The Waldorf Salad: History, New Twists on a Classic + a Refresh Recipe Contest

The Waldorf salad has a history almost as storied as that of its namesake hotel, and it is an enduring item on the menus at Bull & Bear Steakhouse, Oscar’s, and Peacock Alley at the Waldorf Astoria in New YorkDive into the salad’s delicious past and learn about new dishes and drink inspired by this sublime salad. Then, get details on the “California Walnuts Waldorf Salad Refresh Recipe Contest” happening on Pinterest for a chance to win $5,000 and a trip to New York City — and to have your recipe featured on the legendary Waldorf Astoria menu!

When I was growing up, my maternal grandmother kept a framed illustration of a Waldorf salad recipe on the wall of her cozy Bronx kitchen. Even though her picture dated back to the seventies, my younger self was surprised to learn the dish predated it by many decades. My nana, as we called her, never made me the apple-celery-walnut-and-mayonnaise salad in the picture, but when I first sampled a forkful of its crisp, cool, and creamy goodness at a restaurant, I was hooked, just like other eaters have been for more than a century. It reminded me of a sweet-ish version of another culinary stalwart I adore: the savory Olivier salad with its diced potatoes, carrots, peas, and — yep! — mayonnaise. Olivier salad dates from the mid-nineteenth century, and it’s entirely plausible that it inspired the Waldorf salad thirty short years later.

Waldorf Salad 001 blog copy

Just three years after the Waldorf Hotel opened its doors in 1893 in its original location, and a year prior to joining with the Astoria Hotel (connected then by Peacock Alley), maître d’hôtel Oscar Tschirsky (1866-1950), known as Oscar of the Waldorf, invented the namesake Waldorf salad for its first-ever banquet. The recipe was also included in his cookbook published in the same year. The original recipe, written in a very Escoffier-esque way (pictured above). called for diced apples and celery dressed with mayonnaise. It apparently proved popular with the famed French chef, as he created his own version that, according to current Waldorf Astoria executive chef David Garcelon, included walnuts.

Since the superfood that is walnuts first added their crunch to this beloved salad, the dish has undergone several iterations in the 100 years it has been continuously served on all of the hotel restaurant menus. Garcelon says, “I believe it was my predecessor, chef John Doherty, who added black truffle and used crème fraîche in the dressing, as well as the combination of red and green apples.” Garcelon revisited the recipe again in 2012 — with care and caution. “My foremost concern in refreshing the recipe is that it is, by far, our biggest selling dish in every outlet. So I wanted to update it but not make a drastic change. Also, I think it is important to keep the foundation of the dish rooted in the original version,” he says.

T200 IM5 .1Continue Reading

Get Freaky with Tiki: 11 Tiki Cocktails Approved by the Polynesian Gods

Yum, yum, yum, and a bottle of rum! It usually only takes one look to spot a Tiki cocktail. The brightly hued, over-the-top summery spritzers utilize a rainbow of juices, Polynesian-themed glassware, and colorful garnishes galore. Oh, yeah, and lots and lots of rum, so they’re typically super strong. Warning: You may start drinking one at a stateside bar only to wake up days later on a Mexican beach with no recollection of how you got there. To help you cool down during the hot summertime months, we’ve compiled a list of 11 truly tremendous Tiki cocktails. Whether you wear a Hawaiian shirt or lei while you’re drinking them is totally up to you.

Bird of Prey, Hello Betty Fish House, Oceanside, California
Any cocktail served in a pineapple is A-OK our in book. The Bird of Prey is a buzzy blitz of rum, Campari, pineapple gomme syrup, and lemon juice. Just to clarify: you can’t eat your glass when you’re done with your cocktail.

HELLO BETTY FISH HOUSE - Bird of Prey

Blood of the Kapu Tiki, Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago, Illinois
Shiver our timbers! The gory-sounding-but-delicious Blood of the Kapu Tiki is a heady mix of aged rum, aged rhum agricole, grapefruit, lime, curacao, grenadine, absinthe, and Angostura bitters. “Sharks” swim in the icy slurry, so be careful when you sip.

Three Dots - Blood of the Kapu Tiki_lowres

Holy Terroir, Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, Morristown, New Jersey
We love paper umbrellas. When a cocktail arrives with one of those pretty parasols jutting out from its depths, we suddenly feel like we’re lying underneath a palm tree as an ocean breeze ruffles our hair. There’s one shading the side of the Holy Terroir, which unites rum, lime juice, golden falernum, and bitters.

Jockey Hollow_Holy Terroir

Jamaican Mule, Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar, Rockville, Maryland
Twisting up Tiki tradition, these bartenders put a Spanish accent on their Jamaican Mule. Rum, allspice dram, lime, and ginger beer come together to create a buzzy beachside bevvie.

