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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 16, 2007 / 6 Kislev 5768

Smoke house update

By Greg Crosby

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | {Note to my readers: Even though this column concerns restaurants specifically in the LA area, I have decided to post it internationally because the larger point I make in it holds true for anywhere.} It's Thanksgiving and I've got one more reason to give thanks with the following good news. A few weeks ago I wrote about a local Los Angeles treasure called the Smoke House restaurant and bemoaned how a few "new additions" have eroded some of the sophistication and charm of that classic Toluca Lake eatery. Well, I'm extremely happy to report that on a recent visit I noticed the tacky "No Smoking" stickers have been taken off the front doors! I also noticed that the cheesy blowup football ads for beer which were hanging in the bar are now gone! And get this - as I stepped up to the reservation desk I heard a Cole Porter tune playing over the sound system!

I have no idea whether or not my column had anything to do with this, but these changes are a very good sign that someone in charge truly cares about keeping the Smoke House a class act. So three cheers and pass the garlic bread all around for the Smoke House and staff! Long may it continue to thrive. Now if I could only get them to put the wooden telephone booths back in ….

And one other little thing - if the Smoke House would stock Plymouth Gin they could vie with Musso & Frank (another famous old Hollywood landmark) for the best martini in town. I discovered some time ago that the very best classic 1930's martini is made with Plymouth Gin and Noilly Prat Vermouth at a four to one ratio.

And speaking of Musso's, we were there last Saturday night and I ordered the lamb chops, which I hadn't had in a while, and they were terrific. I've been getting the pork chops of late so it was nice to renew my acquaintance with the lamb. By the way, the steaks are wonderful, too. Jane ordered her favorite, the prime rib and wasn't disappointed. And, of course, the classic martinis made with Plymouth gin gets everything started on the right track.

It is so important to remember the great old LA restaurants like Musso's and the Smoke House and keep patronizing them. Restaurants have become a trendy thing today; almost like the fashion industry where people expect a new look with each new season. But the restaurant business is tough and depends on repeat cliental to keep it going. My uncle owned and operated a restaurant and I know first hand how hard it can be to build and maintain a good reputation.

A restaurant needs strong word of mouth to keep the doors open and as far as its customers are concerned, a dining establishment is only as good as the last meal it served. Making people feel comfortable and keeping them happy by serving delicious, good quality food at reasonable prices by a wait staff that is both pleasant and competent are the keys. Easier said than done, I might add.

It is far too easy when planning a night out to want to "try" a new place and forget about the good old standbys. Sure, it's fun once in awhile to go out and try something new, but remember - every time you go to a "new place" you've chosen not to support that great old place you love so much. The fact is, dining out shouldn't be a crap shoot, it should be as close to a guarantee of a successful dining experience as one can get. And what better guarantee than to support a place where you know that you'll feel right at home and get exactly what you want to eat.

We've lost so many of our wonderful classic Los Angeles restaurants over the years that we should really make an attempt to enjoy the places we have left while we can. Chasen's, the Brown Derby, Scandia, Tail O' the Cock, Sorrentino's, Cock and Bull, Perino's, Robaires, Don the Beachcomber, Casa D'Amore, Villa Capri, The Rangoon Racquet Club, Emilio's, Jimmy's, L'Ermitage, L'Orangerie, L'Escoffier, Bernard's, and recently the original Trader Vic's are just a few off the top of my head that are now gone. Matteo's in Westwood is still there, but with new owners, new chef, and a new menu it may as well be gone. It's just not the same.

The loss of The Brown Derby is ridiculous. I mean how do you close a Hollywood landmark and probably the most famous restaurant in the whole world? Losing the Brown Derby is very sad for those of us who looked forward to their famous Cobb Salad (as only they could make it) served with their Pumpernickel Cheese Toast and topped off with Grapefruit cake for dessert. I'll never taste those again. Sob.

Chasen's chili and Hobo Steak were legendary, but the chicken pot pie was one of the best and the Dover sole was so good that it became the favorite of Alfred Hitchcock, a Dover sole aficionado. Scandia made Veal Oskar famous around the world. Perino's was another of Hitchcock's favorite places and had a reputation as one of the finest restaurants in the country. The Cock and Bull was the favorite haunt of Errol Flynn among others. One of the last times I was in there I saw Hollywood columnist James Bacon doing elbow bending at the bar.

Bobby Troop and his jazz group used to play at the China Trader in Toluca Lake, while big band great, Johnny Guarnieri played piano at the Tail O' The Cock. Patsy D'Amore's Villa Capri in Hollywood was a Sinatra hangout and Casa D'Amore was known for the first restaurant to introduce pizza to the west coast in 1939. (You can still taste that pizza, by the way, at Patsy's in the Farmer's Market on Fairfax. Patsy D'Amore's daughter runs the stand and the pizza is as great as ever.)

The point is, when you go out; don't forget LA's wonderful old classic restaurants. We need to keep what few are left. Musso & Frank, Pacific Dining Car, Tam O'Shanter, Lawry's The Prime Rib, Taix French Restaurant, El Cholo Spanish Café, and the Raymond in Pasadena are all worth keeping.

And don't forget the wonderful Smoke House in Toluca Lake. Even without the phone booths, it's a classic. Only Plymouth Gin would make it better.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2006, Greg Crosby