November 30, 2007

take a dip

Last night before the SC game, my friend Dave and I went to one of both of our favorite places in town (I can't take the credit, it was his idea). Phillipe's restaurant has been a part of LA for 99 years and has been in its present location near Union Station since 1951. Phillipe's is known for their French Dip sandwiches - because they invented them. And they're something else (I recommend the lamb, but you can also get one made from pork, beef, ham, or turkey). The story goes that in 1918, Phillipe accidentally dropped a sandwich into some of the juices, but the customer, a policeman, said he'd take it anyway. The next day he came back with friends and asked him for more sandwiches dipped the same way, and thus, the French Dip was born. (I always used to confuse a French Dip with a sandwich "au jus" - there is no juice served with the French Dip, it is just dipped during preparation.) You order at the counter from a "carver", who makes your sandwich there, and you sit at large family style tables. Beyond the sandwiches, they also have all kinds of great old school foods - from macaroni salad, cole slaw and pickled eggs to tapioca pudding and pies - all of which are really good. The floor is covered in sawdust and the walls are covered in memorabilia - including a lot of great photos and remnants from LA's Red Car line; and even the LA Museum of Railroading in the back room. The only bad part about Phillipe's is having to choose between it and Clifton's as where to eat downtown. Both are LA institutions that are not to be missed.

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