Saturday, May 29, 2010

Trader Vic's

I came across an article in a 1965 issue of Holiday magazine about the best restaurants in San Francisco and the Bay Area. It included a nice photograph (taken inside the restaurant) of Vic Bergeron, "Trader Vic", himself:
In the article, Herb Caen had this to say about the restaurant, one of which was then located at 20 Cosmo Place in San Francisco. "I might as well warn you that I'm inclined to go off the deep end when I write about Trader Vic's. for it embodies everything I expect from a truly superior eating place. First, the service is always discreetly at hand. ....The Vic-trained waiters know their drinks and their menu, ingredient by ingredient, a quality all too rare these days. In the second place, there is an excitement about the restaurant. The most attractive and interesting San Franciscans make it their headquarters.....Thirdly, the main reason Trader Vic's belongs in a category all it's own - there is the Trader himself, a man so dedicated to his art that he is forever on the prowl for new dishes and fresh ways of serving them. I have eaten in......the best restaurants......and I'll put Trader Vic's up against any of them and ask no odds."
The late, great columnist Herb Caen wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle for many years; I used to enjoy reading his column when I had the opportunity to read the Chronicle. A friend used to bring the newspaper into work once a week and we would read it at the break table. I always read the Pink Section first!
After I came across that article, I ended up finding another one in a 1958 Better Homes And Gardens magazine, complete with more color photos and recipes, too.! Another great picture of Mr. Bergeron:
And others, too - love those butterfly plates as sauce dishes!
The Garden Room:

A matchbook from Trader Vic's was included in a lot I sold:
I knew from the matchbook that my in-laws had visited the restaurant, and Mom apparently enjoyed her entree so much that she wrote and requested the recipe in September of 1965:
And here it is - Fisherman's Spaghetti, just in case you're interested! If you try it, let me know, all right? I don't know whether I will make it or not, but I admit that it certainly does sound good!

You may or may not desire to include a Mai Tai in your menu, which was created at Trader Vic's, as well! Here is a recipe I found online, listed as the original recipe:
2 oz. 17-year-old Jamaican Rum
1/2 oz. orgeat (almond syrup)
1/2 oz. orange curacao
juice of one lime
1/4 oz. rock candy syrup (or simple syrup)
lime slice for garnish
sprig of mint for garnish
1)Shake ingredients and pour into an ice-packed glass
2)Garnish with lime slice and a sprig of mint
Bottom's Up!


yosemite faith said...

the waiters knew their cocktails and the menu - my kind of place. your mother in law sounds like the neatest lady. so cool she wrote for the recipe.

Midcenturymadam said...

I loved Herb Caen. Did you know he wrote about Howard's Prime Rib House in his article? Lola had the article in a scrap book. I went to the Trader Vic's in Seattle many years ago. What a cool place. Now I need to go google everything I can find about the place. Great post Heidi.

Tina Dawn said...

I am definitely going to try that recipe. Sounds really good. And a Mai Tai or two would go well with it. Very fun post to read. Love T

Paul Duca said...

You mention the Pink Section of the CHRONICLE...was that actually printed on pink paper at some point?

I know that until the late 1980's the paper's sports section appeared on green newsprint--hence its title The Sporting Green.

yosemite faith said...

i meant to mention the pink section - my favorite! avid reader of it - the entire thing - from the moment i first moved to california.

Tina Dawn said...

You might not remember but when I started high school (and maybe a bit before) Daddy would bring the Chronical (home from work I guess)and I read it cover to cover (does a newspaper have a cover?) Herb Caen was a favorite of mine way back then. That is when I started my love affair with Odd Bodkins comic strip too. Love T

Heidi said...

When I had my Tiki Party last month, the recipes I used all came out of a Trader Vic's book! (new, not vintage) It was really interesting to read about the history of the restaurant. There's still a Trader Vic's in Scottsdale, AZ and we just happen to be going to Tempe in November, so I'm hoping we can squeeze in a trip for dinner!

Anonymous said...


I was wondering if you could tell me the month of the 1958 Better Homes and Gardens magazine with the Trader Vic's article. I would like to find a copy.



Heidi Ann said...

Hi Scott, I don't have any way to reach you other than to respond to your comment here.
My magazines are packed away, and I'm afraid I do not know or remember which month the article was in. If/when I come across it or find it again, will happily leave another comment here to let you know.
Thank you for finding and reading my blog post about Trader Vic's, and for your interest.