Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A French Dip, A Piece Of LA History, And A Slice Of Heaven, Please

As I've written about here before, for our family no trip to see the Dodgers play would be complete without a trip beforehand to one of LA's classic establishments, Philippe's.

Here, then, is a photo tour of our gastronomical pilgrimage last month. I only wish this blog had the capacity to share samples with you.

Then we could swoon together.

This somewhat nondescript white building on the corner of N. Alameda and Ord holds 100 years of tradition and deliciousness. (Technically, Philippe's opened in 1908 but didn't get to this location until 1951.)

Hungry patrons queue informally between long, wooden tables. On busy days and nights, every one of those tables are full and every one of those lines is twice as long. If you look close you can see John and Shea holding hands in line behind the first pillar, with Finn a few steps behind them.

On the middle shelf against the back wall you'll notice nearly a full row of Philippe's famous mustard. As they say, it's "hot, but good." So true. On the counter in the foreground, an entire container of pickled eggs, brining in their magenta deliciousness.

Uniformed and gloved servers do it all for you: take your order, make your sandwiches, scoop your salads, fill your drinks, and deliver your money -- which you place on the palm tree tray -- to the cashier, behind, in pink. Cash only, baby.

Back row: Scoop of potato salad, scoop of coleslaw. Front row: Two pickled eggs, one kosher pickle. Tall glass of ice-cold lemonade. Not pictured: One turkey and Swiss double dipped french dip sandwich; one lamb and blue cheese single-dipped french dip sandwich; homemade beef stew with tons of chunky veggies; one slice of pecan pie.

Fruit salad, yummy yummy. How did she know I wanted the one with the big kiwi slice on top?

Iced teas and lemonades, frequently purchased, are already prepared for servers. Our beer, however, was freshly draughted.

Finn flashes his best smile in hopes of scoring one of those cinnamon-sprinkled tapiocas in the front row.

At our table and excitedly about to dig in. Look closely and you'll notice the patron at the table behind us has a Giants baseball cap unapologetically resting on his table. At a notorious Dodger establishment. But the food's so good nobody seems to mind.

Remind me to tell you the now-legendary-in-our-family "pecan pie" story from years ago the next time I see you.

They even have an old-fashioned candy counter where we always stock up on goodies for the ballgame. And yes, that's sawdust on the floor.

Top two rows: The real candy, circa 2008.
Bottom four rows: The original merchandising display stickers, worn and weathered, that used to indicate which Life Savers were stocked there, back in the day.

Did you know they used to make Clove Life Savers? Me neither.

The view towards the main entrance from inside. On the right, antique wooden phone booths. Out front, the restaurant's famous striped awnings.

No doubt she gained at least a few extra ounces dining on all the goodness Philippe's has to offer. The antique scale will tell for sure.

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