Philippe the Original, which is always just called “Philippe’s,” claims to have created the french dip sandwich. I say “claims” because Cole’s, which is also downtown and opened the same year, claims the same thing. I’m planning on going there soon. I don’t think it matters a lot who did it first, as long as they’re both delicious. David (my husband) and I got to Philippe’s around noon, wanting to see it during the lunch rush. It was bustling but not overwhelming; he says he’s seen it with lines out the door.
-Everything about this place screams “been here forever” but not like it’s falling apart. It’s all very clean and well kept, just reeking of old-fashioned goodness. Strong wooden booths, long communal tables, sawdust on the floor.
-The counter where customers order food is long and shiny and, for me, almost nose-high. There isn’t really Continue reading →
Tony’s, with its fresh seafood and all, seemed a little pricey for me (that’s definitely going to be an issue, going forward) but the bar, which sits on the roof of the restaurant like an octagonal hat, was said to have amazing views, so I thought I’d check it out. I wanted to walk on the pier anyway.
I go to restaurants alone all the time, but almost never to bars, because I don’t drink, and it seems weird to sit at a bar drinking club soda. It was fine at this bar, though, cause I just said I was there for the view and the bartender smiled said they don’t charge extra for the view and put a bowl of some kind of fancy chex mix next to me.
-Eight walls of windows looking out over the Pacific, wooden beams, ceiling fans that looked like they were woven from palm fronds, lots of wood, a peaked ceiling and, for some reason, what I’m pretty sure were fire-fighter hats hanging on each of the eight ceiling beams. Lights in huge colored globes hanging from the ceiling in fishing nets. This was one of the best rooms I’ve ever been in.
-At the table next to where I am sitting, Continue reading →
I had a babysitting job down in Redondo Beach today, and afterwards headed over to Eat at Joe’s for lunch.
-Bright white walls with bright blue chairs, doors, windowsills, and beams. A color combination I find particularly lovely.
-Communal seating at long tables… for someone as (sporadically, randomly) shy as me, this is a bit difficult. When the waitress tells me to sit anywhere I slide into a seat at the far end of a table. Four chairs separate me from the two elderly couples at the other end. I overhear, “my dermatologist is worried about you,” and then they lower their voices.
-I have a hard time deciding what I want. I’m fairly hungry, but nothing seems right. Mostly because I’ve decided not to have meat after last nights bbq binge, and being allergic to eggs severely limits my options. I settle on a veggie burger and french fries. Meh.
-Free wifi, so that’s nice.
-There are a number of pictures of Continue reading →
the sign and the cow
I told David (my husband) that he could choose which restaurant we’d go to tonight, and after a great deal of deliberation he decided on Pinnacle Peak (a perfect choice to show that I really mean “in and around” L.A., and that 1967 is actually a long time ago now, even if you wish it wasn’t.). Their sign is a covered wagon, and there’s a cow on the roof. The cow isn’t really doing anything, and it isn’t lit up at night, like the sign is. It’s just a cow, standing there, on the roof.
-We had heard that they didn’t allow ties, that if you wore one they’d cut it off and hang it on the wall, so I helped David (my husband) choose a tie we didn’t particularly like. The waitress showed us to our table and took our order, then came back a while later ringing a cow bell, talking about how there was a city slicker in the place, and cut off David (my husband)’s tie with big scissors, and everyone cheered. It was fun. I think they give you Continue reading →
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 Continue reading →
I have always adored old L.A. restaurants. Walking into them gives us a glimpse of what once was, as close to traveling through time as we can come. Even just driving past the crazy old signs can be, for a moment, like seeing a different world. Driving around L.A. is another thing I love; exploring new neighborhoods, tracking down hidden treasures. Being a tourist in my hometown.
So when The Los Angeles Beat posted this list of 300+ vintage L.A. restaurants, all from the last century (okay, that could be fairly recent; the oldest are from the ’70s) and all still in business, my heart leapt. I want to go to ALL of them. I want to tell you about it when I do.