In the interest of Culinary Vicariousness, we are exploring and presenting to you the Strictly Gustatory Adventures of world-renowned super-spy James Bond, as recorded in the novels of Commander Ian Fleming.
Diamonds Are Forever
He shrugged his shoulders and waited for the steward to wheel round the tray of cocktails and the caviar and smoked salmon canapés.
Steak and champagne for dinner, and the wonderful goblet of hot coffee laced with Irish whiskey and topped with half an inch of thick cream.
There was a medium dry Martini with a piece of lemon peel waiting for him. Bond smiled at Leiter’s memory and tasted it. It was excellent, but he didn’t recognize the Vermouth.
The smoked salmon was from Nova Scotia and a poor substitute for the product of Scotland, but the Brizzola was all that Leiter had said, so tender that Bond could cut it with a fork. He finished his lunch with half an avocado with French dressing and then dawdled over his Espresso.
The waiter brought the Martinis, shaken and not stirred, as Bond had stipulated, and some slivers of lemon peel in a wine glass. Bond twisted two of them and let them sink to the bottom of his drink.
And then the waiter came with the caviar, and suddenly the noise of the restaurant burst into the warm, silent room-within-a-room which they had built for themselves, and the spell was broken.
Bond sat back. The wine waiter brought the champagne and Bond tasted it.
They were interrupted again by the arrival of the cutlets, accompanied by asparagus with mousseline sauce, and one of the famous Kriendlar brothers who have owned “21” ever since it was the best speak-easy in New York.
Tiffany ordered a Stinger made with white creme de menthe and Bond ordered the same.
Bond sent the cable “Collect” via Western Union, had his fourth shower of the day and went to Voisin’s where he had two Vodka Martinis, Oeufs Benedict and strawberries.
But the scrambled eggs and sausages and hot buttered rye toast and the Millers Highlife beer came quickly and were good, and so was the iced coffee that followed it, and with their second glass they got away from “shop” and their private lives and got on to Saratoga.
Bond took a shower and changed and walked down the road and had two Bourbon old-fashioneds and the Chicken Dinner at $2.80 in the air-conditioned eating house that was as typical of “the American way fo life” as the motel.
He walked home with the crowds, had a shower and some sleep and then found his way to a restaurant near the sales ring and spent an hour drinking the drink that Leiter had told him was fashionable in racing circles—Bourbon and branch-water.
Then he ate an adequate steak and, after a final Bourbon, walked over to the sales ring, which Leiter had fixed as a rendezvous.
“It’s good that we can have a meal together again,” said Leiter. “You’ve never eaten broiled Maine lobster with melted butter like they do it here.”
They had a corner table to themselves and Leiter told the head waiter not to hurry with the lobsters but to bring two very dry Martinis made with Cresta Blanca Vermouth.
The whisky came. “I shall miss you out there, Felix,” said Bond, glad to get away from his thoughts.
Bond sat at the long bar of the Tiara and sipped a Vodka Martini and examined the great gambling room with a professional eye.
After ten minutes, a waitress appeared and put a roll on his plate and a square of butter. She also set down a dish containing olives and some celery lined with orange cheese.
Twenty minutes after he had sat down, Bond was able to order a dozen cherrystone clams and a steak, and, since he expected a further long pause, a second Vodka dry Martini.
Bond felt a pang of jealousy. He walked over to the bar and ordered himself a Bourbon and branch-water to celebrate the five thousand in his pocket.
The barman produced a corked bottle of water and put it beside Bond’s “Old Grandad.”
Bond half turned his head. “Bourbon and branch-water,” he said. “Half and half.”
Bond laughed. He signalled to the waiter and ordered Vodka dry Martinis with lemon peel.
Bond filled a glass with champagne and spread a lot of the Béarnaise on a piece of steak and munched it carefully.
Previous installments of this series may be found here.