“… I’ve been there a hundred times.”
We’ve all heard or said it before – “I’ve been there a hundred times”. Well, which SoCal restaurants have you eaten at 100 times or more?
1. Full service restaurants only.
2. Either eat-in or take-out.
3. No fast food chains like McDonalds, Jack-in-the-Box, Tommy’s, In-N-Out, etc.
4. No street food or trucks.
5. No bars or clubs unless the primary venue is a restaurant where you ate.
I’ll start the ball rolling with mine (in alpha order):
The Golden Truffle
Jay Bee’s BBQ
Original Pantry Cafe
Pacific Dining Car
Tradition by Pascal (formerly Pascal)
100 times is quite a lot and I've lived in LA for 36 years.
Only place I can think of is the Montebello Country Club coffee shop where I play golf every week and have lunch, it's not bad for a golf course, but nothing to write home about.
Take that back. They make a great half pound hamburger w/fries for $5.95, great Thai chicken salad and sometimes their lunch specials aren't bad....like $6.95 filet mignon w/potatoes and veg.
Langer's. I grew up in LA and I worked at my dad's store around the block in the Westlake neighborhood in the 1960's, we would have it for lunch a few times a week. We would always said hi to Al Langer. I still love it even after 100's of pastrami sandwiches.
In second place is the long gone La Barbara's Pizza on Wilshire in West LA which I lived right behind. I still miss it to this day, boy was that good pizza.
I’ve read and heard many props for La Barbara’s pizza. I understand that it shuttered in the mid-eighties without my trying it. I did not become even remotely interested in pizza until post Y2K. I really feel that I missed out on a SoCal institution. It’s even mentioned on latimemachines.com.
I would say they are good, but not great. I wouldn't go out of my way for them. Houston's is one of those nice "date" restaurants that my wife and I went to after the movies. Over time we got to know everyone that worked there and ended up never having to wait for a table, despite the Friday night crowds.
If you do go sometime and you decide you want to finish with something sweet I highly recommend their apple walnut cobbler with vanilla ice cream. In my 200 + meals I probably had that 80% of time...
Finding great baby back ribs can be difficult, especially barbequed. They must first be properly selected and then require a more concerted method of method than do other rib cuts.
Sounds straightforward and easy enough, right? Apparently not. I gave up the search for great BBQ baby backs a while ago. At commercial BBQ joints, I go for the St. Louis style, small ends, rib tips or, sometimes, burnt ends, when available, for a special treat. Baby backs are reserved for home, as Servorg stated, or restaurant (non-BBQ) preparation.
I've been having the baby backs at Pann's on a somewhat regular basis and had them again this past Saturday night. Pretty darn good. What was also nice was the turn out. The last few Saturdays I would call the crown "sparse" but this past Saturday night they were pretty busy, including a 3/4's full counter.
Penny (one of our favorite waitresses at Pann's) was serving the counter and she was hopping. Penny is probably Thai (maybe?) and has one of those almost "Betty Boop" sounding cartoon voices. In fact if some animation director is looking for a good voice for one of their "wacky" characters I say "go hire Penny!" She is a really nice person with a great personality, that's for sure.
I understand that Pann’s is pretty solid overall. To date, I’ve only enjoyed breakfast, notably their fried chicken wings, eggs and waffles - excellent. I’ve received rec’s to try their short ribs, bouillabaisse and, now, their baby backs. It’s off my beaten path these days, so it may be a while before I’ve done all three. My respect for your opinion puts the baby backs up next though. Are they served daily?
Won Won Kitchen (nee QQ)
Soot Bull Jeep
Spike's Teriyaki Bowl (R.I.P.)
El Cholo (but not since college 30+ years ago!)
Petrelli"s (going since 1951!)
Musso & Franks
Pacific Dining Car
The Cock and Bull (RIP)
Le Cellier (RIP)
Thai Nakorn (both locations)
La Barbara's Pizza (all through High School...I went to school with one of the La Barbara boys...and college)
Ocean Ave. Seafood
There are probably more...I will have to think about it over dinner...at the Apple Pan!!
...and after a hickory burger...
Bicycle Shop (RIP...I miss their onion soup)
The Smoke House
Great list, TravelPath! We’ve shared many of the same dining experiences, albeit you far more often for your listed venues. As many times as I’ve been and as much as I love it, I was surprised to find that I haven’t been to Langer’s 100 times – too many 5-year stretches when I didn’t go at all.
Haven’t been to Petrelli’s since the 70’s, but it’s great that old school still lives on.