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Help with 'Old' Hollywood Dining itinerary + questions re. Cicada

Hey everyone!

I'll be in town for 6 nights end of Sept. and 1st week Oct. for the Cinerama film fest at the Arclight Dome - flying in from SFO!

I haven't been to LA in years, but I want to avoid anything and everything contempo and modern - strictly 1920-1960s diners, delis, steakhouses, cocktail lounges, supper clubs, and classic movies for this trip!

The catch is that my girlfriend is only in town for 3 nights (Fri-Sun) and then I'm flying solo the remaining 3 nights, so I want to get all the glamorous dining venues knocked out while she's in town. The other catch is that we're having dinner with her family on the Saturday night, which further complicates things. I'll get to that in a moment!

In the meanwhile, please have a look at my proposed itinerary, as well as my short list of classic Los Angeles Area restaurants and cocktail lounges (will post follow-up):

FRI 09/28
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• 09:30 AM - Arrival at LAX Int'l Airport

• 10:45 AM - Breakfast at Nick's Coffee Shop

• 12:00 PM - Check-In at Best Western Hollywood Hills

• ???

• 03:30 PM - Late Lunch and Classic Cocktails at Cole's French Dip Sandwiches

• 07:00 PM - How The West Was Won at the Arclight Dome

• 10:00 PM - Dinner at Musso and Frank Grill

• 11:30 PM - La Descarga w/ Gary and Becki

SAT 09/29
--------------

• 12:00 PM - Lunch at Pann's w/ Renée, Dennis and Bryce

• 02:00 PM - Afternoon Sunbath on the B.W. Pool Deck

• 06:00 PM - Evening Viewing of Koenig's Case Study House 22 (Stahl House)

• 08:00 PM - Dinner at Cicada Restaurant w/ Janie and Carly

• 11:00 PM - Holiday In Spain at the Arclight Dome

• 01:00 AM - Last Call at Tiki Ti Cocktail Lounge

SUN 09/30
---------------

• 10:30 AM - Sunday Jazz Brunch at The Polo Lounge of The Beverly Hills Hotel

• 12:30 PM - Poolside Cocktails at The Cabana Café and Orange Freeze at the Coffee Shop

• ???

• 02:00 PM - The Hollywood Museum

• 04:00 PM - Philip Mershon's Felix In Hollywood Tour (?)

• 06:45 PM - Dinner at Taylor's Steakhouse

• 08:15 PM - This Is Cinerama at the Arclight Dome

• 10:30 PM - Cocktails at the HMS Bounty (and-or) Formosa Cafe

• 12:30 AM - Latenight Soda Fountain and Home-Made Dessert at The 101 Coffee Shop

MON 10/01
---------------

• 06:00 AM - Drive JM to LAX Int'l Airport for 07:10 AM Flight to SFO

• 08:00 AM - Poolside Lounging at B.W. Motel

• 12:30 PM - Lunch at Langer's Delicatessen

• 01:30 PM - Walk Along Hollywood Boulevard: Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Roosevelt Hotel, El Capitan Theater, etc.

• 03:20 PM - South Seas Adventure at the Arclight Dome

• 06:00 PM - Hickory Cheeseburger at The Apple Pan

• 07:00 PM - The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm at the Arclight Dome

• 10:15 PM - Cinerama Holiday at the Arclight Dome

• 12:30 AM - Spicy Polish Dog w/ Mustard, Jalapenos, Onions, Chili, and Sauerkraut at Pink's Famous Chili Dogs - Midnight Snack Fix!

TUE 10/02
--------------

• 11:45 PM - Lunch at Nate 'n Al Delicatessen

• 12:30 PM - Walk Down Rodeo Drive and Sunset Strip

• ??? - {J. Paul Getty Museum - Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens - Forest Lawn Memorial - Hollywood Bowl}

• 07:00 PM - Dinner at The Dresden Restaurant (or) Pacific Dining Car (or) Dal Rae Restaurant

• 08:15 PM - 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Arclight Dome

• ???

