss the
affairs of the world, and how to regulate them. But they are harmless
Anarchists in San Francisco, for here they have no wrongs to redress, so
they sit and drink their forbidden absinthe, and dream their dreams of
fire and sword, while they talk in whispers of what they are going to do
to the crowned heads of Europe. It is their dream and we have no quarrel
with it or them.
But for real interest one must get back to the slope of Telegraph Hill;
to the streets running up from Columbus avenue, until they are so steep
that only goats and babies can play on them with safety. At least we
suppose the babies are as active as the goats for the sides of the hill
are alive with them.
Let us walk first along Grant avenue and do a little window shopping.
Just before you turn off Broadway into Grant avenue, after passing the
Fior d'Italia, the Buon Gusto, the Dante and Il Trovatore restaurants,
we come to a most interesting window where is displayed such a variety
of sausages as to make one wonder at the inventive genius who thought of
them all. As you wonder you peep timidly in the door and then walk in
from sheer amazement. You now find yourself surrounded with sausages,
from floor to ceiling, and from side wall to side wall on both ceiling
and floor, and such sausage it is!
From strings so thin as to appear about the size of a lady's little
finger, to individual sausages as large as the thigh of a giant, they
hang in festoons, crawl over beams, lie along shelves, decorate
counters, peep from boxes on the floor, and invite you to taste them in
the slices that lay on the butcher's block. One can well imagine being
in a cave of flesh, yet if you look closely you will discover that
sausage is but a part of the strange edible things to be had here.
Here are cheeses in wonderful variety. Cheeses from Italy that are made
from goats' milk, asses' milk, cows' milk and mares' milk, and also
cheeses from Spain, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, and all the other
countries where they make cheese, even including the United States.
These cheeses are of all sizes and all shapes, from the great, round,
flat cheese that we are accustomed to see in country grocery stores, to
the queer-shaped caciocavallo, which looks like an Indian club and is
eaten with fruit.
There are dried vegetables and dried fruits such as were never dreamed
of in your limited experience, and even the grocer himself, the smiling
and cosmopolitan Verga, confesses that he does not know the names of all
As you go out into the street you blink at the transformation, for you
have been thousands of miles away. You think that surely there can be
nothing more. Wait a bit. Turn the corner and walk along Grant avenue
toward the Hill. See, here is a window full of bread. Look closely at it
and you will notice that it is not like the bread you are accustomed to.
Count the different kinds. Fourteen of them in all, from the long sticks
of grissini to the great slid loaves weighing many pounds. Light bread,
heavy bread, good bread, soft bread, hard bread, delicate bread, each
having its especial use, and all satisfying to different appetites.
Now go a little further to the corner, cross the street and enter the
store of the Costa Brothers. It is a big grocery store and while you
will not find the sausage and mystifying mass of food products in such
lavish display and profuseness, as in the previous place, if you look
around you will find this even more interesting, for it is on a
different plane. Here you find the delicacies and the niceties of
Italian living. At first glance it looks as if you were in any one of
the American grocery stores of down-town, but a closer examination
reveals the fact that these canned goods and these boxes and jars, hold
peculiar foods that you are unaccustomed to. Perhaps you will find a
clerk who can speak good English, but if you cannot either of the Costa
brothers will be glad to show you the courtesy of answering your
Turn around and look at the shelves filled with bottles of wine. Now you
feel that you are on safe ground, for you know about wines and can talk
about Cresta Blanca, and Mont Rouge, and Asti Colony Tipo Chianti. But
wait a minute. Here are labels that you do not understand and wines that
you never even heard of. Here are wines whose taste is so delicious that
you wonder why it is the whole world is not talking about it and
Here are wines from the slopes of Aetna, sparkling and sweet. Here are
wines from grapes grown on the warm slopes of Vesuvius, and brought to
early perfection by the underground fires. Here are wines from the
colder slopes of mountains; wines from Parma and from Sicily and Palermo
where the warm Italian sunshine has been the arch-chemist to bring
perfection to the fruit of the vine. Here are still wines and those that
sparkle. Here the famed Lacrima Christi, both spumanti and fresco, said
to be the finest wine made in all Italy, and the spumanti have the
unusual quality for an Italian wine of being dry. But to tell you of all
the interesting articles to be found in these Italian, and French and
Mexican stores, would be impossible, for some of them have not been
translated into English, and even the storekeepers would be at a loss
for words to explain them.
This is all a part of the Bohemianism of San Francisco, and that is why
we are telling you about it in a book that is supposed to be devoted to
the Bohemian restaurants. The fact is that San Francisco's Bohemian
restaurants would be far less interesting were it not for the fact that
they can secure the delicacies imported by these foreign storekeepers to
supply the wants of their people.
But do not think you have exhausted the wonders of Little Italy when you
have left the stores, for there is still more to see. If you were ever
in Palermo and went into the little side streets, you saw the strings of
macaroni, spaghetti and other pastes drying in the sun while children
and dogs played through and around it, giving you such a distaste for it
that you have not eaten any Italian paste since.
But in San Francisco they do things differently. There are a number of
paste factories, all good and all clean. Take that of P. Fiorini, for
instance, at a point a short distance above Costa Brothers. You cannot
miss it for it has a picture of Fiorini himself as a sign, and on it he
tells you that if you eat his paste you will get to be as fat as he is.
Go inside and you will find that Fiorini can talk just enough English to
make himself understood, while his good wife, his sole assistant, can
neither speak nor understand any but her native Italian. But that does
not bother her in the least, for she can make signs, and you can
understand them even better than you understand the English of her
Here you will see the making of raviolis by the hundred at a time.
Tagliarini, tortilini, macaroni, spaghetti, capellini, percatelli,
tagliatelli, and all the seventy and two other varieties. The number of
kinds of paste is most astonishing, and one wonders why there are so
many kinds and what is done with them. Fiorini will tell you that each
kind has its distinctive use. Some are for soups, some for sauces, and
all for special edibility. There are hundreds of recipes for cooking the
various pastes and each one is said to be a little better than the
others, if you can imagine such a thing.
Turn another corner after leaving Fiorini's and look down into a
basement. You do not have to go to the country to see wine making. Here
is one of the primitive wine presses of Italy, and if you want to know
why some irreverent people call the red wine of the Italians "Chateau la
Feet," you have but to watch the process of its making in these
Telegraph Hill wine houses. The grapes are poured into a big tub and a
burly man takes off his shoes and socks and emulates the oxen of
Biblical times when it treaded out the grain. Of course he washes his
feet before he gets into the wine tub. But, at that, it is not a
pleasant thing to contemplate. Now you look around with wider and more
comprehensive eyes, and now you begin to understand something about
these strange foreign quarters in San Francisco. As you look around you
note another thing. Italian fecundity is apparent everywhere, and the
farther up the steep slope of the Hill you go the more children you see.
They are everywhere, and of all sizes and ages, in such reckless
profusion that you no longer wonder if the world is to be depopulated
through the coming of the fad of Eugenics. The Italian mother has but
two thoughts--her God and her children, and it is to care for her
children that she has brought from her native land the knowledge of
cookery, and of those things that help to put life and strength in their
An Italian girl said to us one day:
"Mama knows nothing but cooking and going to church. She cooks from
daylight until dark, and stops cooking only when she is at church."
It was evident that her domestic and religious duties dominated her
life, and she knew but two things--to please her God and to care for
her family, and without question if occasion demanded the pleasure of
her family took precedence.
San Francisco's Latin quarter is appealing, enticing and hypnotizing. Go
there and you will learn why San Francisco is a bohemian city. You will
find out that so many things you have thought important are really not
at all worth while. Go there and you will find the root of Bohemian
restaurants. These people have studied gastronomy as a science, and they
have imparted their knowledge to San Francisco, with the result that the
Bohemian spirit enters into our very lives, and our minds are broadened,
and our views of life and our ideas have a wider scope. It is because of
this condition, born on the slopes of Telegraph Hill, that we are drawn
out of depressing influences, out of the spirit of self-consciousness,
and find a world of pleasure, innocent and educational, the inspiration
for which has been handed down through generations of Latina since the
days of early Roman empire, which inspiration is still a power for good
because it takes people out of themselves and places them where they can
look with understanding and speak the language of perception. Little
Italy's charm has long been recognized by artists and writers, and many
of them began their careers which led to fame and fortune in little
cheap rooms on Telegraph Hill. Here have lived many whose names are now
known to fame, and to name them would be almost like a directory of
world renowned artists and writers. Here is still the memory of Bret
Harte and Mark Twain. Here is where Keith had his early studio.
Cadenasso, Martinez, and many others know these slopes and love them.
To all these and many more the Latin Quarter of San Francisco possessed
a charm they could find nowhere else, and if one desire to bring a
saddened look to the faces of many now living elsewhere it is but
necessary to talk of the good old days when Bohemia was on Telegraph
Hill in San Francisco. Here they had their domicile, and here they
foregathered in the little restaurants, whose claims to merit lay
chiefly in the fact that they were rarely visited by other than the
Italians of the quarter and these Bohemians who lived there.
Here was the inspiration of many a good book and many a famous picture
whose inception came from thoughts that crystallized amid these
surroundings, and here many a needy Bohemian struggled through the lean
days with the help of these kind-hearted Latina. Here they, even as we,
were taught something of the art of cooking.
Of course, if one desire to learn various methods of preparing food, it
is necessary to keep both eyes open and to ask many questions, seeking
the information that sometimes comes from unlooked for sources. Even at
that it is not always a good idea to take everything for granted or to
accept every suggestion, for you may meet with the Italian vegetable
dealer who is so eager to please his customers that he pretends a
knowledge he does not possess. We discovered him one day when he had on
display a vegetable that was strange to us.
"How do you cook it?" was our question.
Then his partner shouted his laughter and derision.
"Oh, he's one fine cook. All the time he say 'fry it.' One day a lady
she come into da store an' she see da big bucket of ripe olives. Da lady
she from the East and she never see olives like dat before. 'How you
cook it?' say da lady. 'Fry it,' say my partner. Everything he say fry
In another vegetable stand we found an Italian girl, whose soft lisping
accent pronounced her a Genoese, and she, diffidently suggested "a fine
A Fine Desert
"You take macaroons and strawberries. Put a layer of macaroons in a dish
and then a layer of strawberries, cover these with sugar, and then
another layer of macaroons and strawberries and sugar until you have all
you want. Over these pour some rum and set fire to it. After it is
burned out you have a fine dessert."
We bought the macaroons and strawberries on the way home and did not
even wait for dinner time to try it. We pronounce it good.
It was made the right way and we advise you to try it, for it is simple
and leaves a most delicious memory.
Where Fish Come In
It was very early one morning. So early that one of us strenuously
pretended sleep while the other gave urgent reminder that this was the
day we were to go to Fishermen's Wharf. Daylight came early and it was
just four o'clock when we began preparations. A cup of hot coffee while
dressing served to get us wide-awake, and we were off to see the fish
Fishermen's Wharf lies over at North Beach, at the end of Meiggs's
Wharf, where the Customs Officers have their station, and to reach it
one takes either the Powell and North Beach cars, or the Kearny and
North Beach cars, and at the end of either walks two blocks. When you
get that far anybody you see can tell you where to go.
