Hot!L.A. Confidential

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buffetbuster
Porterhouse
2012/12/04 11:42:22
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
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 12:13:57
You're off to a great start, BB...I'm looking forward to the next installment!
The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 12:30:59
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.
Wintahaba
Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 13:01:05
Awesome report so far....nice pics. It reminded me I have not had liver in years...maybe because my wife and daughter hate it.
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 13:32:05
It seems wasteful to order all that food. 
The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 14:17:35
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.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 14:26:28
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.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 14:34:53
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
easydoesit
Double Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 14:56:39
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! 
mar52
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 15:00:50
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!
 
 
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 15:04:05
 
Ah, what timing!   Janet and I ate pancakes at Du-Pars for Thanksgiving last year on our trip to SoCal.   Great place! 
 
 
Glenn
 
 
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 15:05:43
 
Ah, what timing!   Janet and I ate pancakes at Du-Pars for Thanksgiving last year on our trip to SoCal.   Great place! 
 
 
Glenn
 
 
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 15:10:42
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!
pnwchef
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 16:15:10
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
Root-Beer Man
Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 17:37:56
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!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 19:37:45
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
mar52
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 19:53:31
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.
ann peeples
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 19:56:07
Liver! I would do that.....
 
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 20:44:55
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. 
agnesrob
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 21:20:39
Great start! Can't wait for the rest!
mar52
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 21:45:11
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?
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/04 22:11:44
DuPars was very good. off to a great start.
macaroni
Junior Burger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 01:16:28
Everything looks delicious ~ I would eat that liver and those onions in a heartbeat! Looking forward to reading more about your trip, buffetbuster!
BuddyRoadhouse
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 01:43:40
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
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 02:05:51
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
MetroplexJim
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 07:36:29
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.
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 08:03:55
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.
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 08:11:45
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
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 08:22:43
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!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 09:06:24
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.)  
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 09:49:47
buffetbuster

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.


 
Buffetbuster
 
You are  correct. California Coffee Shops (not coffee houses) are 100% pure Americana, however on my short and infrequent trips  out west (well infrequent compared to you! ) regional food trumps atmosphere.

Wintahaba
Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 09:58:05
Agree on the Coffee Shoppe's food, but they did give us the 50's/60's Jetson like  "Googie" designed buildings...most by Armet and Davis.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 11:14:33
Thursday November 22, 2012
 
Considering this was Thanksgiving Day, there sure aren't going to be many tourists destinations open.  Luckily for us, there is one place nearby that is always open. Just a few blocks drive and we were at the famed LaBrea Tar Pits. 



It is just so weird to have this place right smack in the middle of such a populated area, but that's undoubtedly part of the charm.  There isn't really a ton to see here, especially since the Page Museum

and the nearby and truly excellent Los Angeles County Museum of Art were both closed for the holiday.  But, how can you not love seeing bubbling, black ooze

along with the smell that makes you think the road in front of your house is being repaired.  We spent a very enjoyable 45 minutes here.
 
One of the organizations I belong to is the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which oversees the Historic Hotels of America.  Because of this, I have stayed in quite a few of these hotels and easily my favorite is the Mission Inn, which I visited in 2004.  It is easily the most beautiful and romantic hotel I have seen.  So, we headed east into the Inland Empire to Riverside, where Mariton and I checked in.  TTM joined us at the hotel, but was staying elsewhere nearby.
 
The hotel is built to look like one of the famous California missions and succeeded, assuming the original missions included a spa and a cupcake shop.  Okay, maybe that was an unnecessary potshot, because the hotel is truly gorgeous.  We did explore, taking lots of photos, before finding Casey's Cupcakes

open. It was very surprising to find them open on Thanksgiving, but I know better than to look a gift cupcake in the mouth, so we went in.  These were some fine looking cupcakes


and we each picked one out, to be shared later.
 
By now we were hungry for dinner and ate in the Mission Inn Restaurant, which is in the middle of a three story courtyard.  A prettier setting for dinner is hard to imagine, but unfortunately, those photos are not worth posting.  I will be posting photos I took the following morning in the next segment.  Maybe TTM, who is a better photographer than I has something worthy of showing.  Anyway, most of the people around us were taking advantage of the $35.00 prime rib buffet and the plates people around us were walking by with were rather impressive.  But none us were in the mood for abig meal, so we just ordered off of the menu.  TTM got some kind of jumbo shrimp dish, which possibly came in a pasta, maybe.  Sorry, I did not take a photo of it, but he did like it.  I started off with the wonderful tortilla soup,

which was plenty spicy and featured a strong flavor of avocado.  Yeah, I know this is probably a sure sign of the apocalypse, but I ordered a salad, a Caesar salad,

which was just fine and exactly what I was in the mood for.  Mariton enjoyed her mixed green vegetable salad,

with some kind of vinaigrette dressing.
 
