Hot!L.A. Confidential

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buffetbuster
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2012/12/04 11:42:22 (permalink)

L.A. Confidential

It has been since 2004 since my last visit to the Los Angeles area, so a trip has been long overdue.  My girlfriend Mariton and I just returned from 10 days in Southern California.
 
Thursday November 22, 2012
 
Having absolutely no desire to "experience" LAX, we flew on Southwest into John Wayne Airport in Orange County.  The Duke himself

greeted us near the car rental counters.  It was a little less than an hour drive into Los Angeles for our dinner destination. 
 
This was the third year in a row for Mariton and I to be out of town together at this time of year.  Our two previous Thanksgiving dinner destinations, Hob Nob Hill in San Diego and 13 Coins in Seattle were both terrific.  Wanting to keep up our holiday meal winning streak, I gave it quite a bit of thought and did some research of where to go.  And it always kept coming back to my favorite Los Angeles Roadfood restaurant, Du-Par's

BTW, this is the Farmer's Market location as there are other locations as well.  I had called ahead to ask if reservations were being accepted and necessary and was told no.  When we showed up, there was no more than a 15 minute wait for a table.
 
Besides their regular menu being available, they also had a fixed price Thanksgiving menu.  There were two soups to choose from, the hearty chicken noodle

or the butternut squash.  

I eat butternut squash all the time back home and I am used to it being a little sweeter and definitely thicker.  There was no sense in both Mariton and I ordering the same thing, since she was welcome to have as much of my turkey as she wanted, so she went with the beef liver instead. 

While she did eat everything off of her plate, she said the liver was a little dry.  She had much nicer things to say about the firm, squeaky green beans and the truly excellent whipped and fluffy mashed potatoes.  We both agreed that some gravy on these would have made them even better.
 
Of course, I had to get the turkey dinner. 

The turkey itself was very thick cut and tasted exactly what turkey should taste like.  The gravy was good, but thin and I loved the carrots and cranberry sauce.  Now, stuffing is something that is so dependent on one's personal preferance and what you grew up with, that it is really hard to rate restaurant stuffing.  In my own opinion, this version had too much celery in it, but I'm sure many people would like it as is.  Anyway, I easily ate all the stuffing and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The made here dinner rolls

were big and yeasty.  Another nice touch was the mint that came along with the iced tea.

 
Okay, quick quiz time!  What has two thumbs and orders pancakes at Thanksgiving? 

That guy!  The Travelin Man was nice enough to join us for the first few days of the trip and met us for dinner.  He also had the turkey dinner and the chicken noodle soup was actually his.  And since the pancakes here at Du-Par's are legendary, he got a stack of three for us to share. 

Despite the fact that these pancakes sat for a full 20 minutes before we dug in, they were still warm and frankly, incredible!  They are more substantial than light, but still fluffy.  And even though syrup came with them, they might be better without the syrup.  How many pancakes can you say that about?  These are the gold standard pancakes as far as I am concerned. 
 
Time for pie!  Du-Par's is famous for both quality and the quantity of different pies available, but because of the holiday, they made no cream pies.  Booooo!  That's okay, considering we still ate these apple and pumpkin pies. 


The thick crusted apple, with real fruit in it was especially good.
 
Service here was friendly and efficient as usual, with our beverages being constantly refilled.  And when I went up to pay at the register, I heard the employees discussing that actor Jason Lee was in earlier with his family.
 
Du-Par's
6333 W. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA
323-933-8446
 
We headed out to do some sightseeing.             
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/04 19:33:02
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    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 12:13:57 (permalink)
    You're off to a great start, BB...I'm looking forward to the next installment!
    #2
    The Travelin Man
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 12:30:59 (permalink)
    If they had fried chicken, I would have ordered the now-famous chicken-and-pancakes dinner, which I am sure that we can all agree should be called a "Travelin' Man" special.
    #3
    Wintahaba
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 13:01:05 (permalink)
    Awesome report so far....nice pics. It reminded me I have not had liver in years...maybe because my wife and daughter hate it.
    #4
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 13:32:05 (permalink)
    It seems wasteful to order all that food. 
    #5
    The Travelin Man
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 14:17:35 (permalink)
    It would only be wasteful if we had left any of it behind.
     
