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Famous People Eat Weird Stuff, And Other Provincial Annotations

This was listed as "atmosphere" from the Johnnie Walker event.
Charlie Gallay
Getty Images
This was listed as "atmosphere" from the Johnnie Walker event.

Every now and then, my random wanderings through file photos from the previous 24 hours bring me to something that makes me pause.

This is apparently the menu from an event referred to in the photo captions as Christina Hendricks Toasts Johnnie Walker Platinum. (It is at least a list of food posted there.) The event was held at the Santa Monica Museum Of Art on Tuesday night.

Here's where a simple photo makes me realize my utter lack of sophistication. I have no idea how to interpret this menu. Is each line a course? Is this just a list of stuff? Are they alternatives? I'm intrigued.

In case you're having trouble reading it, let's go over it.


Hey, I know what that is!

Pine gelee

Like ... "pine," the tree? Pine ... Jell-O, basically?

Blackberry beet-blueberry meringue

It's either this or "blackberry beet" followed by "blueberry meringue." Either one sounds like a waste of perfectly good blackberries, blueberries and meringue.

Cocoa coffee soil

I recently read it wasn't a real cool foodie menu if there wasn't something fashioned as dirt, so there you go.

Hen of the woods butternut squash (or possibly hen of the woods and butternut squash)

At first, I was like, "Hey, I'm no dummy. Chickens don't live in the woods, food people!" But then I learned that hen of the woods is a mushroom. So do NOT order the chicken that lives in the woods. They will laugh at you.

Crab yuzu kosho

Yuzo kosho is Japanese hot sauce; I am assuming it goes with the crab.

Brussel sprout

Check! I mean, it's brussel sprouts (should be Brussels! but isn't), but at least it's not brussel sprout dirt.




I had no idea what this is. I figured it was something inoffensive, sitting there at the end of the line after the apple. It's fish eggs. Burn on me.

Halibut mascarpone onion jam profiterole candied lemon gelee romaine aioli snap pea blue lake(maybe blue lake rabbit?)

I know most of these words; I have no idea how they go together, except that the menu suggests there's such a thing as "romaine aioli," which would imply that romaine lettuce is some sort of flavoring, which, if true, might mean I'm eating the wrong romaine lettuce.

Rabbit, potato...

Yes, yes...

Poblano hooks puree

What is "poblano hooks puree"? Seriously. Does a poblano pepper have a hook? Is it the very tip of the pepper? Is it the stem? Is there something else called "hooks" that you can eat?


Hello, old friend.


To my knowledge, this is a misspelling and shouldn't have the first "i," in which case I know what this is, too. It belongs to the great tradition of fried dough, which I'd much rather have than lettuce aioli, but whatever. Shout-out to state fairs everywhere, even if in this case it's the state of extreme privilege.

Romano bean-dried cherry ... quail?

Do these go all together? Is the bean alone? Is the cherry alone? Are beans mixed with cherries and then combined with a bird?

Deviled egg puree

Wait, a deviled egg already is mostly a puree. Are you just adding the whites? Isn't it just ground up hard boiled eggs, then?

Pinquinto bean

Kyoho grape

Corn nuts

[record scratch]

Candied peanut-beet crepe ... maybe?

Again with the beets with these people.


Pear skin sorbet

Okay, what? Not pear sorbet, just the skin? Ground up skins, where all the bitterness is?


A sweet thing made from goat's milk.

buttermilk vanilla panna cotta

Hey, anybody who's seen Top Chef is not surprised by this at all, except that it always seems to be a dish people get eliminated for. This one was probably better.

Black sesame steamed cake

Having recently had some black sesame ice cream, this mostly just makes me hungry.

Olive oil parfait

You know, I made it almost all the way to the end without letting my tiny mind simply say, "Ew," but ... olive oil parfait? Of what? Please don't say "ice cream."

Lime curd



Such a good word, floating so randomly.

Green tea (twice)

I'm guessing the last thing is actually blackberry-green tea, and then there's regular green tea? Or else they give you two cups of green tea.

Pop rocks

And there it is. This menu just dropped the mic.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.