We headed back to the room to divvy up the cupcakes.  First up was Mariton's Rockin' Red Velvet,

which was a hit with everyone.  The only difference was that she scraped all of her icing off, while TTM enjoyed it with the icing.  My Decadent Dark Chocolate cupcake

was decidely rich, almost like a brownie and was almost too much of a good thing.  The concensus favorite was TTM's Luscious Lemon,

which was incredibly moist, with bright sunny flavor.  This was a great way to finish off our dinner.
 
I should mention that they claim the Mission Inn is supposed to be haunted.  We didn't experience anything unusual, although at times, we did get the strange feeling that we were being watched.

 
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/05 11:31:55
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 13:01:54
Friday November 23, 2012
 
Mariton and I got up early, to walk around and take photos of the hotel.  She did later on tell me that this was the nicest hotel she has ever stayed at and it was one of the highlights of the trip for her.


The builder of the Mission Inn, Frank Miller, compiled an impressive collection of bells including the oldest bell in Christendom that dates to 1247 AD and this

huge, centuries old bell, known as the Nanking Temple Bell.















 




 
Needless to say, many famous people have stayed here over the years, including several Presidents,

with Teddy Roosevelt being the first in 1903.  Richard Nixon and his wife Pat were actually married here in 1940.  When President Taft visited here, they built a special chair

to fit him and his girth.  In the main hall, they have a long carpet

with the name and dates of all the original California misions.  There really is something new and interesting to see around each corner.  They do have a museum on site and offer tours of the hotel, but we had too much to do. 
 
Just as we finished up our picture taking, TTM called to say he was up and ready.  So, we settled on a breakfast destination and headed back towards Los Angeles.
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/07 20:02:09
The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 15:36:42
I don't know what I have on my DSLR, but I got one decent shot of our outdoor dining at The Mission Inn. I can't imagine that there is a picture that could have captured the experience, but I think you get the sense of being outdoors.
 

Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 15:40:10
 
MetroplexJim  -  Yes, I currently live in the native territory of Five Guys in nothern VA, but I actually consider myself from RI where I was born and grew up.    To me, In 'N' Out and Five Guys are not even comparable.  Before I tried In 'N' Out, I was expecting a close challenge, ... but after trying it, it wasn't even a fair fight.  A TKO in the first round.   As for Texas' Whataburger, to me they taste very much like BK's Whopper.  Whataburger might be a notch better.  Not going out of my way for one again.   
 
WanderingJew -   Regarding the sweetenss of the fruit smoothies versus the date shakes, I think it was more a matter of expectation.  We expected date shakes to be sweet ... and they were.  We did not expect the fruit smooties to be as sweet as they were. (We are fruit smoothie newbies).    It also might have been the particular flavors we ordered. I imagine some fruits/flavors are sweeter than others.   It might be that we just don't like fruit smoothies, ... anywhere.      As for the date shakes, we like Shield's Date Garden  the best because it had the most most date flavor.  The one at Oasis Date Garden was very weak with little date flavor.  We tasted more vanilla than date.  The third one we had was at the Wheel Inn in Cabazon, and their date shake scored in the middle.  Unfortuntely, we did not have a date shake at the Orange Inn.     Regarding Du-Par's, I certainly have not found pancakes that good when I lived in RI.   Du-Par's is certainly worth a stop next time you are in SoCal.  RI for jonnycakes.  Du-Par's for pancakes.  :) 
 
BuffetBuster -  Those mission photos are amazing!  Lookng forward to seeing the rest of your report and hearing your opinions.  I agree with you on the "coffee shops".  They are very much a Southern California institution. And the food was great at the ones we visited.      Although not "Roadfood", as they are a chain, we also vistited a "Norm's" coffee shop, and it was pretty good, but not in Pann's league.    
    It's funny when I told several of my friends that I went to a few "coffee shops" in California, as Janet and I don't like coffee and we dont drink it.   You decribed them well, equating them to Southern California's version of a diner. 
 
