Remains of L.A.

Traces of L.A.'s past can still be found, in the kitsch of '50s diners and the decayed glamour of '40s hotspots… and sometimes the food is good, and there are nice people.

(1948) Cindy’s in Eagle Rock

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Those are owl statues perched on the sign

Those are owl statues perched on the sign

I chose Cindy’s to be my first restaurant in the blog because it’s got a sign I’ve always been crazy about (Eagle Rock in general has a lot of fantastic old signs), and because there’s nothing I love like a coffee shop. I know we say diner now, but not all diners are coffee shops. This one is exactly a coffee shop. I went for brunch (really it was breakfast but I’m calling it brunch because I slept crazy late today, either because I was out late doing fantastic fun things or because I was up late trying to remember how WordPress works. You decide.

-The interior is fantastic; bright orange booths and chairs, hanging globe lights, and the sort of  star-spangled wallpaper that always reminds me of ’70s rec rooms (even though it’s from earlier, really; the ’70s is just when I first saw it).  There’s a wall-sized chalk board you look at when you sit at the counter, with the specials on it in colored chalk. The only thing that didn’t seem to fit was the green and red carpet that looked like hallway carpeting in a mid-price hotel.

-I sat at the counter because it was crowded, which I like doing cause I can pretend I’m at a lunch counter in the forties trying to gather info for my private detective boss, except I was right next to the aisle and the guy on the other side jiggled his foot in my peripheral vision the whole time and I hate that.

-It was their special brunch menu, which I guess is smaller than their regular menu, which I didn’t think to ask to look at. I got grits and bacon and fruit. The grits were kind of weird, cheesy maybe? I don’t usually put cheese in my grits. They weren’t bad, just different. The bacon was great, big and thick and tasty, but there were only two strips. I mean, they were big strips, but still. That’s two dollars a strip. The fruit cup had lots of mango in it, which to me is the single best thing that can happen over breakfast.

-The girl next to me had pancakes with powdered sugar and strawberries, and some kind of salad with lots of mixed greens and tomatoes and what I think was a creamy vinaigrette dressing. Which, I mean, I’m not the sort of person to tell someone what they should eat, but, it wasn’t like she ate one and then the other. She’d eat a big bite of salad and then a second later have a big bite of sugared pancakes. Which is fine. She can eat how she likes.

-There was an ipod-and-speaker set up at the service counter, playing old-timey music. The only thing the songs had in common was that they were old-timey, as far as I could see… there was warbling early ’50s crooners and late ’50s rock and early ’70s funk. I did not find any of the music annoying, and that might be the first time that’s ever happened.

-After the salad/pancake girl left, another customer sat down and she and I had a brief but extremely pleasant conversation about books.

-The bathrooms were out around the side and you needed to get a key. This made me very, very nervous but it was fine; they were clean and decorated like regular, inside-the-restaurant bathrooms.

-On the board just above where I was sitting, there were Cindy’s t-shirts for sale. The t-shirts had a picture of an owl, with a piece of pie for a beak. I didn’t realize that at first and once I did I couldn’t not see it and it became quite disturbing.

I really liked Cindy’s. It was bustling and all the staff was friendly. They didn’t wear uniforms, though some of them had outfits on that looked kind of like uniforms. The manager (owner? who knows?) had mis-matched socks. If I lived a little closer it would probably be my regular place.

What I Ate: Grits, bacon, fruit.

What I Read While I Ate: “The Islands of Chaldea” by Diana Wynne Jones, one of my all-time favorite writers. She died before it was finished; it was completed by Ursula Jones

What Sort of Ghost I’d Expect to Find if I Believed in Ghosts, Which I Do Not: A shy man who worked for the city and ate breakfast there every morning for 20+ years, but never got up the nerve to hit on the pretty waitress. She might be there too.

1500 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

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One thought on “(1948) Cindy’s in Eagle Rock

  1. Pingback: (1969) Eat at Joe’s, Redondo Beach | remains of L.A.

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