Breakfast at Philippe’s The Original in Downtown Los Angeles

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A few days ago I found myself back in Downtown Los Angeles for no particular reason other than to eat breakfast and to people watch. It was around 8:00AM when I arrived at Philippe’s The Original. The restaurant already had a good mix of the working class including city workers and a handful of LAPD Officers. Many people appeared to be there to grab that bite to eat before heading to work. Others, perhaps from nearby Chinatown, were just there read a newspaper, sip a cup of coffee, and catch up with their friends.  It was also pretty neat to see a few travelers rolling inside their with luggage in tow. I supposed they had a little stop over at Union Station for a few hours and they were in search for something substantial to eat. Well, they picked a good place.  
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Philippe’s The Original has been around for over a hundred years. The place still looks the same since I first dined there years ago; saw dust on the floors, communal cafeteria tables and chairs circa the 1950’s including those standing tables for hungry patrons who are really on the go. The counter service hasn’t changed either; one large and long deli case filled with delectable desserts, pastries, custards, puddings, deli meats, and all those homemade dill pickles and pickled hard boiled eggs. Women in pastel-colored uniforms take your order and gather all your epicurean desires on a plastic tray. The old school service is a little slow, but it gives you a moment to check your email messages or send a text message or two on your smartphone.  
Aside from their famous French Dipped Sandwiches, Philippe’s The Original also serves a hearty breakfast.  I was so tempted to just throw in the towel and get the original French Dipped Sandwich for breakfast when I saw an Officer had ordered one.  Instead, I opted for the Special Breakfast Combo with an order of the potatoes and the country gravy.  Yeah, I ordered a hearty breakfast, but hey, I was also at Philippe’s to people watch too. So I need something to graze on for a while. 
I really enjoyed my breakfast at Philippe’s. Admittedly, I expected breakfast equivalent to dining establishment like Denny’s or Carrows where food is just (lack of a better word) slapped together. As it turns out, there is a meticulous attention to serving high quality of food. The French Toast, for example, is made with a rather delicious egg bread that seems to have been “just baked”. The maple bacon was thick-cut, very meaty and chewy unlike the competition’s whose bacon are thin and breaks like a potato chip as you poke your fork into it.   And the eggs, oh yes, the eggs were exactly what I requested; “over easy” with a warmed runny yolk. The potatoes tasted like they were freshly grated versus being pulled from a frozen package. What I loved about the potatoes are its cross between a Latke and a hashbrown, but without the flour and eggs to pull it together. Very starchy and dense in texture. The cherry on top was the Country Gravy; a delicious concoction that I poured over my eggs and potatoes.

The large crowd poured into Philippe’s after 9:00AM just as I finished the last bite of my eggs. The calmness quickly became as busy as Union Station with lots of hustle and bustle. On my way out, I walked into the pathway of an Police Officer and almost bumped into his breakfast tray. After a quick apology, I noticed a large piece of Apple Pie along side his plate of pancakes, bacon, and eggs. “Well, there’s a thought,” I said to myself, “Why didn’t I get dessert?”  Looks like another repeat trip to Philippe’s The Original for breakfast and the dessert! Hmmm, why not?   

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