WED 10/03
---------------

• 10:45 AM - Breakfast at Canter's Delicatessen

• 11:30 AM - Stroll Down Miracle Mile

• 12:30 PM - Griffith Observatory + Samuel Oschin Planetarium

• 04:45 PM - Walk Through Chinatown

• 05:30 PM - Dinner at Philippe The Original

• 07:00 PM - It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World at the Arclight Dome

• ???

THU 10/04
--------------

• 09:00 AM - Breakfast at The 101 Coffee Shop (or) Pepy's Galley

• 12:30 PM - Search For Paradise at the Arclight Dome

• 03:30 PM - Afternoon at Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier (?)

• 07:00 PM - Rental Car Return and Arrival at LAX Int'l Airport for 8:35 PM Flight to SFO

• 07:30 PM - Jet Set Cocktails at The Encounter Sky Bar Lounge

NOW HERE'S THE PROBLEM:

Cicada is booked for a private party on Saturday night! We (my girlfriend and I) absolutely want to make reservations there at some point between Friday and Sunday and are determined to do so, but we don't want to cut anything else out of our limited eating schedule. I'm more into the old steakhouses than she is, although she certainly appreciates the mid-century atmosphere and ambiance. She actually doesn't eat red meat (not a veg though!), but still likes all the old two-fisted meat-and-martini joints out of the fifties and sixties rat pack era. She'll always find something good and isn't too picky, as long as the food is at least up to par. We definitely must do Musso & Frank together, but I'd be glad to eat at Taylor's or elsewhere on my own after she flies back to SF. I'm planning on doing all of the delis and pastrami joints solo because it's not her thing and is more comfortable to eat single than much of the other sit-down restos. We have several problems though.

1) Family - we need to meet her family for dinner on the Saturday night. They are particular eaters. Not necessarily discerning foodies, though they like to eat well and expect to do so when spending money. I don't really understand why, but we're expected to go somewhere "nice" ie. at least moderately expensive. They don't care so much about the ambiance of a place so long as the food is very good. None of the places on my list could really be considered 'creative' or 'interesting' and I'm worried about bringing them anywhere where they'll be served a plating of precut frozen vegtables, surf'n'turf, and a baked potato sprinkled with parsley - they will NOT go for that! I wanted to do Taylor's with them but my girlfriend keeps insisting that they will not like it. I'm baffled and aggravated but such is family!

2) Screening schedule - we have purchased tickets to all of the Cinerama screenings at the Arclight and the posted times are very strict. It's all reserved seating and they will refuse anyone entry after the feature begins, so we cannot be late or miss anything, which not only complicates our eating schedule but leaves us with very small windows to enjoy meals. There are quite a few latenight and early bird dinners.

Here's what I'd like help with... I need to do Cicada another night with my girlfriend and find a replacement for the family dinner on Saturday night. I've urged my girlfriend to just invite her family to meet us at the Beverly Hills Polo Lounge for the Sunday jazz brunch, but I think they have other plans that day... I'll keep trying/insisting regardless!

What to do with her family Saturday night (assuming they won't join us for Sunday brunch) that's still keeping in theme with everything else planned in our itinerary? Both my girlfriend and myself recently got back from a month-long trip overseas that consisted almost entirely of eating at fancy fine didning michelin restaurants and we don't want to step foot into any place remotely like that... I want only dimly lit supper clubs and authentic diners, delis, lunch counters, coffee shops, canteens, beaneries, hash houses, taprooms, cocktail lounges, etc. for this trip to Hollywood!

If I were to reschedule Cicada for the Sunday night (which I'd actually prefer because of the live music and dancing!) would it be feasible to do at 6:30pm or would the place be absolutely dead and boring? Is that way too early? We have a two-hour film screening to catch at the Arclight at 8:15pm (we have a rental car!) so we'd either need to dine before or after the movie! Cicada doesn't seems like a place to rush though and I wish we could plan for an evening-long event without sacrificing other plans on our itinerary. Can we do Cicada between 6:30-8pm and would that even be enjoyable or would we be the only ones seated? I don't want to bother if it's going to be sunny out and we'll miss the live entertainment. Can we do Cicada afterwords at 10:30pm... or is that way too late for a full dinner seating and would we miss the live entertainment if so? How long does dinner service last at the Cicada Club??

