Monday, May 12, 2008

A French Dip Into Our History

If you live in Los Angeles or have ever lived in Los Angeles, you may have heard rumor of a place downtown which claims to have invented the French Dip. If you live in Los Angeles and have heard of this place, but have never ventured out to find it, you are at a loss. This place exists and is called Phillipe the Original. In a town full of slick, small portioned, diet obsessed, celebrity chef'd, get the best table in the house to be seen at or better yet not seen at restaurants, Phillipe's is a breath of meat infused genuine old fashioned air.

An ancient counter is staffed by a just slightly less old collection of "Carvers" all wearing smart uniforms out of a thirties period movie complete with hats bobby pinned into their locks permanently curled with curlers set for decades at night, only this isn’t a movie and those uniforms just might be from the thirties, when these women might have first started working at Phillipe’s.

You order at the counter where the lines are numerous and sometimes still long. You can get a lemonade for seventy cents and coffee for ten. You can pick out of Five Different types of meat for your French Dip: roast beef, roast pork, leg of lamb, oven-roasted turkey, or ham. A full diner and breakfast menu is also available. For your first visit, unless you're a vegetarian, why get anything but the dip? Finish up your order with a side dish or a slice of pie and then pick a table. Much of the seating is shared, so get to know your fellow Angelenos. This place is a blast for people watching.

Make sure to try a bit of the Phillipe's Hot Mustard on your Sandwich. It will cure your cold if nothing else. Although they claim to prepare about 40 gallons of hot mustard two times a week, I have a theory that they just go around the corner to Chinatown to get Hot Chinese mustard and put it into deli jars. In any case, I liked it, and I'm not a huge mustard fan.

Before you leave, walk around a bit. Check out the memorabilia on the walls. There is an entire room dedicated to the Santa Fe Train Engine. This place is something authentically special in a town that manufactures special.

If you live in LA, and have never been to Phillipe the Original, it is not too late.

Phillipe the Original
1001 North Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213)628-3781

1 comment:

Husband of Food said...

The place has free parking (and lots of it), is cheap ($5.35 a dip), and pretty quick in and out.

This makes it a perfect place to run to for dinner before a downtown event (a play, show, concert, whatver) or a trip to Dodger stadium, if you are looking for something fun and unique and no hassle.

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