As an editorial assistant in the L.A. bureau of Premiere Magazine in the 1990s, I came to learn about the importance of the lunch.
It’s what agents, publicists, studio executives and media schlubs covering the biz did as part of their work-a-day. Even when deadlines loomed large, the senior writers and my boss, the bureau chief, stepped away from their keyboards for their lunch dates at various hot spots around town.
It’s the power lunch — where deals are made, careers launch (or die) and alliances are formed. Where information is learned ‘on background’ and the rumor mill churns. Remember the Hollywood tell-all You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again? Lunch is important.
One of my boss’s favorite spots was a bustling, upscale place called Il Moro on Olympic Boulevard. It wasn’t as A-list as The Grill in Beverly Hills but it was acceptable and close to our West L.A. office.
One day, the whole staff went. Some editors from New York must have been in town. I can’t remember. What I DO remember is the pumpkin soup I had on that crisp fall day on that white-tablecloth patio. My pricey pumpkin soup starter was set before me in an actual hollowed-out pumpkin. Not some ceramic tureen. An honest to God gourd plucked from some Malibu pumpkin patch.
The pumpkin bowl had been roasted just long enough to soften and rumple slightly but still do the job of containing my soup, which was a warm golden yellow bisque that glowed like the inside of a pumpkin on your front stoop at Halloween.
It was rich and sweet and velvety smooth, with a tiny swirl of cream in the center.
I’ve not had a soup like that since. But this week I was reminded of it when I sat down to a bowl of Triple Squash Soup from Whole Foods. The label says it’s made from pumpkin, acorn squash and butternut squash.
I enjoyed this warm, satisfying lunch at my desk, in a windowless cube. It was served in a pink Tupperware container that had been microwaved in the kitchenette on our floor. A long way from Il Moro’s patio but not bad at all.