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June 19, 2008

Mystery Game Thursday



Here I am wide awake in the middle of the night thinking about what is scurrying around in the walls of my bedroom. I'm very much hoping it's mice, which would at least be something familiar.

With nothing better to do I checked my e-mail and found that Owl Meat had sent me another Funtastic Thursday Game, along with the very fine photo to the right.

Maybe I should let him explain: ... 


(Photo courtesy of Wm Jas/

Ni hou from somewhere in the East. Aren't the Chinese considerate? 
On the advice of federal authorities and my personal physician Dr. Bombay, I am hiding out in the Far East this week, away from the soy-stained tendrils of Archer Daniels Midland goons and the sticky-fingered clutch of the Good Humor minions of corporate power.
This week's game is Menu Mystery. 
A menu will be presented. It may be from the past, present or future. It could be from anywhere in the world. It could be from reality or literature. There are no wrong answers. Your task is to imagine where it should be best placed in the space-time-reality continuum. Give us details about:
Restaurant name and logo, location, decor/atmosphere, music (live or recorded), server uniforms/flair, time travel to the past or future if you like, and anything else that you think is interesting. 
Just because it may seem like a menu from 1861, doesn't mean it can't be Uncle Abe's Oyster & Wing Log Cabin in the Mall of the Americas. I will even accept: This is the nightmare Rachael Ray will have before she dies of a heart attack in her sleep. Or "Didn't Harrison Ford eat here in Blade Runner?" You get the idea. 
As Wittgenstein said, language is like a game, you have to play it to understand it. So, too, is a game like a game. Am I right, JL? (Still owe you a Hegelian Synthe-tini.)
You can guess where the actual menu came from, but that's not really the game. I control the menu, but you decide everything else, just be specific. Maybe some famous people go there. Maybe someone was murdered there. Most creative guesses win some awesome Far East gifts and potions.
I hope you enjoy this game. I'm trying to switch it up every week. 
Hi ho Snickers, away!
The Menu
First Course
Hors D'Oeuvres
Second Course
Consommé Olga
Cream of Barley
Third Course
Poached Salmon with Mousseline Sauce, Cucumbers
Fourth Course
Filet Mignons Lili
Saute of Chicken, Lyonnaise
Vegetable Marrow Farci
Fifth Course
Lamb, Mint Sauce
Roast Duckling, Apple Sauce
Sirloin of Beef, Chateau Potatoes
Green Pea
Creamed Carrots
Boiled Rice
Parmentier & Boiled New Potatoes
Sixth Course
Punch Romaine
Seventh Course
Roast Squab & Cress
Eighth Course
Cold Asparagus Vinaigrette
Ninth Course
Pate de Foie Gras
Tenth Course
Waldorf Pudding
Peaches in Chartreuse Jelly
Chocolate & Vanilla Eclairs
French Ice Cream



Posted by Elizabeth Large at 2:49 AM | | Comments (76)


Hmmm -- a lot of this sounds like it would have been found on the First Class Dining Saloon's menu for the last night's dinner (last supper?) on RMS Titanic -- pre-iceberg, of course.

Now EL's vacation is turning into a Gothic horror story ...

Oh sweet relief. You've come up with a game that doesn't give me indigestion. Thank you squared. Look it's Snickers! I'm starting to think he's the brains of the operation.

The menu. It's intriguing, I'm not sure what a few of the items are. I'm going to have to chew on it for a while, it's a little too early to contemplate oysters and lamb.


Oh oh, I don't know what Waldorf pudding is, but maybe they served it at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. I'll guess that this is the menu from some fancy pants restaurant at the Waldorf circa 1956. I'm wearing a tuxedo. Well, it is after five - what are we? Animals? My dinner companion is Miss Virginia van der Voors, heir to the Slinky fortune and a naughty young lady after a few Dubonnets. Our waiter Geoffrey has just informed us that Senator Kennedy and his escorts Miss Myrna Fiddle and Miss Sheila Faddle are arriving just now. Champagne my good man, champagne it is.

