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Jeff Houck

The Tampa Tribune’s food writer since 2005, Jeff Houck covers the way people live through their food. He also hosts the Table Conversations food podcast and believes that everything crunchy is good.

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What’s So Funny About Peace, Love And 1905 Salad? [Gonzmart Feeds The Anarchists]

Posted Aug 30, 2012 by Jeff Houck

Updated Aug 30, 2012 at 07:53 AM

RNC Protesters in Tampa

It may be hard to remember, but last week, pretty much everyone in Tampa was bracing for the one-two punch of a hurricane and a tsunami of protesters expected to unleash their wrath on the Republican National Convention.

There was plenty of reason to think both would happen. First, every meteorologist with a spaghetti model had drawn Isaac’s path through the mouth of Tampa Bay. Second, Minneapolis in 2008. ‘Nuff said.

As it turns out, neither hit the area with any force.

The hurricane curved in the Gulf and smacked the Louisiana coast.

The protesters came, but in nowhere near the numbers or the animus and determination they showed at previous conventions.

Can any of that latter result be due to the hospitality shown by Tampa?

Last Saturday, Richard Gonzmart, president of The Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City, e-mailed a group of the restaurant’s managers and executives and several family members.

In it, he described his encounter last Saturday morning with gathering protesters during a morning jog through downtown. He also shows his passion for German shepherd K9s:

This morning I stopped by to meet and speak to the anarchists and learn about them. They were nice and welcomed me and my two dogs. I offered to bring them food since they have little and they were excited and appreciative. It was a good thing. I spoke with George and he took them black beans, rice and bread today. They were ecstatic and appreciative of our helping. George will be taking food to the anarchists each day for about 70-100 people.

Richard GonzmartThey told him to thank me. They can’t believe we are helping and from what George said, they were very appreciative.

Sunday we will serve a wrapped half Cuban Sandwich and hot boil-in bags of Spanish bean soup.

I think we should send on Monday 1905 Salad already mixed in the large to-go bowls with a bag of Cuban bread.

This will benefit us. If any press wants to know why, simple, our family has always been supportive of many such activist. History repeats itself. My dad donated food to African-Americans in College Hill during the racial riots in the ‘60s and it helped keep peace. There are many other cases but I won’t get into it. I believe it is the right thing to do.

This will go down in our history as one of the great decisions or… there will be no other outcome… I know it!

We have been feeding 48-plus of the K9 teams. They are appreciative since they also have little budget for meals from the RNC. My only regret is that I can not be with them to help and support these brave men, women and K9s.

I pray that the Holy Spirit bestow God’s peace to those attending and participating in the RNC no matter in what capacity. I pray that there are no serious injuries or worse.



For those who don’t know, the Columbia’s Original 1905 Salad is a landmark dish, not only for Tampa but for Florida. USA Today once picked it as one of America’s Top 10 salads.

As the restaurant explains:

In the 1970s, this flavorful salad was the Columbia’s answer to the ubiquitous salad bar. Created by waiter Tony Noriega in the 1940s, it was adapted by the Columbia. The Columbia kitchen designed a new dressing that features Worcestershire sauce, lemon, and Parmesan cheese. When the president of Lea and Perrins heard that the Columbia was his biggest customer, he investigated and ate an Original “1905” Salad.™ He soon discovered the salad’s delights for himself.

In the interest of keeping the peace, here is the recipe:

Columbia 1905 Salad

For the salad:

4 cups iceberg lettuce, broken into 1 1/2-inch × 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 ripe tomato, cut into eighths
1/2 cup baked ham, julienned 2” × ⅛” (may substitute turkey or shrimp)
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, julienne 2” × ⅛”
1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green Spanish olives
“1905” Dressing (see recipe below)
1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated
2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
1 lemon

Combine lettuce, tomato, ham, Swiss cheese, and olives in a large salad bowl. Before serving, add “1905” Dressing, Romano cheese, Worcestershire, and the juice of 1 lemon. Toss well and serve immediately. Makes 2 full salads or 4 side salads.

“1905” Dressing:

1/2 cup extra-virgin Spanish olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
⅛ cup white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Salad Dressing Preparation

Mix olive oil, garlic, and oregano in a bowl with a wire whisk. Stir in vinegar, gradually beating to form an emulsion, and then season with salt and pepper. For best results, prepare 1 to 2 days in advance and refrigerate.

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