Full of Beans

It wasn’t a big night for food and drink on the Mad Men premiere yesterday evening though there was quite a shift in show’s color palette. There were the usual cocktails at lunch with the  Full of Beansmen from Mohawk Airlines (we hope they weren’t pilots), a baked ham on the buffet table at Don’s birthday party, and glimpses of a few iconic New York beers from the 1960s, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Rheingold, a major sponsor of New York Mets baseball. (We note Lane is a Mets fan from the pennant on his office wall.) Even Joan’s baby didn’t have anything to eat last night!

The night, as far as food was concerned, belonged to Heinz Baked Beans. Peggy’s pitch for the Bean Ballet fell short even though it featured “a splash of mouthwatering sauce as each one lands.”

“Kidney beans are called kidney beans,” says the man from Heinz, “because they are shaped that way. They look better in a group.”

Perhaps they do, though we’re not sure they look all that appetizing with Roger Daltrey of Full of Beans The Who seated among them in a bath tub. The image is from the cover of the 1967 album “The Who Sell Out,” and Daltrey claimed he caught pneumonia during the photo shoot because the beans had been frozen. This was just a year after Peggy’s failed pitch and we can’t help but wonder if it was someone at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce who came up with this brilliant product placement idea.

We did notice a memo on Lane’s desk during his phone call with Delores, the woman in the photo he found in the wallet. It said Bird’s Eye on top. A future SCDP client perhaps?

Mad Men in The Big Easy

No city in America knows how to party like New Orleans, and the Big Easy didn’t disappoint last night when The Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter threw a party to welcome Season 5 of Mad Men. The hotel’s Carousel Bar was packed with hundreds of Mad Men fans dressed to kill 60s style, while the Yat Pack played swing era tunes, waiters served vodka gimlets and Rob Roys, and Banana Republic and local vintage store Retro Active showed off Mad Men styles. Mad Men star and New Orleans native Bryan Batt (Sal Romano of Seasons 1-3) narrated the fashion show, cigarette girls dispensed candy cigarettes and we signed copies of The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook.

IMG 3291 1024x768 Mad Men in The Big Easy

With actor, author, designer Bryan Batt

Thanks to The Hotel Monteleone for inviting us to share the evening, and to the wonderful people at Octavia Books,  an outstanding independent bookseller (we urge readers to support their independent booksellers!).

Before the party got into high gear we had a few moments to talk with the unfailingly gracious Bryan Batt (Bryan is also the author of the gorgeous Big, Easy Style: Creating Rooms You love to Live In and a very affecting memoir, She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Mother.)  We shared one of our favorite scenes from Mad Men –  when Sal, having watched a film clip of Ann Margaret singing Bye Bye Birdie, reenacts the movie scene in his bedroom as it dawns on his wife Kitty that Sal is gay. The scene is so well acted you can just feel Kitty’s dismay. Bryan explained it was a difficult scene to shoot both because of the choreography and the subtlety of reaction the directors wanted to capture in Kitty’s face. So many people we talk to miss Batt’s character and, like them, we hope he resurfaces in a future season of Mad Men.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we share a few photos from the Mad Men party at The Monteleone.

IMG 33031 768x1024 Mad Men in The Big Easy

Bryan Batt, Tulane graduate, with our son Danny (Tulane ’13) and Libby (Tulane ’14)


IMG 3285 768x1024 Mad Men in The Big EasyIMG 3288 1024x768 Mad Men in The Big Easy

IMG 32841 1024x768 Mad Men in The Big Easy

IMG 3306 768x1024 Mad Men in The Big Easy

Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party!

Last night, more than twenty food bloggers from across the United States and Canada joined us for the first-ever Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party! Each blogger made at least oneUMMC VirtualDinnerPartyGraphic Sidebar 002 Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party! dish or drink from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, blogged about it and posted their comments and photos on our Facebook page in the hours leading up the party. Then, at the appointed hour the guests arrived, cocktails were served and the Twitter party chatter was off and running.