 
Glenn
 
 
 
 
post edited by Glenn1234 - 2012/12/05 15:45:28
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 18:14:26
Glenn1234

WanderingJew -   Regarding the sweetenss of the fruit smoothies versus the date shakes, I think it was more a matter of expectation.  We expected date shakes to be sweet ... and they were.  We did not expect the fruit smooties to be as sweet as they were. (We are fruit smoothie newbies).    It also might have been the particular flavors we ordered. I imagine some fruits/flavors are sweeter than others.   It might be that we just don't like fruit smoothies, ... anywhere.      As for the date shakes, we like Shield's Date Garden  the best because it had the most most date flavor.  The one at Oasis Date Garden was very weak with little date flavor.  We tasted more vanilla than date.  The third one we had was at the Wheel Inn in Cabazon, and their date shake scored in the middle.  Unfortuntely, we did not have a date shake at the Orange Inn.     Regarding Du-Par's, I certainly have not found pancakes that good when I lived in RI.   Du-Par's is certainly worth a stop next time you are in SoCal.  RI for jonnycakes.  Du-Par's for pancakes.  :) 


Glenn
 
 
Glenn,
 
Call me skeptical but basing my benchmark on the Pancake Capital of the Nation- Vermont-  I must insist-  get thee self to:  Nicks on Broadway in Providence, The Brickway in Providence, T's in Johnston, Modern Diner in Pawtucket and Jigger's in East Greenwich (although I haven't had the pancakes since new ownership took over) 
joerogo
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 19:27:48
buffetbuster, Gorgeous photos!  I was waiting for El Zorro to come flying out one of the windows.
JRPfeff
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 22:05:41
So near and yet we drove the other direction. Bobbi was out for Thanksgiving and we decided to drive to Santa Fe for the weekend.  Had we known you were in L.A., we would have had a tough choice between buffetbuster and Bobcat Bite. 
 
WWBBD? Sorry Cliff, you know the answer.
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/05 22:36:37
wanderingjew

Glenn1234

WanderingJew -   Regarding the sweetenss of the fruit smoothies versus the date shakes, I think it was more a matter of expectation.  We expected date shakes to be sweet ... and they were.  We did not expect the fruit smooties to be as sweet as they were. (We are fruit smoothie newbies).    It also might have been the particular flavors we ordered. I imagine some fruits/flavors are sweeter than others.   It might be that we just don't like fruit smoothies, ... anywhere.      As for the date shakes, we like Shield's Date Garden  the best because it had the most most date flavor.  The one at Oasis Date Garden was very weak with little date flavor.  We tasted more vanilla than date.  The third one we had was at the Wheel Inn in Cabazon, and their date shake scored in the middle.  Unfortuntely, we did not have a date shake at the Orange Inn.     Regarding Du-Par's, I certainly have not found pancakes that good when I lived in RI.   Du-Par's is certainly worth a stop next time you are in SoCal.  RI for jonnycakes.  Du-Par's for pancakes.  :) 


Glenn
 

Glenn,

Call me skeptical but basing my benchmark on the Pancake Capital of the Nation- Vermont-  I must insist-  get thee self to:  Nicks on Broadway in Providence, The Brickway in Providence, T's in Johnston, Modern Diner in Pawtucket and Jigger's in East Greenwich (although I haven't had the pancakes since new ownership took over) 

 
 
I've been to Modern and have been to the old Jigger's. 
With several of us on here vouching for how good Du-Par's is,  you might want to try Du-Par's for yourself.  I think you'll like it.     
 
Glenn  
post edited by Glenn1234 - 2012/12/05 23:39:25
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 00:27:55
 Great photos of the Mission Inn. Looks like quite a place. Love the Taft chair. As a lover of all things presidential, I really enjoyed t your tidbits. it looks like a place I would like to visit  when i visit my son in socal.
post edited by mr chips - 2012/12/06 08:12:28
totillie
Hamburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 01:40:35
They both have closed, sadly -  and it's a hard [really, really]  haul into LA to eat at Dupar's now. I miss it. A lot.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 05:06:56
mr chips-
The Mission Inn is 100% worth seeing and they do give a great tour, which I took on my previous visit.  Unfortunately, they don't have that much Presidential stuff, other than paintings of the different Presidents who have stayed there, the Taft chair and the fact that the bar is called the Presidential Lounge.  Still, I recommend a visit when you are in town to see Sam.
 
totillie-
Sorry that the nearest two Du-Par's closed on you.  Do I remember that the Thousand Oaks location used to be in a hotel?
 