Fog mist was stealing along the Marin shore, and hiding Golden Gate when
we arrived, and the rays of the sun took some time to make a clear path
out to sea. Out of the bank of white came gliding the heavy power boats
of the Sicilian and Corsican fishermen, while from off shore were the
ghostly lateen rigged boats of those who had been fishing up the
Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, their yards aslant to catch the faint
morning breeze. As they slipped through the leaden water to their
mooring at the wharf we could see the decks and holds piled with fish
Roosting on piles, and lining the water's edge on everything that served
to give foothold, were countless seagulls, all waiting for the breakfast
they knew was coming from the discarded fish, and fit companions were
the women with shawls over their heads irreverently called mud hens, and
old men in dilapidated clothing, who sat along the stringers of the
wharf, some with baskets, some with buckets and others with little paper
bags, in which to put the fish which they could get so cheaply it meant
a meal for them when otherwise they would have to go without. The
earlier boats were moored and on the decks fires were burning in
charcoal braziers, on which the fishermen cooked their breakfasts of
fish and coffee, with the heavy black loaves of bread for which they
seem to have special fancy. As the odor of the cooking fish came up from
the water the waiting gulls and men and women moved a little closer.
Breakfast over the fishermen turned to the expectant crowd and began
taking notice of the pitiful offerings of coin. Tin buckets, newspapers,
bags, rags and even scooped hands were held down, each containing such
coin as the owner possessed, and in return came bountiful supply of
fish. A fine, fat crab for which your market man would charge you forty
cents was sold for ten. Beautiful, fresh sand-dabs, but an hour or two
out of the water, were five cents a pound, while sea bass, fresh cod,
mackerel, and similar fish went at the same price. Small fish, or white
bait, went by quantity, ten cents securing about half a gallon. Smelt,
herring, flounder, sole, all went at equally low prices, and as each
buyer secured his allotment he went hurrying off through the mist, as
silently as the floating gulls. When these were all supplied the rest of
the fish and crabs were taken up to the wharf and put on the counters of
the free market, where they were sold at prices most tempting.
Shrimps, alive and active, crayfish, clams, squid and similar sea food
was in profusion and sold at prices on a parity with that of the fish.
As the day wore on the early buyers were replaced by those who knew of
the free fish market and came to get good supplies for their money. Here
were boarding-house keepers, unmistakable anywhere, Bohemians in hard
luck who remembered that they could get good food here at a minimum of
price, and came now while on the down turn of the wheel. As a human
interest study it was better than a study of fish. Fishermen's Wharf is
where the independent fishermen bring their catches to San Francisco,
but it is not where the city's great supply comes in. To see that we had
to go along the docks until we came to the Broadway wharf where
Paladini, the head of the fish trust, unloads his tugs of their tons and
tons of fish. It is not nearly so interesting to look at, but it gives a
good idea of what comes out of the sea every day to supply the needs of
San Francisco and the surrounding country. These tugs bring in the
catches of dozens of smaller boats manned by fishermen who are toiling
out beyond the heads, and up the two great rivers. From far out around
the Farallones, from up around the Potato Patch with its mournful fog
bell constantly tolling, from down the coast as far as Monterey Bay
where fish are in such abundance that it is said they have to give a
signal when they want to turn around, from up the rivers, come fish to
the man who has grown from the owner of a small sail boat to be the
power who controls prices of all the fish that go to the markets of the
By the time we finished with Paladini's fish we felt ready for breakfast
and took a car down to Davis and Pacific street where we found Bazzuro's
serving breakfast to dozens of market gardeners who had finished their
unloading, and there, while partaking of the fresh fish we had brought
from Fishermen's Wharf, we saw another phase of San Francisco's early
morning life. Here were gardeners who came in the darkness of early
morning to supply hucksters, small traders and a few thrifty people who
knew of the cheapness, and in Columbo market they drove their great
wagons and discharged their day's gathering of vegetables of all kinds.
But a few steps away is the great fruit market of the early morning and
here tons of the finest fruits are distributed to the hundreds of wagons
that crowd the street to such an extent that it takes all the ingenuity
of experienced policemen to keep clearway for traffic. Threading their
way in and out between the wheels and the heels of horses, were men and
women, all looking for bargains in food. Amid a din almost deafening
business was transacted with such celerity that in three hours the
streets were cleared, fruits and vegetables sold and on their way to
distant stands, and the tired policemen leaning against friendly walls,
recuperating after the strenuous work of keeping order in chaos.
It is when one goes to these places in the morning and sees the
cheapness of these foods that he can understand in a small way why it is
that so many Italian restaurants can give such good meals for so little
money. One wonders at a table d'hote dinner of six or seven courses for
twenty-five cents, or even for half a dollar, and one accustomed to
buying meats, fish, vegetables and fruits at the exorbitant prices
charged at most of the markets and fruit and vegetable stands now sees
why the thrifty foreigner can make and save money while the average
American can hardly keep more than two jumps ahead of the sheriff.
Fish in Their Variety
Probably the most frequent question asked us by those who come to San
Francisco is: "Where can we get the best fish?" With San Francisco's
wonderful natural advantages as a fish market one is sometimes surprised
that more attention is not given to preparing fish as a specialty. But
one restaurant in the city deals exclusively with sea food, and even
there one is astonished at an overlooked opportunity.
Darbee & Immel have catered to San Francisco in oysters for many years
and after the fire they opened the Shell Fish Grotto, in O'Farrell
street, between Powell and Mason streets, and this is one of the very
few distinctive fish restaurants of the country. It is when one
considers the possibilities that a shock comes from the environing
decorations. White and gold pillars, with twining ivy reaching to the
old gold and rose mural and ceiling embellishments seem out of place in
a restaurant that is devoted entirely to catering to lovers of fish.
Nothing in the place indicates its character except the big lobster in
front of the building. Not even so much as a picture to bring a
sentiment of the ocean to the mind.
We are going to take a liberty, and possibly Darbee & Immel may call it
an impertinence, and give them a bit of advice. It costs them nothing
consequently they can act on it or not and it will make no difference.
This is our suggestion:
Change the interior of the place entirely by having around the walls a
series of large glass aquaria, with as many different kinds of fish
swimming about as it is possible to get; something on the order of the
interior of the aquarium in Battery Park in New York. Paint the ceiling
to represent the surface of the water as seen from below. Have seaweed
and kelp in place of ivy, and a fish net or two caught up in the corners
of the room, with here and there a starfish or a crab--not too many, for
profuseness in this sort of decoration is an abomination. Then you will
have a restaurant that will be talked about wherever people sit at meat.
But to get back to our talk about fish, and where to get it prepared and
cooked the best. We must say that the finest fish we have eaten in San
Francisco was not in the high-priced restaurants at all, but in a
little, dingy back room, down at Fishermen's Wharf, where there was sand
on the floor and all the sounds of the kitchen were audible in the
dining room. The place was patronized almost solely by the Italian
fishermen who not only know how to catch a fish but how it ought to be
cooked. One may always rest assured that when he gets a fish in one of
the Italian restaurants it is perfectly fresh, for there are two things
that an Italian demands in eating, and they are fresh fish and fresh
At the Gianduja at Union and Stockton streets, one is certain to get
fish cooked well and that it is perfectly fresh. The variety is not so
good as at the Shell Fish Grotto, but otherwise it is just as good in
every respect. At the Grotto there is a wonderful variety but the
quantity is at the minimum because there, too, they will have no fish
that has been twenty-four hours out of the water.
One wonders how a full course dinner entirely of fish can be prepared,
but if you will go to the Shell Fish Grotto you will find that it is
done, and done well at that. Here you can get a good dinner for one
dollar, or if you prefer it they have a Fish Dinner de Luxe for which
they charge two dollars. Both are good, the latter having additional
wines and delicacies.
Down in Washington street, just off Columbus avenue, is the Vesuvius, an
Italian restaurant of low price, but excellent cooking. A specialty
there is fish which is always brought fresh from the nearby Clay street
market as ordered, consequently is perfect. When you give your order a
messenger is dispatched to the market and usually he brings the fish
alive and the chef prepares it in one of his many ways, for he is said
to have more secrets about the cooking of fish than one would think it
possible for one brain to contain. The trouble about this restaurant is
that the rest of the menu does not come up to the fish standard, but if
you desire a simple luncheon of fish there is no better place to get it.
There are three things in which an Easterner will be disappointed in San
Francisco, and these are oysters. Pacific Coast oysters fail in size,
flavor and cooking, when compared with the luscious bivalve of the
Atlantic, so far as the ordinary forms of preparation is concerned. Even
fancy dishes, such as Oysters Kirkpatrick, would be better if made of
the eastern oyster, not what they call the eastern oyster here, for that
is a misnomer, but the oysters that grow in the Atlantic Ocean.
Of the Pacific oysters the best is the Toke Point, that comes from
Oregon. They are similar in size to the Blue Point, but lack the flavor.
When, in a San Francisco restaurant, you are asked what sort of oyster
you will have, and you see the familiar names on the menu card, remember
that these are transplanted oysters, and have lost much of their flavor
in the transplanting, or else they are oysters that have been shipped
across the continent and have thereby lost their freshness.
The California oyster proper, is very small, and it has a peculiar
coppery taste, which bon vivants declare adds to its piquancy. Instead
of ordering these by the dozen you order them by the hundred, it being
no difficult task to eat an hundred at a meal, especially when prepared
in a pepper roast.
Everyone knows the staple ways of preparing oysters, and every chef
looks upon the oyster as the source of new flavors in many dishes, but
to our mind the best way we have found in San Francisco was at a little
restaurant down in Washington street before the fire. It was the Buon
Gusto. where they served fish and oysters better than anything else
because the owners were the chefs, and they were from the island of
Catalan, off the coast of Italy. Their specialty was called "Oysters a
la Catalan," and their recipe, which is given, can be prepared
excellently in a chafing dish:
Oysters a la Catalan
Take one tablespoonful of butter, two teaspoonfuls grated Edam or
Parmesan cheese, four tablespoonfuls catsup, one-half teaspoonful
Worcestershire sauce, two tablespoonfuls cream, meat of one good-sized
crab cut fine and two dozen oysters. Put the cheese and butter into a
double boiler and when melted smooth add the catsup and Worcestershire
sauce. Mix well and add the cream and then the crab meat. When creamy
and boiling hot drop in the oysters. As soon as the oysters are crinkled
serve on hot buttered toast on hot plates.
In the days before the fire when you went to a restaurant and ordered
fish or oysters the waiter invariably put before you either a plate of
crab salad or a dish of shrimps, with which you were supposed to amuse
yourself while the meal was being prepared. Shrimps and crabs were then
so plentiful that their price was never considered. Under our new
conditions these always appear on the bill when ordered, and if they be
not ordered they do not appear for they now are made to increase the
To the uninitiated visitor the shrimps so served were always something
of a mystery, and after a few futile efforts to get at the meat they
generally gave it up as too much work for the little good derived. The
Old Timer, however, cracked the shrimp's neck, pinched its tail, and out
popped a delicious bonne bouche which added to the joy of the meal and
increased the appetite. But there are many other ways of serving
shrimps, and they are also much used to give flavor to certain fish
sauces. One of the most delicious ways of preparing shrimp is what is
known as "Shrimp Creole, a la Antoine," so named after the famous New
Orleans Antoine by a chef in San Francisco who had regard for the New
Orleans caterer. We doubt if it can be had anywhere in San Francisco now
unless you are well enough known to have it prepared according to the
recipe. This recipe, by the way, is a good one to use in a chafing dish
supper. This is the way it was prepared at the old Pup restaurant, one
of the noted restaurants before the fire and earthquake changed
Take three pints of unshelled shrimps and shell them, one-half pint of
cream, two tablespoonfuls of butter, two tablespoonfuls of flour, two
tablespoonfuls of catsup, one wine glass of sherry, paprika, chili
powder and parsley. Brown the flour in the butter and add the milk until
it is thickened. Color with the catsup and season with paprika and chili
powder. Stir in the sherry and make a pink cream which is to be mixed
through the shrimps and not cooked. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and
serve with squares of toast or crackers.
