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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(1975) El Compadre, Hollywood

signelcompadre04David (my husband) and I went to El Compadre with our friends Vanessa and French, and their daughter Helene who is almost three, and who I’ve been babysitting since she was a tiny baby, and who is awesome.

-Lots of xmas lights, some shaped like peppers, dim lighting from large round red and yellow hanging lamps, tables with red tablecloths, lots of dark wood, maroon booths with brass tacks, some of them rectangular and some round and cozy, oil paintings of street scenes and flowers, tall vases of lilies, a bar with  Continue reading

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Happy… Anniversary? Birthday? Whatever… Happy!!!

One year ago today, I blogged my first restaurant. I’ve now posted about 55 restaurants (and have three more in the hopper!). Doing this blog has made me so happy, has led to so many adventures and places I never would have gone.
Thought I’d list some of my favorites so far, in no particular order:

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(1928) La Golondrina Mexican Cafe, downtown L.A.
A beautiful old Mexican restaurant on Olvera St. La Golandrina has been there since 1928, but the building was built in the 1850s.  Amazing stone fireplace and colored hanging lamps and artwork everywhere.

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(1953) James Restaurant, San Fernando
A perfectly cozy coffee shop way out in the suburbs, full of nice people and comfort food. Hard to put my finger on why it’s one of my favorite places ever, except that I love coffee shops and this has everything I love in a coffee shop.

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(1952) Tony’s on the Pier, aka “Old Tony’s,” Redondo Beach
The best bar I’ve ever been in, stuck on top of the restaurant like an octagonal hat, with windows on all sides looking out over the ocean. Back in the ’50s, a monkey escaped from the circus and lived at Tony’s, stealing sugar cubes from the tables.

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(1946) Nick’s Coffee Shop, Los Angeles
Perfectly wonderful greasy spoon diner, cramped and marvelous. It makes me want to be a private eye just so I could sit at the counter and growl for coffee in between solving crimes.

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(1908) Cole’s, downtown L.A. 

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(1908) Philipe the Original, downtown L.A.
These places are connected in everyone’s minds because they both claim to have invented the french dip, and I love them both so much I don’t want to play favorites. In fact they are so different it’s impossible to compare; Cole’s is a sit-down place that let’s you dip your own sandwich and Mickey Cohen used to eat there, while Philipe’s has a busy counter where the sandwiches come pre-dipped, with sawdust on the floor and a line of old wooden phone booths. They both say wonderful things about what life was like in L.A. in the early 20th century, and it thrills me that they’re both still open for business.


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(1926) Greenblatt’s Deli, Hollywood

ysignGreenblatts027I’d been to Greenblatt’s Deli before, but not recently, and I hadn’t written about any places in Hollywood in a while, so I decided to head over for lunch. I always like that section of Sunset because I stayed very near there on my first ever trip to L.A., more than twenty years ago. I remember going for a long walk right past there, but I think I was more interested in looking at the Laugh Factory next door than at Greenblatt’s; at least I don’t remember it. The front of Greenblatt’s is all brick and carved stone, a really gorgeous old building, but someone put a gigantic, garish digital sign on the front of it. I wish they hadn’t, but I suppose if it attracts business that they need to stay open it’s worth it?

ywindowGreenblatts003-The first floor is the deli and wine shop, with some booths, but mostly the deli counter and lots and lots of wine bottles. There’s more seating upstairs so I went there. Big, heavy wood beams, solid wood stairs and floors, a terrific white tile ceiling with broad beams, brown booths that match the wood in a very pleasing way, and two huge, oval stained glass windows that are a perfect colorful counterpoint to all the dark brown wood. I sat facing the windows because it made me happy to look at them. There are lots of plants in front of the windows too. On the walls are black-and-white photos of 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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(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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(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