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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(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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(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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(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


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(1975) Moffett’s Chicken Pie Shoppe, Arcadia

moffett signIn the mood for comfort food, I headed out to Moffett’s Family Restaurant & Chicken Pie Shoppe, which I eventually found tucked into the corner of a strip mall.

moffettinterior1-stylized country decor, light pine tables, gold checked wallpaper, curtains on the partitions between booths, decorative hutches, blue willow plates, painting of farms, and ceramic chicken statues on shelves. At the top of the walls there’s a wallpaper border with pictures of chickens. I never understand the way places that serve chicken want to constantly remind us what Continue reading


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(1948) Cindy’s in Eagle Rock

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 Continue reading