Lobsters and Lobsters
When is a lobster not a lobster? When it is a crayfish. This question
and answer might well go into the primer of information for those who
come to San Francisco from the East, for what is called a lobster in San
Francisco is not a lobster at all but a crayfish. The true lobster is
not found in the Pacific along the California coast, and so far efforts
at transplanting have not been successful. The Pacific crayfish,
however, serves every purpose, and while many contend that its meat is
not so delicate in flavor as that of its eastern cousin, the Californian
will as strenuously insist that it is better, but, of course, something
must always be allowed for the patriotism of the Californian.
Lobster, served cold with mayonnaise, or broiled live lobster are most
frequently called for, and while they are both excellent, we find so
many other ways of preparing this crustacean that we rarely take the
common variety of lobster dishes into consideration. Probably nowhere in
San Francisco could one get lobster better served than in the Old
Delmonico restaurant of the days before the fire. A book could be
written about this restaurant and then all would not be told for all its
secrets can never be known.
In New York City they have what they are pleased to call "Lobster
Palaces," but there is not a restaurant in that great metropolis that
could approach the Delmonico of San Francisco in its splendid service
and its cuisine arrangements; neither could they approach the romance
that always surrounded the O'Farrell street restaurant. It was here that
most magnificent dinners were arranged; it was here that extraordinary
dishes were concocted by chefs of world-wide fame; it was here that
Lobster a la Newberg reached its highest perfection, and this is the
recipe that was followed when it was prepared in the Delmonico:
Lobster a la Newberg
One pound of lobster meat, one teaspoonful of butter, one-half pint of
cream, yolks of four eggs, one wine glass of sherry, lobster fat. Three
hours before cooking pour the sherry over the lobster meat and let it
stand until ready to cook. Heat the butter and stir in with the lobster
and wine, then place this in a stewpan, or chafing dish, and cook for
eight minutes. Have the yolks of eggs well beaten and add to them the
cream and lobster fat, stir well and then stir in a teaspoonful of
flour. Put this in a double boiler and let cook until thick, stirring
constantly. When this is cooked pour it over the lobster and let all
cook together for three minutes. Serve in a chafing dish with thin
slices of dry toast.
King of Shell Fish
One has to come to San Francisco to partake of the king of shell fish--
the mammoth Pacific crab. I say "come to San Francisco" advisedly, for
while the crab is found all along the coast it is prepared nowhere so
deliciously as in San Francisco. Of course our friends in Portland will
take exception to this, but the fact remains that nowhere except in San
Francisco have so many restaurants become famous because of the way they
prepare the crab. The Pacific crab is peculiar, and while it has not the
gigantic claws such as are to be seen on those in the Parisian and
London markets, its meat is much more delicate in flavor, and the dishes
of crab prepared by artists of the gastronomic profession in San
Francisco are more savory than those found elsewhere.
In the pre-fire days there were many places which paid especial
attention to the cooking of the crab, among them being the Cobweb
Palace, previously mentioned, and Gobey's. Gobey ran one of those places
which was not in good repute, consequently when ladies went there they
were usually veiled and slipped in through an alley, but the enticement
of Gobey's crab stew was too much for conventionality and his little
private rooms were always full.
Gobey's passed with the fire, and the little restaurant bearing his
name, and in charge of his widow, in Union Square avenue, has not
attained the fame of the old place. It is possible that she knows the
secret of preparing crab as it was prepared in the Gobey's of before the
fire, but his prestige did not descend to her.
Almost all of the Italian restaurants will give you crab in many forms,
and all of them are good; many restaurants use crab meat for flavoring
other, dishes, but of all the recipes for cooking crab we have found
none that we consider so good as that of Gobey's. It is as follows:
Gobey's Crab Stew
Take the meat of one large crab, scraping out all of the fat from the
shell. One good-sized onion, one tomato, one sweet pepper, one
teaspoonful of butter, one teaspoonful of flour, half a glass of sherry,
a pinch of rosemary, one clove of garlic, paprika, salt and minionette
pepper. Soak the crab meat in the sherry two hours before cooking. Chop
fine the onion, sweet pepper and tomato with the rosemary. Mash the
clove of garlic, rubbing thoroughly in a mortar and on this put the
butter and flour, mixing well together, and gradually adding the salt
and minionette pepper, and stir in two tablespoonfuls of cream. Heat
this in a stewpan and when simmering add the sherry and crab meat and
let all cook together with a slow fire for eight minutes. Serve in a
chafing dish with toasted crackers or thin slices of toasted bread. A
dash of Worcestershire sauce just before it is taken up adds to the
Lobster in Miniature
Crawfish, or ecravisse, has never been very popular in San Francisco,
probably because there are so many other delicate crustaceans that are
more easily handled, yet the crawfish grows to perfection in Pacific
waters, and importation's of them from Portland, Oregon, are becoming
quite an industry. So far it has been used mostly for garnishment of
other dishes, and it is only recently that the Hof Brau has been making
a specialty of them. All of the better class restaurants, however, will
serve them if you order them.
The full flavor of the crawfish is best obtained in a bisque, and the
best recipe for this is by the famous chef Francatelli, who boasts
having been the head of the cuisine of Queen Victoria. His recipe is
long, and its preparation requires much patience, but the result is such
a gastronomic marvel that one never regrets the time spent in its
accomplishment. This is the recipe for eight people, and it is well
worth trying if you are giving a dinner of importance:
Bisque of Crawfish
Take thirty crawfish, from which remove the gut containing the gall in
the following manner: Take firm hold of the crawfish with the left hand
so as to avoid being pinched by its claws; with the thumb and forefinger
of the right hand pinch the extreme end of the central fin of the tail,
and, with a sudden jerk, the gut will be withdrawn.
Mince or cut into small dice a carrot, an onion, one head of celery and
a few parsley roots, and to these add a bay leaf, a sprig of thyme, a
little minionette pepper and two ounces of butter. Put these ingredients
into a stewpan and fry them ten minutes, then throw in the crawfish and
pour on them half a bottle of French white wine. Allow this to boil and
then add a quart of strong consomme and let all continue boiling for
half an hour. Pick out the crawfish and strain the broth through a
napkin by pressure into a basin in order to extract all the essence from
Pick the shells off twenty-five of the crawfish tails, trim them neatly
and set them aside until wanted. Reserve some of the spawn, also half of
the body shells with which to make the crawfish butter to finish the
soup. This butter is made as follows: Place the shells on a baking sheet
in the oven to dry; let the shells cool and then pound them in a mortar
with a little lobster coral and four ounces of fresh butter, thoroughly
bruising the whole together so as to make a fine paste. Put this in a
stewpan and set it over a slow fire to simmer for about five minutes,
then rub it through a sieve with considerable pressure into a basin
containing ice water. As soon as the colored crawfish butter is become
firmly set, through the coldness of the water, take it out and put it
into a small basin and set in the refrigerator until wanted.
Reverting to the original recipe: Take the remainder of the crawfish and
add thereto three anchovies, washed for the purpose, and also the crusts
of French rolls, fried to a light brown color in butter. Pound all these
thoroughly together and then put them into a stewpan with the broth that
has been reserved in a basin, and having warmed the bisque thus prepared
rub it through a sieve into a fine puree. Put this puree into a soup pot
and finish by incorporating therewith the crawfish butter and season
with a little cayenne pepper and the juice of half a lemon. Pour the
bisque quite hot into the tureen in which have been placed the crawfish
tails, and send to the table.
This is not so difficult as it appears when you are reading it and if
you wish to have something extra fine take the necessary time and
patience and prepare it.
Clams and Abalone's
We cannot dispose of the shell fish of San Francisco without a word or
two about clams, for certainly there is no place where they are in
greater variety and better flavor. In fact the clam is the only bivalve
of this part of the coast that has a distinctive and good flavor.
Several varieties are to be found in the markets, the best and rarest
being the little rock clams that come from around Drake's Bay, just
above the entrance to Golden Gate. These are most delicious in flavor
and should never be eaten otherwise than raw. The sand, or hard shell,
or as they are sometimes called little necks, are next in choiceness,
and then come the Pismo beach clams, noted for their flavor and enormous
size. The mud clam is good for chowder but not so good as either of the
other varieties mentioned.
The Bohemian way to have your clams is to go to the shore of Bolinas Bay
or some other equally retired spot, and have a clam bake, or else take a
pot along with the other ingredients and have a good clam chowder. This,
however, may be prepared at any time and is always a good meal.
Clam fritters when prepared according to the recipe given herein, is one
of the best methods of preparing the clam, and it has the peculiarity of
being so tasty that one feels that there is never enough cooked.
Of all the ways of cooking clams chowder takes precedence as a rule, and
it is good when made properly. By that we do not mean the thin, watery
stuff that is served in most of the restaurants and called clam chowder
just because it happens to be made every Friday. That is fairly good as
a clam soup but it is no more chowder than a Mexican soup approaches a
crawfish bisque. There is but one right way to make clam chowder, and
that is either to make it yourself or closely superintend the making,
and this is the way to make it:
Take one quart of shelled sand clams, two large potatoes, two large
onions, one clove of garlic, one sweet pepper, one thick slice of salt
pork, one-half pound small oyster crackers, one-half glass sherry, one
tablespoonful Worcestershire sauce, one tomato, salt, and pepper. In a
large stewpan place the salt pork cut into small dice, and let this fry
slightly over a slow fire until the bottom of the stewpan is well
greased. Take this off the fire and put in a layer of potatoes sliced
thin, on top of the salt pork, then a layer of onions sliced thin, and a
layer of clams. Put on this salt and pepper and sprinkle with a little
flour and then a layer of crackers. Chop the sweet pepper and tomato
fine and mix with them the bruised and mashed garlic. On top of each
succession of layers put a little of the mixture. Continue making these
layers until all the ingredients are placed in the stewpan, and then
pour on the top sufficient water to just show. Cover tightly and let
cook gently for half an hour. Pour on the Worcestershire sauce and
sherry just before serving. Do not stir this while cooking, and in order
to prevent its burning it should be cooked over an asbestos cover.
When done this should be thick enough to be eaten with a fork.
Among the good Bohemians who lived in San Francisco as a child when it
was in the post-pioneer days, and who has enjoyed the good things of all
the famous restaurants is Mrs. Emma Sterett, who has given us the
following recipe for clam fritters which we consider the most delicious
of all we have ever eaten, and when you try them you will agree with us:
Take two dozen clams, washed thoroughly and drained. Put in chopping
bowl and chop, not too fine. Add to these one clove of garlic mashed,
one medium-sized onion chopped fine, add bread crumbs sufficient to
stiffen the mass, chopped parsley, celery and herbs to taste. Beat two
eggs separately and add to the clams. If too stiff to drop from a spoon
add the strained liquor of clams. Drop tablespoonfuls of this mixture
into hot fat, turn and cook for sufficient time to cook through, then
drain on brown paper and serve.
Abalone's are a univalve that has been much in vogue among the Chinese
but has seldom found place on the tables of restaurants owing to the
difficulty in preparing them, as they are tough and insipid under
ordinary circumstances. When made tender either by the Chinese method of
pounding, or by steeping in vinegar, they serve the purpose of clams but
have not the fine flavor. The Hof Brau restaurant is now making a
specialty of abalone's, but it takes sentiment to say that one really
finds anything extra good in them.
