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Memories of Scandia

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Scandia was our favorite restaurant for holidays and birthdays. I must ahve celebrated every birthday with dinner at Scandia. Robert was our regular waiter, an older black gentleman who started as a Pullman porter and came to Scandia. He wore a pin with wings, the Pan Am logo and a number in the center. It was Pan Am's around the world pin. Every so often the pin would be replaced with one with the next number. He loved my enthusiasm about food and would spend time explaining it to me, taking me into the kitchen where I was introduced as "this gentleman is the youngest Mr Gold and is one of my best guests"

One year, I decided to take my parents to Scandia for their anniversary.  I discussed wine with Robert {I was probably about 12 at the time by my parents' favorite was B&G Graves Bordeauz and Robert led to a bottle that was similar in origin but the best thing I had ever tasted {they would ignore my stealing sips out of my dad's glass!} My dad would get some short of goround beef dish with beets & other stuff, his usual order. I had the butterflied steak with crispy fried onion. My mom had fish. We had a bricka platter {a silver display platter on a pedistal with individual dishes of smooth & country style pate, herring, salade russe, beets, pickled cucumbers and other wonders now hazy in my memory} to start followed by tableside caesar.  The dessert was crepes prepared tableside with flames. 

Early in the meal, my dad asked me if I had enough money and I told him I had $60 that I had saved from odd jobs at the family business.  Very shortly dad left the table to go to the restroom.  When it was time to ask for the bill, it was $52 and I knew you tipped 15% so my $60 just covered it. I was so pleased!  

Of course, years later I found out that the wine alone had cost $40 and the meal probably $150+ and my dad had slipped Robert his credit card to cover the rest. I heard this story at my dad's funeral because he told all his friends about it!  

There was the night that my uncle Nat threw a fit because they wouldn't serve us the three tiered Bricka which just had three times the food and was designed to serve 20. He was banned from the restaurant after and my dad took care of the waiter. 

I took my first college girlfriend their on our first fancy date. We went to the midnight supper they offered on weekends and had ethereal open faced sandwiches and Robert came from the dining room to serve our table when I asked if he was there that night.

I took wine classes with Nate Chroman who was their wine buyer and the wine critic for the LA Times. He would hold court in the wine cellar and wine sales men would come and show off their rarities. I took his wine classes and drove him to and from as he couldn't drive due to having had polio. I met his daughter and we even dated and I took her to Scandia and they wouldn't let us have a bill. I almost asked her to marry me just so I could be Nate Chroman's son in law and drink from, and perhaps inherit, his wine cellar. But when we had dated 6 months and we had only progressed to quick, closed lip kisses, my lust for sex outweighed my lust for wine and I moved on.


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