I'm so bummed that it's rented out on the Saturday night for a private party because I think our initial plans were so perfectly suited!

Here's my full list of old Hollywood food and drink joints btw, in case I'm missing anything substantial... I would love to get feedback on all of the above and hopefully some advice and suggestions on what to do for Saturday night (where should I make reservations for 6??) and how to readjust our plans to fit everything in with our tight schedule!

Gracias!

PS - If it helps, we're staying at the Best Western Plus Hollywood Hills Motel.

Thanks again for any insight and suggestions with our planning!


OLD HOLLYWOOD RESTAURANTS & LOUNGES:
_________________________________________
_________________________________________

- Pann's
- Langer's
- Canter's Delicatessen and Restaurant
- Nate 'n Al Delicatessen
- Cole's French Dip Sandwiches
- Philippe The Original
- Johnnie's French Dip Pastrami
- Johnny's Pastrami
- Clifton's Cafeteria
- Park Pantry
- Nick's Cafe
- The Apple Pan
- Original Pantry
- Pepy's Galley
- Nat's Early Bite Coffee Shop
- Nick's Coffee Shop
- The 101 Coffee Shop
- Snug Harbor
- Du-Par's Restaurant
- Roscoe’s House of Chicken ’n Waffles
- Pink's Famous Chili Dogs
- Bob's Big Boy
- Bob's Big Boy (Johnny's) Broiler
- Cassell's Hamburgers
- Chili John's
- Randy's Donuts
- Paul's Kitchen
- Dear John's
- Taylor's Steakhouse
- Dal Rae Restaurant
- Musso & Frank Grill
- Original Miceli's
- HMS Bounty
- Tom Bergin
- The Dresden Restaurant
- Pacific Dining Car
- Cicada Restaurant
- Dan Tana's Restaurant
- Matteo's Italian Restaurant
- The Derby Restaurant
- Buggy Whip
- Damon's Steak House
- Clearman's Steak 'n Stein
- Clearman's North Woods Inn
- Tam O'Shanter
- Smoke House
- El Cholo Spanish Cafe
- Casa La Golondrina Mexican Cafe
- The Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel
- La Descarga
- The Edison
- El Cid
- Formosa Cafe
- Tiki-Ti Cocktail Lounge
- Tonga Hut
- Bahooka
- Trader Vic's Los Angeles

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  1. My GF would not be amused if I went to Langers and she did not.

    "05:30 PM - Dinner at Philippe The Original

    • 07:00 PM - It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World at the Arclight Dome"

    Not a fun drive at that hour and you may even be late, depending on how long it takes you to eat and traffic.

    12 Replies
    1. re: ns1

      Ha, it's the other way around with us! She doesn't eat red meat and isn't into delicatessens (despite living 3 years in NYC, shock!) so I'm glad to do that solo!

      She'll eagerly join me if she thinks a restaurant has ambiance to spare (hence brunches at Pann's and other old LA Googie landmarks) but if it's just piles of meat on rye, she's not impressed.

      Do you think a solo dinner at Philippe would really be cutting it that close at 5:30pm? I figured I'd surely be out by 6:15 pm at the absolute latest... unless I'm missing some vital knowledge about Philippes (I've never actually been!). Are there long line-ups or waits at the door? Is service slow? I figured on Philippes because I assumed I could down a quick sandwich and do the in 'n' out efficiently within 30 mins. eating alone. Is it traffic or other factors that make that one a close shave? I could always show up 15-20 mins. earlier... just curious.

      Thanks for the heads up btw!

      1. re: OliverB

        Some of your times to get to the Arclight are very tight. You won't make it in one hour eating at the Apple Pan and getting back to the theater on a weekday at rush hour. Arclight will not let you in once the feature starts. In LA always give your self extra time to crosstown, a few miles on a map can be well over an hour.

        1. re: wienermobile

          Totally agree. Um, Phillippe's has super long lines practically most of the time. Hard to time that one. Especially if there's a a dodger game that night.

          And if one of those Johnnie's Pastramis is the one on Wilshire & Fairfax, it's closed.

