Saturday 23 January 2010
I am powering through these posts. Promise this is the last one for day.
So I took my friend L to one of the oldest restaurants in Los Angeles, Philippe The Original Restaurant.
Apparently, it has one of the best places to have French dip sandwiches in LA (though there aren’t really that many places to go in LA for French dipped sandwiches, me thinks). The restaurant was packed full of people even at 12pm. The counter was full and there were five lines leading up to 5 different cashiers all reaching the back end of the restaurant. All the locals come here and have been coming here for years. They already know what they order and most stick with the good ol’ classic.
L and I waited for about 20 minutes to order. The ordering process and getting the food took next to no time. L got a beef sandwich, coleslaw and apple pie. I got the vegetable barley soup, chilli with beans and swiss cheese sandwich. We went upstairs to find a table because downstairs was completely packed. The decor in this restaurant is very unique. It looks like a huge high school cafeteria. Or the dining hall in an army base. There are huge tables and wooden stools to sit on. Each table has napkins and the classic mustard that Philippe is famous for. The mustard supposedly makes the sandwiches awesome (I wouldn’t know, not a fan of mustard). The walls are painted a musty beige colour with red-brown and muddy-brown tables. Not exactly a cheerful looking place. But all the elements surprisingly fit very well with the food and created a very homely ambiance.
The food was pretty good too. The swiss cheese sandwich was pretty plain and the apple pie was so-so. Not my usual fare but I did really enjoyed the chilli. But I appreciated coming here for the experience. It feels like the restaurant has had its roots in Los Angeles for a very long time. I can see much of that history carved in little graffiti symbols on the walls or in all the waitresses’ movements who look like they’ve been serving these loyal customers for years. Being here feels like being part of that history.
When we left Philippes, the restaurant was so full that there was a line leading out the door into the parking lot! The only place I see that happening is Pinks and that doesn’t even really count since it’s an outdoor hot dog shack! The parking lot was battlefield as cars grumbled and drivers glared at each other fighting for the next empty spot.
On the way back to USC, L and I spotted a cute farmers market in a deserted parking lot on Adams. We decided to stop by and check out the fresh produce. I love finding farmers markets! They’re like hidden gems in a pile of rubble. It’s so hard to find a nice grocery store in Los Angeles without driving more than 15 minutes to 99 Ranch. Ralphs and Whole Foods just doesn’t have the fresh fare I’m looking for at an affordable price. So we arrive at the FAME So Fresh Market.
The offerings look promising. They have a pick of the week section with the best deals for the week. This week the green and red peppers, and tomatoes welcomed us to their stands. My best finds however were the grapes and the rock melon (cantaloupe). L picked up a papaya which looked gorgeous too!
The greens looks very fresh and incredibly delicious. Personally I don’t care for salad.
But even I would have whipped up a quick one with how crispy and juicy the spinach and romaine lettuce looked. One of the guys who worked there was nice enough to come chat with me about where the produce comes from. D told me about So Fresh’s goal to bring the freshest and cheapest produce to the customer. About time, considering what a processed toxic mess the food I’ve consumed so far in Los Angeles has been.
Expensive too. I love supporting these types of small grass-root movements to bring fresh produce into cities. I’d love to live in San Jose where there are so many fresh fruit stands and vege stalls all along the I-5! Ahhh I miss New Zealand and all of its lush green beauty.
So next time it’s a Saturday or Sunday and you’re in the area, make sure you stop by Western and Adams. It’s about a block or two from the 10 Freeway. They have fresh fruits and veges, live music and you can even come have lunch here! They make sammies, juice and fresh popcorn.
I’m sure I’ll be back soon. In the meantime, I’m enjoying my juicy grapes. Yum!