Titantic Menu as served in the first-class dining saloon of the R.M.S. Titanic on April 14, 1912.

April 14th, 1912 — last meal was served in the first-class dining room on the RMS Titanic

Put a penny in a savings account and then travel to Milliways, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

My dates are the hapless Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect, an out of work actor from the town of Guildford (or from Betelgeuse).

I was never quite sure what the dish of the day was. Thanks for the info!

Diamond Jim's Brady's bedtime snack.

OMG, correct again. a game is very much like a game. and I see Dan fell for your clever ruse early on, thinking your menu's the titanic's simply because it closely approximates it by reproducing it word for word. but I've seen through it, sir. I can't yet admit that I have detected exactly where this menu was offered, but I'll tease by saying that I strongly feel the secret lies in the vegetable marrow farci. I sense I've have that course in a diner in Yoknapatawpha County. Am I warm?

So much for foreplay nerds! What was the captain wearing?

Who knew owls had crossings?

mmmm, pudding.

It's the First Class menu on a pre-WWI ocean liner (before "the masses" learned of the pleasures of sea travel). My escort and I are dining tonight with Mr. and Mrs. Alabaster Winecrust IV, and in the background are the sounds of a string quartet playing light classics. After dinner, the men will have their Port and cigars in the Smoking Lounge while the ladies take a post-prandial stroll along the deck. It's a lovely evening, by the way, with a half-moon and, for a change, calm seas.

This was the menu served at the reception at Liza Minnelli's first marriage

This was the final meal served in the court of Marie "let them eat cake" Antoinette before she was arrested. While she was dining in splendor, the mobs were outside the palace revolting.

Bravo jl. You are right on target. As for Dan, Jessica and hmpstd, did I not indirectly clearly allude to the post-Logical Positivist Wittgenstein. Points off for precision. Game, not formula.

Early Wittgenstein:
I don't know why we are here, but I'm pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.

Later Wittgenstein:
Never stay up on the barren heights of cleverness, but come down into the green valleys of silliness.

It turns out that this is the menu at the Golden Corral in the Da Tong neighborhood where I sought refuge last night. I hear that it is quite a good Golden Corral, with free refills on fountain drinks.

But that's not where I experienced the menu. My host and I were taking a short cut to Qi Gong class though a field of poppies when we were overcome by an urge to lie down and take a nap. Mmmmm.... poppy nap. During my slumbers I dreamed of dinner with Saint Augustine in a courtyard dining area in his house in Morocco.

Yeah, the vegetable marrow farci was spectacular. Augstine told me the secret ingredient: cinnamon! Huh.

That's the Australian Weight Watcher's Diet, mate.

... this just in ...

Australians more obese than Americans, study finds

Australia has a higher proportion of obese people than the United States, with the health system facing a "fat bomb" unless action is taken, a study warned Thursday.

The report from the Baker Heart Institute found that 70 percent of men and 60 percent of women aged 45-65 had a body mass index of 25 or more, meaning they were overweight or obese.

Titled "Australia's Future Fat Bomb," the study compiled the results of height and weight checks carried out on 14,000 adult Australians in 2005.

There was a great series on AMC last summer that is comig back this year called "Mad Men". It's about Madison Avenue advertising men just pre-Kennedy. These guys seemed to have lunches like this one. It's a fun show, just to see the amount of drinking and smoking that goes on openly at work.

The Waldorf Hotel in NYC didn't open until the 1930's, so this couldn't be from a period earlierr than that. Right? Unless the hotel was named after the delicious pudding, as many hotels have been. Like the Las Vegas Jell-O Pudding Pop Casino. Or the Butterscotch Towers in Malaysia.

Sorry, jl, but Faulkner doesn't come readily to mind for the many of us in the Sandbox who recognized the Titanic menu off the bat without benefit of googling. Too much intellectual and/or emotional baggage is already attached to that menu. Think: wretched excess, Gilded Age, fin de siècle, end of an era, good-bye to all that, etc., etc.

