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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(1955) Fox’s Restaurant, Altadena

Foxssign2Fox’s Restaurant is only open until 2 p.m., and I’m bad at leaving the house early, so I wasn’t sure how I’d ever eat there. But I needed to go by a sheriff’s station (they have drop boxes for disposing of old medications, which you’re not supposed to just throw away. They also have drop boxes for illegal drugs, which are right next to the prescription boxes. I bet people mostly just put everything in the legal-drugs box) and the station nearest me was in Altadena, just a couple blocks from Fox’s. So I made a special effort and got there in time for lunch.

-Sweet, homey place with red-checked curtains, red and black chairs, red tables, rough wood halfway up the walls, lots of framed pictures of foxes, white ceiling with ceiling fans, exposed brick on the back wall, an antique dresser for the cash register. The whole place has a Continue reading


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(1957) Art’s Delicatessen, Studio City

artsneonsign1I got hungry while running errands in Studio City and stopped at Art’s Delicatessen for lunch. I was fairly certain I’d been there before, but when I went inside it didn’t look at all like the place I was remembering, so maybe I hadn’t.

-Large, airy room, with a large deli counter in the front and, beyond, a classic coffee shop; rows of maroon and brown booths with beige tables, black and white tile floor, an acoustic-panel ceiling, hanging lamps with green shades, wood-paneled walls, a long row of giant pictures of sandwiches across the back wall, plus one picture of matzoh ball soup. Except for that one, every picture in the place seems to be of a sandwich, or sometimes a cartoon character with a sandwich.

-A little startled to see that the sandwiches were in the $16-dollar range, I got a cup of beef vegetable soup and a fruit bowl. Both were great; the soup in particular Continue reading


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(1973) Rib Ranch BBQ, Woodland Hills

Rib Ranch y sign 2Went to Rib Ranch, one of the newer places on the list, with my friends Ari and Corey. We foolishly decided to meet there during rush hour, which meant the drive was roughly three times as long as it should have been, but the barbecue sauce made it all worth it.

-There were two lovely patios, all bricks and trees, but it was a tiny bit chilly so we opted to sit in the small indoor seating area. It felt like being inside a stable in the best imaginable way; walls and ceiling of rough-wood planks, large wooden booths with–confusingly–formica wood-look tables, windows painted with Continue reading


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(1960) Yamashiro, Hollywood

yamashirosignWent with David (my husband) and his mom Keren and his stepdad Jim to Yamashiro for his birthday (this was a while ago; I went back to school and have been remiss with my blogging). Yomoshiro is a shockingly beautiful Japanese-style building in the Hollywood Hills just above the Magic Castle. You drive up a sort of circular driveway and have to let the valets park your car, which I generally hate but it was fine. Below the building, across the driveway, are Continue reading


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(1959) Tallyrand, Burbank

tallyrandsignWent to the Tallyrand for lunch with my friend Cassie. I thought I’d eaten at the Tallyrand once and hadn’t been that crazy about it, but since it was on the list I was ready to give it another go. As soon as I stepped inside, I knew I’d never been there before. That was some other place I didn’t like much. I have no idea what that other place was.

-There are several rooms; the main room that we Continue reading


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(1972) The Shack, Playa del Rey

shacksignHoping to escape the horrible heat, I headed towards the beach and ended up at The Shack. It didn’t have air conditioning, but lots of fans and open windows and the ocean breeze made it much cooler than Burbank.

-Just inside is a counter where one can Continue reading


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(1954) The Bear Pit, Mission Hills

bearpitsign2As an early birthday present, my friend Corey took me for “Missouri-style” barbecue at The Bear Pit, which was pretty much the most awesome thing he could have done.

-Very rustic looking, but in a tidy sort of way. Uneven Continue reading


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(1947) The Great White Hut, Glendale

gwhneonWent with David (my husband) to The Great White Hut. There’s something I love about burger stands, they’re so compact and self-contained.

greatwhitehut-A tiny little building in the corner of a parking lot, white walls with bright blue trim, surrounded on three sides with a black-and-white checker-board tile counter. Stools with blue posts and red seats, shaded by a blue-and-white awning. We order through a 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