JRPfeff-
While we would have loved to have seen you and Pie Diva, I completely agree with your choice.  Especially if you ate a you-know-what from you-know-where!
 
TTM-
Thanks for the photo.  It is certainly better than anything hat I have. 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/06 05:08:29
ann peeples
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 07:43:47
Oh, my-those cupcakes!!!!And, what a beautiful hotel-very classy.
TnTinCT
Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 08:16:34
Just spent some time in LA on business and had the pancakes at Du-Par's - I also loved that diner vibe and have to say the pancakes were delish. Made the mistake of breakfast at Pann's - a great atmosphere, but really disappointing breakfast - bacon was like jerky, and the pancakes AND the syrup were basically tasteless. Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles - I actually really enjoyed the waffle, but the chicken was not good. My favorite breakfast was at Phillippe's - we were happy to see you can order a dipped sandwich anytime of the day, so we did - split a beef and a pork. Loved the atmosphere, really enjoyed our sandwiches.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 09:30:19
Friday November 23, 2012 (cont.)
 
I had called Donut Man in Glendora to see if they were open, but there was no answer.  Considering who we were traveling with, you have to expect these types of things.  So, we arrived at our breakfast destination, Pie 'N Burger

in Pasadena, just minutes ahead of TTM.  We grabbed seats in the middle of their long counter. 

This gave us a perfect view into the kitchen,

although we would need to stand up if we wanting to check out the grill.
 
Since this was still fairly early in the morning, both Mariton and TTM decided on breakfast.  Hers was sausage and eggs

which she enjoyed and TTM also made no complaints about his bacon and eggs.  What none of us really cared for was the home fries, which needed to be crispier.  Much crispier.  Better was the toast

and they make their own bread in house.  And to put on top of the toast, they have some excellent strawberry, apricot and blackberry preserves. 

These were so good, we thought they had to be homemade also, though we never did ask to make sure.  We do know for sure that they make their own salsa,

which Mariton used liberally on her eggs and potatoes, but proved to be too hot for me.
 
Like a gambler on a hot streak in Vegas, TTM rolled the dice again and ordered the pancakes.  The waitress did ask whether he wanted them thick (like regular pancakes) or thin (like crepes) and he chose thick. 

These pancakes were not as thick as Du-Par's nor as good as Du-Par's, but you can't hold that against them.  They tasted just fine and putting a little bit of the preserves on top, as opposed to the syrup, seemed to really bring out the flavor.
 
With a name like Pie 'N Burger, there was no doubt that a burger is what I needed to order, once it was confirmed they will make one that early.  Here is the double cheeseburger,

wrapped in the burger diaper, for easy lifting.  It automatically comes with lettuce, pickles and their own Thousand Islands dressing.  This made for a sloppy, delicious mess and the burger itself had a real nice crunchy exterior to it.  BTW, I also ended up with the poor home fries, since it was too early for them to make french fries.
 
Did anyone doubt pie would be part of my breakfast?  They are famous for their butterscotch, but they make it only every other day, alternating with peanut butter pie.  And this was peanut butter pie day. 

What an impressively tall meringue and the filling had a wonderful, strong peanut butter flavor.  This was a really good slice of pie.  TTM also seemed to be happy with his thin crusted boysenberry,

with lots of sweet fruit.
 
As much as we like Pie 'N Burger for the food, we really loved the service.  Our waitress, who looked very much like my sister-in-law, was a real pro, with a good sense of humor and took great care of us.  In the middle of our meal, we saw her sitting further down the counter, eating her breakfast.  But, she kept getting up to refill our coffee cups and water glasses, despite the fact that she was obviously on break.  We kept telling her to go sit back down.  While we were knee deep in pie, another waitress stopped by to chat.  She told us she had worked there for 29 years and while she has gotten tired of eating all the other foods after all those years, she has never grown tired of eating the pie.  How could I not take a picture of this wise woman after my own heart?

 
Oh, Pie 'N Burger, you didn't really have to have tall meringues and great service to win me over.  After all, you had me at pie clock. 

You had me at pie clock.
 
Pie 'N Burger
913 E. California Blvd.
Pasadena, CA
626-795-1123 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/06 09:35:17
Sundancer7
Fire Safety Admin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 10:14:41
BB:  I sure do enjoy your food travel adventures.  Roz will be graduating in a few months and we will make our around the USA tour to Arizona for graduation.  I fully intended on stopping at some of the top places you have mentioned in NM, CA WA and many other places.
 
