Board with food? Bowled over??

When Cole porter wrote "Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today" in 1934 and Ethel Waters recorded the first version, the legendary Polo Lounge McCarthy Salad at the Beverly Hills Hotel had not been created. It was first served in 1941, when it was created for frequent guest and local polo player Neil McCarthy. It’s been on the menu ever since, and the hotel serves nearly 600 McCarthy Salads each week. At $45 a pop it makes you wonder. Everyone knows you aren’t paying $45 for the contents of the dish, you are paying for the experience, and of course, the Beverly Hills zip code. For 80 years the Polo Lounge has been considered “Hollywood’s commissary”. Its legendary history and time relevance offers diners a rare experience of looking forward and backward all at once. To dine at the Polo Lounge is to be connected with Hollywood's earliest days, its Golden Era, and a bright future. Watch as the booths fill up with wrinkly producers and rail-thin actresses, and soak up a Golden Globe of atmosphere. If you ask any acclaimed restaurateur they will tell you that these type of salads came about because so many "Ladies who lunch" were taking salads and starters as main courses at lunch-time so a Californian style substantial main course salad seemed to be the answer, and fits in with a good restaurant ethos of offering as many different types of meal as possible.
everything you might need to make-an instagram worthy "board"

In todays social media obsessed world every savvy pointer you need to make an instagram worthy salad is there for the taking. The humble cheese and charcuterie board has reached new, wild heights. They have even been called “grazing tables”!!!!. "Board food", is a concept that has gone beyond meat and cheese. Everything seems to be served on boards slates, tiles or platters these days. These "plates"—sometimes called charcuterie platters, or when in Spain or Portugal "tabuas" or "planchas" are no longer cheese boards as you might know them, with a hunk of Cheddar and maybe a wedge of Stilton, a few Carr’s crackers, and sliced apples. They are cornucopias: edible landscapes of Gouda or Gruyère; “salami rivers” (definitely check this out on Pinterest and TikTok); constellations of nuts, fruits, crackers, dips, and bread. At their most extravagant, these “plates” are entire tables so laden that you can scarcely see the wood for the cheese. There are date-night cheese plates, boards for one, medieval-banquet-style platters, and dairy-free boards veganised to partner cashew cheese with dragon fruit, Persian cucumbers, and, inexplicably, blue thistle flowers. Making a good salad these days is less about composing and more about curating, and despite what the maximalist charcuterie boards taking over Instagram might have you believe, you don’t need a fridge full of dips or a hidden cache of sourdough. Start with whatever stray produce is hanging out in the salad drawer, grab a few sauces dips or condiments, and go where your pantry takes you. Some nights, we immerse ourselves in simmering vats of pasta sauce and roll out curry laden chapatis. At times when we might well be 
sick of doing dishes and standing over the stove, we assemble a simple salad like this.

The original  (Photo courtesy of The Beverly Hills Hotel)
Don't get me wrong I love a good chef´s salad. Cobb salad, chopped salad or chef´s salad, call it what you will, but on a sultry summers day in the garden this is the sort of dish that for most people would make the anxious present disappear into insignificance and perhaps transport them to another time another place.This is perfect poolside food if you have one. Imagine you are enjoying a power lunch surrounded by celebrities and Hollywood A-listers at the hotel’s famous Polo Lounge! It would be churlish not to! When I am in hope of a good luncheon out, subpar chicken caesar salad often comes to mind and that scene from The Help where the group of frenemies get together to play bridge and catch up on the latest gossip. Today, lets ditch the bridge and subpar chicken caesar, keep the gossip, but make a fun and modern lunch for the ladies who do! 
Our verdict: I followed the original recipe from the hotel including the dressing and our verdict was that we very much doubts that these ladies could manage such an enormous bowl of salad and that many a plate must come back to the kitchen merely pecked at .It was more than enough for three people with leftovers.I was more enamoured than the thespian and enjoyed toying with all the different constituents apart from the cheese which I felt had no place there at all. The thespian said it seemed like dish that people who who cant decide what to eat would order, and as an added bonus could spoon feed the ankle biter from their plate. My added suggestion is to make the salad and pour yourself a tall glass of champagne .Hey ho that's Hollywood  for you.

The "8 euro" version of the McCarthy salad
1 cup romaine, shredded
1 cup iceberg, shredded
1/2 cup free range grilled chicken, diced
1/4 cup tomato,concasse (cored and diced)
1/2 cup roasted beetsoot, diced
1 chopped hard boiled egg, per portion
1/4 cup crispy bacon, diced
1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, diced
1/2 avocado
Flor de sal / pepper to serve
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, roasted
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Flor de sal / pepper
To roast the garlic for the dressing, peel the cloves and drizzle with olive oil in tin foil. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes until soft. Assemble your salad starting with amount of lettuce on the bottom. Whisk or blend together dressing ingredients and pour over your salad. Top with Flor de sal and pepper. Enjoy!!! Makes 1 serving.


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