Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Food Anecdotes - Culinary snippets to entertain & amuse.

Dave Hatfield

Recommended Posts

I was a student in the mid ‘70s on the South Side of Chicago, UofC. S. 59th St,

The area then (and now) was called Hyde Park. I didn't have a car. It was fairly difficult to get around Chicago, the IC stopped at Randolph, so good luck getting up to the North Side. Restaurants then were at best of So-So quality, if not $$$.

Eventually I had a friend who had a car. ! Chicago then, and probably now has a lot of small ethnic neighborhoods. There was a Hispanic neighborhood in ‘Blue Island’ mid S Side. Very little English was spoken, and in one of the supermarkets there was a ‘taco bar’ where you passed through and got soft corn tacos with what ever you wanted in the for USA 0.50 $$ two easily filled up Hungry Me. And a watermelon soda.

Thats the warm up. There was also a small Italian neighborhood about 25 St. S/W

We found La Fontanella probably this place:


We of course called it the Fontanelle, that’s something we knew about.

It was plain, had 6 - 8 tables, formica and affordable for a student. I always got the Saltimbocca. Just Saltimbocca, not a la romana. Every time we went there there were 2 - 3 gentlemen somewhat passed middle age, eating alone. I little dog-faced, suits a little garish, wide lapels, wide ties.They ate with their hats on, 40’s fedora’s. They tucked their napkin into their collars. They never looked at anyone deliberately, certainly not those other solitary dinners.

After a bit, something donned on me: they gentlemen were ‘strapped’ carried ( packed ? ) ‘heat’ or what ever that was called back then. I whispered this to friend. She looked around and was wide eyed.

One of the gents over heard me ( it was a small restaurant ) and gave me a look. I noticed it and he gave me a bit of a harder look. Then he winked a bit and leaned over some, so his suit coat opened a little, and sure enough, Strapped!

My friend suggested we go to Febo’s, also near by, in the future:


Sad Febo’s seems closed now

But the fontanelle had the best saltimbocca and better atmosphere by far.

Edited by rotuts (log)
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reminds me of a place I'd go in Philly when I was in school in the 70s; Cuz's Little Italy. Great old school Italian place, a mob favorite. I believe that there were a couple of hits there.

Loved the mussels.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Used to go to the Italian-American friendship club on Federal Hill in Providence, R.I. It was next to the porno movie theater. Ground floor restaurant was open to 'guests' , all upper floors strictly members only.

Always at least two large men in tight suits standing around the car park.

Great Italian food though.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thought I'd share another story,this one from my time working at the hotel.

Mountain Oysters :

Here in Nz each year there is a Wild Foods competition among the restaurants country wide which as you can imagine inspires some very creative and interesting dishes. One year we were doing a dish called "Mountain Oysters and Wild herbs" , this dish was coming from my section and one quiet evening I had two on order.

The dish was clean and simple, the only real cooking required was the battering and deep frying of the "oysters". So with two on order I began to batter and deep fry two portions when one of the front desk managers wandered through the kitchen on the way back from the restaurants reservations desk. Seeing some of the deep fried balls sitting there waiting to be plated he decided to ask what they were.

I replied,without thinking " Deep fried oysters"

"Oh yum,I love oysters!" He replied as he proceeded to steal one off my bench.

He quickly ate the "oyster" and then commented "That was delicious, where are those oysters from??"

At this point I began to chuckle along with a few other chefs in the kitchen ,realising that I hadn't explained fully what type of oysters they were. So being the gentleman chef I am I replied:

"Their mountain oysters...."

"Mountain oysters? What are mountain oysters??" He asked

"Sheeps testicles ." I replied as straight faced as I could be.

Now I don't think I've ever seen anyone turn green so fast in my life,the look on his face was absolute disgust as he realised what he'd just eaten. Thankfully at this point the entire kitchen,including myself, erupted in laughter just as he grabbed the nearest rubbish bin and forcibly eject his stomach into it.

Needless to say the gentleman in question took quite a while to live that incident down and it kept the kitchen laughing for a good week after!

  • Like 3


Eat / Drink / Enjoy!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A friend and I went to Grenada, W.I., in the 80s. It was still communist and there weren't many restaurants, but there was a little corner place that served unpretentious honest food, all local, of course. They advertised "lambi stew" one day and I thought it was so cute that they were fond enough of the little lamb to give it a nickname. Ordered it and a big bowl of brothy, tomato-y stew arrived...but it smelled funny. Took a bite and nearly got sick because the lamb had a strong fish smell. Rotten lamb! So disgusting! Until I found out that "lambi" is conch. Once I knew what it was, it tasted fine.

Grenada was also the place where I hung my bikini on the clothesline after a swim, only to have a goat eat it. Got my revenge by eating the goat the next night in a stew. :)

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...