Thursday, December 29, 2016


My Mother had a repertoire of favorite haunts.
As a boy, there was nothing I enjoyed more than joining her for lunch.

We always dressed in our newest and most chic ensembles.
Made certain that we were seated at a suitable "see and be seen" table.
Ordered off menus filled with unique, not everyday fare.
Reveled in the hushed banter, tinkling music, and clinking glassware.
And if well-behaved, returned home with a secret prize from the treasure chest!

Sadly, all of Ethel's preferred venues are long gone.
But my memories of their mid day delights live on!

This society stalwart had locations
in Paris, London, Baden Baden, on
the Riviera, and in the St. Moritz
Hotel on Central Park South. There
within one could down a chocolate
malt and an egg salad and anchovy
sandwich. There was little better
than that salty and sweet combo.
Well... except the stuffed animal
we often selected on the way out.

B Altman & Co.
Charleston Gardens was located
on the eighth floor of this grand
old department store. There one
sat upon a "patio" and nibbled
pastel tea sandwiches amidst a
faux blaze of southern splendor.
Beneath a perfectly blue sky,
Tara-esque columns, Spanish
moss, and artificial magnolias.
This tea room for working gals
was never Mom's milieu. But
Ethel adored their Orange Nut
Bread with butter. Somehow
she snagged their secret recipe
which sadly died with her.

Chock Full of Nuts
Before the days of McDonald's
if one was in a hurry they could
grab a quick bite and some java
here. Mother rarely sat at this
counter but when in a pinch we
ordered a date nut and cream
sandwich. Sweet and CHEAP!

Off the menu... 
At that point of my life I had
no idea of my future personal
preferences. Rather I was just
a silly boy who adored Audrey
Hepburn, Dior, Mantovani and
"Fascination". It wasn't until
years later that the reality of
what that truly meant  hit me.
Yet in hindsight I can't help
but wonder...

Exactly what was Ethel thinking during all of those lunches?