Another shell fish much in vogue among the Italian restaurants is
mussels, which are found to perfection along the coast. These are
usually served Bordelaise, and make quite a pleasant change when one is
surfeited with other shell fish, but the best recipe is:
Thoroughly clean the mussels and then put them in a deep pan and pour
over them half a glass of white wine. Chop an onion, a clove of garlic
and some parsley fine and put in the pan, together with a tablespoonful
of butter. Let these boil very quick for twelve minutes, keeping the pan
tightly covered. Take off half shells and place the mussels in a chafing
dish and pour over them Bechamel sauce and then add sufficient milk
gravy to cover. Serve hot from chafing dish.
Where Fish Abound
According to David Starr Jordan, acknowledged world authority on fish,
there is greater variety of fish in Monterey Bay than anywhere else in
the world. Monterey Bay is one of San Francisco's sources of supply
consequently we have a greater variety of fish in our markets than are
to be found anywhere else. In the markets are fish from all parts of the
Pacific Ocean, from the Tropics to far north in the Arctics, while
denizens of the waters all the way, between add to the variety.
The essential element of goodness in fish is freshness, and it is always
fresh in San Francisco markets, and also in the restaurants. Of all
varieties two rank first in the estimation of gourmets, but, of course,
that is purely a matter of individual taste. According to the
above-mentioned authority, "the finest fish that swims is the sand-dab."
Some gourmets, however, will take issue with him on this and say the
pompano is better. Others will prefer the mountain trout. Be that as it
may they all are good, with many others following close in choice.
Fine striped bass from the ocean, or black bass from the fresh water
takes high place in preference. Then there is sole, both in the fillet
and Rex, as prepared at Jule's under the Monadnock building. Tom cod,
rock cod, fresh mackerel and fresh cod, white bait and boned smelt all
are excellent fish, but were we to attempt to tell of all the fish to be
found here we would have to reproduce a piscatorial directory. There are
two good methods of acquiring knowledge of the fish of San Francisco. Go
to the wharves and see them come and and go to the wholesale markets
down in Clay street, below Montgomery. You will then begin to realize
that we certainly do have a variety of good fish.
Now for a little Bohemianism of a different sort: Recently there came to
San Francisco, with his wife, an actor whose name used to be almost a
household word among theater-goers, and when we say "the villain still
pursued her," all you old timers will know whom we mean. When he was
here in the years long gone by it was his custom to go to the old
California market, select what he desired to eat, then take it to the
restaurant and have it cooked, and the old atmosphere came back to him
on his recent arrival and he revived the old custom.
"Meet us at the California market," was the telephone message that came
to us, and we were there, for we knew that something good was in store
First we went through the market from end to end and all the side
aisles, "spying out the land." It is not possible to enumerate what we
saw. If you want to know go there and see for yourselves. Having seen we
were told to go and select what we wished to have for our dinner, and
then the selection began and there was a feast of buying fish, meats,
vegetables and delicacies of all sorts, even to French pastry.
Our purchases were ordered sent to the restaurant in the corner of the
market where the chef had already been duly "seen," and then came each
particular idea as to how the food was to be cooked. We had sand-dabs
munier, chateaubriand with mushrooms, Italian squash, fried in oil with
a flavor of garlic, French pastry, and coffee, together with some good
California Tipo Chianti, all flavored with such a stream of reminiscence
that we forgot that such things as clocks existed.
It was the first time our theatrical friends had tasted sand-dabs, for
this fish has come to San Francisco markets only in recent years, and
they declared that it was the "only" fish fit to be eaten. It is
possible that they were prejudiced by the sentiment of the surroundings
and consequently not exactly in position to be good judges.
All Italian restaurants serve fish well. At the New Buon Gusto you will
find a most excellent cippino with polenti, and if you have not
experienced this we advise you to try it as soon as possible. At the
Gianduja you will find sand-dabs au gratin to be very fine. At Jack's,
striped bass cooked in wine is what we think the best of the fish to be
found in the market, or at the restaurants, cooked that way. Jule's is
famous for his Rex sole. At all of the French and Italian restaurants
small fry is cooked to perfection. If you wish fish in any way or of any
kind you will make no mistake in asking for it at any of the French or
Italian restaurants, or at the Shell Fish Grotto, and if you are in
doubt regarding what to order just take the proprietor into your
confidence, tell him you are a stranger in the city and ask him to serve
you fish the best way he prepares it. You will not be disappointed.
Some Food Variants
Variants of food preparation sometimes typify nationalities better even
than variants of language or clothing. Take the lowly corn meal, for
instance. We find that Italian polenti, Spanish tamale, Philadelphia
scrapple and Southern Darkey crackling corn bread are but variants of
the preparation of corn meal in delectable foods. It is a long step from
plain corn meal mush to scrapple, which we consider the highest and best
form of preparing this sort of dish, but all the intermediate steps come
from a desire to please the taste with a change from simple corn meal.
Crackling corn bread is the first step, and here we find that the
darkies of the South found good use for the remnants of the pork after
lard was tried out at hog-killing time, by mixing the cracklings with
their corn meal and making a pone which they cooked before an open fire
on a hoe blade, the first of this being called "cracklin' hoe cake."
Good scrapple is one of the finest breakfast dishes that we know during
the winter, and when prepared after the recipe given here it precedes
all other forms of serving corn meal. To mix it properly one must know
the proper values of herbs and condiments, and this recipe is the result
of much discriminating study. Modesty prevents us giving it more than
the name of "scrapple." It is prepared in the following manner,
differing from that made in Philadelphia:
Take a young pig's head and boil it until the flesh drops from the
bones, in water to which has been added two good-sized onions,
quartered, five bruised cloves of garlic, one bay leaf, sweet marjoram,
thyme, rosemary, a little sage, salt, and pepper. Separate the meat from
the bones and chop fine. Strain off the liquor and boil with corn meal,
adding the chopped meat. Put in the corn meal gradually, until it makes
a stiff mush, then cook for half an hour with the meat. Put in shallow
pans and let cool. To serve slice about half an inch thick and fry in
olive oil or butter to a light brown.
As originally prepared the tamale was made for conveyance, hence the
wrappings of corn husk. This is a Spanish dish, having been brought to
this country by the early Spanish explorers, and adopted by the Indian
tribes with whom they came in contact. In the genuine tamale the
interior is the sauce and meat that goes with the corn meal which is
alternately laid with the husks, and when made the ends are tied with
fine husk. For meat, chicken, pork, and veal are considered the best.
There is also a sweet tamale, made with raisins or preserves.
The following recipe for tamales was given us by Luna:
Boil one chicken until the meat comes from the bones. Chop the neat fine
and moisten it with the liquor in which it was boiled. Boil six large
chili peppers in a little water until cooked so they can be strained
through a fine strainer, and add to this the chopped chicken, with salt
to taste and a little chopped parsley. Take corn meal and work into it a
lump of butter the size of an egg, adding boiling water and working
constantly until it makes a paste the consistency of biscuit dough. Have
ready a pile of the soft inner husks of green corn and on each husk
spread a lump of dough, the size of a walnut, into a flat cake covering
the husk. In the center of the dough put a teaspoonful of the chopped
meat with minced olive. On a large husk put several tablespoonfuls of
chopped meat with olives. Roll this together and lay on them other husks
until the tamale is of the size desired. Tie the ends together with
strips of fine husk and put in boiling water for twenty minutes. Either
veal or pork may be used instead of chicken.
Polenti, properly prepared, is a dish that requires much labor, and
scarcely repays for the time and exertion spent in its making. It
differs from scrapple in that the ingredients are mixed in a sauce and
poured over the mush instead of being mixed in the meal. In the New Buon
Gusto restaurant, in Broadway, they cook polenti to perfection, and when
it is served with cippino it leaves nothing to be desired. This is the
For the gravy: Make a little broth with veal bone, a small piece of
beef, a pig's foot, neck, feet and gizzard of chicken. In a separate
kettle cook in hot oil one sliced onion, one clove of garlic, a little
parsley, one bell pepper, one tomato, a small piece of celery, and a
carrot. Cook until soft and then add this to the broth with a few dried
mushrooms. Cook slowly for thirty minutes and then strain.
For the mush: Boil corn meal until it is thoroughly done and then cool
it until it can be cut in slices for frying. Mix butter and olive oil
and heat in a frying pan and into this put the slices of corn meal,
frying to a light brown. Place the fried corn meal in a platter in
layers, sprinkling each with grated Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
Take parsley and one clove of garlic chopped fine and a can of French
mushrooms cut in quarters, and fry in butter, then add enough gravy to
pour over the fried corn meal. Place this in an oven for a few minutes
Table d'hote is the feature of San Francisco's restaurant life. It is
the ideal method for those who wish a good dinner and who have not the
inclination, or the knowledge, to order a special dinner. It is also the
least expensive way of getting a good dinner. It also saves an
exhibition of ignorance regarding the dishes, for if you are in doubt
all you have to do is to leave it to the waiter, and he will bring the
best there is on the day's menu and will serve it properly.
It is really something to elicit wonder when one considers the
possibilities of a table d'hote dinner in some of the less expensive
restaurants. Take, for instance, the Buon Gusto, in Broadway. This
restaurant boasts a good chef, and the food is the finest the market
affords. Here is served a six course dinner for fifty cents, and the
menu card is typical of this class of restaurants. What is provided is
shown by the following taken from the bill of fare as it was served us:
Hor d'ouvres--four kinds; five kinds of salad; two kinds of soup; seven
kinds of fish; four kinds of paste; broiled spring chicken; green salad
with French dressing; ice cream or rum omelet; mixed fruits; demi tasse.
With this is served a pint of good table wine.
As one goes up with the scale of prices in the restaurants that charge
$1, $1.25, $1.50, $2, $2.50, and $3 for their dinners it will be found
that the difference lies chiefly in the variety from which to choose and
from the surroundings and service.
Take, for example, the following typical menu for a dollar dinner,
served at the Fior d'Italia, and compare it with the fifty-cent dinner
Salami and anchovies; salad; chicken broth with Italian paste; fillet of
English sole, sauce tartare; spaghetti or ravioli; escallop of veal,
caper sauce; French peas with butter; roast chicken with chiffon salad;
ice cream or fried cream; assorted fruits and cakes; demi tasse. Wine
with this dinner is extra.
Now going a step up in the scale we come to the $1.50 dinner as follows:
Anchovies, salami (note that it is the same as above); combination
salad; tortellini di Bologna soup; striped bass a la Livornaise; ravioli
a la Genoese and spaghetti with mushrooms; chicken saute, Italian style,
with green peas; squab with lettuce; zabaione; fruit; cheese; coffee.
Wine is extra.
Let us now look at the menu of the $3.50 dinner, without wine:
Pate 'de foie gras--truffles on toast; salad; olives; Alice Fallstaff;
Italian ham "Prosciutto;" soup--semino Italiani with Brodo de Cappone;
pompano a la papillote; tortellini with fungi a funghetto; fritto misto;
spring chicken saute; Carcioffi all'Inferno; Capretto al Forno con
Insallata; omelet Celestine; fruit; cheese, and black coffee.
This dinner must be ordered three days in advance.
These menus will give a good idea of the different classes of dinners
that can be obtained. Between are dinners to suit all tastes and
pocketbooks. If you wish to go beyond these there is no limit except the
amount of money you have. If but the food value be taken into
consideration then one will be as well pleased with the fifty-cent
dinner as he will be at the higher priced meals, but if light and music
and brilliant surroundings are desired, then one must pay for them as
well as for the meal he eats.