Theresa of the Food Hunters Guide blog (Arizona) brought a few cocktails – the Old Fashioned, the Manhattan and the Rusty Nail. Kara at Tipple Sheet (New York) went with a classic martini. Victoria of Mission Food (New York) made both Bloody Mary recipes from the book (from the legendary ‘21’ Club) and added a twist of her own: “I decided to rim the glasses with celery salt…The celery salt will stick and you’ll not only have a more exciting presentation, but you’ll also get a fun salty kick with every sip.” Great idea!

21 Club Bloody Marys 3 300x225 Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party!

Bloody Mary’s by Mission Food for the Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party

Donna of the Cookistry blog (Colorado) brought Sardi’s Steak Tartar and noted that her butcher thought it was odd that she was buying a tiny beef filet (3 oz.) and a small piece of sirloin (8 oz.). Donna decided to whip up Peggy’s Brandy Alexander moments before the party began. And Priscilla of She’s Cookin’ (California) brought blini and caviar which she declared was “excellent” with a money-saving tip to boot: use salmon caviar in lieu of sturgeon caviar!

Stef from We Heart This (California), who loves “anything retro” went with “the fabulously retro Rumaki.” Girlichef Heather (Indiana) brought Shrimp Curry Butter Canapes explaining that

mimosa 4262 174x300 Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party!

Crabmeat Mimosa prepared for the Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party by Five Star Foodie

the dish came from a favorite Mad Men scene: “A Rockefeller fundraiser was held in the home of Betty and Don and depicted as a typical 1960’s-style cocktail party. Cocktails were sipped. Finger foods were passed. I could close my eyes and imagine myself a fly on the wall.”

Jen from Juanita’s Cocina (Texas) brought the Pineapple Upside Down Cake, a real 60s classic and a favorite of ours. Jen found it “fascinating that the recipes and cookbooks of the time touted products [aluminum foil in this case] as new and revolutionary that we take as commonplace nowadays.” Jen chose this dish because she “adored Sal and still miss him,” referring to Mad Man Sal Romano from Seasons 1-3. Kitty serves Pineapple Upside Down Cake to hubby Sal while watching Jackie Kennedy’s televised White House Tour on Valentine’s Day 1962.

Speaking of Sal, Susan of 30A Eats (Florida) knew actor Bryan Batt who played Sal,

chix1 300x225 Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party!

Trudy’s Roast Chicken prepared for the Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party by the Hyphenated Chef

during her high school days in New Orleans. Susan brought Martinis, Shrimp Cocktail, Stuffed Celery and Deviled Eggs to the party. As the party got rolling, Susan chimed in, “wish this wasn’t a virtual party!” as she broke open a bottle of Veuve to celebrate.

Merlene from Madtini (Ontario, Canada) chose drinks and connected them to some of her favorite Mad Men scenes, including Season 3, episode 3, ‘My Old Kentucky Home in which, “Don Draper makes an Old Fashioned (using rye) for himself and ‘Connie’ (Conrad Hilton) as the two exchange small talk about growing up poor.” Merlene also made the Irish Coffee from a memorable scene between Don Draper and Rachel Menken (Season 1, episode 6, “Babylon”) at the Tea Room of the Pierre Hotel: “Don attempts to charm Rachel who reminds him that they are meeting strictly for business and she only orders coffee. ‘Irish Coffee?’ suggests Don in his typical roguish fashion. ‘Coffee,’ Rachel replies firmly. (I think Don might need an Irish Coffee – there’s a definite chill in the air!),” said Merlene.

It was a great party; we even played virtual Twister (we think Foodhunters Guide might still be playing!) Thanks to everyone who partied like a Mad Man last night and for the dishes they brought!

