by Joe Shea
American Reporter Book Review Editor
January 13, 2005
'THE CHAIRMAN' DISPLAYS A MUCH-IMPROVED STEPHEN FREY
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The telephone woke me at 6:30 a.m. but it was just someone trying to fax so the next time it rang I ignored it. And the next.
I'd been up all night on deadlines but my bags were packed and the Cathay Pacific flight to my assignments in Hong Kong, Bali and Thailand didn't leave until the afternoon. There was time for more sleep. From somewhere in my unconscious I vaguely recalled expecting a fax from Hong Kong and decided I'd better email them to be sure they had the correct fax number.
So I dragged myself out of bed and booted up the Mac. A couple of new emails had come in, both from the East Coast, both urging me to stay home. Puzzled, I turned on the television. A disaster movie, something about blowing up the World Trade Center, was playing - on every channel. And that's how, just as people recall where they were when Kennedy was shot or when Princess Diana died, I'll always remember where I was on the morning of September 11, 2001.
The next day, Linda Civitello sent an email to members of the Culinary Historians: "Many, many culinary professionals perished -- from Windows on the World on the 107th floor to every short order cook in every little shop in the building. There is -- or there were -- "Windows on the World," "Wild Blue," the "Greatest Bar on Earth," all award-winning and all gone.
The special yesterday at Wild Blue would have been Crisp Sweetbread Salad; at Windows on the World, it would have been Roast Suckling Pig. Gone are the Soft-Hearted Devil's Food Cupcakes and the Lady Libertini, their unique martini. Gone are the private dining and catering rooms that served 2 to 2000: the Ballroom, The Hudson, Manhattan, and Pinnacle Suites, the Cellar in the Sky, and the Liberty Suites -- gone. The Wine School -- gone.
The view from the 107th floor was indeed spectacular. As you looked down into the harbor, the Statue of Liberty raised her torch up toward you. Zagat says Windows on the World "put diners close to heaven."
Let's band together and help their survivors here on earth.
Since Sept. 11, we've been flying the American flag, watching Geraldo, Ted and Bill on tv and attending events like the one at Moomba, on Robertson Blvd., where local chefs, including Patina's Octavio Becerra, Vida's Fred Eric, Lucques' Suzanne Goin and Melisse's Josiah Citrin joined Moomba's Frank Falcinelli for a benefit at which 5,000 people raised over $100,000 for the New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund.
Like many normally-jammed celebratory events, this year's American Wine & Food Festival, the top local event of its kind, was relatively somber. Star chefs such as Valentino's Piero Selvaggio, Matsuhisa, Nobu and Udon's Nobu Matsuhisa, and Patina's Joachim Splichal, dished out food while guests dished out compliments, though the contingent from New York were not able to make it.
The next evening, Wolfgang Puck and Barbara Lazaroff hosted their guest chefs at a Spago dinner. Both events, benefiting L.A. Meals on Wheels, raised a total of $650,000. This year, a portion was earmarked for New York.
On Thursday, October 11, 2001, exactly one month after the attack on America, you can dine out guilt-free, knowing it's for a good cause.
In Los Angeles, go to Ammo, Bistro Garden, Border Grill, Campanile, Canal Club, Ciudad, Divine Decadence, Jabberwocky, James' Beach, Joe's, Josie, La Cachette, La Conversation, La Loggia, Lucques, Maison Akira, Mako, Matsuhisa, Real Food Daily, Rockenwagner, Rosti, Sisley Italian Kitchen, Stir Crazy and others. For updates and a list of participating restaurant around the country, check the Website: www.windowsofhope.org.
The places listed here are a few of numerous food establishments worldwide who are donating at least 10 percent of their evening's sales to the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund for families of food service victims who worked throughout the entire complex of the World Trade Center.
The fund is supported by Julia Child, the Culinary Institute of America, the James Beard Foundation, Les Dames d' Escoffier International, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Share Our Strength, etc. You can also write a check to: Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund, c/o David Berdon and Co. LLC, 415 Madison Ave., NY, NY 10017.
Aloha Island Coffee Company, in Beverly Hills, and 4,000 of Restaurants Unlimited's establishments, including Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's, Roy's, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse, Chili's, On the Border Mexican Grill, Romano's Macaroni Grill, T.G.I. Friday's, Pick Up Stix, Samba Room, Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Sullivan's Steakhouse, Del Frisco's Double Eagle and Claim Jumper, from coast to coast, will "Dine for America" on October 11 to raise money for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
Some of these restaurants will match donations that you may add to your lunch or dinner tab. Palomino, in Westwood Village, and Kincaid's, in Redondo Beach, are donating all proceeds from their sales that day and many of their employees and foodservice suppliers will be giving their time, tips, and even salaries. (Check the Website for updates on participating restaurants around the country: www.dineforamerica.com.)
If you send a self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelope to: Zagat Survey, 12618 Homewood Way, Los Angeles, California 90049, fill out the questionnaire they send you and return it by October 8, you'll get a free copy of The Zagat Los Angeles Marketplace Survey, with ratings of LA's best bakeries, caterers, cookware stores, ethnic markets, florists, takeout food emporiums, wine shops and more, all businesses that need your support. Restaurants are suffering too, so go out to eat.
In the mood for eating American? In Los Angeles that means going to restaurants where Indonesians are making first-rate tuna salad (Walter's), Japanese are doing doughnuts (Donut Man) or hot dogs (Oki Dog), Israelis are tweaking Indian curry (Taj) or Mexicans have a way with corned beef (Junior's, Brent's). As for the proverbial American apple pie, it comes in as many variations as our population:
When the Pentagon was attacked, LA's Four Seasons pastry chef Donald Wressell, who works with Swedish Executive Chef Conny Anderson at the hotel, was in Washington, D.C., with Team U.S.A.
Fresh from the World Pastry Cup competition in Lyon, France, they were scheduled to be honored at an evening reception followed by a next-day meeting with President Bush to celebrate the U.S.A's first Gold Medal win in the competition.
The members of the team are Chinese-American En-Ming Hsu (Ritz-Carlton Chicago); Michel Willaume, from France (Ritz-Carlton SFO); and Ewald Notter, a Swiss culinary instructor in Maryland.
They are just a microcosm of the cultural diversity that is standard in the food industry, and their win is a small reminder that we must prevail over those who want to destroy us.
And we will. I still haven't unpacked my bags.
Andrea Lita Rademan (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Los Angeles based freelance writer, editor and broadcaster. She leaves for Hong Kong next week.