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In the glory days of the big studios — from the late twenties through the early forties — Los Angeles was pretty much a steak-and-Stroganoff kind of town. The cooking was either geared to male bonding and dealmaking (“Make it a porterhouse, waiter, well-done!”) or pour l’amour (“A champagne cocktail for the lady — and a double martini for me”). Needless to say, the settings were often pure faux. Think a vaguely Russian palace as imagined by a studio art director. Think brown derbies and Chinese theaters, Sunset Boulevard and Gloria Swanson — you get the picture.

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