My Usual Table: A Life in Restaurants

My Usual Table: A Life in Restaurants

by Colman Andrews


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My Usual Table is a love letter to the great restaurants that have changed the way we eat— from Trader Vic’s to Chez Panisse and Spago to elBulli—and a vivid memoir of a life lived in food, from a founding editor of Saveur and James Beard Award winning writer Colman Andrews.

For reviewer, writer, and editor Colman Andrews, restaurants have been his playground, his theater, his university, his church, his refuge. The establishments he has loved have not only influenced culinary trends at home and abroad, but represent the changing history and culture of food in America and Western Europe. From his usual table, he has watched the growth of Nouvelle Cuisine and fusion cuisine; the organic and locavore movements; nose-to-tail eating; and so-called “molecular gastronomy.”

In My Usual Table, Andrews interweaves his own story—from growing up in the sunset years of Hollywood’s golden age to traveling the world in pursuit of great food—with tales of the restaurants, chefs, and restaurateurs who are emblematic of the revolutions great and small that have forever changed the way we eat, cook, and think about food.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062136480
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/06/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Colman Andrews was a cofounder of Saveur, and its editor-in-chief from 2002 to 2006, and later became the restaurant columnist for Gourmet. A native of Los Angeles with degrees in history and philosophy from UCLA, he was a restaurant reviewer and restaurant news columnist for the Los Angeles Times. The recipient of eight James Beard Awards, Andrews is the coauthor and coeditor of three Saveur cookbooks and seven of his own books on food. Andrews is the editorial director of The Daily Meal, a food and wine mega-site ( that logs approximately ten million monthly unique visitors.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xiii

Introduction 1

1 Chasen's, West Hollywood (1936-1995) 5

2 Trader Vic's, Beverly Hills (1955-2007) 25

3 The Ranch House, Meiners Oaks, California (1958- ) 39

4 El Coyote Cafe, Los Angeles (1931- ) 53

5 The Adriatic, Los Angeles (1964-1974) 73

6 Aux Amis du Beaujolais, Paris (1921-2009) 87

7 Scandia, West Hollywood (1946-1989) 107

8 Café Swiss, Beverly Hills (1950-1985) 119

9 Piccolo Mondo, Rome (1954- ) 143

10 Ports, West Hollywood (1972-1992) 161

11 Ma Maison, West Hollywood (1973-1985) & Spago, West Hollywood (1982-2000) 177

12 Hostellerie du Vieux Moulin, Bouilland, France (194?- ) 211

13 El Motel, Figueres, Spain (1961- ) & Eldorado Petit, Barcelona (1978-2001) 225

14 The West Beach Café, Venice, California (1978-1996) & Rebecca's, Venice, California (1983-1998) 251

15 Eleven Madison Park, New York City (1998- ) 269

16 Country Choice, Nenagh, Ireland (1982- ) & elBulli, Cala Montjoi (Roses), Spain (1961-2011) 291

Envoi 309

Index 313

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