Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Philippe's - The original french dip sandwich
1001 N. Alameda St. Los Angeles CA. 90012 -
(Downtown LA, close to Union Station, Chinatown and Olivera Street)

I've been craving a decent french dip sandwich for awhile. And not any old french dip sandwich (french dip from IHOP is not my idea of fufilling a sandwich craving...much less any kind of craving for anything edible) - something transcendent, something life-changing - well okay, I can just settle for something filling and delicious. Philippe's fills that need nicely.

Philippe's has been around for awhile (that's an understatement - hardly do I get to eat at any restaurant that was established before the 1990's, Philippe's started in 1908...) and seems to do pretty well for itself, sticking to what it knows best - good quality food, cash only, sawdust on the floor, cafeteria style service.

Everyone waits in line for their sandwich, to give their orders to waitresses who prepare your sandwich or anything else you order behind the counter. They all wear spiffy uniforms, and have that "tough as nails" vibe - but don't be afraid, they are so polite and nice! Order what you want, they put everything on disposable cardboard plates (so high school cafeteria!), pay them (CASH only, yep, I know this is the second time I mentioned it) and do remember to TIP them (they give you change on this little tray, leave them their tip on there.)

Scuffle on the sawdust (to hide...what I'm stepping on underneath the sawdust? Unsettling..), roll up to a bench and gaze upon...

The french dip. I got a beef french dip. At each table there's their famous mustard (hot hot hot, but I love the stuff - not unlike chinese hot mustard, I could drink it if I needed to), give your sandwich an extra lashing or two of this mustard if you dare. The first perfect. Meat and meat juice are contained sufficiently within the bread - and not too soggy! A small bite of the potato salad scoop, with its' dusting of paprika, is a good balance. It's not the best potato salad I've had but definitely ranks up there with "potato salads I'd eat again".
Here's a lovely close up - waiting to be eaten!
Philippe's lemonade is notorious not for its' taste, but for its' price - 60 cents! Lemonade from a kids' lemonade stand is not that cheap anymore! And that's the great thing about this place - everything is super cheap and good quality. My beef dip sandwich ran me $4.90. Scoop of potato salad? 95 cents. This is UNHEARD of anywhere else! If you haven't gone, take in some of the scenery and food over at Philippe's. Take advantage of their hospitality (and free parking!)


mooncrazy said...

One of my must-have-ever-so-often foods, Philippe's french dip but you did leave out my fav, the pickled beet eggs. Bright pink and so tasty.

Like your blog. There are three of us on Peanut Butter Etouffee with one living on the Westside. Stop by some time.

heysandra said...

Thanks mooncrazy. I'll check it out!

Anonymous said...

So, here's my definition of French Dip sandwich: Yesterday's rare Prime Rib, sliced thinly, piled on a french roll, served with hot au jus. Not Brisket, not pulled 'anything'. Cold, rare Roast Beef.

Try Houston's. It's the closest thing I've found, so far.