All of the restaurants mentioned serve good table d'hote dinners, giving
an astonishing variety of foods for the money, and it is all cooked and
served in a manner that leaves nothing to be desired. As before
mentioned if you wish a table d'hote dinner composed entirely of sea
food you can get it at the Shell Fish Grotto for one dollar.
A good rule to follow when dining at any of the restaurants is: When in
doubt order a table d'hote dinner. You will always get a good meal, for
the least out lay of money and least expenditure of thought. Often one
desires something a little different, and this is easy, too, and you
can conserve your brain energy and get the most for the least money by
seeing the proprietor or manager of the restaurant and telling him that
you wish to give a little dinner. Tell him how many will be in the party
and give him the amount you wish to spend. It will be surprising,
sometimes, to see how much more you can get for a slight increase in the
price. Of course your wines and cocktails will be extra and these must
be reckoned in the cost.
From this we come to the ordered dinner, and here is where your own
knowledge and special desires come in. Here, too, comes a marked
increase in the cost. You now have the widest range of possibilities
both as to viands and as to price. It is not at all difficult to have a
dinner, without wine, that costs twenty-five dollars a plate, and when
you come down to the more normal dinners, unless you confine yourself to
one or two dishes you will find that you far exceed in price the table
d'hote dinners of equal gastronomic value.
While this is true it is well to be able to order your dinner for it
frequently occurs that one does not care to go through the heavy course
dinner provided table d'hote. Sometimes one wants a simple dish, or
perhaps two, and it is well to know something about them and how to
order them. We have made it a rule whenever we have seen something new
on the bill of fare to order it, on the theory that we are willing to
try anything once, and in this way we have greatly enlarged our
knowledge of good things.
It is also well to remember national characteristics and understand that
certain dishes are at their best at certain restaurants. For instance,
you will be served with an excellent paste at a French restaurant, but
if you want it at its best you will get it at an Italian restaurant. On
the other hand if you desire a delicate entree you will get the best at
a French restaurant. For instance, one would not ask for sauer braten
anywhere except at a German restaurant. It will readily be seen that the
Elegant Art of Dining in San Francisco means much more than the sitting
at table and partaking of what is put before you. Dining is an art, and
its pleasure is greatly enhanced by a knowledge of foods, cooking,
serving, national characteristics, and combinations of both foods and
wines. How few people are there, for instance, who know that one should
never drink any hard liquor, like whisky, brandy, or gin, with oysters.
Many a fit of acute stomach trouble has been attributed to some food
that was either bad or badly prepared when the cause of the trouble was
the fact that a cocktail had been taken just prior to eating oysters.
Some of the possibilities of dining in San Francisco may be understood
when we tell you of a progressive dinner. We had entertained one of the
Exposition Commissioners from a sister State and he was so well pleased
with what he had learned in a gastronomic way that he said to us:
"The Governor of my State is coming and I should like to give him a
dinner that will open his eyes to San Francisco's possibilities. Would
it be asking too much of you to have you help me do it?"
"We shall be glad to. What do you want us to do?"
"Take charge of the whole business, do as you please and go as far as
"That is a wide order, General. What is the limit of price, and how many
will be in the party?"
"Just six. That will include the Governor and his wife, you two and
myself and wife. Let it be something unusual and do not let the cost
interfere. What I want is something unusual."
It has been told us that when the Governor got back home he tried to
tell some of his friends about that dinner, but they told him he had
acquired the California habit of talking wide. This is the way we
carried out the dinner, everything being arranged in advance: At 6:30 we
called at the rooms of the Governor in the Palace Hotel and had served
there dry Martini cocktails with Russian caviar on toasted rye bread.
An automobile was in waiting, and at seven o'clock we were set down at
Felix's, in Montgomery street, where a table was ready for us and on it
were served salami of various kinds, artichokes in oil and ripe olives.
Then came a service of soup, for which this restaurant is famous,
followed by a combination salad, with which was served a bottle of
The automobile carried us then over to Broadway and at the Fior d'Italia
our table was waiting and here we were served with sand-dabs au gratin,
and a small glass of sauterne.
All the haste we made was on the streets, and when we finished our
course at the Fior d'Italia we whirled away over toward North Beach to
the Gianduja, where had been prepared especially for us tagliarini with
chicken livers and mushrooms, and because of its success we had a bottle
of Lacrima Christi Spumanti, the enjoyment of which delayed us.
Again in the automobile to Coppa's where Chicken Portola was served,
with green peas. Accompanying this was a glass of Krug, and this was
followed by a glass of zabaione for dessert.
Back again to the heart of the city and we stopped at Raggi's, in
Montgomery street near Commercial where we had a glass of brandy in
which was a chinotti (a peculiar Italian preserved fruit which is said
to be a cross between a citron and an orange).
Then around the corner to Gouailhardou & Rondel's, the Market Cafe,
where from a plain pine table, and on sanded floor, we had our coffee
royal. As a fitting climax for this evening we directed the chauffeur to
drive to the Cliff House, where, over a bottle of Krug, we talked it all
over as we watched the dancing and listened to the singing of the
This dinner, including everything from the automobile to the tips cost
but fifteen dollars for each one in the party.
Something About Cooking
Cooking is sometimes a pleasure, sometimes a duty, sometimes a burden
and sometimes a martyrdom, all according to the point of view. The
extremes are rarities, and sometimes duty and burden are synonymous. In
ordinary understanding we have American cooking and Foreign cooking, and
to one accustomed to plain American cooking, all variants, and all
additions of spices, herbs, or unusual condiments is classed under the
head of Foreign. In the average American family cooking is a duty
usually considered as one of the necessary evils of existence, and food
is prepared as it is usually eaten--hastily--something to fill the
The excuse most frequently heard in San Francisco for the restaurant
habit, and for living in cooped-up apartments, is that the wife wants to
get away from the burden of the kitchen and drudgery of housework. And
like many other effects this eventually becomes a cause, for both
husband and wife become accustomed to better cooking than they could get
at home and there is a continuance of the custom, for both get a
distaste for plainly cooked food, and the wife does not know how to cook
any other way.
Yet when all is considered the difference between plain American cooking
and what is termed Foreign cooking, is but the proper use of condiments
and seasoning, combined with proper variety of the food supply from the
markets. Herein lies the secret of a good table-proper combination of
ingredients and proper variation and selection of the provisions
together with proper preparation and cooking of the food.
We have met with many well educated and well raised men and women whose
gastronomic knowledge was so limited as to be appalling. All they knew
of meats was confined to ordinary poultry, i. e., chickens and turkeys,
and to beef, veal, pork, and mutton. Of these there were but three modes
of cooking--frying, stewing and baking, sometimes boiling. Their chops
were always fried as they knew nothing of the delicate flavor imparted
by broiling. In fact their knowledge was confined to the least healthful
and least nutritious modes of preparation and cooking. Not only is this
true of the average American family, but their lack of knowledge of the
fundamentals of cooking and food values brings about a waste largely
responsible for what is called the "high cost of living." It is a trite,
but nevertheless true saying that a French family could live well on
what an American family wastes. Waste in preparation is but the mildest
form of waste. Waste consequent upon lack of knowledge of food values is
the waste that is doubly expensive for it not only wastes food but it
also wastes the system whose energy is exhausted in trying to assimilate
It is a well recognized medical fact that much of the illness of
Americans arises from two causes, improper food and improper eating
methods. In Europe this fact was recognized and generally known so long
ago that the study of food values and preparation for proper
assimilation is one of the essential parts of every woman's education,
and to such a degree has this become raised to a science that schools
and even colleges in cooking are to be found in many parts of England,
France and Germany. Francatelli, the great chef who was at the head of
Queen Victoria's kitchen, boasts proudly of his diploma from the
Parisian College of Cooking.
The United States is now beginning to wake up to the fact that the
preparation of food is something more than a necessary evil, and from
the old cooking classes of our common schools has developed the classes
in Domestic Science, that which was formerly considered drudgery now
being elevated to an art and dignified as a science. In Europe this
stage was reached many generations ago, and there it is now an art which
has elevated the primitive process of feeding to the elegant art of
dining. In San Francisco probably more than in any other city in the
United States, not even excepting New Orleans, this art has flourished
for many years with the result that the average San Franciscan is
disappointed at the food served in other cities of his country, and
always longs for his favorite restaurant even as the children of Israel
longed for the flesh pots of Egypt.
One needs to spend a day in the Italian quarter of San Francisco to come
to a full realization of the difference between the requirements of even
the poorest Italian family and the average American family of the better
class. We need but say that we have been studying this question for
nearly twenty years yet even now we meet with surprises in the way of
new delicacies and modes of using herbs and spices in food preparation.
If we were to attempt even to enumerate the various herbs, spices,
flavorings, delicacies, and pastes to be found in a well regulated
Italian shop it would take many pages of this book, yet every one of
these articles has its own individual and peculiar use, and the
knowledge of these articles and how to use them is what makes the
difference between American and Foreign cooking. Each herb has a
peculiar quality as a stomachic and it must be as delicately measured as
if it were a medicine. The use of garlic, so much decried as plebeian,
is the secret of some of the finest dishes prepared by the highest
chefs. It must not be forgotten that in the use of all flavors and
condiments there may be an intemperance, there lying the root of much of
the bad cooking.
Garlic, for instance, is a flavor and not a food, yet many of the lower
class foreigners eat it on bread, making a meal of dark bread, garlic
and red wine. It is offensive to sensitive nostrils and vitiates the
taste when thus used, but when properly added to certain foods it gives
an intangible flavor which never fails to elicit praise. What is true of
garlic is also true of the many herbs that are used. It is easy to pass
from a rare flavor that makes a most savory dish to a taste of medicine
that spoils a dinner. With the well-known prodigal and wasteful habits
of America the American who learns the use of herbs usually makes the
initial mistake of putting in the flavoring herbs with too lavish a
hand, and it is only after years of experience that a knowledge of
proper combinations is obtained.
Visitors have often expressed wonder at the variety of foods and
delicate flavors in San Francisco restaurants, and possibly this brief
explanation may give some comprehension of why San Franciscans always
want to get back to where they "can get something to eat."
Told in a Whisper
"Surely the old Bohemians of San Francisco did not spend all their time
in restaurants. How did they live when at home?" This is what was said
to us one day when we were talking about the old days and the old
people. Indeed they did not live all their time in restaurants. Some of
the most enjoyable meals we have eaten have been in the rooms and
apartments of our Bohemian friends, and these meals were prepared
generally by each one present doing his or her part in making it a
success. One would make the salad, another the main dish, and others do
various forms of scullery work, and in the end we would have a meal that
would often put to blush the efforts of many of the renowned chefs.
Many people who come to San Francisco will wish to conserve their
finances as much as possible, and they will wish to enjoy life in their
apartments. There are also many people who live in San Francisco who
need a little advice on how to get the best out of life, and we are
going to whisper a few words to all such as these we have mentioned.
You can be a Bohemian and have the very best sort of living in your own
room for less than half the money it will take to live at the hotels and
restaurants, and we are sure many of you would like to know something
about how to do it. It is not necessary to confine yourself to the few
things in your limited experience. If you are going to be in San
Francisco for more than a week, you will find that a little apartment,
furnished ready for housekeeping, will give you opportunity to be
independent and free. You will get your own breakfasts, when and how you
want them. Your luncheons and dinners can be gotten in your rooms or at
the restaurants just as you are inclined.
