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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(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


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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