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Food/beverages invented in Los Angeles

  • d

A friend from out of town is coming to visit, and I got to thinking about food and beverages that are uniquely Angeleno in that they were invented here.

There's the french dipped sandwich, which was supposedly invented at Phillipe's.

But what else?

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  1. the california roll, and "inventive" sushi, generally.

    Link: http://www.ablowtothehead.blogspot.com

    1. The Cobb Salad.

      1. Fortune cookie
        Cobb salad
        Cheeseburger (?)
        Hot fudge sundae
        Shirley Temple

          1. re: Mealcentric

            not sure if MC is serious, but he's right: nouvelle pizza has l.a. roots--think spago.

            for that matter, "fusion" cuisine generally can be said to have been invented here. and if you want to push just a little further, "nouvelle" cuisine, too.

            Link: http://www.ablowotthehead.blogspot.com

            1. re: Mealcentric

              I'd head to Caioti to experience the start of that craze. That or Spago. Only to CPK if I also wanted a hot fudge sundae.

              1. re: Mealcentric

                Oh god, I wouldn't let my out of towner friends even know about this place. It's a disgrace, really.

              2. Legend has it the Apple Martini was invented by Lola's Restaurant on Fairfax.

                1. Smoothies (which was born with the Orange Julius)

                  Monte Cristo Sandwich

                  1. h

                    Taquitos (on Olvera Street)

                    1. There is some controversy about whether the french dip was invented at Clifton's or Phillipe's, Either way, it is a definite L.A. invention.

                      1 Reply
                        1. re: RicRios

                          didn't micky D's start in Bakersfield?

                          But I think Baskin Robbins started in Burbank or nearby, as did Bob's

                          1. re: RicRios

                            McDonald's first stand was in San Bernardino, actually.

                          2. a
                            Ancient Angelino

                            There are a few books on the topic... invented in or around Los Angeles:

                            The hamburger (as served in a modern bun)
                            The cheese burger
                            The chili burger
                            The corn dog
                            The chili dog
                            The fortune cookie
                            The sundae
                            The "california" pizza
                            The "california" bagel (chocolate or fruit flavored)
                            The "california" pancake (chocolate or fruit flavored)
                            The California Roll
                            The donut hole
                            The Shirley Temple
                            The Roy Rogers
                            The Crispy Taco
                            The Taquito
                            The french dip sandwich
                            The drive through, and modern fast food in general
                            The Smoothie
                            The milk shake
                            The Monte Cristo Sandwich
                            The Cobb Salad
                            Baskin Robins
                            Carl's Jr
                            Taco Bell
                            International House of Pancakes
                            All "Googie-style" diners
                            The mega-buffet (eventually spawned Hometown Buffet)
                            The super-market

                            Kinda makes you rethink stereotypes about LA... Worship us Middle America, we are to blame.

                            13 Replies
                            1. re: Ancient Angelino

                              thanks for the list. do you happen to have some of the references for those books?

                              1. re: dyong

                                Monte Cristo sandwich? Really? I thought it was just a standard french croque monsieur - what's the difference?

                                1. re: Jerome

                                  Deep fat frying?

                                  1. re: mc michael

                                    croque monsieur = lightly toasted, good bread with a thin layer of gruyere + ham.

                                    monte cristo = deep fried or basically french-toast type bread + ham (and turkey, sometimes) and i'm not sure what kind of cheese but not gruyere i'm guessing.

                                    croque madame = croque monsieur + a fried egg on top. now that's what I'M talking about.

                                    Link: http://www.ablowtothehead.blogspot.com

                                    1. re: dwg

                                      I thought croque madame had tomato.

                                      1. re: mc michael

                                        Just had an excellent one at Amadine (on Wilshire just a couple of blocks West of Bundy on the North side of the street) and it had a perfectly fried egg on top.

                                        1. re: WLA

                                          I used to get them at French Roast, a mini-chain in NY. I lived around the corner from the 6th Ave. one, and while I was painting my apt., I would take breaks and fortify with a croque madame, around 4 a.m. FR was 24 hours. Oh, for a 24-hour c.m. here in LA!