30A Eats

5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures


Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine


This Girl Walks into a Bar

The Hyphenated Chef

The Groovy Foody

Juanita’s Cocina

•  Madtini

The Mid-Century Menu

Mission Food

The Primlani Kitchen

Tipple Sheet

Thursday Night Dinner

We Heart This

She’s Cookin’

• Culinary Cellar

Sarcastic Cooking

* * *

We’ll be watching and Tweeting during the new season of Mad Men looking for every food and drink related reference, discerning what the characters are ordering, cooking, and eating, and where they’re dining and drinking. We’re sure there will be more food and drink to talk about next Monday, but for now, buckle your seat belts: Season 5 is just days away!

In the meantime, on Tuesday evening we’ll be at The Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans to attend their big Mad Men party. We’re looking forward to meeting Bryan Batt (“Sal Romano”) who’s scheduled to be there! So, look for a special edition of our blog on Wednesday!

New York, New York

Last week the Associated Press travel editor interviewed us about our recommendations for iconic Mad Men haunts for fans touring New York. (Read the article here.) There are so many outstanding choices, it’s hard to decide, but here are a just few of our favorites.

It’s an easy stroll from the mythical Madison Avenue offices of Sterling Cooper to our first stop, Grand Central Station. Take a few moments to soak in and admire this architectural New York, New York gem. You’ll be transported to an era when Diamond Jim Brady might have board his private coach car for a trip to Chicago. When you’re ready for lunch, step into one of Diamond Jim’s favorites, The Grand Central Oyster Bar, located below street level in the train station. This was and is a favorite of the denizens of Madison Avenue, too, and the likely location for Don and Roger’s famous two-dozen oyster lunch (with alcohol, of course). Roger compared eating oysters to kissing a mermaid. You can choose from dozens of types of fresh oysters. Unless you already have a favorite (Wellfleet, Bluestones, Chesapeake to name a few), ask your server for a sampler.

Travel Trip Mad Men.JPEG 09417 300x195 New York, New York

Doug Quinn of P.J. Clarke’s (AP Photo)

Walk off lunch by wandering the great avenues of midtown — Madison, Park and Fifth – until you’ve worked up a thirst. Then stop by P.J. Clarke’s on Third Avenue and 55th Street and order a Vesper or Side Car from legendary barkeep Doug Quinn. This is where the Sterling Cooper crowd often gathered after work. (Tell Doug we sent you!)

When the dinner bell rings, head for Barbetta at 321 West 46th Street, the elegant northern Italian restaurant where Don takes young Bethany Van Nuys on their first date. Or, try Sardi’s, the culinary heart of Broadway, where you’re likely to spot someone famous, either in person or on the walls in the hundreds of caricatures of legendary actors and

 New York, New York

The walls of Sardi’s are lined with hundreds of caricatures.

entertainers who have seated themselves there. You can order exactly what Don orders for himself and Bobbi Barrett because it’s still on the menu: Steak Tartar. He also orders a dish no longer on the menu, but it’s one of our very favorite recipes from The Unofficial Mad Men CookbookHearts of Palm Salad. If it’s a succulent, perfectly prepared steak you’re after, served with rich New York ambience, go where Don and Pete Campbell go to entertain Pete’s friend Horace Cook: Keens Steakhouse at 73 West 36th Street. Order the Caesar Salad and they’ll prepare it tableside, a real touch of class.

If it’s a Tuesday night between now and the end of Season 5 of Mad Men in June, you can take in jazz and a Mad Men-inspired cocktail at The Pierre Hotel’s Two E Bar/Lounge (2 East 61st Street), the successor to the Tea Room where Don meets Rachel Menken for coffee to try and relight an old flame. And when it’s time to turn in The Roosevelt Hotel at 45 East 45th Street is offering a special “Mad Men in the City” package from now until June 30. It includes a complimentary copy of The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook! Many Mad Men scenes are set at The Roosevelt, so create your own scene where Don takes up residence after his split from Betty.

