Whenever we’re in downtown Los Angeles, we never leave DTLA without considering what to bring home for dinner – sushi from Little Tokyo or French-dipped sandwiches from Philippe the Original. This time we were overdue for “Philippe’s.” Double-dipped lamb, please.
We’ve been here “a million times.” Each time we walk through its doors, an uplifting sense of nostalgia prevails, and our tastebuds start to tingle. The scale at the front door is the one used in Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post cover, Jockey Weighing In, June 28, 1958. To boot, half the fun is standing in crowded lines and people watching. All walks are here – locals, baseball fans heading for a Dodger game at nearby Dodger Stadium, Disney Hall concertgoers, and office workers. Even our friend Ralph from Munich, Germany, Ubers here when on business trips to Orange County. It’s our rendezvous point.
The menu is simple: freshly-baked French rolls stuffed with layers of roast beef, roast pork, leg of lamb (carved in front of you by the Carver) -- turkey or ham, single- or double-dipped in the natural savory juice of the roasts; and sides of coleslaw, potato or macaroni salads, kosher pickles, and eggs or pigs’ feet pickled in beet juice. Also, nice offerings of wine and beer.
Established in 1908, Philippe The Original is one of the oldest restaurants in Southern California. Housed in a former machine shop and hotel on the second floor, its no-nonsense ambience has all the necessities you need to indulge – sawdust on the floor and plenty of tables and chairs.
Our take-out meal was in a bag, but a fellow guest happily obliged and let me snap a photo of his tray filled with his family’s dine-in fare.
Some meals simply call for bringing out the bubblies.