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Monday, June 8, 2009

Philippe The Original

1001 N Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 628-3781
Philippe was established in 1908 and is arguable the creator of the French Dip sandwich. Cole's also claims a stake at the title, but if nobody eats at your restaurant its hard to retain the title. As is the case with Cole's. Philippe's claims that the owner in 1918 accidentally dropped the roll in the roasting juices and the customer asked to take the sandwich as is and thus the 'first' French Dip was born. The name is lost in history, either a result of the French roll it was served on , the owner's French heritage, or the customer having a French name.

A traditional french dip sandwich is sliced roast beef and cheese served on a roll and finished with a quick dip in the beef's cooking juice. Philippe serves beef, ham. pork, lamb, and turkey.

$6.75 Lamb Dip with Blue Cheese (5)
$.80 Pickled Egg (4)
I ate here about 10 years ago and recall two things: one, the sandwich wasn't worth the crowd or the wait and two, the hot mustard kills. The dip was better than I expected. The lamb was fairly tender, not as flavorful as I would have liked. It have this Midwestern taste to it, I kind of feel I should be eating it in a barn. But, the blue cheese was a smart addition as its strong flavor has salvaged many a dishes in its lifetime. i just got the pickled egg because it looked cool and it did not disappoint, it did look cool.

$1.10 Potato Salad (7)
Good quality potato salad with pickles scattered throughout to give it some texture and a salty bite. A lot of BBQ places don't seem to take pride in their side and was good to see that Philippe did.

If not done well, a French Dip actually is a disgusting sandwich. And even when done well, it's nothing to write home about. I'm a little surprised both these restaurants are claiming its invention and a little embarrassed that Los Angeles is home to its birth. Along with Pinks, I can't believe somebody would wait in such a long line for to eat here. But, I guess it's not just about the food, but taking in the historical significance.

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