Actually, I'd be more interested in seeing (or, better, yet, experiencing) the menu for a multi-course dinner of the sort so lovingly filmed by Martin Scorsese in The Age of Innocence -- the ultimate porn film for foodies, with Michelle Pfeiffer to boot.

It's interesting to see that logo #3 can fly. I'm still waiting with "baited" breath to find out what it is.

OMG -- actually, the original Waldorf Hotel was built before 1900 at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street in NYC by one feuding branch of the Astor family, next door to the home of the matriarch of the other feuding branch. She soon moved, and her branch of the family then built the Astoria Hotel where her home stood. The two hotels were eventually merged, and then moved uptown to Park Avenue and 50th Street in 1931. The original hotel site is now occupied by the Empire State Building.

After an unpromising start, I am well-pleased with the new game. Good call Hal, that thing has been following me everywhere. More on him and his ilk next week if he doesn't lay his eggs in my brain before then.

In the future, I will try to dine on more original menus in my poppy fever dreams.

Good stuff all around. Who says the Titanic's menu was original? Maybe it was a recreation of Augustine's famous banquet at El Debarge in 378. I don't see any New World items on the menu, except for chocolate.

I don't see any Rob(ert)'s at all. Very suspicious and disappointing. I would like Piano Rob to suggest some music to accompany dinner.

Cuisine with Jill- Sunday April 13th, 2008 3pm

184 South Main Street
Torrington, CT 06790

Or Tremont House in Texas

Hola peoples! I have a message here that says for me to give away prizes this week since Cousin Meat is still in hiding. I hope he comes back soon because the beer money is almost gone.

I don't see much here: frozen peas, a five pound box of bison burgers, a big chair shaped like a gigant hand. I will leave the door open, just help yourselfs.

To hell with the game, where can I find this menu served?

Hegel, Eliot, and now Wittgenstein? Crap, do I have to wear my pants rolled again?

I have to admit that I didn't think you were going anywhere with Wittgenstein. After all, he seems like the most serious and saddest person who ever lived, but I do like the green valleys of silliness quote. I like something he said about philosophy being a ladder that you climb and then kick away. Something like that. I don't pretend to fully understand his ideas, but I greatly admire that he created a new philosophy in the early 20th Century that influenced many many fields from political science, law, psyhology and linguistics up until the present. The impressive thing is that once his ideas started to become popular, he rejected them outright and developed an entirely and in some ways opposite philosophical world view. That takes courage or perhaps is just a symptom of manic creative self-hatred. Either way, he ended up being the two most important philosophers of the 20th century.

What was the question again? Maybe Rock Chick can give us some background music for dinner? I have to work on my sermon for Sunday, "R Kelly and the Golden Rule".

Let me make sure I get this right ... I don't have a copy of the Tractatus handy.

"Those things whereof we cannot eat, thereof we must be silent."

Jessica L, Were you at the Titanic dinner at Cuisine with JIll? I remember you. You were wearing a purple peasant blouse and skorts with open-toed boots. Yeah, I've been meaning to call you. Sorry.

Brilliant, but non-Canon-ical.

Whereof one cannot eat, thereof one must be keep one's mouth shut.

That was good. I am completely arbitrarily awarding dinner tiaras to Dottie, Rosebud and Kitkat, with a special sash of appreciation to jl. Chino is fired as prize master.

A Rob-less Thursday? It just doesn't seem right. Maybe they are all busy in their Volunteer State chop shop. It is odd that the GTA rate goes up when EL goes to Tennesee.

Seriously, no wonder so many people drowned when the Titanic sank. That meal is a gut-buster.

What do you suppose "Punch Romaine" (6th course) is? Do you eat it with a fork or drink it?


Now that we have explored what the swells chow down on before meeting their icy retreat from this mortal coil, let's bring it down to earth. Here is a considerably more pedestrian menu, that is not cruise ship-related. GO!