    Tell you what...Kenny Shopsin would never have let us order all that food.
    #6
    buffetbuster
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 14:26:28 (permalink)
    CTD-
    Thanks for pointing out the error of my ways.  I will try to live by your restrained example from now on!
     
    TTM-
    Fried chicken at Thanksgiving?  Now that's just crazy.
     
    Wintahaba-
    Thanks!  Our situation is reversed, since she loves liver and it orders it in restaurants frequently.  One or two bites of it a year are plenty for me.
    #7
    buffetbuster
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 14:34:53 (permalink)
    Every year it strikes me just how many people work on Thanksgiving and obviously, other big family holidays.  All the people we encountered in the airport, restaurants, hotels were still cheery and helpful and we made sure to thank them for working, so the rest of us could enjoy our days.  Our San Jose flight crew were not going to make it home for family dinner, but told me they planned to go out as a group for dinner later in the day.   
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/04 14:36:24
    #8
    easydoesit
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 14:56:39 (permalink)
    Oh gosh, that liver and those onions on top, and that dinner roll, too.  Hand it over.
     
    Great picture of the Travelin' Man, and talk about enthusiam! 
    #9
    mar52
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 15:00:50 (permalink)
    Glad you enjoyed my town!
     
    Du-par's is one of my favorites in town.  I love the "oldness" and red vinyl booths.  Did you see the antique coffee maker in the back?
     
    The real maple syrup with real butter makes those pancakes even better in my opinion.
     
    Did your pancakes separate horizontally when cutting them?  Asking because it has happened the last few times I went there.  Doesn't detract from the taste or enjoyment...  I just wonder why.
     
    My go to pie at Du-Par's is always the gooseberry.  Can't find it anywhere else in town.  If I'm even close to Farmer's Market I'll fight the parking situation to go in to get gooseberry to go.... It's that good!
     
    I would have sent you across the street to Farmer's Market to get Andre's roast chicken with mushroom sauce.  You were SO CLOSE!
     
     
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    Glenn1234
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 15:04:05 (permalink)
     
    Ah, what timing!   Janet and I ate pancakes at Du-Pars for Thanksgiving last year on our trip to SoCal.   Great place! 
     
     
    Glenn
     
     
    #11
    Glenn1234
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 15:05:43 (permalink)
     
    Ah, what timing!   Janet and I ate pancakes at Du-Pars for Thanksgiving last year on our trip to SoCal.   Great place! 
     
     
    Glenn
     
     
    #12
    wanderingjew
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 15:10:42 (permalink)
    Ok, I'll admit, Dupar's isnt' exactly a place I would consider visiting if I ever found myself in LA again, but you certainly made it intruiging....
     
    Great start, BB- keep it up!
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    pnwchef
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 16:15:10 (permalink)
    BB, looks like you had a great time........the pancakes look light and fluffy by the picture. If you find a pancake that good without syrup, you have found something special....................pnwc
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    Root-Beer Man
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 17:37:56 (permalink)
    Can't wait to see the entirety of this. Those mashed potatoes looked great. I'd take a pass on green beans of any kind, but those spuds looked fantastic!
    #15
    buffetbuster
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 19:37:45 (permalink)
    Glenn1234

     
    Ah, what timing!   Janet and I ate pancakes at Du-Pars for Thanksgiving last year on our trip to SoCal.   Great place! 


    Glenn



    Were you there in the morning and the pancakes were part of your breakfast or did you order it along with dinner like TTM did?  Either way, it was a great call.  We were so glad that TTM ordered them, since I would have never thought to do it on my own and we would have missed out. 

    post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/04 19:39:15
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    mar52
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 19:53:31 (permalink)
    When we were at Du-Par's with Mr. and Mrs. Chips, the Mister ordered a stack of pancakes right after finishing breakfast at The Original Pantry.
     
    Dale, sometimes you miss out on some great food items, sometimes you don't.
    #17
    ann peeples
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 19:56:07 (permalink)
    Liver! I would do that.....
     
    #18
    buffetbuster
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 20:44:55 (permalink)
    mar52-
    Glad to see you feel that way about Du-Par's.  My love for it is every bit as much for the atmosphere as it is for the quality food.  Love those comfy red booths and the classic uniforms and dresses that the waiters and waitresses wear.  But, I totally whiffed on the antique coffee maker and will be looking for it the next time in.
     
