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Apple Pan ...

PaulF Apr 17, 2007 11:44 AM

This may have been previously discussed, but then again, this is a board with about 649 different Pinkberry threads. So, I'll bring it up and risk the "this has already been posted" posts ...

Jim Leff, the founding chowhound (? ... that's right, right?) and a very good food writer, wrote a very interesting blog post about the Apple Pan. The Pan is fairly well discussed here and Leff makes it a point to sum up the L.A. feelings about this place to his national readers.

I thought it was a well-done write up, not only for what he says about the Pan, but for what he says in general.

Here is an excerpt:

"Some of us are used to our food hitting certain buttons and striking certain notes. Nothing at Apple Pan clears the gourmet’s high bar. Their fare can’t possibly do for you precisely what ground-to-order sirloin and hand-cut fries will do. But one must learn to sometimes drop expectations, and be submerged in an experience."

Here is the link:

http://www.chow.com/tour/2232

  1. b
    bulavinaka Apr 17, 2007 10:18 PM

    Still tired and aching from that battle royale back in February... My assessment? Opinions are like - you know - everybody's got one. The only difference is some are far better than others... Jonathan Gold (opinions), Elle McPherson (-you know-).

    I admire the notion that you and Mr. Leff embrace. It IS about letting go and just enjoying it for what it is... There's no doubt that the expectations of some were not met at any one of these storied institutions. Many flamed Apple Pan for various reasons - I find the place etched in my memories since childhood and have nothing but good thoughts about it. I for one personally detest Phillipe's - not for their food but for the crass and arrogant service and remarks I received there not once but three times; however, I respect its history and what it has contributed to LA's culture. And the line of defenders for both Apple Pan and Phillipe's is as deep as their histories. One errant comment and you get the "If you mess with me, you mess with the whole trailer park" phenomenon. We all feel a need to protect our egos, our likes, our history. Most of us are probably guilty of being a little too easy on our favorites, whatever they may be. Or is it that each of us has been willing to take in and embrace certain places that just ring true to us?

    2 Replies
    1. re: bulavinaka
      e
      Ernie Apr 17, 2007 10:59 PM

      The problem with Apple Pan is twofold: 1) it is not nearly as old (or cool) as Musso & Frank, Phillipe, and the Original Pantry; 2) the food is nothing special

      1. re: Ernie
        b
        bulavinaka Apr 17, 2007 11:22 PM

        Again - this may be a problem for you, but not for me. It may not be as old as the others that you list, but it's plenty old enough for me. And how far do we take your criterion of age? And what true importance does it play if you can't convince me or I can't convince you that this is better than that? I can honestly tell you that Phillipe's has a good sandwich, but like you feel about Apple Pan - it's nothing special TO ME, as is the Pantry, but Musso & Frank does just about everything right. My point is you have your opinion, and I have mine. I enjoy Apple Pan and you don't. That's fine. I've hardwired my psyche to enjoy places like this while you have your own places as well. Once again - I believe the OP is stressing the issue that it's all about the experience. You've had yours and I've had mine. That we cannot deny each other of...

    2. tony michaels Apr 17, 2007 12:41 PM

      Paul, I couldn't believe that you somehow weren't part of this mammoth AP thread from back in Feb. of this year. What were the odds?

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/372510

      3 Replies
      1. re: tony michaels
        PaulF Apr 17, 2007 02:05 PM

        I saw that thread but didn't read every post. Was the Leff article mentioned -- I didn't notice it?

        And I'm not necessarily pro or con on the Apple Pan. What I really appreciated -- and the reason I restarted an Apple Pan thread -- was Leff's notion that for some restaurants, we need to drop our gourmet standards and immerse ourselves in an experience. That applies to lots of places that some people like and some don't.

        We could apply the same school of thought to Original Tommy's. Or to Canter's at 2:30 in the morning. Or maybe to standing in line at Tito's. Maybe even eating in line at a taco truck.

        There are places in Los Angeles (other places too, I guess, but this is the L.A. board) where the experience is part of the culinary charm and actually informs the quest for deliciousness. My dad feels that way about Nathan's hot dogs in Coney Island. They are his favorite food, I think. But he won't eat them any where but Coney Island. And if at his age he never returns to his native Brooklyn, he will go the rest of his life without a Coney Island hot dog (or are the frandfurters).

        I thought Leff's more general point was worth repeating, even if we didn't need another AP thread.

        1. re: PaulF
          tony michaels Apr 17, 2007 02:17 PM

          That's exactly how I feel when I am eating at Pann's or Yuca's or the Original Pantry or Musso and Frank. You can't overlook the sense of history along with the griddle fried sourdough at the OP or the wing's and waffle at Pann's or the beautiful martini and the sand dabs at M & F.

          1. re: tony michaels
            PaulF Apr 17, 2007 02:35 PM

            Musso's is a great example

            Yes, you can find a better steak.

            But at Musso's you can sit in Charles Bukowski's booth and eat a steak.

            I like Musso's sand dabs, too.

            I always use other art forms as metaphors at times like this.

            And I'm thinking that sometimes you find yourself reading Tolstoy or Dickens. Other times you read King or Grisham. Sometimes you listen to Pavarotti, sometimes you listen to John Lee Hooker. There are movies directed by Welles and Scorcese that are great, but then again, Rodriguez and Tarantino did Grindhouse. You get the point ...

      2. c
        curiousgeo Apr 17, 2007 11:54 AM

        Well, places like the Apple Pan, Phillipe's, Langer's and the Original Pantry are on my list of places to try in LA. I like places with some history, afterall if they have been in business for many years they must be doing something right. They may not all be highly ranked food wise, but if they are popular the food must hit the right notes for some people and I want to judge for myself what they are about.

        2 Replies
        1. re: curiousgeo
          o
          ozhead Apr 17, 2007 12:25 PM

          Skip the Apple Pan and the Original Pantry. Concentrate on Langer's and Philippe's. at Langer's be sure to order your pastrami hand cut. At Philippe's (http://www.philippes.com/) I suggest a pork french dip, double-dipped (i.e., both sides of the bread dipped), with a side of their excellent potato salad and a lemonade. The beef is also good (so is the lamb, for that matter), but to my mind the pork has the most flavor. And be sure to use some of the mustard, but BE CAREFUL. If you don't spend your remaining time going back to those two place -- and you might -- expand the list to include the Pantry, but don't expect too much. Apple Pan, despite its history, is pretty much meh.

          1. re: ozhead
            r
            risottoman Apr 17, 2007 12:35 PM

            I agree, I wasn't too impressed with Apple Pan. It's got a cool old-school vibe though, and I love eating on counters, so plus one for Apple Pan.

            I'm not a huge fan of relish, and they just douse the burger with a "special sauce" which is really just relish and ketchup mixed. Langer's is great too, but very expensive and not open for dinner (boo).

            Philippe's is awesome and ditto on the pork.

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