In Los Angeles, taking a friend to LAX is the equivalent of donating a kidney in just about any other city. It means a lot. Picking them up there may mean even more. That’s like being a sexual surrogate. Me? I don’t mind doing either, for one simple reason—-going to LAX means I am minutes away from Dinah’s Family Restaurant.
On this particular day, I wasn’t taking anyone to, or picking anyone up at the airport. This was a special trip just for Dinah’s. Arriving mid-afternoon, I was surprised that the main dining room, with its retro booths and Formica flooring, was full. I was regulated to the annex at the back of the restaurant. I’m not a fan of the annex since it tends to be noisier (larger parties are seated back there) and the room has a large television, usually playing soccer.
My dining companions, Antoinette and Janice would be meeting me within a few minutes; I took the opportunity to let my waitress know that I would be having the banana walnut oven baked pancake. Having already had the apple version, (and loved it to no end) I wanted to try the other option. I ordered early since the oven pancakes take roughly twenty minutes.
The coffee at Dinah’s is nothing special, a hint of roasted flavor and not too strong. I will, however, recommend it for the simple reason that they give you your own pot. Refill to your heart’s content, my little caffeine lovers. This of course works best when only one person at the table is drinking coffee. You can get 4 or 5 refills from one pot.
When Antoinette and Janice arrived, they needed some extra time with the menu. I almost regretted ordering my oven pancake early. The menu at Dinah’s is quite large and covers just about everything you can imagine. They are famous for their fried chicken, which even has its own outlets around the LA area. [I was quite pleased when I unexpectedly found one located in Los Feliz on San Fernando Rd.] Antoinette ordered the chicken salad sandwich with a side of fruit and Janice ordered the Cobb salad with dressing on the side.
I took the opportunity right then to order the chocolate cream pie and Antoinette ordered the pumpkin cream pie for dessert. Janice went pie-less.
After a short time, our waitress brought out a plate with a (warmed) roll, a slice of carrot bread and a bowl of something oily and reddish. “Who got soup?” we all wondered. The waitress assessing our confusion quickly explained, “That’s the dressing. I’ll be right back with the salad.” Which she did.
Janice enjoyed her salad. Not much more to say about that. It’s a Cobb salad. Can you screw that up?
Antoinette found her sandwich bland. Too much mayonnaise and not enough chicken.
I wish I could speak better of my banana walnut oven baked pancake. The outer most edges were perfect. They had crispiness to them with just a bit of banana and perfect bits of toasted walnut. Even the occasional burned walnut piece added to the overall flavor very well. As I got closer to the center though, it became a mush of too much banana and not enough pancake. I gave up halfway through to insure that I had room for pie.
When the pie came, I was delighted. The chocolate cream was better than any I had ever had. The cream was freshly whipped giving it a lighter and airy taste you just don’t expect. It was rich without being guilt-inducing.
Antoinette was disappointed in her pumpkin cream pie because--really, she had wanted just regular pumpkin pie and found this too creamy. So you can’t really call that a bad review.
Despite the food being a tad on the disappointing side, the pie more than made up for it.
Pie: Delicious Creams and Fruits.
6521 S Sepulveda Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
Phone: (310) 645-0456
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As a bonus I will include two pics from a previous trip to Dinah's. This was early one morning after taking my friend Greg to the airport. I was in my biscuits and gravy phase and had a delightful breakfast. The coconut cream pie was once again the best coconut cream pie I had ever tasted. It was like ice cream almost.
UPDATE: Dinah's switched to a mini-pie instead of a slice of pie. I don't like it as much.