Home #Hwoodtimes A Conversation with Chef and culinary historian George Geary about his latest...

A Conversation with Chef and culinary historian George Geary about his latest book “L.A.’s Landmark Restaurants”

Out Now! LA’s Landmark Restaurants ~ Over 50 locations, 120 recipes, Coffee-table Book! Order Now!

By Judy Shields

Hollywood, California (The Hollywood Times) 11/22/2023

Renowned chef and culinary historian George Geary is back with an eagerly anticipated follow-up to his best-selling book, “LA’s Legendary Restaurants.” This time, Geary takes readers on another mouthwatering journey through the city’s iconic culinary establishments in LA’s Landmark Restaurants.

In this sumptuous sequel, George delves even deeper into the rich culinary tapestry of Los Angeles, showcasing the enduring landmarks that have shaped the city’s dining scene for generations. Filled with captivating stories, recipes, and historic photographs, LA’s Landmark Restaurants is a must-read for food enthusiasts, history buffs, and anyone with an appetite for the extraordinary.

The Hollywood Times had the opportunity to speak with George about his new book and his culinary career and book tour.

Enjoy our conversation:

With the holidays just around the corner, this would make a wonderful holiday gift for all your friends and family.  Even if they don’t live in LA, this would let them know of the history and locations of restaurants they could visit for a road trip, great food and making memories.  George said if you would like an autograph copy, which would make the book a special gift, just reach out to him at www.georgegeary.com

Drawing from his extensive research and personal experiences, George explores the history, characters, and recipes behind Los Angeles’ most beloved dining institutions. From classic Hollywood haunts to hidden gems tucked away in neighborhood corners, Geary’s meticulous storytelling brings these iconic eateries to life, celebrating their enduring legacy and culinary contributions to the city.

Back cover of George Geary’s new book “LA’s Landmark Restaurants” (Photo THT)

“For years the history of restaurants and diners in Los Angeles has fascinated me.  Ever since LA’s Legendary Restaurants was published in 2016 I am regularly asked about restaurants I didn’t include,” George said.  “So, I decided to write a follow up book to include more iconic restaurants and diners.”

Photo of Canters from George Geary’s new book “LA’s Landmark Restaurants”

“When I write about these restaurants, in addition to describing the food and how it is presented, I am interested in exploring the landmark businesses these owners created, as well as the history of the buildings in which they are housed.  If known, I included information on the architect of the building, whether it is still standing, and if not, what exists in its place.”

Along with recipes made famous by each restaurant, L.A.’s Landmark Restaurants contains profiles of such legendary eateries as:

Pacific Dining Car
The Original Pantry Café
Barney’s Beanery
Greenblatt’s Deli and Fine Wines
Tom Bergin’s
El Cholo
Nate ’n Al’s
The Smoke House
Tail o’ the Pup
The Apple Pan
Little Joe’s

In this beautiful tribute to Los Angeles and its historic restaurants, each location profiled is illustrated with a collection of historic and contemporary photographs and ephemera, such as menus, matchbooks, and advertisements. Every entry features a short history of the restaurant, entertaining anecdotes, and such details as the year of opening, address, phone number (both original and current), type of cuisine, and the name of the restaurant’s founder.

First page of George Geary’s new book “LA’s Landmark Restaurants” (Photo THT)

George Geary’s passion for preserving culinary history and his talent for storytelling shine through every page of LA’s Landmark Restaurants, a history of an iconic city told through the restaurants and restaurateurs that helped create it.

“This book is truly a treasure, especially if you grew up in Los Angeles like I did. I loved the stories of how these classic restaurants got their start, and the recipes of some of my all-time favorite dishes I enjoyed both as a child and as an adult are included. The fabled L.A. debate—Who invented the French Dip, Philippe’s or Cole’s?—is retold here and is a legendary Los Angeles culinary tale. I love L.A.’s Landmark Restaurants!”—Nancy Silverton, chef, baker, author, James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Chef Award Winnerand owner of LA’s Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza restaurants

About George Geary

George Geary is an award-winning chef, best-selling author, and renowned educator. A former pastry chef for the Walt Disney Company, Geary is a Certified Culinary Professional, and was recently chosen as the Culinary Educator of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. He is perhaps best known for creating all of the cheesecakes for The Golden Girls and other top-rated television programs. Geary has worked as a critic and/or judge for ABC’s The Taste with Anthony Bourdain, The American Baking Competition with Jeff Foxworthy, Hell’s KitchenSupermarket Superstar, and many other popular television shows. He also taught cooking classes aboard Holland America Lines. From 1982 to 2010, Geary was the culinary coordinator of the Los Angeles County Fair. Geary is the author of L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants and Made in California, as well as nine cookbooks including Fair FoodsThe Cheesecake Bible, and The Complete Baking Cookbook. He lives in Los Angeles.  Visit his website, www.GeorgeGeary.com.

Social Media

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chefgeary/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/10155648099377275
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chefGeary

The following recipe from the book may be reprinted with the following credit:

Recipe reprinted with permission of L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants by George Geary – Santa Monica Press / 2023

The Victor Hugo

In 1916 Hugo Albert Aleidis opened a restaurant in downtown Los Angeles naming it after the famous French novelist, Victor Hugo.  The eatery advertised “genuine French cuisine,” “refined entertainment,” and “best of service” in newspapers.  After nine years at its original location, Hugo built the restaurant of his dreams two blocks away.  Furnished in elegant Louis XVI décor, the new location became a regular hangout with Hollywood stars and producers.

Medallion of Beef – Serves 4

This dish was only served at Victor Hugo’s on the weekend but so many homemakers at the time learned to make this for weekly meals at home.

2 lb filet mignon (about 1 inch thick)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, diced
6 large button mushrooms, cleaned and slice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 medium Roma tomatoes, diced
5 artichoke hearts, halved
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Trim fat from meat and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven, melt butter.  Cook the onion until softened, about 5 minutes, and add mushrooms and garlic.  Add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes; add artichokes, salt, and pepper.

Place the meat into the sauce and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 130 degrees.

Serve hot on a platter and cover the meat with sauce.