    When cousin Johnny and I spent a week in Los Angeles in 2003, we were so charmed by Du-Par's that we ended up visiting all three locations they had at the time, which included the original Farmer's Market, Studio City and Thousand Oaks.  I think those last two have since closed down.
     
    Gooseberry is a fine pie, although maybe a little sour for my taste, but is a great change of pace pie. 
    #19
    agnesrob
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 21:20:39 (permalink)
    Great start! Can't wait for the rest!
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    mar52
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 21:45:11 (permalink)
    BB, Gooseberry is sour, indeed!  Makes it pucking perfect.
     
    The Studio City location is still going strong as far as I know.  It was down the street from my shop so I ate there often.
     
    The land under the Encino location (and the landlord) forced the closing of that location.
     
    I find a lot of their food selections lacking, but they also have the best fried eggs in the city.  I don't know if it's the type of egg or if it's fresher than most but it is always perfect and tastes better than those of anyone else.
     
    They also don't serve biscuits.  What's with that?
    #21
    mr chips
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 22:11:44 (permalink)
    DuPars was very good. off to a great start.
    #22
    macaroni
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 01:16:28 (permalink)
    Everything looks delicious ~ I would eat that liver and those onions in a heartbeat! Looking forward to reading more about your trip, buffetbuster!
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    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 01:43:40 (permalink)
    The Travelin Man

    It would only be wasteful if we had left any of it behind.

    Tell you what...Kenny Shopsin would never have let us order all that food.
    If he did, it'd cost you about $94 plus a tip.
     
    Buddy
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    Glenn1234
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 02:05:51 (permalink)
    buffetbuster

    Glenn1234


    Ah, what timing!   Janet and I ate pancakes at Du-Pars for Thanksgiving last year on our trip to SoCal.   Great place! 


    Glenn
     




    Were you there in the morning and the pancakes were part of your breakfast or did you order it along with dinner like TTM did?  Either way, it was a great call.  We were so glad that TTM ordered them, since I would have never thought to do it on my own and we would have missed out. 


     
    Our flight arrived Thanksgiving early evening to start our 2-week trip, and we drove the rental car straight to Du-Pars Thanksgiving night!  Yup, night-time pancakes!  We skipped the featured T-Day turkey.    Their pancakes are hard to beat.  :)   I also skipped the syrup and poured the melted butter on!   
     
    Other places we especially enjoyed in SoCal were  ....
     
    (Sorry for the lack of photos.  This is more of a lisitng, rather than a report.)
     
    THE BEST OF THE TRIP   ---
     
    In  L.A. County:  
     
    Pann's.  Very good fried chicken and mashed potatoes.  Old 1950s "Googie Style"   "California coffee shop" architecture. 
     
    Apple Pan.  Great burgers.  Great apple pie. 
     
    Chip's.   Hawthorne Blvd.  Excellent Breakfast items.  Another 1950s Googie style coffee shop.
     
    Earl's Doughnuts.  In Chattsworth in the San Fern. Valley.  Raised coconut were wonderful. 
     
    Randy's Doughnuts.  Yes THAT Randy's with the huge doughnut sign ... The touristy one.  Yes, Touristy... not tourist trap.  Big difference.  Very good doughnuts.  I grew up on the very good Allie's Donuts in RI, so I know good doughnuts ... at least I think I do.   :)
     
    Cielito Lindo.  Dowtown L.A.  Olivera St.  Outdoor walk-up window place known for taquitos and tamales. Both were excellent. 
     
    Best in San Diego area:
     
    Hob Nob Hill.  Great corned beef and cabbage dinner.  
     
    El Indio. Wish we spent more time in San Diego.  We would have returned here to El Indio several times!  Everything was great!  
     
    Ramona Cafe.  A bit inland from San Diego.  We only had dessert there, as we had just finished eating at El Indio about 90 minutes earlier.  Very good "boysenberry crunch" pie. 
     
    Best in Desert area / Coachella Valley:  --
     
    Shield's Date Garden.  In Indio. ( a couple towns away from Palm Springs.)  Best of the 3 different date shakes we tried.  Very good.
     
    El Galito.  Cathedral City.  (Next to Palm Springs).  Very good Mexican.  I think I had tacos Mexicanos. 
      