Jamaican Mule

Lychee, BDK, San Francisco, California
The Lychee cocktail is much more complex than its name implies. It’s made with smoky tea vodka, salted pistachio syrup, lime juice, housemade coconut-lychee milk, rum, and grated ginger. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s coronated with shaved toasted coconut and lime zest, then presented in a ceramic pineapple cup.

The Lychee at BDK Restaurant & Bar

Tai One On, Alder, New York, New York
Bar director Travis Brown wanted to riff on the classic Tiki ‘tail, the Mai Tai. So he swirls together cachaça (a soulmate of rum distilled from sugar cane rather than molasses), lime juice, coconut orgeat, and Angostura bitters. It’s the taste of island living in a glass.

Tai One On

Missionary’s Downfall, Farmers Fishers Bakers, Washington, D.C.
You know any cocktail named Missionary’s Downfall is going to be devilishly good. Remy VSOP and peach cordial are the main stars here, though there’s plenty of rum blended into this slushy sipper. Perfect for those days when it’s hot as hell.

Missionary's Downfall Farmers Fishers BakersContinue Reading

World Cocktail Day: Celebrate Like a Pro with Tips from Morgan Schick of Aaxte

May 13, 1806 marked the day that The Oxford Dictionary published and defined the word cocktail:

Cocktail (noun): An alcoholic drink consisting of a spirit or several spirits mixed with other ingredients, such as fruit juice, lemonade, or cream.”

We celebrate World Cocktail Day each year on the anniversary of that momentous day. But let’s be real; the cocktail has since become more than a simple wedding of ingredients and a flick of the wrist. To shed light on modern day cocktail menus and trends so that you can enjoy World Cocktail Day for all it has to offer, we sat down with Morgan Schick for a drink (or three!), the bar manager of revered San Francisco hotspot Trick Dog and the town’s newest Basque-inspired restaurant and bar Aatxe. A self-proclaimed charmer who openly admits to bringing his own liquor on long flights, Schick, who is part of the Bon Vivants, a nationally recognized cocktail, hospitality, marketing, and design firm, shares his secret recipe for understanding, mixing, and enjoying au courant cocktails.

Trick Dog Blog Size

Have fun! Drinking is about a good time. Schick advises, “Take drinking seriously, but don’t be too serious.” Appreciate the craft and enjoy the art.

Ask the experts. “It’s hard to tell from a cocktail list if a drink will be sweet, sour, or bitter,” says Schick. Don’t hesitate to chat with the bartender, so you can feel confident about exactly what you’re ordering.

Write your own tale. A cocktail is an experience, not a drink. At Trick Dog, menus are conceptually themed and cocktails are named after colors, zodiac signs, and San Francisco landmarks. Give your home-mixed favorite a quirky twist by coining it after a memorable adventure, or order something extra exotic when out to make it a night to remember. Currently, the menu at Trick Dog is Chinese-themed, and anyone who dares to enter may order the Boduolige Shuang. Say what?  Count us in.Continue Reading

Mother’s Day Cocktails: 10 to Try as You Toast Mom

Blog Mom's Day Cocktails Founding Farmers Cucumber Delight copyAs you raise a glass to the special mom in your life on Mother’s Day, we invite you to think beyond the Bloody Mary. We’ve rounded up 10 refreshing craft Mother’s Day cocktails from some of the OpenTable 2015 Top 100 Best Brunch Restaurants in America to make Sunday even more delicious.

1. Absolutely Smashing at Lokal, Chicago, Illinois: Orange vodka, pineapple, and orange juice combine for a decidedly adult way to start the day.

2. The California Cooler at Great Maple, San Diego, California: Strained over ice, this cooler with fresh-pressed watermelon juice, mint, lemon press, agave, and organic Square One cucumber vodka will help you chill out.

3. Cucumber Delight at Founding Farmers, Tysons, Virginia: American Harvest vodka is mixed with the fresh flavors of Domaine de Canton, cucumbers, and cantaloupe (pictured).

4. Dirty Gertie at Gertrude’s, Baltimore, Maryland: Get down with a dirty blend of lemon peel-infused‏‏ Tito’s vodka, ‘dirty Gertie’ mix, Old Bay-dusted shrimp, and an Old Bay-seasoned rim.

5. Duck, Duck, Goose at Echo and Rig Steakhouse & Butcher Shop, Las Vegas, Nevada: With a blend of Ketel​ One Oranje and fresh pomegranate arils, and muddled with fresh lime juice, agave nectar, and mint bitters, this almost sounds like a health drink. Almost.

6. Pimm’s Cup at Rosebud, Atlanta, Georgia: Drink like the royal family with Pimm’s, lemonade, fresh citrus, mint, and cucumber. PS: Don’t forget to raise a glass to Charlotte.

7. Pistol Punsch at Root & Bone, New York, New York:  Sugar moonshine, black tea, cardamom, and pineapple come together for a Southern-style wake-up call on Mother’s Day.Continue Reading