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.


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(1931) El Coyote, Hollywood

elcoyotesignWent for lunch at El Coyote with David (my husband). It’s decorated in a fantastic, fun, manic way and is another place I’d read about before I even lived here. I never thought the food was as good as the decor, but I’d heard it was under new management so I thought I’d try it and Continue reading


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(1934) Magee’s Kitchen, Hollywood

farmersmarketsignHad a dentist appointment, so to cheer myself up after I went to one of my favorite places on earth, the Original Farmer’s Market in Hollywood. This isn’t the regular sort of farmer’s market where people set up tables one day a week, but a permanent structure (actually several structures sort of hunkered together with open areas in between them, but inside it feels like you’re in one structure with an odd roof that doesn’t cover everything, and also sort of like you’re still outside) that has been here since 1935. Inside is a jumble of food stands and stalls and little stores selling tourist tchotchkes, hats, hot pepper sauce, toys, stickers, scented candles, candy, ice cream, and of course fresh fruits and vegetables. There are dozens of places to eat and every where are round tables with different-colored tops and folding chairs and it’s always packed full of people and it’s just marvelous. It’s mentioned in the book Weetzie Bat by L.A. siren Francesca Lia Block, which I read before I moved here (and was one of the reasons I did), and I was thrilled to find it right across the street from my first Hollywood apartment. It is, to me, the very best thing in Los Angeles.

There are several places in the Farmer’s Market on The List so I chose the oldest; Magee’s Kitchen. I’d never eaten there before (my usual is jambalaya at The Gumbo Pot) but have heard Continue reading


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(1946) Nick’s Coffee Shop, Los Angeles

nickscoffeeshopWalked to Nick’s Coffee Shop for an early lunch. I wondered why I’d never been there before, as it was fairly near where I used to live, but wasn’t surprised when I saw how tiny and tucked away it is. It’s a shame, though; I would have gone there at least once a day.

-Colorful umbrellas over tables outside; inside are brown counter and chairs, brown booths and tables, but the dozens of celebrity photos covering the walls and the sharply slanted ceiling make it feel fun and busy rather than drab. Ceiling fans with Continue reading


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(1953) Larry’s Chili Dog, Burbank

larryschilidogneonsign Went for a late lunch with my friend Corey at Larry’s Chili Dog. I’d often admired the chili dog sign and had always assumed it was a regular restaurant, but when I got past the row of hedges that hide it from the street I found a walk-up order window and some tables and chairs outside under an awning. It was a very hot day, but their clever placement of bushes and umbrellas made enough shade that we were quite comfortable.

-Six square green tables with tan folding chairs, a large awning and umbrellas over the tables that don’t fit under the awning, tall bushes surrounding the eating area and making it feel closed off from the world, a bright yellow Continue reading


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(1975) Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles, Hollywood

roscoessignAfter watching the commercial from Tapeheads in preparation, I headed out to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles for dinner with David (my husband) and our dear friend Terry.

There is a rope across the door, and a guy with a clipboard. We told him how many of us there were and waited a little while. There was a party of Continue reading


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(1969) House of Pies, Los Feliz

houseofpiessignI had some time between appointments, so I headed over to the House of Pies in Los Feliz. I’d meant to go there with someone who could eat pie, but I was in a hurry and it was close and it’s not like that’s the only thing they serve.

-It seems like the place should be decorated with an exciting and colorful pie motif, and so is disappointing in its drabness. The booths and chairs are gray, brown, and cream, with light gray wood panelling not the walls that aren’t plain white. A few Continue reading


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(1958) Astro Family Restaurant, Los Angeles

astrosignI had some time in between things, so I stopped by the Astro Family Restaurant for dinner.

-Bright orange booths and orange seats at the counter, light wood tables and counter with matching panelling on the walls, the area behind the counter has a reddish-orange smooth brick wall, and through the window to the kitchen the back wall is tiled in lovely oranges, reds, and yellows. Not many decorations on the walls except for in the Continue reading


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(1958) Corky’s Restaurant, Sherman Oaks

corkyssignWent to Corky’s Restaurant for dinner with David (my husband) and our friend Ari.

-Booths and seats of forest green with sea foam green accents, dark brown tables with green “marble” trim. The whole place had the classic Googie shape, though with fewer rough rock walls than I like. Drop ceiling with that acoustic tile that teenagers in 80’s movies like to crawl through. Walls are painted light colors and covered in pictures of old movie theaters with cool marquees. One wall towards the back has Continue reading


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(1965) Tony Bella Vista Restaurant, Burbank

tonysbellavistasignWent for dinner at Tony’s Bella Vista with David (my husband) and our friend Corey.

-Incredibly cozy, dim lighting and warm smells. Just inside the door is a mural on the wall showing the Italian seaside, and a curtained booth for the cashier with lots of foreign money taped up all over the walls. Dark wood and red chairs and tables, wallpaper with a lovely pattern of vines, the place is decorated to seem like you’re outside on a veranda, sitting under porches, the rafters of which are hung with white christmas lights and grape vines heavy with bunches of grapes. David (my husband) pointed out that Continue reading


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(1947) The Apple Pan, West L.A.

applepansignHad an afternoon free, so I went for lunch at the Apple Pan. It’s on a busy street across from a mall, surrounded by shops, but the building is a little white house with green shutters  and always seems to me to be miles away from everything around it.

-There are no tables, just a U-shaped white counter wrapping around the red brick grill. Red chairs, linoleum floor, three walls are white with wood paneling and heavy wood window frames, the back wall is red plaid. Also on the back wall is a large window into the kitchen, where the pies the place is famous for are on display. Aside from one wooden sign that says, “please do not smoke,” there are no decorations on the walls but it doesn’t seem plain or boring, just Continue reading