                                          Link: http://www.ablowtothehead.blogspot.com

                                        2. re: mc michael

                                          It very well may, but that ain't what makes it a madame. It's the oeuf.

                                          Link: http://www.ablowtothehead.blogspot.com

                                2. re: Ancient Angelino

                                  The hamburger originated in, believe it or not, Hamburg, Germany.

                                  When German immigrants arrived in NY in the 19th century, they began making steaks in the "hamburg" style (chopped meat molded into patties and fried on a grill), which eventually was shortened to the hamburger.

                                  There are a number of restaurants in Ohio and Missouri that claim to be the first to have placed the hamburger between a bun.

                                  L.A. may have perfected the hamburger, but we did not invent it.

                                  1. re: Tusc
                                    Ancient Angelino

                                    Not quite right.

                                    At least, that is to say, "hamburger sandwiches" were invented here. The hamburger steak had been served for nearly a century before Angelinos got their hands on them and put them on a bun.

                                    Great LA Times Article on the topic earlier this year.

                                    1. re: Ancient Angelino

                                      Am not so sure the L.A. Times is the best source for ANYTHING.

                                  2. re: Ancient Angelino

                                    If you're gonna stretch, go all the way to TJ for the Caesar Salad and Ensenada for Fish Tacos.

                                    1. re: Ancient Angelino

                                      Add to the list:

                                      Taco Bell
                                      King's Hawaiian Bread
                                      Fat Burger
                                      Naugles (ala Del Taco)
                                      Hot Dog on A Stick
                                      Carl's Jr
                                      Foster's (Old Fashioned) Freeze

                                      1. Some of you are kind of stretching the boundaries of what is uniquely "Angelino".

                                        In-N-Out was born in Baldwin Park. McDonald's was born in San Bernardino.

                                        We may be a dining wilderness out here in the Inland Empire, but we brought the world McDonald's. So give due credit/blame where it is truly due.

                                        Link: http://www.indefatigable-indolence.org

                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: Chino Wayne
                                          Ancient Angelino

                                          Valid point... that's why I specified "in or around," in the interest of intellectual honestly: more than half of the inventions on my list were from surrounding communities in the Los Angeles basin.

                                          1. re: Ancient Angelino

                                            Fair enough, but what about the corn dog? Wasn't it invented by two brothers in Texas back in the 1940's?

                                            And I think there is a Coles/Phillippe's dispute with the fortune cookie as well - because both Los Angeles and San Francisco claim to be the city that invented it.

                                            1. re: rastan

                                              A California magazine from the 20's contained an article pointing to a Japanese pastry chef in Los Angeles as the originator. Mass production of the fortune cookie started in San Francisco, and the company that was producing them gave credit for the concept to a man in Los Angeles believed to be Seiichi Kito who started Fugetsu-do.

                                              1. re: dill

                                                If you're gonna lump all that, you have to add Hong Kong Noodle Co to the mix. They started in 1913 and started distribution around the early 20's.

                                          2. re: Chino Wayne

                                            I thought the first McDonalds was opened in Downey, which may seem like the Inland Empire, but is actually a little close.

                                            1. re: Redshirt

                                              The first McDonald's was opened by the McDonald brothers in San Berdoo. Ray Kroc who was a milk shake machine salesman liked what he saw and in 1952 he bought the francise rights from the McDonald brothers and later founded the McDonald's Corporation. I belive the first classic "Golden Arches" store structure was subsequently erected in Downey, (L.A. County), California.

                                              Photo of the original McDonalds, in San Berdoo below.

                                              Link: http://www.indefatigable-indolence.org

                                              Image: http://www.wemweb.com/chr66a/sbr66_mu...

                                              1. re: Chino Wayne

                                                And no one on this board has never known until now that I was the one who closed it and relocated it to Highland Avenue and G and in the 70s!

