A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 06, 2007
Cobb Salad (Southwest Cobb Salad; Southwestern Cobb Salad; Texas Cobb Salad)

Cobb salad was created and named after Robert (Bob) Cobb, the owner of the Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles, California. There is some debate as to whether Cobb invented the salad in 1926 (when the Little Hat Derby opened) or in 1937 (when the Brown Derby opened). There is also some debate as to what a “Cobb Salad” is. Citations in 1939 describe a “Brown Derby Chef’s Salad” with ham; a 1949 citation includes chicken and bacon. Early recipes show Cobb salad served with French dressing.

“Texas Cobb Salad” has been a menu item on several restaurants. Chili’s offers a “Southwestern Cobb Salad” and Applebee’s offers a “Southwest Cobb Salad.” The Chili’s salad includes pico de gallo and substitutes avocado-ranch dressing for the more usual French dressing. The Applebee’s salad includes chipotle chicken and black beans and is served with cilantro-ranch dressing.


Wikipedia: Cobb Salad
The Cobb salad was a signature menu item of the legendary Brown Derby in Hollywood, a landmark restaurant in Los Angeles, California. Variations of the salad are now served in restaurants world-wide. The original recipe contained:

Lettuce (head lettuce, watercress, chicory, and romaine)
Tomatoes
Crisp bacon
Chicken breast
Hard-cooked eggs
Avocado
Roquefort cheese
Chives
Special Cobb salad vinaigrette

The salad was presented to the customer on a plate, then chopped fine with knives before serving.

In 1937, Brown Derby owner Robert H. Cobb went into the restaurant’s kitchen to fix a late night snack for Sid Grauman, operator of the Chinese Theater of the same name. He combed the refrigerator for what ingredients he could find and chopped them up finely because Grauman was suffering from a terrible toothache. Thus, the Cobb salad was born. From then on, Grauman would always request that a Cobb salad be prepared for him. The news about this wonderful creation spread quickly throughout Hollywood making it an instant hit, therefore it was added to the menu.

Wikipedia: Brown Derby
The Brown Derby was a landmark restaurant in Los Angeles frequented by celebrities during the Golden Age of Hollywood. It was an example of novelty architecture, known for being physically shaped like a brown derby hat. It was the first restaurant to serve chiffon cake, a soon-to-be famous recipe invented by insurance salesman Harry Baker and later picked up by Betty Crocker. It is the home of hundreds of caricatures of celebrities.

The single greatest legacy recipe of the Brown Derby is the Cobb Salad. It was invented by and named after Bob Cobb, one of the owners of the Brown Derby. According to Bob’s wife Sally, Bob basically raided the fridge late one night at the restaurant and chopped up some left-overs for his dinner. Some of his Hollywood friends, including Jack Warner, Sid Grauman, Wilson Mizner, and Gene Fowler stopped by the restaurant that night and, curious about Bob’s creation, joined him. They then began to ask for it on later visits, and the rest was history.

Chili’s
SOUTHWESTERN COBB
Boneless crispy chicken breast with corn relish, applewood smoked bacon, diced eggs, mixed cheeses and fresh pico de gallo. Served with our avocado-ranch dressing.
$7.99

Cooks.com
TEXAS COBB SALAD
Head iceberg lettuce, finely chopped
Bunch watercress, finely chopped
1 sm. chicory, finely chopped (or any leaf lettuce)
3 tbsp. minced fresh chives
3 sm. tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
2 c. cooked white chicken, finely chopped
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped
3 oz. crumbled blue cheese
1 avocado, finely chopped

DRESSING:
1 1/3 c. olive oil
2/3 c. white wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Prepare greens and refrigerate in plastic bags until ready to use. Combine dressing ingredients in a jar. Shake well and refrigerate overnight. Remove garlic and discard. When ready to serve, toss greens and other salad ingredients in a large salad bowl. Shake dressing vigorously and pour half of it over salad. Toss gently. Add more dressing if desired. Or serve dressing separately.