    The Wheel Inn.  Located at the Cabazon Truck Stop in Cabazon just off I-10.  Knwn for banana cream pie, but I had coconut cream pie, and it was one of the best, if not THE best, I've ever had. 
     


    OKAY, BUT NOT FANTASTIC PLACES WE VISITED -- 
     
    B&R's Old Fashion Burgers.
     
    Mrs. Knott's Chicken Restauarant at Knott's Berry Farm.  This almost made our favorites list, but fell a little short.  Fried chicken is what to get there.
     
    Harbor House Cafe.  Orange Co.  Huntington/Sunset Beach)
     
    Oasis Date Gardens.
     
    Hodad's.  (Ocean Beach. San Diego Co.)  This place tends to get reviews that run the exteme form great to hate it.  We place it in the middle.  Certainly better than the dissapointing In 'N' Out, but not fantastic. 
     
    The Cottage.  (La Jolla.  SD Co.)
     
     
     
    Now, the Biggest DISAPPOINTMENTS ...
     
    In 'N' Out Burger.  We even tried it twice to see if the first time was an anomaly, given it has so many supporters.  Both times, the 2 of us agreed the burgers were just a notch or two better than a McDonald's burger, (but McDonald's fries are much better).  In 'N' Out had some of the worst fries we've ever eaten, and we tried it twice at 2 different locations.  The  In 'N' Out hype ... we just don't get it. 
     
    Pink's.  Now THAT place is a tourist trap.   At least it seemed that way to us.  We waited in line 50-60 minutes with all the other tourists to eat less than mediocre dogs.  Glad to have some good east coast dog joints within a reasonable drive of us.   Don't waste time there.  'Nuff said. 
     
    Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles.   It wasn't terrible.  It just didn't live up to the hype.  It was just medicocre ... not bad .. but not great fried chicken.   Mediocre waffles.  For much better fried chicken, go to Pann's.  Even the fried chicken at Mrs. Knott's at Knott's Berry Farm was better than Roscoe's.  But, Pann's was tops for fried chicken. 
     
    Various fruit smoothies we tried at a few places .. all disappointing.  One was G's Juice in Playa Del Ray.  Another was the Orange Inn in Laguna Beach (Orange County).   There was another place, but can't recall.   Maybe we just don't like these massive cups of fruit sugar (yes natural, but still loads of fructose carbs and calories).  Wow they hot you in the gut with a TON of sweetness.  
      Super sweet and just too much of a concentrated carbohydrate hit for our tastes.   We also had a blueberry muffin at the Orange Inn and it was mediocre.  It's too bad, as the Orange Inn is one of the few remaining RoadFood places that was in the first edition of RoadFood.   
     
     
    PLACES ON OUR LIST TO GO, BUT DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH TIME:  (We'll hit 'em up next time)
     
    Phillipe's. 
    Langer's Deli. 
    John O'Groats.
    The Original Pantry.
    Musso and Frank Grill.
    Galco's Soda Pop Shop.
    El Tepeyac.
    Cassell's Hamburgers.
    Dinah's.
    Moma's Hot Tamle's Cafe.
    Los Cinco Puntos.
    Formosa Cafe (for cocktails only).
    Gaffey St. Diner.
    Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain
    Huckleberry Cafe and Bakery
    Tito's Taco's (per Mar52's recommendation last year)
    Dutch Oven Bakery.
    El Campeon (Orange Co.)
    La Fachada (SD Co.)
    Tacos El Paisa (SD)
    Juanitias Taco Shop.  (Encinitas.  SD Co.)
    Julian Pie Company (Santa Ysabel, SD Co)
    Mitla Cafe (San Bernadino)
     
     
    BuffetBuster -  I'm looking forard to seeing which ones you liked or did not like, and see if our likes and dislikes match-up.  We're in 100% agreement so far with Du-Par's.  1 for 1. 
     
    Glenn
     
     
     
    post edited by Glenn1234 - 2012/12/05 03:42:34
    #25
    MetroplexJim
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 07:36:29 (permalink)
    Glenn1234


    OKAY, BUT NOT FANTASTIC PLACES WE VISITED --  
     
    Harbor House Cafe.  Orange Co.  Huntington/Sunset Beach) 

     
     

    We have always found them to be WONDERFUL for breakfast, very good for lunch, and so-so for dinner. 
     