          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

            No wrong Johnnie's... Johnnie's Pastrami is on Sepulveda and Washington in Culver City near Tito's Tacos.
            http://www.johnniespastrami.com

            1. re: wienermobile

              Okay, wasn't sure which he meant, just knew the one by the Peterson is closed.

          2. re: wienermobile

            Thanks so much... I'm just heading to the AP for a quick burger, but I could potentially head over there earlier.

            I have a film screening at the Arclight at 3:20pm that lasts 120 min (2 hrs).

            I'm planning on driving over right afterword, although I don't want to eat dinner too early.

            The next screening is at 7:00pm, back at the Arclight.

            How should I plan that and what time should I head over to the Apple Pan after the 3:20 showing?

            Would it really take more than 45 mins. tops with traffic to drive between venues?

            Google Maps is showing 8.6 miles and 20 mins by car, not accounting for traffic. I know LA traffic is killer but would it really take a full hour to drive 8 miles both ways?

            How long is the wait/line at the Apple Pan?

            If I'm in my car at 5:30 and at the Apple Pan at 6:00-ish (30 mins transit a safe bet?) shouldn't I easily be back at the Arclight by 7pm for the next screening?

            I'm unfamiliar with most of these places so I really don't know what to expect.

            Thanks again for all your help and feedback though, it's truly appreciated!!

            1. re: OliverB

              The real problem with LA Traffic is you never know how long it might take you, A 20 minute drive one day can become a 45 minute drive the next day. Always give your self plenty of extra time. Expect the unexpected. Rush hour (4-7pm) is the very worst and yes 8 miles can become one hour. You might want to stay in the Hollywood area between shows (I would) for your own peace of mind.

              The wait time for one at the Apple Pan should be around 15 minutes on a weekday evening, and don't skip the pie.

              1. re: wienermobile

                Thanks for the tip!

                Maybe I'll sneak out of the previous movie 15-20 mins. earlier to make time. Sounds kind of silly I suppose... but it's just a big splashy travelogue so I won't be missing any plot, and I'll be seeing lots of those vintage Cinerama travelogues over the weekend. I may just do that to free up time for a burger and pie! :)

                LA traffic is the worst!

                I really forgot how bad it gets.

                1. re: wienermobile

                  "The real problem with LA Traffic is you never know how long it might take you, A 20 minute drive one day can become a 45 minute drive the next day."

                  this 100%.

          3. re: ns1

            I think you should give the Tam O'Shanter a try for old hollywood. Fatty Arbuckle, Walt Disney, John Wayne, Mary Pickford... to name a few all ate there because the studios had no commissaries. It's like a time warp but the food is up to date and owned for 90 years by the Lawry's people. Its way more charming than Lawry's The Prime Rib which is downright boring. It was the original model for snow white's house because Disney was there so much, They have all the old memorbilia of the era nailed to the walls of the place, kinda like a museum.

              1. re: tastevin

                Agree with tastevin - Tan O' Shanter is fab for old hollywood (we got to shake Roy Disney's hand there!) and, surprisingly good food. And I confess, I love that they offer you a chilled fork for your salad. So beautifully old school.

                The bar makes excellent cocktails and, you can buy a jar of CC Brown's hot fudge sauce to take wiht you - or have it in a sundae there.

            1. Welcome to LA for your great time travel eating adventure. Clifton's Cafeteria is currently closed and is undergoing a major remodel and will not be open during your visit. Cassell's is also closed as they prepare to move to a new location. Enjoy!

              2 Replies
              1. re: wienermobile

                Here is a link that may help you on your eating adventures...
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/837600

                and you might enjoy eating at the classic Bob's Big Boy in Toluca Lake and sitting in the Beatles booth. Friday nights are classic car nights and even Jay Leno stops by. Don't forget flannel cakes at Musso & Frank for a late breakfast. I am also a big fan of Sung Harbor in Santa Monica and it's 1940's style diner. Papa Cristo's might be a good choice. You can never go wrong with the pastrami and rye at Langer's Deli.

                1. re: wienermobile

                  Yes, I've read about both of those - bummer!

                  It sounds like they're doing some amazing restorations at Clifton's though; I'm excited to return later this year to see what they've done!

