The "Very Special Julia Child Birthday Dinner."

Really, this blog has been a long time coming.  And to kick off, here’s a story about about our visit to an “exclusive Downtown Los Angeles members-only club” and their appalling attempt to honor Julia Child on her birthday.  To avoid getting slapped with a defamation suit, we’re going to withhold the name of this “exclusive members-only club”, and call it just that — the “exclusive members-only club.”

Being the nerd that I am, I love Julia Child. I think she is absolutely fabulous! I mean, think about it.  An American born and raised woman marries the love of her life and moves to France after volunteering as a research assistant with the US Government during World War II.  Not just that, but she develops a deep and profound love for French cuisine…attends the world-famous Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School…brings French cooking to the US and publishes one of the greatest cooking books of all time, Mastering the Art of French Cooking!!  And not just that….she also received France’s highest honors: the Legion d’Honnuer!  This woman was famous…even amongst the French!!

Now, keep in mind the French are not the biggest fans of foreigners (but we’ll save that for a separate post).   Actually, the French just don’t like outsiders that don’t speak proper French (i.e. moi).

This Incredible American Woman Revolutionized The Culinary World In America!

So obviously, when we find out this “exclusive members-only club” is honoring The Julia Child on her birthday, I (Sabina) am bouncing off the walls! This “Very Special Julia Child Birthday Dinner” was made out to be an extremely intimate event for 15 people, and the menu included some of Julia’s Favorite Recipes:

  • Vichyssoise – Leek & Potato Soup
  • Charcuterie & Fromages with Baguettes – Meats and Cheeses with Baguettes (p.s. if you don’t know what a baguette it, you shouldn’t be here)
  • Salade Nicoise – fancy French Tuna Salad
  • Moules Mariniere & Pommes Frites – Sailor Style Mussels & French Fries (which are not really French; more on this later)
  • Canard a L’Orange – the famous French dish, Duck Breast with Orange Sauce
  • Cotes de Veau – Veal Cutlets with Cream Sauce and Button Mushrooms
  • Gratin Dauphinoise – Scalloped Potatoes
  • Ratatouille – (excitement levels rise above a safe level!)
  • Creme Brulee & Profiteroles – (I can no longer contain my excitement!)

To add to my out-of-safety-zone excitement, this “Very Special Julia Child Birthday Dinner” included a screening of one of my favorite movies, Julie & Julia.  The price of this once-in-a-lifetime evening? Only $80.00 per person!  How could I not beg to go?!  As a result, we registered!

The day of…

So we got to this “exclusive members-only club” in good time only to be told that we were not registered and our names did not appear on the list! However, after showing an email correspondence Simon had with one of their coordinators, we were directed to the bar area.  We waited to be seated for what we were expecting to be a very special, plated dinner. It was not until a little while later when people started to approach a buffet that we realized that this “special dinner for 15 people” (as we were told), was in fact a buffet for about 40 people!  I have to tell you we were surprised, because who the hell pays for an $80/person buffet?! And that didn’t even include a wine-pairing!  Misleading and false advertising if you ask me….

 Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

As to the food…the charcuterie which was supposed to come out with french baguette, came with no bread until we asked 3 different people. 20 minutes later, it came as cold focaccia.  The rest of the food was laid out but none of the candle food warmers were lit, so it was cold by the time we got to eat it.  Thankfully, the staff realized this (perhaps after some whining) and new dishes came out warm and the burners were lit this time.  By the time we got to eat through some of the very sub-par main dishes (the veal cutlet was actually not bad in fairness), the dessert came out.  I’m not sure if these were made in house or not, but the profiteroles tasted like they had been defrosted (gasp!!). And the creme brûlée… actually tasted like deviled eggs. I kid you not…. I had deviled eggs for dessert. Was I really expecting a deliciously sweet, creamy custard??  Silly old me….

By 8:15pm we were wondering how this group of 40 people were going to fit in the “exclusive members-only club” screening room, and then we realized no one had called us to go in and watch the 8pm movie screening.  At this point we had had enough and decided to leave.  When we asked the receptionist when the movie was actually going to start, we were told it had already been on for an hour…apparently no one had decided to inform the “special guests” that the movie started! We walked by the screening room, and there were two old gits sitting inside…half-way through watching one of my favorite food movies! They didn’t even invite me!


Complete Fail… Someone should bring a malpractice suit against this exclusive members-only club as this most certainly was not “an inspired dinner in honor of Julia Child”…

R.I.P. Julia.

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