An Old Fashioned Kind of Guy: Mad Men Season 5 Finale

Mad Men Season 5 ended, as Season 1 began, with Don Draper ordering an Old g bites don draper old fashioned kq 120323.photoblog500 300x225 An Old Fashioned Kind of Guy: Mad Men Season 5 FinaleFashioned. The season finale (“The Phantom”) featured only this one cocktail, but it’s Don’s signature drink. We surmise this signals a return to the Don we came to know and, well, love, in a way. It was a different Don this season, happily married, or so it seemed, faithful, except in his dreams, and somehow lighter and brighter than the heavily burdened Don of seasons past. But Don is seeming a bit more old fashioned himself as the series moves into 1967; the world is changing around him, but Don? He’s going backwards.

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The Lipp Sisters with Rich Sommer at Smithfields

One of us (Peter) was in Manhattan last night, and attended the viewing party at Smithfield’s on West 28th Street hosted by Mad Men bloggers extraordinaire (Basket of Kisses), the Lipp Sisters. The special guest was the very genuine and gracious Rich Sommer, known to Mad Men fans as Harry Crane. He stayed to watch the finale which, we suspect, he was watching for the first time along with the rest of us.

Our Season 5 culinary recap (below) includes many highlights —  from orange sherbet at Howard Johnson’s to Megan’s Beef Bourguignon and visits to restaurants, some now gone, some still going, such as Ratner’s Deli, Danny’s Hideaway, Trader Vic’s and The Minetta Tavern.

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Peter and Rich Sommer at the Season 5 Finale Party in New York (photo: Therese Bohn)

It already seems like a long wait for Season 6, so we recommend getting your fix by mixing cocktails and making recipes from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, as well as few from this season. Start with Don’s Old Fashioned and, as always, be sure to muddle the cherry.

We’ll be posting occasionally between now and Season 6, but our regular every Monday

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Ratner’s Vegetable Cutlets with Gravy (photo: Nina Gallant)

schedule will resume when Mad Men returns in 2013. Also check our Facebook page and Twitter for news!

 

 

 

 

 

Culinary Highlights from Season 5

Where did Don, Roger and the rest of the Sterling Cooper crew dine out or order in from? Season 5 featured Trader Vic’s, Howard Johnson’s, The Hemisphere Club, the Minetta Tavern, Ratner’s, a kosher dairy deli, La Caravelle, The Palm and Danny’s Hideaway among others. Meanwhile, Betty was at Weight Watchers and polishing off Sally’s ice cream sundaes.

And there were a few great parties too: Megan’s 40th birthday bash for Don, Trudy and Pete’s Cos Cob dinner party (the one Don tries to duck without success, but shows up with his memorable drink order “big and brown”) and a traditional Thanksgiving at the Francis manse. A number of recognizable food products from 1966-67 had cameo roles in Season 5, including Cool Whip, Heinz Baked Beans, Bugles, Sno-Balls and White Castle Hamburgers.

An * indicates the recipe is in The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook

Cocktails

Gin Fizz
Shirley Temple
*Old Fashioned

Appetizers, Sandwiches and Side Dishes

Crab Rangoon
Brussel Sprouts
Tuna Fish Sandwich
Heinz Baked Beans
*Deviled Eggs
Bugles Corn Chips
Cheese Cubes

Main Dishes

Boeuf Bourguignon
Dover Sole Meuniere
Ratner’s Vegetable Cutlets with Gravy
Baked Ham
*Beef Wellington
Lobster
Spaghetti
Baked Chicken
White Castle Hamburgers
Howard Johnson’s Fried Clams

Desserts
Marshmallow Fudge ice cream sundae topping
Minetta Tavern’s Zabaglione
Baked Alaska
Hemisphere Club Mile High Cakes
William Greenberg Brownies
Orange Sherbet
Cool Whip Dessert
Choward’s Violets

Under the Orange Roof

Acid trips, road trips…it seems everyone was going somewhere in last night’s episode of Mad Men (“Far Away Places”). It swept us away, too, back to the days of Choward’s Violet candies (Don’s father’s favorites; you may recall him rhapsodizing about them in Season 2, violets Under the Orange RoofEpisode 4, “Three Sundays”).

Today we’re craving a Howard Johnson’s fried clam roll, French fries and some orange sherbet. Talk about flashbacks of the non-acid variety! It was the on-the-money re-creation of Howard Johnson’s that stole the show from a culinary point of view, unless you see LSD-laced sugar cubes as a food item. Anyone who grew up in the Mad Men era can identify with Don’s simple sentiment: “I love Howard Johnson’s.”

Howard Johnson’s in Plattsburgh, New Yorkplattsburgh11 Under the Orange Roof

For us, well one of us, The Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge and Restaurant on Route 17 in Paramus, NJ was unforgettable. They really did have sherbet in Technicolor orange (it matched the color of HoJo’s distinctive orange roof) and the fried clams, mentioned twice last night, were about the only way a ten year-old kid would even touch a clam. Even better if ordered as a clam roll. In fact, they never deep-fried the whole clam; it was more like clam strips and the batter disguised what was left of the taste of the clam. But we loved them! And don’t get me started in the ice cream sundaes and the milk shakes. My Dad often drove us in his Ford Fairlane, and later his Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser, to HoJo’s just for dessert. Poor Megan: she wants pie for dessert but Don sets off a firestorm by overriding her order and insisting she have the sherbet.

One of the nation’s first restaurant chains, with some stores company owned and the Under the Orange Roof others franchises, there were more than  600 Howard Johnson’s across the country in the early 1960s. Over the years, and through many changes in ownership, HoJo’s restaurants (but not the motels) went the way of the record album and the black and white TV. Only three remain, in Lake George, NY, Lake Placid, NY (not far from Plattsburgh where Don and Megan have their disastrous HoJo’s date) and Bangor, ME.

And what’s become of the Howard Johnson’s on Route 17 in Paramus? This is it today and we’d say it’s not an improvement. Fifty years from now we doubt this place will make anyone nostalgic.

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