Stranded In The Southland

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another Dining Adventure...

M. had dinner plans tonight, so I was on my own. As long as I didn't have any other plans, I figured I'd try to find someplace interesting to eat in LA. After all, I drive past lots and lots of interesting places every day on my long commute, and I might as well try out something cool.

Of course, there's a fine line to be walked -- I really hate eating alone, and totally dread sitting by myself in a real restaurant, so I have to chose a place where it isn't strange at all to eat by yourself. I usually hit some casual dining place when I'm in a mood like that -- maybe for ramen or a burger or something.

Tonight, I thought I might check out Philippe the Original, down by the beautiful, art-deco Union Station. It's a kind of Los Angeles institution, famous for sandwiches. I was a bit worried about the neighborhood, and was expecting the place to be a bit rough.

It turned out to be a pretty casual place, but not at all rough. It was sparkling clean, with friendly, competent counter staff, and some pretty decent French-dip sandwiches for $5.25, plus a lemonade for $0.65! It had the feel of Manuel's Tavern in Atlanta -- nothing fancy, but the kind of place that all sorts of folks would come to hang out, from city council members to janitors.

They offer a variety of meats in the sandwiches, including turkey, beef, pork, and lamb (for $1 more). There isn't actually any dip served with it; the meat seems to have been dipped, so that the juice soaks into the bread. The beef I had wasn't astounding -- you could tell there was some gristle in there, but it had been cooked so long that there wasn't any toughness left.

All in all, not a fine dining destination, but definitely a fun place to stop off!