We moved to Los Angeles (West Covina, to be exact) in ’81. We would come out to the city almost every weekend, when I was a kid. My mother would take us exploring around town and we’d see all kinds of stuff. One place she had never taken us was Chinatown…maybe because we could get great Chinese food in our area or just hop over to Rosemead. I didn’t even know there was a Chinatown in LA until about ’93. That was the first time I went to a karaoke bar (actually, we went in Little Tokyo and then drove over to Chinatown). Anyway, around ’03 I heard of this place in LA that you can get great French dip sandwiches. Phillipe’s. Everyone was just floored I had never heard of this place, because 1) I’ve lived here for so long and 2) I’m the Queen of All Things Roast Beef. Apparently, this place is and “LA Institution” and claims to be the originator of the French dip sandwich.

At any rate, for the last 4 years, I’ve been saying, “We gotta go to Phillipe’s!” and nothing. When we moved, I was like, “All right! We’re definitely going to hit up Phillipe’s.” and still nothing. Until last week.

Last Thursday, we walked around downtown looking at fabric. On the way back home, we drove past Phillipe’s and thought, “Well, let’s try it!”. Going in there was pretty nifty. The sawdust on the floor reminded me of how Farmers Market used to be before it got Rodeoed. I hit up the ATM (cash only) and we ordered. We both got the beef sandwich. I wanted onions on mine, but the cashier seemed extremely resistant to that idea. She compromised with saying she’d put some on the side, but she didn’t.

French Dip from Phillipe's

That’s our meal. Adrian got the custard and I got an apple pie. For the record, the apple pie only sucked because it was freezing cold. Who ever heard of cold apple pie? When I order apple pie, I want it roof-of-the-mouth scalding hot. Two degrees warmer than an ice cube is not how apple pie should be served. But the sandwiches were perfect. The bread wasn’t too soggy, the meat wasn’t too dry and when we added Phillipe’s hot mustard to it, it was a party explosion. Yum. The other bonus was the pickle. Remember back when Canter’s didn’t totally suck (pre-’99), when they used to have pickle’s with snap? Phillipe’s got ’em. I think those were the best deli pickle’s I’ve had next to a sandwich in years.

I highly suggest you go if you’ve never been. The food is cheap and the decor is interesting. We sat upstairs and the walls are completly covered in graffiti.

We met a lady who was sitting up there, facing the LA skyline. She told us that she always goes there and sits there to see the skyline. Liked it so much, she had it tatted on her right shoulder.



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