You will find delight and education in visiting the markets, and the
foreign stores where all the strange and unusual foods of all nations
are to be found. You will discover better articles at less prices at the
little Italian, French, Mexican or Chinese stores and stalls than can be
had in the most aristocratic stores in the city. Above all you will find
a joy of invention and will be surprised at the delectable dishes you
can prepare at a minimum of cost.
When you visit San Francisco you are desirous of so arranging your
finances that you may see the most for the least outlay of money. After
a strenuous day of sight-seeing you will scarcely feel like getting up a
good meal, consequently then you will follow the ideas suggested in this
book and visit the various restaurants, thus obtaining a variety both in
foods and in information of an educational nature. But sometimes you
will not be tired, or you will wish to get up a little late supper after
theatre, and it is then that you will be glad of the opportunity
afforded by having your own kitchen arrangements so that you can carry
out your tastes, and cook some of the strange and new foods that you
have discovered in your rambles through the foreign quarters.
Take the simple matter of sausage, for instance. Ordinarily we know of
but three kinds--pork sausage, frankfurter and bologna--neither very
appetizing or appealing, except sometimes the pork sausage for
breakfast. Over in the little Italian and French shops you will find
some of the most wonderful sausages that mind can conceive of. Some of
these are so elaborate in their preparation that they cost even in that
inexpensive part of the city, seventy cents a pound, and the variety is
almost as infinite as that of the pastes. In the Mexican stores you will
find a sausage that gives a delightful flavor to anything it is cooked
with, and it is when you see these sausages that your eyes begin to be
You now take cognizance of many things that heretofore escaped your
observation. You see new canned goods; a wonderful variety of cheeses;
strange dried vegetables and delicacies unheard of; preserved vegetables
and fish and meats in oil; queer fish pickled and dried. You begin to
learn of the many uses of olive oil in cooking and in food preparation.
You see the queer shapes of bread, and note the numerous kinds of cakes
and pastry that you never saw or heard of before. You see boxes of dried
herbs, and begin to realize why you have never been able to reproduce
certain flavors you have tasted in restaurants. You see strange-looking,
flat hams, and are told that they are Italian hams, and if you buy some
you will find that they cut the ham the wrong way, and instead of
slicing it across the grain they cut in very thin slices down the length
of the bone. Their flavor is more delicious than that of any ham you
have tasted since you used to get the old-time, genuine country smoked
hams. But if you investigate a little deeper you will learn that these
hams were not put up in Italy at all, but that it is a special brand
that is prepared in Virginia for the Italians.
In the French stores you will find preserved cockscombs, snails,
marvelous blood sausages with nuts in them, rare cheeses, prepared meats
in jellies, and hundreds of delicacies unknown to you. You can spend
days in these stores, finding something new all the time. We have been
going there for years and still run across new things.
Remember that to the people of the Latin Quarter these things are all
usual consequently they think you know as much about them as they do,
and will volunteer no information regarding them. Possibly they will
smile at your ignorance when you ask them questions, but do not hesitate
to ask, for they are courteous and that is the only way you can find out
things, and learn what all these new edibles are and what they are good
for. There is no greater possibility of interest than is to be found in
the stores of San Francisco's Latin Quarter, and we mean by this the
stores that cater to the people of the Quarter. In stores and
restaurants frequented by Americans they cater to American tastes and
lose much of the foreign flavor.
It is also well to bear in mind that it is not in the largest stores
that you find the greatest variety when it comes to odd and new goods. A
little shop, barely large enough to turn around in between counter and
wall, may have enough of interest to entertain you for half an hour, and
here the prices will be remarkably low, for these people have so little
of the outside trade that they have not learned to add to their prices
when they see an American face coming.
What is true of the stores is also true of the vegetable stands, the
meat shops, the fish stalls, and bakeries. Here you will find better and
fresher food supplies than in any of the similar places in other parts
of the city, and the price is generally one-third less. The high cost of
living has not reached this thrifty people with their inborn knowledge
of the values of foods. They live twice as well as the average American
family at half the cost. They combine knowledge of food values with the
art of preparation and have a resultant meal that is tasty, full
flavored, and nourishing at a minimum of expense.
Perhaps you want a meal. Your thoughts at once run to steaks and chops,
and fried potatoes. Nothing but a porterhouse or tenderloin steak or a
kidney chop will do. It is the most expensive meat and you think that of
course it is the best and most nourishing. If the knowledge of food
values were with you, you would get the less expensive and more
nourishing cuts. A flank steak, perhaps, prepared en casserole, and you
would have a fine dish for half the money. As it is in meats so it is in
all foods. For ten cents two people can have a dinner of tagliarini that
is at once nourishing and satisfying in flavor. Of course all this
requires knowledge, but that is easily acquired, and it adds to the zest
of life to know that you can do that which lifts eating from the plane
of feeding to that of dining; that you can change existence into living.
All because you dare to break away from conventionalities which make so
many people affect ignorance of how to live because they imagine it is
an evidence of refinement. If they but knew it, their affectation and
their ignorance is the hall mark of low caste.
Now about this whisper: We have a friend who has a little apartment
where he has kept bachelor's hall for many years. Here some of our most
pleasant evenings have been spent, and we never fear to go on account of
the possibility that he may be embarrassed or inconvenienced through
lack of something to eat or drink, for he is never at a loss to prepare
something dainty and appetizing for us, and it really seems, sometimes,
that he makes a meal out of nothing. Often Charlie telephones us that he
has discovered a new dish and hurries us over to pass judgment on it.
And, by the way, many of the good dishes of Bohemia are the result of
accident rather than design.
Out of Nothing
It is surprising what a good meal you can get up sometimes when "there's
not a thing in the house to eat." Let us give you an example. One
evening two of our young friends came over to tell us their sweet
secret, and with them was another young lady. While we were talking it
over and making plans for the wedding another friend dropped in because
he said our "light looked inviting."
An hour or so of talk and then one of us signaled to the other and
received the shocking signal back, "There's not a thing to eat in the
house." This called for an investigation of the larder in which all
joined with the following result: Item--two cans of reed birds from
China, each containing twelve of the little birds as large as your
thumb. Item--one egg. Other items--one onion, two slices of dry bread,
one green pepper, rather small, one dozen crackers. Item--one case of
imported Italian Vin d'Oro Spumanti. Item--six hearty appetites to be
The gentleman who saw our light saw another, and rushed off to a barber
shop, and got four more eggs. Barbers use eggs, and they must be fresh
ones, in shampooing, and our friend remembered it.
The two young ladies and the young man prepared the table, and the other
lady and the two gentlemen set about getting a meal. One of us made an
omelet of the five eggs, the onion and the green pepper, with crumbs of
bread, and this is the recipe:
Omelet a la Peruquier
Take five eggs and beat until very light. Roll two slices of dried bread
to crumbs and mix with the beaten eggs. Chop fine one onion and one
green pepper, season with salt and pepper. Pour a tablespoonful of olive
oil in an omelet pan and in this fry the peppers and onion to a light
brown. When ready turn into this the beaten eggs, and cook until done.
Follow the rule of never disturbing a cooking egg or a sleeping child.
Serve on a hot dish.
Take two cans of Chinese reed birds, open them and take therefrom the
two dozen birds contained therein. In a hot frying pan place the birds
in the grease that comes around them and heat them through. Toast twelve
square crackers and on each place two reed birds, and serve two on each
of six hot plates. With both the omelet and the reed birds serve Vin
Paste Makes Waste
In an Italian grocery store we noticed a great variety of pastes in
boxes arranged along the counter and began counting them. The proprietor
noticed us and, with a characteristic shrug of his shoulders, said:
"That is but a few of them. We have not room to show them all." In
response to our inquiry regarding the number of kinds of paste made by
Italians he said there were more than seventy-five. Ordinarily we think
of one--spaghetti--or possibly two, including macaroni. If our
knowledge goes a little farther we think also of tagliarini, which is
the Italian equivalent of noodles, as it is made with eggs.
In New York we were much impressed with the stress they laid on the
serving of spaghetti, and one restaurant went so far as to advertise
dinners given "under the spaghetti vine." It appears that this is the
only paste they know anything about.
After one eats tagliarini or ravioli one feels like paraphrasing the
darkey and saying, "go way spaghetti, yo done los' yo tase."
Then comes tortelini which, like ravioli, combines paste with meat and
spinach. These may be considered the most prominent of the pastes, the
others being variants in the making and cutting, each serving a special
purpose in cooking, some being for soups, others for sauces and others
for dressing for meats. It is more than probable that the great variety
comes from individual tastes in cutting or rolling.
All Italian restaurants serve the paste as a releve rather than as an
entree, which it usually follows, preceding the roast in the dinner. As
a separate and distinct dish it can well be made to serve as a full
meal, especially when tagliarini is prepared after the following recipe:
Tagliarini Des Beaux Arts
Cook one pound of tagliarini in boiling water twenty-five minutes, then
draw off the water. To the tagliarini add a handful of mushrooms which
have been sliced and fried in butter. Then add three chicken livers
which have been chopped small and fried, one sliced truffle, one red
pepper chopped fine and a little Parmesan cheese. Make a brown sauce of
one-third beef broth thickened with melted butter and flour and
two-thirds tomato sauce, and pour this over the tagliarini. Sprinkle
with the Parmesan cheese and serve very hot from a chafing dish. (By
Oliver, chef of the Restaurant des Beaux Arts, Paris.)
In San Francisco one finds both the imported and the domestic paste, and
frequently one hears the assertion that the imported is the better. This
idea is born of the thought that all things from Europe are better than
the same made in America. In fact the paste that comes from Italy is
neither so good in taste, nor is it so clean in the making. We have
visited a number of paste factories in San Francisco and have found them
all scrupulously clean, with the best of materials in the composition of
One often wonders how the pastes came to be so many and how they
received their names. Names of some of them are accidents, as is
illustrated by macaroni. According to an Italian friend who vouches for
the fact, it received its name from an expression of pleasure. "Macari"
means "fine, excellent," and the superlative is "macaroni." A famous
Italian gourmet constantly desired new dishes to please his taste, and
one day his chef carried to him something that was unusual. The gourmet
tasted it, cried out "macari!" Tasted again, threw out his arms in
delight and cried "macaroni!"
"What is the name of this wonderful dish?"
"You have named it. It is macaroni."
Tips and Tipping
Tipping is variously designated. Some say it is a nuisance and should be
abolished. Some call it an outrage and ask for legislative interference.
Some say it is an extortion and refuse to pay it. Some say it is a
necessary evil and suffer it. The wise ones look at it a little
differently. Possibly it is best explained or excused, whichever way you
wish to call it, by one of Gouverneur Morris's characters in a recent
story, who says:
"Whenever I go anywhere I find persons in humble situations who smile at
me and wish me well. I smile back and wish them well. It is because at
some time or other I have tipped them. To me the system has never been
an annoyance but a delightful opportunity for the exercise of tact and
We look upon tipping as a part of expense to be calculated upon,
necessary to insure good service, not only now but in the future, and it
should always be computed in the expense of a trip or a dinner. Tipping,
to our minds, is the oil that makes the wheels of life run smoothly.
The amount of the tip is always a matter of individual judgment,
dependent upon the service rendered, and the way it is rendered. The
good traveler wants to tip properly, neither too little nor too much,
thereby getting the best service, for in the last analysis the pleasure
of a trip depends upon the service received. American prodigality and
asininity is responsible for much of the abuse of tipping. Too many
Americans when they travel desire to appear important and the only way
they can accomplish this is by buying the subserviency of menials who
laugh at them behind their backs.