Hilton (Austin, TX Airport)
Texas Cobb Salad
smoked chicken, smoked bacon, pico de gallo, diced egg, pepper jack cheese, avocado
9.95

Jake’s Dixie Roadhouse (Waltham, MA)
Texas Cobb Salad $8.95
chicken (served cold), romaine, red onion, tomatoes, cucumbers, jackcheese, bacon, and blue cheese dressing on the side

16 January 1936, Los Angeles (CA) Times, pg. A5:
To illustrate her talk, Miss Manners has arranged with the Vine-street Brown Derby for an exhibit of one of their celebrated Continental buffets.  A copper buffet wagon will display the viands, which will include lobster Parisienne; paprika chicken; crown of lamb; bouquetiere; chicken salad Derby; sauce Bouillabaisse and gateux fantasie.
(No “Cobb Salad”—ed.)

20 March 1939, Los Angeles (CA) Times, pg. A5:
...Times Home Institute classes.  Appearing there will be Mr. Rector’s baked ham in Easter garnish, a black bottom pie, designed by Henri Bassetti of the Ambassador Hotel, Chef Gus Wasser of the Biltmore’s Dundee cake and the salad which has become the favorite of Brown Derby patrons.
(...)(Pg. A6—ed.)
For example you’ll learn how to mix a Brown Derby Chef’s Salad...the Ambassador Hotel’s celebrated Black Bottom Pie...and then the Dundee Cake the Biltmore patrons rave about.

27 March 1939, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “More Chefs’ Secrets Revealed for Today’s Menu” by Marian Manners, pt. 2, pg. 6, cols. 3-4: 
BROWN DERBY CHEF’S SALAD
Pull leaves from two medium sized heads of lettuce and remove heavy center veins. Chop three hearts celery finely with one bunch each of watercress and chicory. Add one cup diced baked ham.  Peel and quarter three tomatoes. Rub bowl with cut garlic and make French dressing by beating together juice of one lemon, one-half cup olive oil and one-half teaspoon mixed vegetable salts. Toss greens in bowl with dressing with other ingredients. Garnish with sliced hard-cooked eggs and parsley and serve in bowl. Serves six for dinner or four for luncheon.

3 January 1947, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Confidentially” by Lucille Leimert, pg. A6:
Two portions of Cobb salad they thought would be enough for the three of us.
(At the Brown Derby restaurant.—ed.)

Dining Out in Hollywood and Los Angeles
by Craig Davidson
Assisted by Harry Mynatt
Los Angeles, CA
1949
Pg. 19: (Brown Derby restaurant—ed.)
...and all the salads, with special mention of the Cobb salad, a fine chopped mixed green with chicken, tomato, eggs, bacon, avocado, roquefort cheese, chives, and French dressing.

18 December 1958, Long Beach (CA) Independent, pg. C3, col. 2:
One afternoon, Bavasi showed up at a luncheon. When it got started, the broadcasters would have much preferred chewing on Buzzie than on Bob Cobb’s Brown Derby salad.

31 August 1961, Sheboygan (WI) Press, pg. 4, col. 2:
The Brown Derby’s special is the Cobb salad, name after bossman Bob Cobb. It’s great for people too tired to chew, because it’s all chopped fine as confetti.

Here are the items that go on the chopping block: 1/2 head lettuce, 1/2 bunch watercress, small bunch chickory, 1/2 head romaine, two medium peeled tomatoes, two boiled breasts of chicken and strips of crisp bacon, an avocado, three hard-boiled eggs, two tablespoons chive, 1/2 cup grated roquefort cheese.

Put it all together with an old-fashioned French dressing and you’ve got a fabulous salad for four.

17 June 1962, Pasadena (CA) Independent Star-News, Scene, pg. 11, col. 3:
SUNSET SALAD BOOK.
(...)
One of the most intriguing is the Cobb Salad, made famous by the Brown Derby restaurants, and vice versa:

COBB SALAD
1 large head lettuce
1 bunch water cress
3 hard-cooked eggs
12 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled (1 cup)
1/2 cup crumbled Roquefort or blue cheese
4 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled
2 medium-sized avocados
2 boned cooked chicken breasts
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Butter lettuce
French dressing

Using the large blade of a food chopper or a French knife or cutting tool, coarsely chop the lettuce, water cress leaves (omit stems), hard-cooked eggs, bacon, cheese, tomatoes, avocados, chicken and chives. Line plates with butter lettuce and pile salad on the plates, peaking it up. Garnish with olives, radishes and avocado slices, if desired. Pass the dressing. Makes four servings.

