Thursday, July 12, 2012

Eating Out on the Road - 50s Style


On a recent thrift shop venture, I spotted this little vintage cookbook made by the Ford Motor Company in 1959. Apparently, in addition to making cars, they roamed the nation, eating out at fine restaurants and collecting recipes. The book is organized by state and recommends famous establishments, giving a recipe for each one.

The authors say, "quality of food is only part of the story; atmosphere counts also." I agree! As an avid watcher of food and travel shows, I love when I can find a hole in the wall treasure or an old-school place that still has pads under the white tablecloths and leather booths.

The book features three places that I have actually been to:

 Shelter Island's Bali Hai is in San Diego. I visited this gorgeous restaurant all done up in Polynesian tiki style with my good friend, Beth.

I don't know if it still goes by that name, but it has wraparound windows facing the ocean inlet.

Below is another favorite in Tarpon Springs, Florida. This traditional Greek restaurant features a house Greek salad with hidden garlicky potato salad inside of the veggies. Yum - the recipe is even in Ford's book.


Finally, my favorite discovery in the list: Yesteryear in Kankakee, Illinois.


This was my favorite restaurant when I was a young girl. My parents would take us here on very special dress-up occasions - the last time was for my 16th birthday. I remember that day specifically because my dad ordered quail - and I started to cry when they brought two tiny birds on a mound of mashed potatoes. The restaurant itself was beautiful. It was sprawling and grand and had amazing crooks and little rooms. 

What I did not remember is that this is actually a Frank Lloyd Wright home, the Bradley House, that was then turned into a restaurant (in the 50s). The restaurant closed in the 1980s. It was bought by a millionaire who was kidnapped for ransom and buried alive in Kankakee (not even kidding). Since then, it has changed hands and is hoping to be preserved and restored to its former glory. I am a bit tickled that I had such good taste as a kid - to acknowledge both the "food and the atmosphere" of a national treasure.


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