Philippe the Original
Housemade Coffee Cake
Housemade Cinnamon-Sugar Donut
Simply known as Philippe’s by most, though actually titled “Philippe the Original” since opening in 1908, it would be difficult to name any more venerable Restaurant in Los Angeles than the one at 1001 North Alameda Street, and from the newspaper clippings and sawdust to old Lakers and Dodgers swag there is perhaps no greater indication of the space’s enduring popularity than an early morning visit that still finds them busy with LAPD, Senior Citizens and even young families.
Named for French immigrant and original owner Philippe Mathieu, the current Chinatown address home since 1951, guests entering Philippe’s will immediately feel awash with nostalgia no matter which door they select, one proximate to a deli counter staffed by pleasant servers and the other an old-timey register lined with Chewing Gum and convenience items not unlike the corner stores of 1950’s America.
Built for volume, an elderly server overheard saying that even during Dodger’s off-season Philippe the Original expects to sell over two thousand Sandwiches daily, it was the “first of the day” that found itself on a tray before 7:00am, self-service water from a tap in the dining room where communal tables stand ready for lunch and dinner rushes.
Famous for the “French Dipped Sandwich” reportedly invented by Mathieu, a price under $10 still bargain-basement by 2018 SoCal standards, it was with medium thickness Beef stacked on fresh baked Bread that the Sandwich was tasted first “dry” then plunged into Jus, the Protein surprisingly supple and rich while the French Roll maintains its composition without becoming soggy or losing the crispness of its Crust.
Still too early for Salads, Sides or Pickles and not yet offering Pie it was instead in two Breakfast treats that 90 cents and $3 were invested, the still-warm Doughnut light for Cake and generously coated with Cinnamon and Sugar while a wedge of Coffee Cake weighing about half-a-pound was moist with Butter and fluffy around and topped with Streusel.