July 01, 2010

The well beaten path

Last night my kiddos and I found ourselves back at Philippe's in downtown L.A. We'd been over to the west side, home and back to up to Hollywood when my son became, "Ravenous Man." For me, any trip away from home is a great opportunity to try, see, taste something new or experience a place in the local culture, so my brain was working on the many spots available when Philippe's entered his mind.
We hopped onto the 101 freeway and sat as visions of French Dipped Sandwiches danced in his head. (Neither my girlie nor I were really thinking sandwiches, so she quickly declared that she'd be dining on potato salad while I recalled a Caesar Salad I'd never tried.)
When we pulled up it felt so familiar and welcoming.
Queues were short and we found ourselves at the head of the line, then off through the sawdust to our table in no time.
While we ate and stared at the beet red pickled eggs we really noticed what a center of Los Angeles culture Philippe's really is.
From the back room, we heard a little girl singing loudly with an auditioning-for-Annie voice. We saw a couple of dressed-for-casting swing dance hipsters. There were a couple of lawyers discussing details of a case at the big common table to our right, a group of older men in their 70s kibitzing and occasionally watching the World Cup on the TV, a Chinese couple sharing their own bag of Hawaiian Style potato chips with the beef dips, young tourists chatting behind us, and literally hundreds of others coming in and out as we sat. I wondered who they all were, where they were going and most interestingly, where they'd been. My musings were interrupted when one of the men who busses tables offered to take our picture. He was dear, but my inner-Los Angeleno was highly insulted. "Wait just a doggone minute!" she cried out. "I'm from here! My dad ate here in the 50's when he worked in the copy department at the Broadway and the Times. I came when I first worked in advertising in my twenties. My husband came as a kid with his parents. And my kids have come since they were really little! In fact, we were here just a month or so ago! We're from here, sir!"
Instead, I simply offered a, "no, thank you, sir" and went back to my cup of sixty five cent coffee and sighed, with great gratitude, for the opportunity to walk and share the well beaten floors of a Los Angeles institution.

By the way, it was a tasty Caesar Salad.

2 comments:

Suzi said...

Good stuff, Vicki. I'm going to have to schedule a trip to Phillipe's. I realize there are so many things and places I have yet to experience here in SOCAL despite being a local. Your blog is a good start. :)

The pictures are great! What are you shooting with?

Vicki said...

Canon 40D. I love my gift-of-a-camera.

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