I asked Don for permission for an add-on and he kindly agreed. I never seem to hit as many places as most of you do and it doesn't seem to warrant a report all on its own, so for ease of people trying to find information, I try to add on.
I have a couple of pictures to add to Don's excellent Original Pantry Cafe coverage on the first page. First the line as seen from the front door on a Sunday morning about 10:
And I second what he says about the coffee and the orange juice, both excellent. The thing I wasn't prepared for here is the lightning-fast speed with which you get served. I went as I typically do for the biscuits and gravy, shown here:
You can't see the pepper in these but there was some there. This was a good middle B biscuits and gravy, which I wasn't expecting from Granola California. Nice work, Pantry. I also got a side of scrambled eggs and the home fried potatoes:
That is a heavy duty serious crust on those potatoes. They give a nice tunk-tunk-tunk when you tap them with your fork. Lovely, fluffy eggs. Keep in mind the biscuits and gravy is something ridiculous (for LA) like $3.95 on the menu. My mother had two over easy eggs and sausage patties:
which were perfect. I grabbed a mug to take home with me. I know wheregreggeats is a fan of John O'Groats and I'll have to try that the next time I go to LA, but between the Pantry and Phillippe's, they have great breakfast joints already.
We actually left breakfast to go to a local outlet of Spudnuts donuts at the behest of a couple of ladies due in that afternoon, which I talk about in this thread: http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/CajunKing-Finds-an-OPEN-Spudnut-Donuts-m458827.aspx
The new place I'd like to add to this thread is Auntie Em's, a lovely hippie eatery and bakery located in Eagle Rock. We went there two days before the Pantry Cafe late morning, so my mother ordered breakfast. They have a large selection of open-faced breakfast sandwiches. This one is two eggs over easy, cheese and link sausage on sourdough, accompanied by salsa:
Oh, let me tell you how cute my mother was. She asked if I didn't want the eggs flipped back over the sandwich so I could show the sausage etc. off for the picture. What a good RF companion. I was still pretty confused, stomachwise, over what meal I should be eating so I went with the skirt-steak and caramelized onion salad:
And it was good, but I got the wrong thing; I only finished about a third of it. And the sweet little guy who waited on us had tried to warn me off of it and I didn't listen to him. (He was suggesting the Cobb and I would have liked it better. This is a really wet salad, although delicious with local blue cheese and a house vinaigrette.) So I told him when it was time to order dessert that I was putting myself in his capable hands. He did not steer me wrong, to a buttermilk-custard apple pie:
This is such a bright and lovely combination of flavors. You get a little tang from the custard, not overwhelming, but they've gone to the trouble of using really good fresh apples, Granny Smith or the like, and the apples pop as much as the custard does. On my list of greatest desserts ever, and it's not even why we came here. They make their own cupcakes (chocolate, coconut, red velvet and carrot) in two sizes. My mother calls the little ones 'sugar bullets' which is an apt description. Here's her choice, coconut and carrot, before and after:
I tried them both and they're excellent. The coconut cake itself is really subtle, vanillaey and sweet. I'm turning into a carrot cake fan in my old age and this is a stunning example; both had really good cream cheese frosting. Here's the sugar bullets and their larger counterparts in their bake case up front:
With a lady who was asking a lot of questions trying to fix what one(s) she wanted but needed to have some lunch first. As you do. Another shot of the case next to the cupcake case, where you can see other desserts up top and their very good looking salads inside:
And some of their other dessert choices on a board:
This is Auntie Em's from the street:
You should check 'em out.
Let's see, other food related issues. I was my mother's guest at a banquet for work where she was getting a customer service award, and guess what, it was at the Beverly Hills Hotel. (That doesn't happen where I work.) I was trying so hard to not be country and take copious amounts of pictures but I snapped one of the table setting before dinner:
There's a glass paperweight in the box, incidentally. We also got these, which as you can see, didn't make it past the weekend:
I have to say something about the food though. It was really incredible. I'm used to all other hotel food, which is just passable and usually insultingly bad for what you paid for it (I just organized a work conference last year and the scars are still fresh). I have no idea what the city of Beverly Hills paid for these dinners but the menu here included both a small filet mignon with a cabernet sauce and a small piece of Chilean sea bass with a citrus doohickey on it, and I wanted to dive in and lick the plate of both those sauces. Stunning. The only thing I didn't finish was the tarragon mashed potatoes, but honestly I was saving room for dessert: alternating seats between a lemon tart and a chocolate creme brulee, both with fresh berries. And Elise they both had the mystery cups, this time of chocolate, full of sorbet, which was also diveworthy. Oh I didn't talk about the salad. A big plate full of leafy greens and frisee with gorgonzola, pecans, and poached pears. Deeelicious. And the service and the band, all incredible. Nice work, fancy bastards!
One other fun thing we did. I've always wanted to go to Santa Anita and we did it this trip. We spent Saturday afternoon from about noon to five in the clubhouse, ordering Arnold Palmers, talking about horses' butt musculature, and placing bets. It was not all that hard to pick up once you laid your hands on the right stuff. The food however, I'm sad to say, is both just okay and expensive. Here was lunch:
which was just okay. Also, really excellent service. The last race of the day was all California-raised or -owned fillies. I want Davydd to guess on which horse I put my money:
For those of you interested in the races, etc. there are more pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nancypalooza/