Monday: Brown vegetable soup, jam roly-poly pudding, sauce
Tuesday: Savory batter, beans, gravy, semolina pudding
Wednesday: Potato and onion soup, ginger pudding, sweet sauce
Thursday: Stewed beef and gravy, mashed potatoes, baked jam roll
Friday: Fish and potato pie, parsley sauce, peas, sago pudding

Hmmm, parsley sauce!

OMG, you forgot the Eleventh Course: One tiny wafer.

Punch Romaine seems to be a drink

Punch Romaine

“Escoffier popularized this form of alcoholic ice as a palate cleanser. Like a modern sorbet, it would have been served in dessert cups and eaten with a spoon.”

6 cups crushed ice
1 cup Simple Syrup *
2 cups Champagne or sparkling wine
1 cup white wine
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp white rum [preferably stored in freezer, so that it will
not melt the ice] (optional)
Orange peel [zest] , slivered

In blender, combine crushed ice, simple syrup, Champagne, white
wine, orange juice, and lemon juice. Blend until well combined.
Spoon mixture into individual dessert cups; drizzle with white rum (if
using) and garnish with a sliver of orange peel. Serve immediately.
Makes 8 servings.

* Simple Syrup

In large pot, combine 2 cups granulated sugar and 1 cup water; cook over medium heat, stirring gently, until sugar is completely dissolved. Bring to boil and cook for 1 minute or until syrup is clear. Let cool. (Syrup can be stored in a sterilized container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.) Makes 1 cup.

OMG, El Debarge? Too funny.

Dahlink -- a recipe for Punch Romaine is available at this site, which states: "Escoffier popularized this form of alcoholic ice as a palate cleanser. Like a modern sorbet, it would have been served in dessert cups and eaten with a spoon."

Hey I thought I was the one who was awarded the Hegelian boozing... now it has transcended to JL??? Owlie, get your wits about you.

Mystery Menu #2 reads a lot like the meals I was served in the dining hall during my stay at Oxford... except the stuff that needs googling, and the lack of lamb (at every meal, shortly after we stopped hearing the daily gentle little "baaahhh baahhhhs" nearby on the grounds... ) though some of the stuff on their menu needed googling too... lost 20 pounds that summer.

How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat??!!!

Anonymous, Escoffier and hmpstd--you guys are great. Thanks! Now I know what to serve at my next "Titanic" theme party.

Oooops, sorry LJ. The vegetable marrow facri was making me hallucinate. Jeez, you can't fault a guy, there's not much to hang your hat on with lj and jl. I can barely read either one as they look like the Japanese kanji for rickshaw and spring melon. Sorry LJ. Let's go to Woodberry or somewhere soon to redeem your Hegelatini.

"Titanic" theme party Edwardian or sinking?

I shudder to think how the "Savory Batter" on the Tuesday menu is served. Do you get a ladleful of uncooked pancake batter? How do they keep it from oozing into the "gravy" or contaminating the "beans"? (Or is the "gravy" for the "semolina pudding"?)

Mystery Menu #2 is ...

British School Cafeteria Lunch Menus, Winter 1912-13

The big winner is LJ, but also the big loser if brown vegetable soup, savoury batter, and semolina pudding are STILL on the menu in the world's gastronomical vortex.

No wonder we had to pull their knickers out of the French mud in WWI. Sauer kraut will beat brown vegetable soup every time. So are the vegetables brown or do they reside in a brown soup? Frightful.

Savoury batter sounds like some combination of child abuse and cricket. Hey wasn't that the English school motto? As for semolina pudding, I imagine that Al Dente is still just a Benny Hill knockoff with a handlebar mustache. Semolina pudding is probably macaroni boiled for three hours with ... wait for it ... brown sauce.

I said I was going to move from the repulsiveness of fake food to something more, urrr, savoury and here I am with Devonshire drool pie and Chichester chum chowder. Side note: Chichester is only two miles from Maudlin -- that's GOT to be a fun place. Let's spin this baby into a new culinary orbit with ...


