I had some great meals in LA thanks to the recommendations here.
My first was breakfast at the Original Pantry
. I remember an article in The New Yorker
a few years ago that compared two restaurants in New Martinsville WV. One was a very good but lightly patronized downtown restaurant; the other a Bob Evans on the edge of town. One thing the author mentioned was how the good restaurant was louder than the Bob Evans been though it had far few folks dining. People there were talking to each other (and not just to the people at the same table), while the Bob Evans customers were mostly eating in silence. By that measure, the Original Pantry was a great place - folks were being very social, even the singles at the counter. I would give the place a 10 for atmosphere and a 6 for food. And for me, as long as the food is decent, the atmosphere is what counts. Otherwise I'd be hanging out at some gourmet food site.
I expected that atmosphere would be the sole charm of Phillippe's
. It had the atmosphere, but I found the food surprisingly good. I got the beef. The meat itself was nothing special, but the nice crusty bread and the "jus" was excellent. I only got a single dip and had to go back a second time to experience the double dip. (Going back wasn't a problem because it is so near the train station and I like to hang out at train stations.) As good as the "jus" was, in the end I decided I preferred the single dip as half the bread remained nice and crisp.
The real find though was the Nickel Diner
. I went twice, once alone and once with three friends. Everyone loved it, although a couple of my companions worried about the neighborhood. High points for food, service, atmosphere, and even the neighborhood, which I liked. Two items worth mentioning are a cheesecake dessert that actually tasted like cheese (!) and a fabulous collection of hard to find soft drinks.
I often have bad ideas and the best way to recognize them as such is to communicate them. So when I explained to Wandering Jew why I wanted to go to In-N-Out
. I recognized it as a bad idea. However, I had some time to kill after my meeting was over, so I took the subway to Hollywood. Wandering around, I saw an In-N-Out and had to check it out. Like each of the other LA restaurants, the atmosphere was great. Lots of young folks there that didn't look much like the folks I see here in Pittsburgh. Can't say much nice about the burger I had, though.
<message edited by Kenny Joe on Fri, 11/11/11 6:44 AM>