Thanks again for your over the top post.  We will see TTM in late January in FL. 
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 10:56:17
I still haven't uploaded the pictures from my real camera, but I took a few with my cell phone (Samsung Galaxy SIII) that turned out pretty well. One of which was the toast from Pie 'N Burger.
 

 
Yeah....I know. It's toast. I'm telling you - this was some fantastic toast. The pancakes were a notch below Du-Par's, but they were still strong. The addition of the fresh preserves definitely helped. I wish I had made that discovery earlier on in the eating process.
 
I would like to go back and enjoy a burger there. Also, as much as buffetbuster and I both enjoy visiting college campuses, we spent no time exploring nearby Cal Tech. Sounds like just one more reason for a return visit.
ann peeples
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 11:06:10
Funny you should post that today, TTM..Bob made homemade bread over the weekend, and while we enjoyed the warm bread with butter, the toast we had today was awesome!
By the way, BB-I think Mariton and I are on the same page with most foods-I , too would have scraped most of the frosting off those cupcakes.......I will never, never miss a meet up with you two again.....
post edited by ann peeples - 2012/12/06 11:08:07
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 11:12:36
When I was young my grandmother would sometimes bake bread when I visited and I really looked forward to the toast...a lot of people consider it more of an afterthought when it comes to breakfast but for me exceptionally good or bad toast can make a real difference.
 
And anyplace that'll serve a fresh burger for breakfast is A-OK with me!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 14:16:00
Friday November 23, 2012 (cont.)
 
The first local attraction we decided to go visit was Griffith Observatory, for the science, for the beautiful art deco building and for the views of the surrounding area.  Unfortunately, it seemed half of Los Angeles had descended onto Griffith Park on this day.  I'm still not sure what exactly what was going on, but as soon as we entered the park, we were being diverted by road closures and signs saying the parking lot closest to the observatory was full and you had to find parking elsewhere.  Which would have meant a long uphill climb on a hot, humid day, which I wanted no part of.  So, we headed for Hollywood instead.  Which was a huge mistake.
 
We parked one block away from Graumann's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard and walked over.  The mass of humanity around here was overwhelming and claustrophobic. 


All I wanted to do was a snap a couple of photos of movie stars hand or footprints in the cement, but there was so many people around, either other tourists or hustlers wanting money, that the experience was truly awful.  Which sucked, because this was the first time Mariton had been here.  It wasn't a complete loss, since I did get to see some of my favorites, like Peter O'Toole

(Lawrence of Arabia is my all-time favorite movie), William Powell

and fellow Western PA born movie cowboy Tom Mix.

I know this will sound like an exaggeration, but you really couldn't go 30 seconds without someone trying to get you on a tour bus of Hollywood and the stars homes or some hip-hop artist giving away a free CD of his music (but he would appreciate a donation, of course).  And then there were the people dressed up in famous character's costumes harrassing you, asking if you want your picture taken with them.  You know, for a donation, of course.  Sorry Harry Potter, if I didn't get my photo taken with Catwoman, I'm sure not getting photographed with you.
 
Just because I was brought up to be polite, I was constantly replying "No thanks" and eventually just "no".  TTM was just shaking his head at me.  Eventually, I learned to just ignore them, which wasn't easy to do, but the only way to keep your sanity.  We got out of there, walking down Hollywood Boulevard, checking out all the famous people with their own stars.  And yet it was still every 20 feet, "Hey, how about a bus tour of Hollywood?  Would you like to see the Stars homes?"  As much as I enjoyed the seeing star of one of my favorite actors and actresses (like Jean Arthur!),

the experience was again, awful.
 
We did pass by Roadfood favorite Musso & Frank,

but we didn't have appetite to stop in and enjoy a meal.  Eventually, we got as far as Hollywood & Vine and got a good view of the famous Capital Records building. 

Of course, we had to hang out at the famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine
 

to see if any of us would get "discovered".  Unfortunately, it was not to be.  Hard to believe Hollywood could say no to this. 

Obviously, they don't know talent when they see it! 
 
On the way back to the car, I had another first time experience.  The nice people in one storefront wanted to know if we wanted to come in to see a doctor to find out if we qualified for medical marijuana.  Yeah, under no circumstances will I ever walk down Hollywood Boulevard again.
 