                                                1. re: Chino Wayne

                                                  Hey, the Empire is also responsible for introducing to the world the first microwaveable frozen burrito. Dwayne Roberts, saviour of the Historic Mission Inn.

                                                  RIP Gay & Larry's

                                                  PS, below is a link that says the Downwy store was the #4 McD's, with Kroc's Des Plaines store in Chicagoland #9.

                                                  Link: http://www.wemweb.com/chr66a/sbr66_mu...

                                                  1. re: Chino Wayne

                                                    chino's right on this one.

                                                    1. re: jaydee

                                                      yeah a lot of roadside diners were founded around the area encompassing the Inland Empire and San Gabriel Valley as a lot of the midwesterners brought their burger/milkshake(dairy farmers aplenty) gusto with them particularly along Route 66 (210 Fwy and Arrow St. now) from San Bernardino to Pasadena. McDonald's and In-N-Out but two examples.

                                              2. d

                                                Hot fudge was invented at CC Browns in Hollywood. It's gone now, but I recently heard there is one in Bakersfield. Anybody know if it's the same hot fudge, same family?

                                                1. wasn't the moscow mule cocktail invented here in L.A. too?

                                                  and what about Zankou Chicken Paste? IS that an LA Original or a spinoff of an Armenian dish?


                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: adamhgraham

                                                    Zankou's garlic sauce is basically the same as the Lebanese condiment Toum or Greek skordalia.

                                                    1. re: adamhgraham

                                                      I was going to add the Moscow Mule... adamhgraham beat me to it. I guess I'll just have to have one for breakfast now. I like them without the lime.

                                                    2. One I didn't see yet -- the Harvery Wallbanger cocktail.

                                                      1. If you don't mind a drive to Newport Beach, we boast both the Balboa Bar (ice cream dipped in chocolate, covered in nuts) and the frozen banana (as featured in "Arrested Development").

                                                        1. I think Cole's (Downtown) claims to have invented to french dip but it may be under construction? Remodel I think?

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: BBQ101

                                                            Phillipe's has the same claim.

                                                          2. I thought I heard somewhere that Starbucks frappuccinos came from a Snata Monica Starbucks?

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: b0ardkn0t

                                                              Before Starbucks ever came to town, there was the ice-blended mocha and ice-blended vanilla at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. That qualifies as a Los Angeles invention!

                                                            2. Chili size, invented at Ptomaine Tommy's on Broadway, although you'd probably have a hard time finding it on a menu these days. IIRC Astro in Silver Lake had it, but I haven't eaten there in years, so can't say for sure.

                                                              Further linkage:

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Vaya Con Carne

                                                                Bob's Big Boy alway had a chili size on their menu in the "old" days. Do they still have it I wonder?

                                                              2. Nachos - at the original El Cholo.

                                                                1. I am sorry but Nachos were invented in Piedras Negras, Mexico. See here.


                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: SeaCook

                                                                    I think you're right. But I did read it someplace. For instance...


                                                                    Sorry to have taken El Cholo's for their word.

                                                                    1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                      The article says Carmen Rocha *brought * Nachos with her *from* San Antonio. There for the dish existed somewhere else before thet came to El Cholo. San Antonio, TX is near Peidras Negras Mexico. Nachos could have easily migrated from Mexico to San Antonio. Also Nachos where around in 1943 and Carmen Rocha didn't join El Cholo till 1959.

                                                                      Sorry I'm a history geek and I work in a research library.

                                                                    1. mochi ice cream and dduk bo ssam (korean).

                                                                      1. 3 years later...I venture to say with some certainty that the "kosher burrito" was from Los Angeles. Sorry Thom Mayne, but I hate the Caltrans building. And I suspect that chile relleno burritos come from Los Angeles, too. Add chili cheese fries. And "LA style" korean BBQ ribs (Korean restaurants in New York refer to them as such.) And rice-on-the-outside maki rolls. Are there any other perhaps-forgotten original dishes from the Brown Derby?