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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
George Burns, Winter 94/95

(continued from page 6)

We sold Cohiba, El Rey del Mundo, Rafael Gonzalez, Partagas, Montecristo, Dominican Davidoffs and tubed Romeo y Julieta Churchills. Prices were slightly higher than retail, but our clients didn't mind at all. I saw so many lunches end with men and women relaxing with an espresso and a Cuban. I emptied ashtrays with half-finished Cohibas and Montecristos too many times to count.

I saw many celebrities including Sylvester Stallone. He was a guest during the Versace fashion show in mid-July. He sat in our garden, surrounded by his entourage, puffing away on Cuban leaf. I saw so many people enjoying the good life. The warm scent of cured tobacco always wafted in the warm summer air at the Bar Vendôme, and I loved every minute of it.

I had to end my tenure at the Ritz, unfortunately. While I was there though, I had the time of my life being a working part of what some people can only dream of.

Todd Hagley
Paris, France

* * *

Dear Marvin,

I'd like to respond to the letter by Jonathan Schnipper (Autumn 1994) about being asked to leave Elaine's after a run-in with a rude, nonsmoking Frenchman.

First, I am appalled that Schnipper encountered a "rude" Frenchman at our bar or anywhere else for that matter. And I must say, his choice of projectile (18-year-old McCallan, I believe) showed flair and class. Still, although Elaine's code of behavior is, well, elastic to say the least, tossing a Scotch in someone's face is one of the few reasons we have for ejection. Had Schnipper not thrown the Scotch, the Frenchman would have been advised that Schnipper had the right to smoke his cigar at the bar as he pleased.

Elaine's is, as Schnipper mentioned, a cigar-friendly restaurant. We not only tolerate but encourage our customers to enjoy themselves to the fullest extent of the law. At the risk of sounding clichéd, some of our best customers are cigar smokers: Ben Gazzara, Gay Talese and Sid Zion--to name a few. Still, to date, Schnipper is the only cigar-smoking customer who has chosen to "defend" his right to smoke by dousing his adversary in old Scotch.

On the bright side, I imagine it might have been worse. He could have tossed a match after the Scotch.


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