Swellest Menu Art, Part III

Mayflower Menu
Mayflower Menu

Today is the final installment of vintage menus.  The above pic is a Thanksgiving menu, a feast that Americans celebrate at the end of November, which makes all politically correct people get their panties in a wad because Pilgrims and Indians (now called Native Americans) could never possibly have shared a squash and a smile.  But whatever.  We watch football with our families, gorge ourselves on turkey and casseroles, and save room for pie.  Come to think of it, why would anyone be eating in a RESTAURANT on Thanksgiving?  Anyhoo, here are the feast details (one may click to enlarge).


Those prices are pretty steep for modern times, and this menu is at least twenty years old.  Mercy!

Here is a cute breakfast menu from Varadero International in Cuba, all in Spanish.


pic102Coffee was A QUARTER.  Can you imagine buying a beverage for ONE coin?  What would the tip be?  A nickel?  Did waitresses walk around with jingling aprons as dimes clinked against pennies?  Consider the pain involved if she chose to “make it rain up in here.”

The next menu is from the Alta Mira Continental Hotel in San Francisco.  How this hideous design ever got approved is beyond me, as it’s ugly as a 1970s appliance set.


However, I would be willing to overlook that if I could still procure either the filet mignon or the Half Lobster Delight for under $5, as advertised.


Bratten’s Grotto in Utah included actual photos on their large fold-out menu:

Cattlemen’s in Fort Worth–in bright taxi-cab yellow–had an interesting cocktail menu, which included both a Tio Pepe and a Tia Maria.

This final menu shows the name of its owner in the left corner, and its age, with the dates from 1961-1972.  I love the sea foam green, the cheese saltines, and the ten ways to prepare a potato.

Thanks for peeking back in time with me!

Sweller Menu Art, Part II

Today we have the second installment of menu art.  This disturbing menu is from L’Etoile in Nob Hill, San Francisco.  Are the cherubs protecting them from harmful UV rays?  I’m concerned that m’lady is self-tuning in to Tokyo.  Perhaps she is listening with her bosom–or is that Madonna’s great-great-great grandmother doing colonial vogueing?


L'Etoile In Nob HillNext is a Maison des Crepes, where you can get a crepe, salad bar, AND a drink for only $1.65.  The Crepe Devil looks intriguing…


pic096I don’t know where this is from, but frankly, it gives me the willies.  The incomplete artwork looks like a storyboard scene from a Hitchcock film, and the writing is very aggressive, like they’re peeved they even had to bother with a menu.  Just trying to read it out loud makes me sound like the Swedish Chef on The Muppets.


pic098We’ll end with this festive Exposition Fish Grotto, which I’m sure you’ve heard of, since it’s “World-Famous.”  Note more naked cherubs, getting merry and gay off a barrel of Paul Masson.



Yes, I also am thinking of Orson Welles right now.

Swell Menu Art, Part I

Maxim’s Restaurant Francais in Houston, TX

I scored some super cute vintage menus at an estate sale several years ago and thought I would share, since I find them aesthetically superior to any contemporary art museum collection.

From Campy:

To Watercolor:

To bonafide art on this 1957 St. James’s Restaurant menu (Juillet-Aout only), just so you know the sardines are FRESH:

MÉHEUT Mathurin,  Sardiniers démaillant la sardine
MÉHEUT Mathurin, Sardiniers démaillant la sardine

Note the selections on the reverse side, and that delicious Cafe Sanka takes ten minutes to prepare–for the finer palatte.


And lastly, Fortnum & Mason had a very Around The World in 80 Days feel to it.

Their menu included Sardines on a Raft, Hot Cheese Flan, Ovaltine, and Horlicks–of which I had never heard.  Hungry yet?

Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink And Operate Chainsaws


I’ve heard of helping your buddies move and then sharing a case of beer, but this is a different breed of cat.

Here’s how I think it all went down.  Dapper Dan left the firm early, but not before enlisting Kip and Truman from accounting as his partners in landscaping.  They floored their Studebakers to suburbia with an urgency mandating no time to change out of their office duds or set their fedoras down.  Curse you, early sunset!  In the past two hours, Dan has felled a tree, while Kip and Truman have laid the steps along the pathway.  Won’t Betty be surprised?

Now it’s time for a break.  Kip raises his spade, and Dan tops off his (third) glass of sociable whiskey (it pairs well with Pall Malls).  Don’t snag your trousers while you straddle that trunk.  And save some Corby’s for the other two.  You remember what happened last time, Dan.

In Pursuit of the Hairy-Nosed Wombat


Every American girl who ever saw Grease wanted to be Sandy Olsson, to look like her and speak in her cool Australian accent. Elementary school had taught us about the nation’s indigenous kangaroos and koala bears, so we knew it must be the coolest place on earth.

When Elle McPherson graced the covers of our magazines and Nicole Kidman our movie screens, we wondered if they only churned out attractive people.  Even our own celebrities were not immune to their charms.  We couldn’t figure out why anyone would ever want to leave happy smiley Dennis Quaid, but Meg Ryan did it for an Aussie.  Then Hugh Jackman and Keith Urban showed up on our radar, and that was all she wrote.  By the time Take  Home Chef debuted on TLC, American women could only respond with, “Yes, please.”  Have you not seen Curtis Stone?