A tip should always depend upon the service rendered. We make it a rule
to withhold the tip from a careless or inconsiderate waiter, and always
add to the tip a word of commendation when there has been extra good
service. The amount of the tip depends, first on the service, second on
the amount of the bill, and third, on the character of the place where
you are served. When we order a specially prepared dinner, with our
suggestions as to its composition and service, we tip the head waiter,
the chef, the waiter and the bus boy. We have given dinners where the
tips amounted to fully half as much as the dinner itself, and we felt
that this part of the expense brought us the greatest pleasure.
It is impossible to make a hard and fast rule regarding how much to give
a waiter. Each person must use his or her own judgment. If you are in a
foreign country you might do as we did on our first trip to Paris. We
wanted to do what was right but not what most Americans think is right
We were at a hotel where only French were usually guests, and in order
to do the right thing we took the proprietor into our confidence and
explained to him our dilemma. We asked him whom to tip and how much to
give, and he got us out of our difficulty and we found that the tips
amounted to about as much for one whole week as we had been held up for
in one day at the Waldorf-Astoria.
The Mythical Land
Notwithstanding the fact that Webster gives no recognition in his
dictionary to the Land of Bohemia or the occupants thereof, the land
exists, perhaps not in a material way, but certainly mentally. Some have
not the perception to see it; some know not the language that admits
entrance; some pass it by every day without understanding it. Yet it as
truly exists as any of the lands told of in our childhood fables and
The old definition of Bohemian was "a vagabond, a wayfarer." Possibly
that definition may, to a certain extent, be true of the present-day
Bohemian, for he is a mental vagabond and a mental wayfarer.
In our judgment the word comes from the French "Bon Homme," for surely
the Bohemian is a "good man."
Whatever may be the derivation the fact remains that not to all is given
the perception to understand, nor the eyes to see, and therein lies one
of the dangers of writing such a book as this. If you read this and then
hurry off to a specified restaurant with the expectation of finding the
Bohemian atmosphere in evidence you are apt to be disappointed, for
frequently it is necessary to create your own Bohemian atmosphere.
Then, too, all nights are not the same at restaurants. For instance if
you desire the best service afforded in any restaurant do not select
Saturday or Sunday night, but if you will lay aside your desire for
personal comfort in service, and wish to study character, then take
Saturday or Sunday night for your visit. It is very possible that you
will think the restaurant has changed hands between Friday and Saturday.
On Saturday and Sunday evening the mass of San Francisco's great
cosmopolitan population holds holiday and the great feature of the
holiday is a restaurant dinner, where there is music, and glitter, and
joyous, human companionship. At such times waiters become careless and
sometimes familiar. Cooks are rushed to such an extent that they do not
give the care to their preparation that they take pride in on other
nights, consoling themselves frequently with the thought that the
Saturday and Sunday night patrons do not know or appreciate the highest
form of gastronomic art.
Remember, also, that the world is a looking glass. Smile into it and it
smiles back; frown and you get black looks. In Bohemia we sometimes find
it well to overlook soiled table napery, sanded floor or untidy
appearance. Of course this is not in the higher class of restaurants,
but there are times and places when you must remember you are making a
study of human interest and not getting a meal, and you must leave your
fastidiousness and squeamishness at home.
It takes some time to get well within the inner circle of Bohemianism,
but after you have arrived you have the password and all doors are open
to you. If our friends think of a new story they save it up until our
next coming and tell us something that always has a bearing on Bohemia.
For instance, how few of us know the origin of the menu card. It seems
to be a natural thing, yet, like all things, it had a beginning, and
this is the way it began (according to a good friend who told it to us):
Frederick the Great was a lover of good eating and his chef took pride
in providing new and rare dishes for his delectation. But it frequently
occurred that the great ruler permitted his appetite to overcome his
judgment, and he would eat so heartily of the food first set before him
that when later and more delicious dishes came to the table he was
unable to do them justice. To obviate this he ordered his chef to
prepare each day a list of what was to be served, and to show their
rotation during the meal, and in compliance with this order the first
menu card was written. To Frederick the Great is also attributed the
naming of the German bread now called pumpernickel. According to one of
our Italian friends the story runs this way: Frederick wished some bread
and his chef sent him in a loaf that was of unusual color and flavor. It
did not please the king and he was not slow to express his disapproval.
He owned a horse named Nicholas but commonly called "Nicho!" and when
the chef appeared before him to receive his censure for sending in
distasteful bread, Frederick threw the loaf at his head, exclaiming,
"Bon pour Nichol." From this it received its name which has become
corrupted to "pumpernickel."
After the doors are open to you, you will find not only many new
stories, but you will learn of customs unusual and discover their origin
dating back to the days whose history remains only in Folk Lore. You
will be let into family secrets of the alien quarters, and will learn of
hopes, aspirations, and desires, that will startle you with their
strangeness. You will find artists, sculptors, and writers of verse in
embryo, and if you remain long enough in the atmosphere you may see, as
we have, some of these embryonic thinkers achieve fame that becomes
It is said of the Islands of the South Seas that when one eats of
certain fruit it creates such a longing that the mind is never content
until another visit is made. San Francisco's Bohemia lays no claim to
persuasive fruit, but it is true that when one breathes in the
atmosphere of this mythical world it leaves an unrest that is only
appeased by a return to where the whispering winds tell of Enchanted
Land where "you get the best there is to eat, served in a manner that
enhances its flavor and establishes it forever in your memory."
How to Serve Wines
A few hints regarding the proper serving of wines may not be amiss, and
we give you here the consensus op opinion of the most noted gourmets who
have made a study of the best results from combinations.
Never drink any hard liquors, such as whisky, brandy, gin, or cocktails,
with oysters or clams, as it is liable to upset you for the rest of the
With hor d'ourves serve vermouth, sherry, marsala or madeira wine.
With soup and fish serve white wines, such as Rhein wine, sauterne or
With entrees serve clarets or other red wines, such as Swiss, Bordeaux,
Hungarian or Italian wines.
Burgandy may also be served at any of the later courses.
With roasts serve champagne or any of the sparkling wines.
With coffee serve kirch, French brandy or fine champagne.
After coffee serve a liqueur. Never serve more than one glass of any
The following wines may be considered the best types:
Amontillado, Montilo and Olorosa sherries.
Austrian burgundy is one of the finest wines, possessing rich flavor and
Other burgundies are:
Chablis: A white burgundy, dry and of agreeable aroma.
Chambertin: A sound, delicate wine with a flavor resembling raspberry.
Clos de Vogeot: Similar to chambertin, and often called the king of
Romanee: A very rare and costly wine of rich, ruby color, with a
Clarets are valued for their flavor and for their tonic properties. Some
of the best are:
Chateau Grille: A desert wine of good flavor and fine aroma.
Chateau Lafitte: Has beautiful color and delicate flavor.
Chateau la Rose: Greater alcoholic strength and of fine flavor.
Chateau Margaux: Rich, with delicate flavor and excellent bouquet.
Pontet Canet: A heavier wine with good bouquet and fine flavor.
St. Julien: A lighter claret with good bouquet.
German wines are of lighter character, and are generally termed Rhein
wines. The best varieties are:
Hochheimer: A light, pleasing and wholesome wine.
Brauneberger: A good variety with pleasing flavor and aroma.
Dreimanner: Similar to Brauneberger.
Deidesheimer: Similar to Brauneberger.
Graffenberg: Light and pleasant. Good aroma.
Johannisberger Schloss: One of the best of the German wines.
Rudesheimer Schloss: In class with Johannisberger.
Italian wines are mostly red, the most noted in California being
Chianti, and its California prototype. Tipo Chianti, made by the Asti
Lacrima Christi Spumanti: The finest Italian champagne. Dry and of
Vin d'Oro Spumanti: A high-class champagne. Sweet and of fine bouquet
Lacrima Christi: A still wine of excellent flavor and bouquet.
Malaga: A wine of high repute. Sweet and powerful. A peculiar flavor is
given to it through the addition of a small quantity of burned wine.
Marsala: Is a golden wine of most agreeable color and aroma.
Sauterne: Is a white Bordeaux, a strong luscious wine, the best known
Chateau Yquem: Remarkable for its rich and velvety softness.
Barsac: Rich and good.
Chateau Filhot: Of rich color and good flavor.
Chateau Latour Blanche: A white sauterne of exquisite bouquet.
Haut Sauterne: Soft and mild. Of good flavor.
Vin de Graves: Good and Strong. Good aroma and flavor.
Vintage years have much to do with the quality of wines. The best
vintage years are as follows:
Rhein and Moselle: 1893.
Burgandy: 1892, 1899 and 1904.
Claret: 1898 and 1904.
Port: 1896 and 1904.
Sherry: 1882, 1890, 1898 and 1900.
A Good Bohemian Dinner
Sometimes people desire to give a dinner and are at loss as to the
proper time to serve wines. The following menu will give some ideas on
Gibson Cocktail Canape Norwegian
(Serve these before entering dining room)
Artichoke Hearts in Oil Ripe Olives Celery
Oysters on Half Shell
Bisque of Ecrevisse Chablis, or White Sauterne
Sand-dabs Edward VII Sliced Cucumbers, Iced
Escargot Francais Chateau Lafitte
Cassolette of Terrapin, Maryland Romanee
Tagliarini des Beaux Arts
Punch Pistache Cigarettes
Alligator Pears with Cumquats, French Dressing
Chicken Portola Krug Private Cuvee Brut
Creamed New Potatoes Celery Victor French Peas
Coffee Royal Cigarettes
In our travels through Bohemia it has been our good fortune to gather
hundreds of recipes of new, strange and rare dishes, prepared by those
who look farther than the stoking of the physical system in the
preparation of foods. Some of these are from chefs in restaurants and
hotels, some from men and women of the foreign colonies and some from
good friends who lent their aid in our pleasurable occupation. That we
cannot print them all in a volume of this size is our regret, but
another book now in preparation will contain them, together with other
talks about San Francisco's foreign quarters.
From our store we have selected the following as being well worth
Cut four large onions in large pieces and put them in six ounces of
butter with pepper and salt. Slowly stew this in a little beef stock and
a little milk, stirring constantly, for one hour. Add more stock and
milk and let cook slowly for another hour. In a tureen place slices of
bread sprinkled with two tablespoonfuls of Parmesan cheese. Beat the
yolks of four eggs and mix them with a tablespoonful of the soup and
pour this over the bread and cheese. Cover this for five minutes and
then pour over it the rest of the soup.
Creole Gumbo Soup
Take two young chickens, cut in pieces, roll in flour and fry to light
brown. Take the fried chicken, a ham bone stripped of meat for flavor, a
tablespoonful of chopped thyme, of rosemary, two bay leaves, a sprig of
tarragon and boil in four quarts of water until the meat loosens from
the bones. Slice and fry brown two large onions and add two heaping
quarts of sliced okra and one cut up pod of red pepper. Stir all over
the fire until the okra is thoroughly wilted then remove the larger
bones and let cook three quarters of an hour before serving. Half an
hour before serving add a can of tomatoes or an equal quantity of fresh
ones, and a pint of shrimps, boiled and shredded. Have a dish of well
boiled and dry rice and serve with two or three tablespoonfuls in each
To a solid pint of oysters use a dressing made as follows: Beat well two
eggs and add to them half a gill each of cream and vinegar, half
teaspoonful mustard, celery seed, salt each, one-tenth teaspoonful
cayenne, and a tablespoonful of butter. Put all in a double boiler and
cook until it all is as thick as soft custard (about six minutes),
stirring constantly. Take from the fire. Heat the oysters in their own
liquor to a boiling point then drain and add the dressing, mixing
lightly. Set away in cold place until needed.
