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Are you missing your weekly fix of 3-martini lunches, cigarettes over breakfast, and 1960s fashion? Well, thank goodness, our wait is almost over. After an 18-month hiatus, the 5th season of Mad Man is about to air its debut episode on March 25th, and, from the buzz on the web and throughout the global media, it’s one of the most highly-awaited television events in recent memory.
To properly celebrate the return of Don and Betty, Joan and Roger, and Scotch-fuelled dinners featuring aspic and Beef Wellington, we’re taking a foodie look at the modern-retro dining and drinking trends that Mad Men’s creator Matthew Weiner has inspired, in Manhattan and well beyond…
THE MAD MEN COOKBOOK
If retro dishes like Hearts of Palm Salad, Chicken Kiev and Baked Alaska sound appealing, but your current kitchen library is more geared towards today’s dining trends (hold the butter! no white flour!), there is one authoritative (and cholesterol-raising) volume that you shouldn’t be without. With more than 70 recipes, cultural context behind the popular dishes of the era, and packed with all kinds of period detail, Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin have put together the quintessential guide (The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook) on how to eat like you work on Madison Avenue in the Golden Era of Advertising, or you’re married (or wish you were) to a man that does. For nostalgic foodies, modern-day fans, culinary historians, and anyone who wants to bring a bit of retro-glam to the kitchen.
THE VIRTUAL PARTY
If getting to Manhattan seems unlikely, and you want to take part in the Mad Men madness, check out the Virtual Dinner Party “hosted” by the Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook – open to bloggers, cooks, fans and diners from all over the world. Make sure you’ve got your camera ready to capture the dish you’ve made from their cookbook, and join the dinner table banter on Twitter.
THE 'MAD MEN' TASTING TOUR
Forget the “cosmos” from Sex & The City, it’s time for creme de menthe and Steak Tartare. For New Yorkers and out-of-towners alike, over the years, Mad Men has generated a newfound interest in some of Manhattan’s old- school eating and drinking establishments. While many of the historic places that the characters on the show mention – the Stork Club, Lutece – no longer exist, many of them like Sardi’s, P.J. Clarke’s, and the Grand Central Oyster Bar do – and are enjoying a culinary renaissance. In a recent article, the Associated Press interviewed the duo behind The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook about the best places to enjoy a sidecar cocktail (P.J. Clarke’s, at 3rd Ave & 55th St); and one of the city’s most succulent steaks (Keens Steakhouse, 72 W. 36th St.).
MAD MEN HOSPITALITY
It takes a lot to get New Yorkers excited, so take advantage of the Mad Men frenzy while it lasts. Several Manhattan establishments are offering special seasonal Mad Men packages. The Roosevelt Hotel invites guests to “live a few days in Don Draper’s shoes”, with themed cocktails, take-home Mad Men merchandising, and thoroughly modern luxury for today’s hard-working and hard playing guests. On March 27th, The Pierre (which, in the show, hosted the temporary offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce at the end of season 3) is throwing a party in honour of the new season at the Two E Bar/Lounge in honor of the new season. Fans are invited to dress up in their favourite Mad Men -inspired outfits. Perhaps from the new Banana Republic Collection? Speaking of Banana Republic: if you’re flying in from out of town, be sure to do so on the special edition Mad Men plane from Virgin America, which will team up with Banana Republic to present the fashion label’s Mad Men collection on an in-flight fashion show from JFK to LAX on March 29th.
THE SPECIALTY ICE CREAM FLAVOUR
Is it true, or just a marketing hoax schemed up by today’s web-savvy marketers? Since their fingers (or spoons) seem to be always firmly on the pulse of pop culture, we could easily believe that Ben & Jerry’s has truly decided to launch a new, Mad Men-inspired flavour, named in honour of the sharp-tongued, always-ready-for-a-highball, Roger Sterling. Vulture has suggested the arrival of a new specialty flavour, honouring the show’s return: Sterling Scooper, is the purported flavour’s name, which would be “A Top Shelf Vodka Ice Cream, with Flakes of Sterling’s Gold and Chocolate Cigars”. We’re pretty sure it’s a hoax, but in a perfect world, it would exist.