9 Century-old Menus from L.A. Eateries of Yore

A hundred years ago as today, there were times when people just didn't feel like cooking, and instead, when they had the means, availed themselves of the fancier food available in restaurants. Thanks to the LAPL's menu collection, we can easily learn which dishes were trendy a hundred years ago (hint: it's a lot of French stuff and a lot of turtle). They say food trends are cyclical. Think any of the dishes below are likely to become popular again?

This 112-year-old menu for a downtown restaurant brags about its "tender steaks, juicy chops, regal roasts and purest of food." Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection.
Diners at Tait's in 1905 could treat themselves to a mug of the house ale alongside a lunch special that featured salmon with mayonnaise and spaghetti, of all things. Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection.
A 1906 dinner given at the Jonathon Club (yes, it goes that far back) included drink pairings. For the punch course, the pairing is simply noted as "cigarettes." Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection.

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Venice's Cafe de Paris advertised a prix fixe menu featuring soup, "relish," fish, meat, vegetables and dessert in 1911. Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection.
The Mission Indian Grill in the Alexandria Hotel served a huge variety of French-style dishes, including, intriguingly, four kinds of asparagus. Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection.
A private event at the California Club in 1912 featured such delicacies as turtle soup and pigeon. Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection.
The turtle soup trend continued at the Alexandria during this 1912 dinner. Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection.
At downtown's Hotel Clark in 1914, turtle was on the menu as well, this time "a la Maryland," i.e. creamed with sherry and then poured back into the shell for serving. Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection.
Almost a hundred years ago people were already using "ye" to sound old-timey. In 1921, Hollywood's Ye Cake Shoppe advertised, among other things, something called "health bread." Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection.

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