Soak two salt herrings in milk over night and then remove the bones and
skin and cut up in small pieces. Cut in small pieces one and one-half
pounds each of cold roast veal and cold boiled tongue and add to these
and the herrings six boiled potatoes, half a dozen small cucumber
pickles and two small boiled beets, all cut up, and two raw apples,
three boiled carrots and one large boiled celery root, all minced. Mix
all the above in salad bowl and pour over it mayonnaise dressing.
Garnish the tops with hard boiled eggs, sliced, and capers, and ripe
olives from which the stones have been removed. Garnish the bowl with
parsley and in the center put hard boiled eggs stuffed with capers.
Solari's Crab Louis
Take meat of crab in large pieces and dress with the following:
One-third mayonnaise, two-thirds chili sauce, small quantity chopped
English chow-chow, a little Worcestershire sauce and minced tarragon,
shallots and sweet parsley. Season with salt and pepper and keep on ice.
Soles with Wine
Take fillets of sole and pound lightly with blade of knife then soak
them two hours in beaten eggs seasoned with salt and pepper. When ready
to cook roll them in bread crumbs and fry in olive oil. Take a little of
that oil and put in another pan with a tablespoonful of butter and
season with salt and pepper and again cook fish in this, adding half a
glass of dry white wine. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and let cook five
minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and put slices of lemon around
it. Serve on hot plates.
Skin and remove stalks from large fresh mushrooms and lay on a dish with
a little fine olive oil, pepper, and salt, over them for one hour. Broil
on a gridiron over a clear sharp fire and serve them with the following
Mince the stalks or any spare pieces of mushrooms fine, put in a stewpan
with a little broth, some chopped parsley, young onions, butter and the
juice of a lemon, or instead of the latter the yolk of an egg beaten up
in cream. Beat all together and pour around the mushrooms.
Cut very fine the tender part of one dozen artichokes. Take one loaf of
stale bread crumbs, moisten and squeeze, and add three tablespoonfuls of
grated cheese, three cloves of garlic, bruised, one onion chopped fine,
several sprigs of parsley chopped fine, a little celery and half a cup
of olive oil. Mix all together thoroughly with plenty of pepper and salt
and make into a loaf. Bake slowly forty-five minutes.
Oeuffs Au Soliel
Poach eight fresh eggs then take them out and place in cold water until
cool; lay them for a quarter of an hour to marinade in a glass of white
wine with sweet herbs. Dry on a cloth and dip in a batter of flour mixed
with equal quantities of ale and water to the consistency of double
cream. Fry to light brown.
Eggs with Wine
Put three cupfuls of red wine Into a casserole and add three
tablespoonfuls of sugar, rind of half a lemon, raisins, and sweet
almonds, blanched and chopped. When the wine boils break the eggs into
it as in poaching eggs. Let them cook well and then put in serving dish.
Add one tablespoonful of flour to the wine and cook to a cream then pour
over the eggs.
Soak two level teacups of rice. Mash two cloves of garlic and mix with a
little minced parsley. Soak a dozen dried mushrooms in a little water
until soft, then chop fine and drain. Cover the bottom of a saucepan
with olive oil, place over the fire until quite hot, then put in the
garlic, parsley, and mushrooms, add half a can of tomatoes and cook half
an hour. Drain the rice and put in a saucepan, adding a little broth,
half a cup at a time, to keep from burning, and add, stirring
constantly, the other ingredients, cooking all together until the rice
is done. Salt to taste; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Scallops of Sweetbread
Parboil the sweetbreads and then glaze in reduced Allemande sauce. Dip
in bread crumbs and fry in butter until a light brown. When done dish in
close order and fill center with Toulouse Ragout, as follows:
Prepare half a dozen fine, large cockscombs, two dozen button mushrooms,
small pieces of sweetbreads and a proportionate quantity of truffles.
Place all in a stewpan and add a small ladleful of drawn butter sauce,
and the juice of a lemon. Cook a few minutes.
Lamb Chops Marinade
Soak kidney lamb chops in the following mixture for twelve hours and
then broil: Four tablespoonfuls olive oil, one tablespoonful tarragon
vinegar, one small sliced onion, one mashed clove of garlic, one broken
up bay leaf, twelve whole black peppers, six cloves, one saltspoon of
salt, two teaspoonfuls dried thyme, strips of parsley and lemon peel.
Spanish Chicken Pie
Cut up a chicken and boil until tender. Cut up and fry in chicken fat
two onions, two green peppers, stirring in one and one-half
tablespoonfuls of flour. Have ready five tomatoes, stewed, and put in
two dozen ripe olives with a small clove of garlic, mashed. Grate seven
large ears of corn, season with salt and put a layer in a greased baking
pan, then chicken, then the other ingredients, with a little of the
gravy. Stir all together and bake until brown.
Cut a young chicken into small pieces and stew until tender, having the
meat covered with the broth when done. Remove the meat, drain and fry to
light brown with two slices of onion. Put in the chicken, onion, and one
hundred California oysters, back into the broth and season with salt,
pepper, juice of a lemon, bruised clove of garlic, chopped green pepper,
and a pinch of red pepper. Let all come to a boil. Wash and dry two cups
of rice and put into the soup and cook until thoroughly done and
moderately dry (twenty-five minutes). Serve hot or cold.
Quajatale En Mole
This is Mexican Turkey in Red Pepper, a favorite banquet dish. Cut a
young turkey into small pieces and boil with shallots and salt. Take
half a pound of red peppers, scalded and seeded, and grind fine with
black peppers, celery seed, cloves, allspice, and mustard (about half a
teaspoonful of each) and add to this some of the broth in which the
turkey was cooked. Put a pound of lard in a skillet and, when boiling,
put in the mixture with the turkey and let cook ten minutes, sending it
to the table hot.
Delmonico Raisin Sauce
Brown butter in a skillet and stir in a teaspoonful of flour, forming a
smooth paste. Add one cup of hot soup stock, stirring constantly. While
boiling put into this a handful of raisins, handful of blanched almonds,
pounded, half a lemon, sliced thin, a few cloves, a pinch of cinnamon,
and a little horseradish. Fine for roast beef.
Poulet a la Napoli
Cut and trim a chicken as for fricassee. Take the wings, drumsticks,
thighs and two pieces of the breast and steep them in cold water half an
hour. Drain and wipe dry and dust over with flour and set aside.
Take the rest of the chicken with the giblets and chop small. With water
let this simmer for two hours, making a strong broth with a little veal
(two ounces or more). Slice an onion into rings which place in the
bottom of a stewpan with an ounce of butter. To this add the meat and
giblets and a pint of white broth. Let all simmer but not boil or let
color. Over this pour common broth until covered and bring slowly to
boiling point. Add a small bouquet of herbs and simmer for an hour, then
strain. Thicken a little and then simmer in this the stalks and peelings
of a quarter of a pound of mushrooms and the chicken that was previously
prepared and dusted with flour. When done strain them and drain the
chicken. Strain the sauce and thicken with flour until it is of the
consistency of a rather thin batter.
Dip the pieces of chicken into the batter until well coated and set
aside until it is cold. Then dip the chicken into well-beaten eggs and
cover with bread crumbs. Let set and then repeat. In hot olive oil fry
the chicken until a golden brown. Serve on a napkin and garnish with
parsley and potatoes Duchesse. Cook the peeled mushrooms in the
remaining sauce before the last thickening, and serve in gravy boat to
pour over the chicken.
Beat together, hard, for six minutes, six eggs and four teaspoonfuls of
powdered sugar in a double boiler and place over a gentle fire, never
ceasing to whip until the contents become stiff enough to sustain a
coffee spoon upright in the middle. While whipping add three
wine-glassfuls of Marsala and one liqueur glass of Maraschino brandy.
Pour into tall glasses or cups and serve either hot or cold.
Peaches a la Princesse
Halve six fine peaches, not too ripe, and place in saucepan with concave
side up. Take one peach, peeled, and mince with a dozen macaroons,
adding the yolk of an egg and half an ounce of sugar. Mix all well
together and with this fill the half peaches. Moisten all with half a
cup of white wine and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in a hot oven ten
minutes and pour over zabaione and serve. This will make a most
delicious dessert dish.
Add the beaten yolks of seven eggs to one pint of boiling milk, one cup
of sugar, one-half teaspoonful of vanilla, one-quarter teaspoonful of
almond extract. When thick add two and a half cups of thick cream. Cool
and freeze. Line the bottom of a mold with Sultana raisins which have
been soaked in sherry wine twenty-four hours. Put a layer of frozen
cream, then raisins, continuing until all is used. Pack in ice and salt
two hours and serve with caramel sauce.
Butter the inside of a saucepan. Put in two ounces of unsweetened
chocolate and melt over hot water. Add two cups of light brown sugar and
mix well. Add one ounce of butter and half a cup of rich milk. Cook
until mixture forms a soft ball when tested in cold water. Flavor with
vanilla and pour, while hot, over each service of the roll. It
immediately hardens, forming a delicious caramel covering to the ice
Take one pound of mild American cheese and put in saucepan. Add five
wineglassful of old ale, place over the fire and stir until it is
thoroughly blended and melted. Pour this over slices of delicately
browned toast, serving hot.
Take of the best Mocha coffee one part, of the best Java coffee two
parts. Put six tablespoonfuls of the mixture into a bowl and add an egg,
well beaten. Stir the mixture five minutes. Add half a cup of cold
water, cover tightly and let stand several hours. Put into a coffeepot
the coffee mixture and add four large cups of boiling water, stirring
constantly. Let it boil briskly for five minutes only then set on the
back of the stove five minutes. Before serving add a small tablespoonful
of pure French brandy to each cup. Sweeten to taste.
Mix at table and serve on hot, toasted Bent's biscuit. Take a quarter of
a pound of ripe, dark Roquefort cheese and rub with a piece of butter
the size of a walnut until smooth, adding a teaspoonful of
Worcestershire sauce and a wineglassful of sherry, with a pinch of
paprika, rubbing until it is smooth. This is best mixed in shallow bowl
or soup plate.
Virginia Egg Nog
Beat separately the yolks and whites of ten eggs, the yolks to a soft
cream. To the beaten yolks add one pound of granulated sugar, beating
until fully blended and very light. Let one quart of fresh milk come to
a boil and pour over the yolk of egg and sugar, stirring constantly
until well blended. To this add one gill of French brandy or one-half
pint of good whisky. On top of this place the beaten white of egg and
grated nutmeg. Serve either hot or cold.
Bruise several sprigs of mint in a mixing glass with pulverized sugar.
Fill the glass with ice and pour over it a jigger of whisky. Let stand
for ten minutes and then put in a dash of Jamaica rum. Dress with sprigs
of mint, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with straws.
Bills of Fare
Chicken, Country Style
In the Shell
A la Napoli
Egg Nog (Virginia)
Fish: Soles with Wine
Sole Edward VII
Sand-dab Fillet, Cold
Lobster a la Newburg
Lamb Chops Marinade
Oysters a la Catalan
A la Poulette
Peaches a la Princesse
Planked Fillet Mignon
Quajatole en Mole
Sauce, Delmonico Raisin
Shrimp Creole, Antoine
Soup: Bisque of Crawfish
Tagliarini des Beaux Arts
Terrapin a la Maryland
Wines, How to Serve
Hang Far Low
Hotel St. Francis
Shell Fish Grotto
Old Time Restaurants
El Dorado House
Good Fellows' Grotto
Johnson's Oyster House
Marchand's Marshall's Chop House
Palace of Art