LA Menus: A New Book Looks Back - NBC Southern California

LA Menus: A New Book Looks Back

Flip back among the dishes, and trends, of our city's foodie past.



    The Parents' Guide to Angel Stadium
    Angel City Press
    "To Live and Dine in L.A." from author Josh Kun and Angel City Press looks back at our city's supping landscape. (Pictured: A detail from a Adams-Sheetz Drive Inn restaurant.)

    If you've ever been especially famished as you sat down for a favorite meal at a favorite restaurant, you know that the wait that stretches between when you order and when your food arrives can seem to last for nearly a year.

    Exaggerate, we most certainly do, but fans of our city's historic dining scene and its many menus have weathered that particular span of time, anticipating a major exhibit and a photo-filled, info-packed book.

    That exhibit and book, both announced in the summer of 2014 with a summer of 2015 debut date, promised to detail Southern California's many menus and how they fit with our enormous and ever-changing restaurant scene.

    Be famished no more, foodies of LA: It looks as if the dish you ordered and longed for is now cooked, plated, and on its way to the table for a June debut date.

    Both the show and the tome are called "To Live and Dine in L.A.," and USC Annenberg professor Josh Kun is the menu-mad man behind both edible-focused endeavors (and Angel City Press is the book's publisher). Prof. Kun "combed through the Library's nearly 9,000-piece menu collection, piecing together an unprecedented history of how, where, and what people ate in Los Angeles over the past century."

    Now many of those menus will appear in the Central Library exhibit, which opens on Saturday, June 13.

    The photo- and fact-brimful book is also making its anticipated entrance. Look for 224 full-color pages and over 200 menus to cameo, plus the input on how SoCalers sup today from gourmetologists like chef Roy Choi and critic Jonathan Gold. Menus, of course, are all about ordering, and you can indeed order the book about menus as well, right here, for forty five dollars.

    The exhibit, which is backed by the LA Library Foundation and runs through Nov. 13, will include "rare first edition menus from the Library's collection, in addition to menu templates and menu printing materials donated to the Library by the Lord Menu Company, a business that designed, printed, and delivered menus daily to landmark Los Angeles restaurants -- including Bob's Big Boy, the Brown Derby, and Perino's -- for most of the last century."

    Will a beloved menu from your childhood be in the book or the exhibit? Will seeing the illustration take you back to a booth circa 1958 or 1979? Food is said to be evocative, but so is the process of summoning our supper. 

    Memories and menus are as twosome-y as peanut butter and jelly, or bread and butter, or restaurants and their longtime fans.

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