The feast begins with a delicious homemade soup and honeybread. While you sip on your “Dawa” (the traditional house cocktail of vodka, honey and lime), a Lazy Susan, with a small flag on top, is placed in the center of your table, bearing six different fresh salads and various sauces to compliment the meal. Waiters circulate wielding the spears with at least 15 types of game & domestic meats, ranging from beef, chicken, boerewors and lamb to ostrich , kudu and crocodile, to name just a few—all charcoal-grilled and expertly carved directly onto your hot cast-iron plate. This “Beast of a Feast” is accompanied by traditional “pap” and chakalaka sauce, and a baked potato. You may eat as much as you wish and when you have had your fill, you “surrender” by lowering the flag on your Lazy Susan! A selection of delicious desserts, with tea or coffee rounds off the meal.


Mmmmm .... you don't see enough surrender flags and Lazy Susans in restaurants these days. Put on your Friday big brain bonnets and give me something good for the week-end.

OMG, Menu #2 is obviously British. Could it be the lunch offerings in in a public school?

OMG, Mystery Menu #3 is Argentinian, a la Fogo de Chao.

Right you are Dottie. Try your luck at the next one, it will not be so easy. #2 was like something out of Oliver Twist, but nicer.

Here's some Lazy Susan background:
The term "Lazy Susan" made its first written appearance in a Vanity Fair advertisement for a "Revolving Server or Lazy Susan" in 1917.

One theory on the name comes from the Wellingford family of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Daughter, Susan, frequently asked for the dishes to be passed to her instead of extending her reach. The father, Dwight, remarked in jest, "Perhaps lazy Susan would prefer a table that passed the food to her.

That story sounds just stupid. I would bet that Thomas Jefferson invented it. Huh, seems that he did, so #2 could exist far into the past or perhaps in some dystopian future.

Friday groms! Let's active!

Strike One, Dottie. You are going to have to be creative then THAT! Spears not swords, nor light sabres. Isn't Fogo de Chão Brazilian?

Where are the Robs?

MM #2 - A meal I once ate during Lent as penance

MM3 has got to be African... ostrich and kudu are not native to South America.

Dottie wins.

Well I know that the Dawa cocktail is Kenyan and I expect the rest of it is African with all those other creatures.
Just a guess...

You can't win #3 just by guessing a continent or country, especially is it's the wrong one. I must repeat that this is not a game of guessing, but of imagination. Seduce me with details. Remember when Elaine wrote descriptions for J. Peterman? Come on, people. Too much logic; descend into the green valleys of silliness.

Burn your copies of Tractatus!

I have to say that eating until you surrender sounds a little American and a little, uh, French. Sorry.

You have to love a place where the sauces compliment the meal.

All the Robs are missing? Maybe they went camping together.

I don't know what's scarier, camping or camping with the other Robs. I'm thinking camping, but that's mostly because a Motel 6 is as close to roughing it in the great outdoors as I will get. (Sleeping on the ground, where's the charm in that?)

I've been reading the posts, but I have never been a game player and while I have enjoyed many of the posts, I've got nothing to add, lame or otherwise. Sorry.

Just glad that you're still out there.

I think Piano Rob is hard at work on his blog musical and I'm afraid FLA Rob is all hopped on PCB. }8>O

You have to love a place where the sauces compliment the meal.

What? Talking sauces? Sounds pretty scary to me.

And it seems RoCK is sitting in his car listening to his 8 track collection of Oats and Hall.

OMG - spent quite a bit of time in my mind today trying to decide whether it was worse to be a rickshaw or a spring melon. Still going 'round.

Hegelatini WbK invite can be relayed through EL, who knows where to find me (at least I think she does, she did at one point).

I heard they use Hall & Oates lyrics as pass codes to get back into the walled city of Dubrovnik, I mean Cross Keys. :O)

Might I suggest that some of the Robs are absent, because they are serving ostrich steaks on spears in their loin cloths. Remember customers, like moyels they only take TIPS! Oy!

BTW this is a very disturbing plush toy:

Sorry Owl, no good at this game right now, but I've got some tangential snarks I can lob your way.

