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The Original Nancy Reagan “Chopped” Salad is back at the Hotel Bel-Air! Introduced in the 80s as the “Spa Salad”, it became Mrs. Reagan’s favorite lunch item, and was named after her circa 2000. The former first lady still comes once a month.
But the classic dish disappeared from the menu when the renovated hotel reopened in November 2011. It has been revisited by Wolfgang Puck’s team, and tastes better than ever. Composed of finely chopped romaine, baby gem lettuce, diced tomato, grilled Jidori chicken, diced turkey bacon, avocado and Point Reyes blue cheese tossed in homemade lemon vinaigrette dressing, it is a full meal by itself. It’s not just for ladies who lunch; even businessmen order it!
More lunch menu news: the return of Thai style chicken salad and the Japanese BBQ salmon salad, and the arrival of signature pizza and sandwiches.
The picture behind über-chef Wolfgang Puck and me adorns the wall of one Puck’s many kitchens in Los Angeles. The question is a good one: “What would Wolfgang do?” I think by now the celebrity chef who has catered the Governor’s Ball after the Academy Awards for the past eighteen years really knows what he is doing.
Look at the success of his vast restaurant empire. The latest baby in the basket is simply called Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air. After the massive, two-year renovation of the legendary hotel, there was no room for mistakes. Read my just-published review of the restaurant to see that none were made.
I was not the only one dining at über-chef Wolfgang Puck’s new restaurant at Hotel Bel-Air last night (luckily for the restaurant). The multi-talented Randy Jackson, who has been a judge on American Idol since 2002 — longer than anyone else — was sitting next to me. I had dined with him before, and know he is a gourmet, so I was not surprised to see him there. As we know, he is a tough judge, nice and fair but tough…
My judging of the dinner: very good California cuisine, with precise execution that grants the restaurant a GAYOT.com rating of 16 out 20. Here is the explanation of the GAYOT.com rating system.
For more about Hotel Bel-Air, read my October blog post which I wrote after touring the hotel a few days before it opened.