Not ready to eat yet, but wanting to get out of the heat, I suggested a ride along beautiful Mulholland Drive.  Yeah, this was another bad idea.  Mariton, who doesn't normally get motion sickness, did get car sick from the constant back and forth from all the turns.  She was quite happy when we got to the famous overlook at the east end of the road, where you get a great view of the Hollywood Bowl down below,

with Los Angeles in the distance. 

And of course, the obligatory photo of the Hollywood sign.

 
After all of this, we were finally ready to do some eating!      
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/07 20:05:45
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 14:33:13
 
BuffetBuster -
 
Wow! I need to put Pie-N-Burger on the "to do" list!  That is a great looking burger!   Those pies also look great, especially the thin-crusted boysenberry.  
 
 On the home fries, it seems that a lot of places serve them not crispy enough ... at east for my taste.  I like 'em pretty crunchy.    I have made it a habit to always ask for home fires or hash browns to be "well done".    
 
Getting hungry.  Keep the reports coming !   :)
 
 
Glenn
 
 
post edited by Glenn1234 - 2012/12/06 14:39:48
The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 14:37:03
Fifty bucks, Grandpa. For 75, the wife can watch.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 14:40:07
TTM-
Considering the great photos I have of you, this report is going to get real boring after you leave.
billyboy
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 14:42:51
Nice gams there, Kit DeLuca.  Like I always say, ya gotta have a goal.  Do you have a goal?
mar52
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 14:53:00
Thank you both for a glimpse into Pie 'N Burger

I've been trying to get there (and Musso & Frank Grill) for years.  Both so close yet I've never been to either.
 
When friends visit from out of state and want to see Grauman's Chinese Theater (I refuse to call it Mann's or whatever it is called now) it isn't a problem for me.  I drop them off at a place I can pull over and then circle the block until they're finished seeing everything they want to see.  It's a horrid area!
 
When I was a kid my uncle owned a gift shop (souvenir) directly across from The Chinese Theater.  We used to be able to walk "The Boulevard" with no worries or cares.  Times were different then.  His building was torn down for a highrise that now pales in comparison to those around it.
 
Looking back is fun.  Didn't realize then that having lunch at The Roosevelt coffee shop was anything other than having lunch.  We used to dine with B actors quite often.
 
Did you drive up Beachwood Drive for an up front and personal view of the revamped Hollywood Sign? 
 
 
mar52
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 14:55:20
I forgot to add...  Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles is a to do once type of place.  Not the best at anything other than being famous for being famous.
The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 14:56:09
I am the straw that stirs the drink.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 15:25:21
annpeeples-
And you know that Mariton and I would love to meet you sometime, too.  How I went this entire calendar year without a trip to Milwaukee is a source of great shame for me, but it won't be repeated in 2013!
 
TnTinCT-
Looks like you were able to squeeze in some serious Roadfood spots during your business trip to Los Angeles.  Nicely done!
 
Paul-
That is quite an ambitious and fun trip you have planned when Roz graduates.  Looking forward to hearing all about it at Glee Club.
 
mar52-
No, I didn't know anything about Beechwood Drive or I would have definitely driven up.  Oh well, there will always be a next time.  We do have a visit to Roscoe's coming up and it was where we had our one celebrity sighting.  Maybe the area around Graumann's isn't always that overcrowded, but I should have known better than go there on a day when most people are off.  Why weren't all those people out shopping on Black Friday!  
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/06 15:28:02
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/06 15:47:35
 
BuffetBuster -
 
We ran into the same problem you did with all the crowds around Griffith Observatoy.  (Same weekend a year earlier.)  We ended up parking far away, and didn't want to do the hike, so I took out the telephoto lens to shoot some photos from across a small valley.   I have a lot of non-food photos from that trip that maybe I'll post in the off-topic section.   
 
No celebrity sightings for us at any restaurants, but we did see Jay Leno's Sunday evening show at the Magic and Comedy Club in Hermosa Beach.    It's a great place to see Leno, as it's all stand-up comedy, and you don't need to wait half the day in line as you would at is Burbank show.  You buy tickets, show up, and go right in.  All seat are pretty close to the stage.    He is there most Sundays, and he uses part of the show as a test for new material for his upcoming week.   
 
Glenn
 
 
 
 
Glenn
 
 
 
post edited by Glenn1234 - 2012/12/06 15:48:55
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