Now LJ, that's such a Western outlook. Why not think of which is better, a rickshaw or a spring melon. To be honest they both reminded me of pieces of Japanese kanji or Chinese characters (radicals), but I was too lazy to remember which, so I made that up. I know, how shameful.

I have met the other local Robs and I can say unequivocally that any food service establishment that would have this trio as servers, in loin clothes, would not have to worry about the health department shuttering the place (although they would.) There would be no customers left to protect.

Harsh, Singleton, harsh. One truly is the loneliest number now. I pity you when the Cerberus Robs awake from their appletini slumbers and descend upon you, loin cloths, ascots and various-colored charity and consciousness-raising rubber bracelets flashing in the blinding glare of toothy vengeance.

♫ All our times have come
Here but now they're gone
Seasons don't fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain
We can be like they are ... ♫

VDP, that is indeed a very disturbing plush toy. Note that it is "Not recommended for children under 3." Personally, I prefer "Schmalz the Chicken."

Disturbing? There is an involuntary visceral reaction to something like that for a dude. Exactly what is that supposed to encourage? Babies playing with scissors? I may not be an expert, but I sure hope that nobody does circumcision with office safety scissors. Totally uncool in so many ways. And it's just a terrible unfun toy. Speaking of self-stereotyping, I wonder if Hymie the Robot is in the new Get Smart movie? Answer: yes and played by the incomparable Patrick Warburton (Puddy from Seinfeld, Johnny Johnson from News Radio, etc.)

I've been away from the Sandbox because a very wicked summer cold/flu had struck me down, sorry I missed the fun! I'm still battling the after-effects.

Mr Owl, no, I wasn't hopped on on PCB. More like NyQuil.

GACK, but the stuff works.

VDP, that is indeed a very disturbing plush toy. Note that it is "Not recommended for children under 3." Personally, I prefer "Schmalz the Chicken."

I thought that Tuchis the Donkey was kind of cute.

I rather liked the pairing of Shiksa Ostrich and Zaftig Hippo -- an interesting combination. (While pictured together, each is sold separately -- what, no bargain for buying the duo?) Also, let's not forget to give a shout-out to Trayf the Plush Pig (for VDP, of course).

hmpstd said "I rather liked the pairing of Shiksa Ostrich and Zaftig Hippo

All we need is a Yiddishe Crocodile and they could dance the hours away. Ah, well, Walt Disney got there first.

(By the way, are there any kind of Hippos other than Zaftig?)

Those toys sound great. I'm going to get them for my grand daughter Lily. I hope to teach her racism properly before she learns it on the street.

What's a shiksa grampa? Why that's you sweetheart. You're a shiksa. What's shiksa mean? Oh it means that Original God hates you. Shiksa is from OG's language Hebrew and it means you are a stain upon the earth. You are in God's eyes an abomination. Yes you are. (Tickle tickle) Yes you are! But Mommy says that Jesus loves me. Well, it's complicated. First off, Mommy drinks. Do you know anything about the influence of Hellenic culture and mythology on ancient Hebrew religion? Let's start there. Oh, don't cry baby, here, play with these plush toy scissors.

... and ... wait for it ... SCENE!

Take her to Jerry Seinfeld's atrocious Bee Movie is you really want to mess her head up with hateful stereotypes early. It's a cartoon! I know cartoons messed me up bad. I fight prejudice against Leghorns and French skunks on a daily basis and lisping hunters, Nazi Donald Duck and dope fiends that investigate ghost sightings in abandoned amusement parks. Oh Therapy, up yours!

Chicklet, you should start your own magazine. You definitely have enough issues.

Even though zaftig is now used by the cleveratti to mean a fat and presumably unappealing woman. The name is Yiddish corruption of a German word that means "juicy". Think about that. Time to get your minds right future deportees.

Cleveratti or Cleaveratti? Mmm ... juicy.

Cleaveratti? What would June Cleaver know from juicy, let alone zaftig?

You're crossing a line there hmpstd. Why don't you grill yourself another popsicle.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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