    However, they do have an advantage for the holiday traveller as they never close:  open 24/7/365.  Our first experience there was a Christmas morning breakfast! 
    Glenn1234
    Now, the Biggest DISAPPOINTMENTS ...

    In 'N' Out Burger.  We even tried it twice to see if the first time was an anomaly, given it has so many supporters.  Both times, the 2 of us agreed the burgers were just a notch or two better than a McDonald's burger, (but McDonald's fries are much better).  In 'N' Out had some of the worst fries we've ever eaten, and we tried it twice at 2 different locations.  The  In 'N' Out hype ... we just don't get it. 



    Being from the 'founding territory' of Five Guys, I'm sure you did find In-n-Out to be over-hyped!
     
    That's the way it is here in Dallas where both chains compete head-to-head.  In fact, to compare apples with apples, Dallas prefers the local WhattaBurger chain over the Cali import.
    #26
    wanderingjew
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 08:03:55 (permalink)
    mar52

     Dale, sometimes you miss out on some great food items, sometimes you don't.

     
    Mar,
     
    There's nothing about Dupar's that interests me. There is nothing on the menu that's indigenous or unique I actually walked right  by it on my trip in 2009 and didn't even give it a second thought.  My point is, although I'm certain it was very good, why would I want to travel 3000 miles to try Dupar's when there is probably 1/2 a dozen or more "Dupar's" right here in RI? Perhaps if I was in LA for an extended period of time (30 days or more) I would eventually get around to it.
    #27
    wanderingjew
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 08:11:45 (permalink)
    Glenn1234

    buffetbuster

    Glenn1234


    Best in Desert area / Coachella Valley:  --

    Shield's Date Garden.  In Indio. ( a couple towns away from Palm Springs.)  Best of the 3 different date shakes we tried.  Very good.


    Now, the Biggest DISAPPOINTMENTS ...


    Various fruit smoothies we tried at a few places .. all disappointing.  One was G's Juice in Playa Del Ray.  Another was the Orange Inn in Laguna Beach (Orange County).   There was another place, but can't recall.   Maybe we just don't like these massive cups of fruit sugar (yes natural, but still loads of fructose carbs and calories).  Wow they hot you in the gut with a TON of sweetness.  
     Super sweet and just too much of a concentrated carbohydrate hit for our tastes.   We also had a blueberry muffin at the Orange Inn and it was mediocre.  It's too bad, as the Orange Inn is one of the few remaining RoadFood places that was in the first edition of RoadFood.   

     
    Glenn,
     
    I'm surprised at your thoughts,  I felt the exact opposite that you did. The Date Shake at Shields Garden was way to overbearingly sweet for me, however the smoothies at Orange Inn and G's Juice were perfect, not to sweet, you can actually taste fruit and not sugar, at least compared to the ones I've tried around here in RIwhich "sell themselves" as "natural" and "real" but really arent.
    BTW- I did prefer the date shake at Orange Inn, it seemed the sweetness was cut in half compared to the one at Shield's Garden

    post edited by wanderingjew - 2012/12/05 08:13:01
    #28
    buffetbuster
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 08:22:43 (permalink)
    Glenn1234-
    Night time pancakes?  Nicely done!  And you were justly awarded with great pancakes.
     
    Thanks so much for the listing of the places you visited and your thoughts on each one.  That was quite a trip that you took and we will have many, many places in common.  And while we will certainly be agreeing on many places, there will be some disagreements also, as to be expected.  Looking forward to your comments as we go!
    #29
    buffetbuster
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    Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 09:06:24 (permalink)
    WJ-
    I'm certainly not going to pretend that a 10 day trip to Southern California makes me an expert on the area.  Far from it.  But, I do think you are underestimating the coffee shop as a style of Roadfood restaurant.  True, there is no individual food in these places that is indiginous or unique, but coffee shops seemed to especially thrive in Southern California.  I like to think about these places almost as if they are the west coast version of the diner.
     
     
     
    (Not for WJ, since he knows this better than anyone.   But just so there is no confusion, when I say coffee shop, I am not talking about a Starbucks or something similar.  A Southern California coffee shop typically has been open forever and hardly changed a thing, has plush leather booths and counter seats, is open 24 hours, a huge mostly American food menu, plus the waitresses wear crisp linen uniforms and call you hon.  And maybe most importantly, has a feel or atmosphere that is all it's own.)  
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