So I did what anyone else would do: I Google Mapped the directions to see how far Sydney was from my home.  Google gave me 187 steps, #81 being “Sail across the Pacific Ocean,” and the last being “Turn right onto George Street.”  It says it would take 503 hours to travel the 15,000 plus miles.  The Proclaimers said they would walk 500 miles, but even THEY would not walk 15,000.  I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.  So it was decided.  Australia was no longer my destination nation.

That was, until this morning, when Jack Hanna described the tough armored bum of a Tasmanian wombat, and I melted at the sight of its face.   Look at that.


Then I found out wombats viciously maul people, probably because it is in their Australian blood to eliminate humans.  What is up with that?  But then I saw this picture, and I forgave them.  I figured they must have been provoked.  He’s clearly not ripping her face off.


However, I read Bill Bryson’s In A Sunburned Country, so I know Australia is chock-full of the world’s deadliest creatures.  Bryson made it clear that venomous creatures lurk at every corner, waiting to fell you.  No snorkeling at Batt Reef for me.

But then I saw THIS!


I’m so confused.  Should I brave the outback and its lethal creatures or just stay home?


We Are Never Ever Ever Ever Talking About Kevin

There was a movie that came out in 2011 called We Need To Talk About Kevin.  I didn’t see it because I’m not really keen on high school massacres; I’d rather laugh at Talladega Nights.  Dramas are serious, and serious sucks.  Hard.  Dramas don’t have lines like: Dear Lord baby Jesus, lyin’ there in your ghost manger, just lookin’ at your Baby Einstein developmental videos, learnin’ ’bout shapes and colors. I would like to thank you for bringin’ me and my mama together, and also that my kids no longer sound like retarded gang-bangers.

So we definitely do not need to talk about Kevin.  What we DO need to talk about is Stephen.  Stephen Pearcy, the lead singer of Ratt.  This is why we called them “hair bands.”


No, he’s not the tall drink of water who resembles the pretty Skid Row front man.  He’s the one in the Jackson Pollock jumpsuit, airing out his right nipple in the summer breeze. The one with the water balloon shoved down his pants.  It’s like Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers revisited, and no–I’m not posting that gag-inducing cover.  You can Google that yourself.

Another way to identify Stephen Pearcy is to find the one with a huge lock of hair in his face, spilling over his headband/bandana like some Purple Rain reject.



Prince’s Hot Rock?  Oy vey.

Three decades later, both El Senor Pearcy and the li’l purple one have managed to stay lean and mean, if not even leaner.  Stephen has added some ink and kept the scowl (eerily similar to today’s “Duck Face”), but he’s aging as gracefully as a rocker can.


Keep on truckin’.

Ten Songs With Which I Take Issue (And BTW, What On Earth Is A Verve Pipe?)

Be warned: This is way random.


1) “Three Marlenas” by The Wallflowers. Is Marlena schizophrenic?  Why are there one two three Marlenas?  He sings that she “always prayed to heaven lights,” but for YEARS I thought she always prayed to “headlights.”  And then I was like, are all your songs about headlights?  “We could drive it home…with one headlight.”

2) Is it me or does the devil’s fiddle solo in “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” sound cooler than Johnny’s?  I realize Johnny told “the son of a gun” that he’s the best there’s ever been, but maybe he’s not.

3) When I first heard “Somebody’s Knockin’,” I thought a man was singing.  It’s not, although Terri Gibbs is an androgynous name, so it was unclear. And how does she know the devil has “blue eyes and blue jeans”?  She’s blind, so I guess she could feel the denim, but how would she know about his eyes?  It’s an honest question. Props for playing the piano, though.

4) “There’s a girl that’s been on my mind all the time. Sussudio.” Really? A girl with a nonsense name has been on your mind? And she doesn’t have a nickname yet? Maybe it was a case of an illiterate mama who meant to write “Studio”–kind of like how Oprah’s mother meant to write “Orpah.” Although Studio is pretty stupid as well.

5)  Ratt’s “Round and Round.” Pearcy specifically says, “What comes around goes around; I’ll tell you why.” But then he never does.

6) Toto’s “99.” I can’t take it no more. I’ve read that the song was inspired by George Lucas’s film “THX1138,” but who saw that?  Oh, no one.

7) Rod Stewart, just how old was Maggie May for the morning sun to show her age? Mrs. Robinson’s age? Does she have crow’s feet? Yuck. Cougars of the days of yore.

8) “Punk Rock Girl” by The Dead Milkmen. The song states they hear a Beach Boys song, but then cite “California Dreamin'” was playing, which was actually by The Mamas & The Papas.

9) “Bring on the Dancing Horses” by Echo and the Bunnymen. Every word of it.

10) Pearl Jam’s “Daughter.” I thought it was about a dad who neglected his daughter, but apparently it’s about a learning disability. How are we supposed to pick up on that?  “Don’t call me daughter, not fit to, the picture kept will remind me” is kind of like Engrish. It doesn’t make sense grammatically.

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