Some of the world’s most iconic recipes were born out of hotel kitchens and made notorious through popular culture. Riffs on such recipes are commonplace. Here are a few originals that are fun to experiment with in your own kitchen.
The McCarthy Salad from The Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel was named for frequent guest and Polo star, Neil McCarthy. He was such a fixture at the hotel restaurant, they named both the salad and the lounge after him! Today, about 1/3 of those who lunch at the Polo Lounge each day order the McCarthy salad, and about 3/4 of those who do request variations. As only Los Angelenos can.
THE MC CARTHY SALAD
1/4 head iceburg lettuce
1/2 head romaine lettuce
1/2 cup grilled, diced free-range chicken
1/2 cup diced roasted red beets
1/4 cup free range egg yolk
1/4 cup free range egg white
1/2 cup applewood smoked bacon
1/4 cup diced tomato
1/4 cup diced avocado
Balsamic Dressing Recipe
1 c. Sparrow Lane Balsamic Vinegar
1 T. brown Sugar
3 cloves roasted garlic
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and black pepper
Place all ingredients in a blender and drizzle in canola oil to emulsify. Check seasoning. Arrange salad in bowl and toss dressing tableside.
As legend has it, the concept of an open faced sandwich was invented at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. It was created by the hotel chef in the 1920’s as an “afterparty” late night snack, to satiate dancers and revelers who had enjoyed the nightlife within the hotel. This is the original recipe.
THE HOT BROWN
1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for garnish
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper
14 oz. sliced roasted turkey breast, slice thick
4 slices of Texas toast (crusts trimmed)
4 slices of bacon
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half
In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined to form a thick paste or roux. Continue to cook roux for 2 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino-Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 oz. turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and two toast points and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Pour half of the sauce over the dish, completely covering it. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove and cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley and serve immediately.
You’ll need a cocktail (or 12, in this case) to go with all of these goodies. The Scorpion Bowl was born at Oakland California’s Trader Vic’s bar in the 1930’s. Meant to be shared, it was a fun communal drinking activity.
THE SCORPION BOWL
1½ bottles Puerto Rican rum
2 oz gin
2 oz brandy
16 oz lemon juice
8 oz orange juice
8 oz orgeat (almond flavoring)
2 sprigs mint
½ bottle white wine
Mix thoroughly, pour over into your communal vessel over cracked ice and let stand 2 hours, adding more ice. Serve with long straws and hope nobody at the table has a virus.
images via pinterest, thebeverlyhillshotel, thebrownhotel, tradervics