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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

COME BACK, LITTLE SHEBA—I MEAN, PERINO’S!!*




(Reworked from a July, 2013 post with all new cartoons.)


Many years ago (in the early 60's) there was (alas, it is no more) an excellent restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.  It was called Perino’s.  It was the epitome of fine dining.  It was very near my husband’s law office.  He was a regular there.  They knew him by name & the parking lot attendants never bothered to give him a parking ticket—they recognized Mr. F------ & his Buick.  This was back when Cadillac’s had tail fins.  The attendants would line up all the fins in a row, visible from the street, & next to them would be Bud’s Buick.  I would join him there whenever it was possible.
                              
Eating there was not cheap.  My mother-in-law was arranging a luncheon for a coworker who was about to retire.  She called Perino’s & asked if they could give her an approximate cost for about 30 people.  She was told, “Madam, we are not interested in people who are interested in price.  Goodbye.”  (I thought that was totally out of character.  They were always very nice to me.)

The food was always first rate--& very fresh.  I don’t believe they had a freezer.  If some food wasn’t available at the produce market in the morning, they simply didn’t offer it that day.  One evening we were there for dinner.  I was reading the menu & couldn’t decide what I wanted.  Harvey, the maître d’, said, “Mrs. F------, just tell me what you’d like.  I’ll have the chef make it for you.”  I told him I’d like Veal Oscar.  (That’s a veal cutlet with shelled crab legs & asparagus on top, with a dab of béarnaise sauce.  Yummy!!)  Harvey went in the kitchen & came back to our table.  He said that the chef didn’t know what Veal Oscar was, but that it would be no problem to prepare if I could explain it to him.  I did, & it was the best I ever had—made to my exact specifications!!

Bud’s clients would often take him to lunch there.  I asked one why & was told that it was the only way he knew how to get Bud’s uninterrupted time & a fantastic meal for less than my husband’s hourly fees.  One day Bud called me & he couldn’t stop laughing.  He told me he had just had lunch at Perino’s with some clients.  One of them was saying that it just wasn’t fair.  HE always got a ticket from the parking attendants.  HE always picked up the check.  The maître d’ didn’t know HIS name.  Harvey then came to their table, telephone in hand.  He said he was sorry to interrupt, but there was an urgent call for Mr. F------.  Bud answered the phone, laughed & handed it to his complaining client.  It was for him.  It seems the caller wanted to be sure he would be able to reach him, so he had asked to speak to “the gentleman at Mr. F------’s table.”

Talk about class: My friends picked me up & we drove to Perino’s to meet Bud for dinner.  By the time we got there I had developed a headache, so I discretely asked Harvey if he had any aspirin.  He said he did & brought me an aspirin bottle wrapped in a linen napkin.  He peeled back the napkin to show me the label on the bottle, as if it were Dom Perignon.  I could visualize Harvey saying, “Bayer, ‘61.  Will that be satisfactory?”

We weren’t always able to live on that lovely scale.  When we got married Bud had about $200.00 & I had the huge sum of about $500.00.  (I think he might have married me for my money.)  We lived in a TINY one bedroom apartment & I worked while Bud was in law school.  Our “dining room” table (in the living room—there was no dining room) was a small drop-leaf that my handy husband made from an old bedboard.  When fully opened, it seated 4.  We had a brown & white tweed sofa, which he sat on while he studied.  He spilled a bottle of ink on it (this was before ballpoint pens) & cleaned it with soap & water.  This left a clean spot in the middle of the sofa & made the rest of it look very dirty.  No way could we afford to have it cleaned, so we did the next best thing.  Each evening when we got home, we would wipe our shoes on the “clean spot” until it blended in & the whole sofa looked like new again.

Something like this:











 


“I’ve rich & I’ve been poor.  Believe me, rich is better!”----Joe E. Lewis (& fishducky)

*William Inge wrote the hit play, “Come Back, Little Sheba” in 1952.  If you weren’t so young, I wouldn’t have to explain these things to you. 

 




25 comments:

  1. "...not interested in people who are interested in price."
    Does that mean they didn't have prices on their menus?

    "TINY one bedroom apartment with no dining room"
    I have that now :( it's home, but I'll never be used to it. Well, maybe eventually.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bud figures it was about 450 square feet--how big is yours?

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    2. 38.5 square metres, I don't know how that translates to feet. I could work it out but that might take me the rest if the day and half the night.

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  2. Perino's sounds like an amazing experience. One which I would only have experienced third hand.
    Love your initiative with the 'clean' spot on the couch.

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    Replies
    1. It was the only way we could afford to "clean" it!!

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  3. I love this story! I feel like I know you and Mr. F a little better.

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  4. Im not sure I would like Perino's. But the guy with the Aspirin bottle? I love him.
    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you would have liked Perino's--& LOVED Harvey!!

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  5. I assume that couch didn't have cushions that you could just flip over, or was the flip side already a mess (been there.)

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    Replies
    1. ok Joeh, Thats it, I've got to go over and check out your blog because your comments crack me up. Just hope your blog is half as funny.
      Lisa

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    2. Do it--you'll LOVE his post!!

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  6. The aspirin bottle cracked me up also. Goodness, Bud really got the star treatment. That had to have been fun.

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    Replies
    1. The aspirin episode cracked me up, too!!

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  7. From now on when I dine out I'm going to order the catch and release of the day.

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  8. "Bayer '61"? What could possibly have given you headache in that year?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Possibly you, your sister & your brother (& your father)!!

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    2. Unlikely, since my brother wasn't around at all in '61, I was only there for 10 days and my father was fishing in Florida.

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    3. It must have been Nameless' fault!!

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  9. I love the tale of the couch--LOL! He's lucky the ink came out. I spilled turquoise ink once on a cream colored carpet and a brand new set of desk drawers with a suede layer on the top. I finally pretty much got it out of the carpet, but never did hget it out of the drawer unit-LOL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surprisingly, it really did look clean when we finished!!

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  10. Bayer, '61. That made me laugh. Our neighborhood bakery is going out of business. I'm not surprised. After thirty years of supplying everyone with wedding cakes, they made some poor decisions. My son says some upscale French place will go in there. I don't think upscale French will work out here. We are a bunch of no good bums in our crummy little houses.

    Love,
    Janie

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    Replies
    1. How can you be a bunch of no good bums in your crummy little houses when you're on the shore of beautiful Lake Junebug?

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Your comments make my day, which shows you how boring my life has become.