Monday, June 17, 2024

Read Liz Smith’s Tribute to Elaine Kaufman


“If you can’t eat a Dove bar now and then, life isn’t worth living!”

This is an Elaine Kaufman truism direct from the famous café owner who left us bereft last week as she ended her legendary saga. I continue with my report on the late Elaine from a book I wrote in 2005 called Dishing.

“I KNEW Elaine Kaufman back in the early fifties, when she was a waitress at Portofino in Greenwich Village. She was then in love with the café owner, Alfredo Viazzi, a charming Italian guy who was soon outstripped when Elaine left him and became a restaurant legend of her own. We have had many adventures since 1953 , or was it 1954?

“I have enjoyed a lot of caviar and smoked salmon from Elaine Kaufman over the years but it was a Tex-Mex evening that almost did us both in. Elaine and I once left the confines of New York to go to Fort Worth, Texas, where our pal, former TCU beauty queen June Jenkins, was opening a restaurant in the downtown, newly refurbished by Sid Bass, which is fondly called ‘Cowtown.’  (June is wed to the writer Dan Jenkins, who I call ‘the chicken-fried steak novelist.’ All of his wonderfully funny books contain prominent mentions of this Texas delicacy. His wife’s restaurant at the time also featured C.F.S. but leavened in some hot Tex-Mex.)

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Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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