                2. Wow. I'm impressed.

                  However, right off the bat, your Monday evening plan (6:00 at Apple Pan, 7:00 film) absolutely will not work. You'd have to allow more than 30 minutes driving between the two at that time of day. Since you've got a 3:20 screening, I assume you'll be getting out 4:30-5:00, leaving you a scant two hours. Have you ever been to Miceli's? I see it's on your list. Not the greatest, but pretty convenient. Boardner's is in the neighborhood, too.

                  Upon further reflection, I think a couple of your other planned itineraries are overly optimistic about city traffic. E.g., you're really pushing it with a 6:45 dinner at Taylor's and an 8:15 movie (assuming you're planning on eating, not just having a cocktail; if the latter, nevermind). You have to allow 20 minutes for driving and parking, leaving 70 minutes max at Taylor's. Enough for a drink, but probably not a full meal.

                  The same applies to your Tuesday dinner. You *might* make it from dinner at Dresden to the Dome, (allow 12-15 minutes for driving & parking), unlikely from PDC (20 minutes) and no chance in hell from Dal Rae (40 minutes).

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Jack Flash

                    i would definitely go to the Dresden. It's really a classic. But I wanted eat there. Cocktails and Marty and Elayne are the way to go.

                    1. re: Jack Flash

                      Thanks for your help and advice, Jack!

                      I'd potentially be out of the theater and in my car by 5:30pm at the latest, on my way to the Apple Pan. Will that definitely not work? How long would the transit time take?

                      I really just want to try their hickory burger... I guess I could even order to go and eat in the car on my way back. Even if I downed it there though, it surely wouldn't take more than 10 minutes max. to consume a single hamburger... unless they're exceptionally slow or there are long lines at the counter that I'm not accounting for.

                      If that's truly impossible, could I more conveniently swap that quick dinner out with something else from my existing itinerary (another diner or deli that might be better situated) as I'd really like to try to make it to all of these places listed? Maybe Langer's instead (although I would imagine the service and dining would take longer than at a burger stand) -- What do you suggest?

                      I think I'll end up swapping Taylor's in place of the canceled Cicada on Saturday night, and just making other plans with my girlfriend's family for brunch. I'm just going to insist that they meet us at the Polo Lounge instead! That would open up my dinner plans for Tuesday night and leave me with a more leisurely and better paced meal at Taylor's on Saturday.

                      Where to go in place of Taylor's on Tuesday in that case though?

                      And is there any way that I could somehow make it to Cicada's on my own at any point in the week... I'd really like to fit that in somewhere, somehow! Is it worth just stopping by for drinks and cocktails one night, or is that not as much fun as a full evening dining experience?

                      Should I move Taylor's to Saturday and Dresden to Sunday? What to do Tuesday then? Is 6:45pm too early for dinner at Dresden; would that detract from the overall atmosphere to eat at that hour??

                      Thanks again for all your helpful advice and suggestions!!

                      1. re: OliverB

                        A bigger problem with going to the Apple Pan on Monday: it's not open on Monday! I remembered that just now. So, even if you made record time, you wouldn't get your hickory burger.

                        Maybe you'd be better off hitting Apple Pan on Tuesday for dinner instead of the Dresden Room. It looks like your afternoon plans aren't set in stone, but a few of the places you mention are on the Westside, so Apple Pan is in play.

                        For your Monday dinner, I really think Miceli's, or maybe even Pig 'n' Whistle (I've never eaten there) both of which ooze old Hollywood. Not only that, but you could probably walk to either of them and back to the Dome. Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles is also doable.

                        You also mentioned Langer's. Be aware that Langer's closes at 4:00 p.m. every day (and doesn't open on Sundays).

                        If you go to Apple Pan on Tuesday, and are there by 6:30, you'd have time to eat (including pie) and make it back to the Dome for your 8:15 movie.

                        1. re: Jack Flash

                          Phew! Thanks so much for that -- I would've been seriously bummed if I rushed out there to find it closed!

                          Is it easier to do the Apple Pan on Tuesday or Wednesday?

                          I could easily knock out Chinatown on Wed. as I only slipped that in based on Philippe.

                          As for Langer's, I was planning on doing lunch there Monday around noon-ish. Good to know that it closes early though, just in case plans changed for any reason.

