City Commissioner Randy Leonard has managed to warm my heart this evening by posting a recipe for Caesar Salad on his blog. It takes guts, I think, to be so open with a critical public, and I'm grateful that the fellow has taken to writing recipes—especially ones with such charming and evocative personal histories attached. More, please, Commissioner. Matt Davis loves your soft side.

When I was 17 years old and a senior at Grant High School, I worked after school and on week-ends at what was then considered to be one of Portland’s most elegant restaurants, The Top of The Cosmo, located in the Cosmopolitan Hotel on NE Martin Luther King Blvd., Jr. and Holiday.

Its placement on the eastside of the Willamette at the top of the hotel gave it a view unequaled of the downtown Portland skyline.

One of my duties as a waiter’s assistant (OK…busboy) was to assist in the making of a Caesar Salad made from scratch at the diner’s table. The waiter would mix ingredients, stir and drop in an egg. He would prepare the salad and then place if from his mixing bowl onto each customer’s dish.

I would remove the mixing cart back to the kitchen. Invariably, there would remain a small amount of salad at the bottom of the mixing bowl. I would get a fork and savor each of the last couple of bites that remained. I had never eaten anything so delicious.

Over the years, I looked and looked for recipes that matched the splendor that was the “Top of The Cosmo” Caesar. In restaurants around the United States, I would order their Caesar and would be consistently disappointed.

Finally, about 12 years ago, I stumbled across the exact recipe. My wife and I now make the infamous “Top of The Cosmo” Caesar at least once a month.

Although we at times take the easy way out and buy store bought croutons, I encourage you to make your own. It is easy and they are wonderful.


I'm grinning ear to ear, after reading that. Now, you'll have to head over to his blog for the actual recipe. Perhaps a third career beckons as an internet chef?