10 August 1964, Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette, pg. 11, col. 4:
I lunched with Celeste Holm at the Brown Derby. When in New York, she longs for a Bob Cobb salad.

27 June 1967, Billings (MT) Gazette, “Local Flavor: Cobb Salad,” pg. 9, col. 7:
Inventor of today’s salad is a former Billings resident for whom Cobb Field is named.

He’s Robert H. Cobb, baseball fan and owner of Brown Derby restaurants in the Los Angeles area. He created the salad 40 years ago when he owned the Little Hat Derby, predecessor of the famed Brown Derby.
(...)
Cobb Salad is a wonderful meal-in-a-salad bowl—a gourmet combination of cooked chicken pieces, avocado slices, hard cooked eggs and crisp bacon lightly tossed with a creamy French dressing.

The delicate, somewhat bland flavors of chicken, avocado and egg require a piquant salad dressing to give them a lift. Tabasco liquid red pepper seasoning, a familiar condiment in all popular dining places, adds just the zest needed in the dressing to make the salad sparkle.

30 October 1992, Chicago (IL) Daily Herald, section 5, pg. 3, col. 3:
Lunch will be a choice of Southwestern cobb salad…

Google Groups: alt.vacation.las-vegas
Newsgroups: alt.vacation.las-vegas
From: David Berman
Date: 17 Dec 2000 04:36:41 GMT
Local: Sat, Dec 16 2000 11:36 pm
Subject: Trumpets Restaurant

I also like the southwestern cobb salad, composed of grilled breast of chicken pieces, applewood smoked bacon, goat cheese, tomato, olives and pinenuts over field greens with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Google Groups: alt.support.diet.low-carb
Newsgroups: alt.support.diet.low-carb
From: “ADC”
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 21:00:27 -0500
Local: Thurs, Jun 12 2003 9:00 pm
Subject: Re: fridays/chili’s

At Chili’s, I almost always get the southwestern cobb salad and ask for some modificatinos:
1. Grilled instead of fried chicken
2. Leave off pico de gallo and corn relish
3. Add extra egg and bacon, to make up for what they left off (never a
surcharge)
4. Get blue cheese instead of avacado ranch.  ummmmmm.

Google Groups: alt.travel.new-orelans
Newsgroups: alt.travel.new-orleans
From: “Cajun Gwailo”
Date: Sun, 03 Aug 2003 03:36:40 GMT
Local: Sat, Aug 2 2003 10:36 pm
Subject: New 24/7 restaurant in the Big Easy

Lighter appetites are appeased with an extensive “international” salad selection, including a Seared Tuna, Roasted Chinese Chicken, Brazilian Churrasco, Texas Cobb, Herb Crusted Salmon, and traditional Caesar.  The ample portions are priced from 7.95 - 9.95.

Applebee’s
OVERLAND PARK, Kan., April 24, 2006 – Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar (Nasdaq: APPB) is gearing up for swimsuit season. Figuratively speaking, of course. The nation’s largest casual dining chain is freshening up its menu today with the introduction of its Southwest Cobb Salad, the latest addition to the Weight Watchers-branded portion…
(...)
The Southwest Cobb Salad consists of grilled chipotle chicken, shredded cheese, broccoli, dice tomatoes, shredded carrots, corn and black beans served on a bed of mixed greens. It is served with a side of cilantro ranch dressing.

(Trademark)
Word Mark COBB SALAD
Goods and Services (ABANDONED) IC 042. US 100. G & S: RESTAURANT SERVICES FEATURING A SPECIALLY PREPARED SALAD AND HOTEL. FIRST USE: 19371000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19371000
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 73366702
Filing Date May 26, 1982
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Owner (APPLICANT) SCHARFE, WALTER P. INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES 1628 VINE ST. HOLLYWOOD CALIFORNIA 90028
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
Abandonment Date July 11, 1984

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Tuesday, November 06, 2007 • Permalink