Tuesday, April 09, 2019

"Gourmet" Menu, Disneyland Hotel - August 1963

Here's a fun and unusual vintage Disneyland Hotel souvenir... it's a genuine menu from the hotel's Gourmet restaurant, from August 1963. I assume that this design wasn't used for very long, since I haven't seen another one like it (perhaps you have!).

The cover design echoes the ornamental "erector set"-style steel girders that were part of the hotel's look - although the actual holes in the girders were hexagonal rather than circular. Still, it gave the graphic designer a place to put some line art showing a few of the amenities available at the hotel. Like a freakin' Monorail! I also love the winding background artwork, with an Adventureland theme for the upper part, and Fantasyland and Frontierland lower down. Tomorrowland can just go to hell!

What good is a menu if it doesn't tell you what you can order? No darn good at all! Luckily those Disney folks thought of everything.

Appetizers and Tonight's Specials: I have no idea what "jellied madrilene" is, and unfortunately there is no way too look it up. My best guess is that a madrilene is a cat. 

Marinated herring? Maybe for my dad. Chopped chicken livers? Manhattan clam chowder, but not New England clam chowder? Eh, just give me the French onion soup.

Wonder what the "Disneyland garni" was for spaghetti Neopolitan? Possibly an attraction poster rolled up and stuck into the pasta. Sopa homoca, that's a new one on me - but I don't get out much. Um, waiter, am I to understand that this restaurant doesn't serve chicken strips or hot dogs?

There's not much for the non-meat eaters, but I presume that there weren't that many to worry about in 1963. Mr. X would go for the ground round steak, I'll bet! The steak sandwich sounds good to me. And how about a butterscotch sundae for dessert? I would like one of each of these items, except for the cantaloupe (I don't care for melon of any kind - yet another of my weirdnesses). 

It might be time for all of us to get something to eat.


TokyoMagic! said...

Major, that's a super neato piece of DL Hotel ephemera!

As for Tomorrowland going to hell, that actually happened in 1998!

And I also don't like melon of any kind! Never have. Never will!


Nothing makes you loose your appetite faster than seeing the words DISJOINTED SPRING CHICKEN in a menu!! Awesome menu cover art!

Chuck said...

The Tomorrowland graphics are hidden behind the girder.

"Disjointed spring chicken"...I'm imagining a stiff-limbed poultry made of slinkys.

I met a guy last weekend who is allergic to watermelon. He pre-doses himself with Benadryl and eats it anyway.

Stefano said...

Oh, to be a kid in 1963, staying at the Disneyland Hotel and ringing up room service for all the deserts listed, except cantaloupe.

Taking inflation into account, I wonder how these prices compare with what the park and hotel charge today.

Melissa said...

Watermelon tastes too much like water. And nothing says class like chasing your Chateaubriand down with a hearty helping of Jell-O and whipped cream.

JC Shannon said...

Lets pork! With prices like these, I am in Disney heaven. I had no idea we had so many melon haters in GDBland. In the fifties and sixties melon was all the rage as a diet dessert. My mom, who was on a perpetual diet, ate it all the time, a half a cantaloupe with cottage cheese in the center was often her lunch as well. The graphics on the menu are to die for. Trust me, you don't want to know what madriline is, and you sure don't want to eat it. After dinner, lets all meet at the Top of the Park for martinis. Hup! Thanks Major.

Nanook said...

Nothing says the 1950’s or 1960’s more than these menu options. They’re barely about one step removed from all those ‘handy’ menu suggestions that were compiled in “The Gallery of Regrettable Food” - which I would strongly-suggest seeking out, if you’ve the stomach for it. (Pickled Python, anyone-??)

On the other hand, I love looking at old menus, and the addition of the Disneyland Hotel artwork is a wonderful bonus.

Thanks, Major.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Major, what a find. I am so hungry now, and it's a long time till lunch.

I would start with the jellied madrilene, which is a kind of cold consomme' (soup broth) chilled in a mold (in hot weather, a cold consomme' is quite fine), or maybe the Celery Victor, which is a San Francisco favorite, originating in the St. Francis Hotel. I'd like a glass of a very dry white wine with that, something Italian, Pinot Bianco from Alto Adige or Pinot Grigio from Veneto.

Then go for that planked ground round with the piped mashed potatoes and the broiled tomatoes. This should be accompanied with a good sound Valpolicella; a Sant Ambrogio would be nice.

