So excited when George Geary’s book, MADE IN CALIFORNIA: The California-Born Burger Joints, Diners, Fast Food and Restaurants that Changed America arrived in the mail! Why? Because back in 2016 I really enjoyed reading and reviewing his book, L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants, and knew I would learn some amazing history while being treated to archival photographs and restaurant secrets from this new volume!
An even more special treat, the new book came signed by the author! After the signed page I read the dedication on the next, “To my father George L. Geary, who taught me at the age of six to eat a Foster’s Freeze chocolate-dipped cone without messing my shirt.” Ah, don’t think I learned that one!
Now, let’s get into the book! This time I traveled down “Memory Lane” with inside glimpses of:
– See’s Candies: Learned that besides the free samples, they had been one of the first to start international delivery, and while in California where the brand began, one man took it upon himself to do deliveries too – via his motorcycle and in a chauffeur’s uniform. And yes, the famous chocolate shop Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance learned how to make chocolate at, for the infamous scene in an episode of I Love Lucy, was a See’s shop.
– Clifton’s Cafeteria: Before my single mom took us there for the “Turkey Dinner” during Thanksgiving it served many people during the depression for free, had a “pay what you can afford” plan and opened up a “Penny Cafeteria” as well. Later, during the 1940’s they set up a restaurant training school, and after 13 weeks found jobs for their students.
– Foster’s Freeze: The Hawthorne shop location was near where the Beach Boys lived and their song, “Fun, Fun, Fun” pays homage to them with the line, “She cruised through the hamburger stand now.” And I learned that nowadays there are 163 El Pollo Loco restaurants also offering their soft serve.
– Love’s Wood Pit Barbeque: No idea this old favorite haunt of mine on Ventura Blvd. had won a Gold Medal for their BBQ in the California State Fair, the BBQ beans recipe is still a secret held by the Love family, and that all of the locations have closed. If you want a taste of Love’s, Geary reports, try the internet.
– El Torito: Did you know that the name means Little Bull? I didn’t! The restaurant is credited for making the frozen Margarita popular, and buying more tequila to make them than any other restaurant – something else I didn’t know. Many stars visited the location in Toluca Lake, including John Wayne, Gregory Peck and Lana Turner. Glen Bell, of Taco Bell fame, was known to have watched over El Torito as he was planning his own large venture into Mexican dining. Mexican immigrants, counting for most of their staff, train for nine days before hitting the floor and were offered college courses – paid for by restaurant owner Larry Cano – to further their restaurant careers.
– Pup N’ Taco: One of the first fast food joints to offer diet sodas, grape and cherry slushes that were my favorite, along with prices a kid could afford for an afternoon snack in the 1970’s: my favorites, the Chili Dog and Taco, were .29 each! But by 1986 all but three of the locations were bought by Pepsi Co. and had been transformed into Taco Bells. And my favorites were off the menu.
– There are so many more California restaurants in the book that will take you on your own trip down Memory Lane, but I give you no more teasers! Get any more information that you may need below and get your own tasty copy!
Details From the Publisher
“George Geary’s Made in California takes you on a delightful journey down memory lane. It’s a must-read guide for anyone who loves history, food, and California’s culture of innovation. Fortunately, you can still visit many of these iconic locations, so plan your road trip now!”
— LINDA DISHMAN, president and CEO, Los Angeles Conservancy
Made in California Takes Readers on a Delightful Journey of the Restaurants and Diners That Became American Icons
Los Angeles, CA — A&W Root Beer. Foster’s Freeze. IHOP. Der Wienerschnitzel. See’s Candy. Jack in the Box. You name the American food icon, and chances are its roots are in California. But what are their origin stories? Who started the very first branch? Where were the original buildings? What made them famous? And for the few that are no longer around, or that have a smaller footprint than they had in their glory days, what happened to them?
Food historian and chef George Geary answers these questions and more as he takes readers on a sentimental journey of some of America’s most iconic foods in his new book, Made in California: The Burger Joints, Diners, Fast Food & Restaurants that Changed America.
Geary tells the remarkable stories of the early 20th-century food startups that captured America’s hearts and stomachs, from Bob’s Big Boy to McDonald’s, Winchell’s Donuts to In-N-Out, Peet’s Coffee to Taco Bell. Filled with over 200 historic and contemporary photos, Geary succinctly captures the stories of these essential businesses and structures before they are gone forever.
“In my earlier years as a food writer and professional, I would never have admitted to anyone that I actually eat at these establishments,” Geary says. “But after seeing Julia Child eat McDonald’s French fries in person and say that they were her favorite, and after hearing Anthony Bourdain claim that In-N-Out Burger was the best burger around, I knew that I, too, could come out of my kitchen and into the drive-thru. Now I get to celebrate these places in this book.”
Made in California covers such iconic food establishments such as:
– Shakey’s Pizza Parlor
– The Brown Derby
– The International House of Pancakes (IHOP)
– See’s Candies
– Orange Julius
– Marie Callender Pie Shop (Marie Callender’s)
– The Blimp (Carl’s Jr.)
– Hamburger Hamlet
– Burt’s/Snowbird Ice Cream (Baskin-Robbins)
– Van de Kamp’s Holland Dutch Bakery (Van de Kamp’s)
– And many, many more
“In Made in California, George cranks back the time machine to reveal the local origins of foods known around the world, like the McDonald’s cheeseburger or the all-night menu at Denny’s, as well as classics like the Double Cream Lemon Pie at Marie Callender’s, which have remained only-in-California favorites. We find out how the International House of Pancakes went from one modest coffee shop in Burbank to serving up flapjacks from Guatemala to Kuwait.” Chris Nichols, senior editor at Los Angeles magazine.
“This delicious book serves up more than a feast of information—it’s food for the soul of anyone who is hungry for the back stories and glories of California’s classic cuisine, iconic kitchens, famous flavors, and tastiest landmarks.” Charles Phoenix, author of Addicted to Americana and Holiday Jubilee.
Forward by Chris Nichols, senior editor at Los Angeles magazine
Prospect Park Books/An Imprint of Turner Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-945551-91-8 / Ebook ISBN: 9781945551925
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
George Geary is an award-winning chef, best-selling author, and renowned educator. A former pastry chef for the Walt Disney Company, George is a Certified Culinary Professional, and was awarded as the Culinary Educator of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. He is perhaps best known for creating all the cheesecakes for The Golden Girls and other top-rated television programs.
George served as a casting judge for ABC’s The Taste with Anthony Bourdain, The American Baking Competition with Jeff Foxworthy, Hell’s Kitchen, Supermarket Superstar, and many other popular television food shows.
For over thirty years, Geary has been a culinary contest judge for such major food manufacturers as Canola Producers, Veg-All, Hormel Foods, the Hershey Company, Knott’s Berry Farm Foods, Ghirardelli Chocolate, Fleischmann’s Yeast, the San Diego Union Tribune, ABC News, and many more. From 1982 to 2010, George was the culinary coordinator of the Los Angeles County Fair. He was also a popular guest chef on board the Holland America Line’s ships, sailing to over 118 countries and every continent.
George is the author of L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants, Fair Foods: The Most Popular and Offbeat Recipes from America’s State & County Fairs, as well as eleven cookbooks including The Cheesecake Bible, The Complete Baking Cookbook, and 500 Best Sauces, Salad Dressings, Marinades & More. He is a frequent guest on national and local television and lives in the Greater Los Angeles area. For more information visit his website, www.GeorgeGeary.com.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.