                          Thanks again!!

                    2. I wonder if Lawry's might work for your Saturday night family dinner. It certainly fits your theme and, while fairly locked into that theme, is a cut above "pre-cut frozen vegetables" even though it does offer surf 'n turf. While of far more recent vintage, I also thought of Jar, which offers a retro vibe and very interesting choices (e.g. char sui pork chop, purple potatoes with creme fraiche, and some of the best steaks in town) in the guise of a chop house.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: New Trial

                        Thanks but after consideration, I'm cancelling the Saturday evening family shindig and insisting that they meet us for brunch on Sunday instead! Lawry's looks really unintersting to me... it may be a Hollywood institution, but the remodeling and contemporary decor don't inspire! I'm going to give that one a pass... that's a lot of steakhouses too, after M&F, Taylor's, Dresden, etc. Such a bummer about Cicada; I SO wanted to eat there! :(

                        1. re: OliverB

                          As much as we like Pepy's Galley (and as frequently as we go there - at least once every other week on average) I'd say you are much better off either near your hotel at 101 Coffee Shop or even checking out Millie's http://www.milliescafe.net/ on Sunset or Fred 62 http://www.fred62.com/ (both closer to where you are staying)

                          1. re: Servorg

                            The 101 Coffee Shop is actually in our motel. We're staying at the Best Western Hollywood Hills. I'm sure we'll be in and out of there often. I'd like to try Pepe's on Thursday morning and can leave earlier if necessary. The only other real plans that I have for Thursday is a 12:30 screening at the Arclight, and I may even knock that one off and just spend the day around Venice Beach and the Santa Monica Pier. I'll see how I feel at that point, as I'll have spent plenty of time at the Cinerama dome and may just want to spend a day at the beach, in which case, Pepy's would be en route anyways!

                            1. re: OliverB

                              If you do end up at Pepy's then their breakfast is probably the better bet (you can order breakfast all day). Good chilaquiles (I usually order them with two eggs) and their house made beef chili (almost all meat with the beans cooked down so far you really can't find them), either as a cup with shredded cheese and onions or as an ingredient for one of their omelets.

                              I also like their Polish sausage breakfast and on their specials board they almost always offer one of their other sausage breakfasts, such as the apple-chicken sausage.

                              These are big fat sausages. The only issue I have with them is that their cooking method makes the skins on these sausages a little tough/wrinkled. One thing you must not miss is their red salsa. Garlicky, smokey and plenty of heat. They have one other type that is more blended but that one doesn't make my taste buds sing like the red one.

                              I've had (only once and wouldn't try it again) their chicken fried steak and it was a fail. They make a classic club sandwich with what seems like fresh roasted turkey that isn't bad. Their fries are of the "steakhouse" type, not the thin style. No beer or wine and I've never seen anyone bring it in either. You will almost always see the LAPD eating at Pepy's. They get A LOT of LAPD motor officers (motorcycle cops). They eat in the back section.

                              1. re: OliverB

                                If 101 doesn't cut it for you, you might go around the corner on Bronson to Victor's Deli.
                                I haven't been that jazzed about Cicada since it changed from being upscale Italian. The setting is nice certainly. If you want something Hollywood, there's Musso's, Little Doms, etc.

                            2. re: OliverB

                              Tam O' Shanter does an excellent old school brunch. You can even get the prime rib for brunch!

                          2. Based on your criteria, old Hollywood, steaks and martinis, you MUST work Dan Tanas in the rotation. Be sure to sit in the front/bar room.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: BSW6490

                              Would it be easier to do Dan Tana's on Saturday night and Taylor's at 6:30 on Tuesday night, or vice versa? Would it be possible to fit Dan Tana's into my itinerary on Tuesday?

                              I would really like to eat at the Dresden also, which I'm told is a priority over DT... I'm not sure how to rearrange these nights.

                              1. re: OliverB

                                It will be much easier to do Dan Tanas on a Tuesday. If you go by 7 pm you should be able to sit in the bar room, which is where you want to be. The steaks are very good. I would also recomend the chicken beckerman (be sure to ask for dark meat otherwise skip it, its too dry) and the steak and peppers is great. Large portions.