Definitely closing out with the butterscotch pudding and a nice glass of Kentucky bourbon. Then a long walk around the grounds with a cigar, although in 1963, I could smoke in the bar.

Wow, what a trip back. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

The Hotel was one of the best spots in the county for food at that time. Despite the diversity, the ground round was my favorite when it was smothered in mushroom sauce. Yum! KS

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I guess they did kind of murder Tomorrowland in ’98, didn’t they? Sad trombone. Melon haters unite!

Mike Cozart, I didn’t notice that one, but you’re right, “Disjointed spring chicken” is not the most appetizing way to describe an entree. The next item should be “Strangled duck”.

Chuck, that is one of those “partially obstructed” views like I always get at the ballpark. I’m lucky to have no allergies (or at least none that affect my life on a daily basis), my poor brother is allergic to everything. I wonder if he could do the benadryl trick and finally enjoy an avocado?

Stefano, I dreamed of staying at the Disneyland Hotel when I was a kid, but it never happened. I always imagined looking out my window at night and watching the fireworks, but in reality I would have wanted to be in the park for that spectacle.

Jonathan, I admit that I am surprised at the number of melon haters. I thought I was the only one. I remember all the ads for weight loss products that always had a scoop of cottage cheese on something (I’m not that crazy about cottage cheese either!). My mom might have had diet pills - heaven only knows what was in those things! “The good stuff”, as William S. Burroughs might have said. Let’s get GURRTINIS at the Top of the Park!

Nanook, “pickled python”… heck, I’d try it, but admit that it would mostly be for the great story I could tell at parties later. I sort of love how different the fare on these old menus is - it reminds me of the country club that my grandparents belonged to. So old school. If you didn’t like steak and lobster, you were out of luck.

JG, I finally did look up “madrilene”, wonder why they didn’t just say “consomm√©”? My mom would give us mugs of consomm√© with some hot sauce and lemon juice when we had colds or sore throats, we loved it. “Celery Victor” was another item that stood out to me, I still have no idea what that is. Sorry, JG, you can’t have wine, dry or otherwise, at Disneyland! (Well, maybe NOW you can). How about a steak grilled on rock salt? I’ve never had it, but watched it being prepared on YouTube.

KS, things have gotten a lot more “casual” in 2019, I imagine people dressed up to some degree when they had dinner at Le Gourmet in 1963.

Stu29573 said...

Interesting how the meals included the beverage. Ill take a Sirloin, please! Oh, and I LOVE melon. Except growing them. We grew watermelons last summer and they totally took over the back yard. Then they all got attitudes and started talking smack to the dog. Not pretty.

Dean Finder said...

Came here to post a comment about the Gallery of regrettable food, and found and Nanook beat me to it.
Here it is anyway: http://lileks.com/institute/gallery/

Major Pepperidge said...

Stu29573, most of the main courses sound pretty tasty to me; a sirloin would be nice. I realize that my dislike of melon is not the usual; when I see people eating cool slices of watermelon on a hot summer day, I wish that I liked it more!

Dean Finder, ah, Lileks, I used to look at that site all the time; but it’s been years now. I guess that’s why the “Gallery of Regrettable Food” sounded familiar. Thank you for the link.

TokyoMagic! said...

Melissa hit the nail on the head! Watermelon tastes so much like water, that I want to know what the point of eating it is?

"Disjointed chicken" makes me think of Gary Larson's Far Side cartoon of the "Boneless Chicken Ranch," with the limp chickens all around.

Melissa said...

You know how they get the water in the watermelon?
They plant them in the spring.
(I'll get my coat.)

Anonymous said...

Major, I think the Gourmet designation for this menu is a connection to Gourmet Magazine, is this correct?

I can't imagine a restaurant with a menu like this not having a wine list, even in 1963, especially when connected with Gourmet. And the DL Hotel had two bars. I'm sure the included beverages were coffee, tea or milk, soda pop, etc.

"Madrilene" indicates that the broth has tomato in it, so not basic consomme', but a "plussed" type appropriate for Disneyland. I'm a big fan of consomme' in general, and especially when ill. A hot cup of broth is soothing in ways few foods can match. Pour a beaten egg into it and let the egg cook in the hot broth and all your troubles vanish till the cup is empty.

Celery Victor is a dish invented by Victor Hirtzler, chef at the St. Francis Hotel on Union Square. Celery is cooked in broth till soft, chilled and served with an oil and vinegar dressing. The classic topping is a sieved boiled egg.

I love a rock salt grilled steak, and most food in general. Please post more classic menus if possible.