March 26, 2015

Noshing With The Crew


It was only in the later part of the Sixties that professional catering and available food on premises, often on record label budgets, and being delivered into the studios, became a part of the production-recording scene and collaboration.
Don Randi headed the house band at Sherry’s cocktail bar on Sunset Boulevard from 1957-1970, disclosed the Wrecking Crew’s culinary habits and their favorite watering holes.

“Jack [Nitzsche] and I would go out to places like the Gaiety Delicatessen. Once in a while Harry Nilsson would come to our table. He was still working at the Crocker Citizen bank as a teller or had a job there. He might have made a record then.

“We loved Musso & Frank’s Grill on Hollywood Boulevard and Johnny’s Steak House. That was my savior. I didn’t have a fuckin dime and I could go and have a three-dollar meal in there with a rib Eye, you know. Can’t forget The Brown Derby. We went to Aldo’s, great hamburgers. Sonny and Cher dug that place, Canter’s, and once in a while, a coffee shop called Huff’s. Taco-rama, and Pink’s Hot Dogs on La Brea. Another tasty stop was The Dog House on Hollywood where you sat on stools right on the street.

“The Flying Saucer. The best French Dip sandwiches in town. Near Wilshire. There was Young China, two doors down from radio station KFWB for fantastic Chinese. On Hollywood Boulevard. The best Won Ton soup. The Italian restaurant Miceli’s was on Las Palmas.

“Dennis Wilson loved Ah Fong’s restaurant. Delicious Chinese-American food. Gene Norman owned the Marquis restaurant on Sunset Strip, along with his Crescendo and Interlude clubs. I liked the Villa Capri. Mickey Cohen was there on a regular basis. I saw him at Sherry’s as well. There was Hal’s Nest, and The Speak, where all drinks were 39 cents. Phil and I went to The Cock ’n Bull. The trout was incredible.

“The record company promo men all went to an Italian spot named Martoni’s. Label owners [Verve Records] like Norman Granz enjoyed the Pacific Dining Car. Barney Kessel and his wife B.J. Baker requested their New York steaks cooked medium at Diamond Jim’s in Hollywood.

“As you well know, we all went to the Hollywood Ranch Market. Are you kidding? The tater tots and the chicken gizzards! In the late fifties they had a donut machine there! [laughs]. I saw Lucille Ball one late night. In a full fur mink coat! She gave me the biggest smile. Rock bands, hookers, actors and hippies were at the counter.

“Myself, Jack, Neil [Young] and Denny [Bruce] also liked to eat at the House of Pancakes on La Cienega. They just closed Hamburger Hamlet on Sunset Boulevard! What the fuck is going on?”


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