If you find yourself heading uptown on the West Side, for either a night cap or for an early morning libation, visit The Dublin House at 225 West 79th Street. This is where Joan’sdh harp 215x300 New York, New York husband, Dr. Greg Harris, gets loaded one evening before coming home. Years ago, The Dublin House was a rough and tumble neighborhood bar where construction workers and newly arrived sailors whose shipped had docked at the West Side piers would start the day with a shot of whiskey and a beer. In those days the Rusty Nail was one of only two or three cocktails served at The Dublin House, though the cocktail menu has expanded over the years. As it says on their web site, “back in the day, people stopped in for a couple before work, so The Dublin House has always opened at 8 am. Always has, still does, every day except Sunday when it opens at noon.” You could always choose to start your Mad Men tour here, early in the morning, but don’t overdo it.

Whether you’re a New Yorker or a visitor, be sure to enter our Dine Like a Mad Man Sweepstakes. You could win drinks and dinner at some of these and other Mad Men establishments. And if you aren’t going to be in the Big Apple in the near future, but want to get your Mad Man on, check out our list of Mad Men inspired events around the country.

Party On, Don!

With less than three weeks to go until the long-awaited return of Mad Men, fans from coast to coast are getting out their high heeled shoes, their skinny ties and their Canadian Club Whisky and preparing to party like it’s the 1960s.

We’ve been trying to keep our finger on the pulse of the Mad Men party scene and participate in a few of our own. One is virtual: along with our publisher, SmartPop, we’reUMMC VirtualDinnerPartyGraphic Sidebar Party On, Don! hosting a Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party on March 18th! Bloggers from around the country and Canada will be preparing cocktails and dishes from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and posting photos and commentary that day. You can learn more about the Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party and how to participate click here.

In the Big Apple, The Roosevelt Hotel, site of many memorable Mad Men scenes is celebrating all Mad Men-season long with its “Mad Men in the City” special packages. Known as the Grand Dame of Madison Avenue, it’s where Sal Romano, dining with a client from Belle Jolie lipstick, confronts his repressed homosexuality in Season 1 and where Don takes up residence after Betty kicks him out of the house in Season 2.

Far from the madding crowds of New York, many other Mad Men parties are in the works. On Madmeneblast 193x300 Party On, Don!March 20th we’ll be at one of New Orleans’ most elegant hotels, The Monteleone, for their big Mad Men bash at the newly renovated and legendary Carousel Bar. We look forward to meeting Actor Bryan Batt, the native New Orleanian who played Mad Man Sal Romano in the first three seasons. We’ll be sure to ask if he’s tried Sal’s Spaghetti and Meatballs with Marinara from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook.

Closer to home, Blue on Highland, a popular restaurant in our suburban hometown is getting in on the action with a Mad Men premiere party this Thursday. They’ll be serving hors d’oeuvres and cocktails from our book and running past episodes of Mad Men on the TVs above the bar.

Some hosts are using Mad Men-themed events as fundraisers. In April, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Arts is hosting Martini Madness Mad Men Mash-up, a fundraiser for the museum, and The North Canton, Ohio Chamber of Commerce holds its fundraiser, “North Canton Gone Mad.” Copies of The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook are offered as prizes at both events and at another: Blue Hawaii Vintage, a vintage clothing shop in Asbury Park, NJ, is hosting a premiere party to be followed by a viewing party on March 25th.

Of course, there will be private house parties all across the country. If you’re having a Mad

P10100661 300x225 Party On, Don!

Partying like Mad Men at the home of David Gellman and Monica Fennell of Greencastle, Indiana

Men party let us know and post your photos on our Facebook page. And if you need some helpful hints for throwing a Mad Men cocktail or dinner party visit our web site. As we learn about additional events we’ll be adding them to our events page. And pick up a copy of The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and get more than 70 recipes from the kitchens, bars and restaurants of Mad Men.

So, grab the Martini glasses and the Lucky Strikes and get ready to party like a Mad Man!