Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pann's: A deserved classic.

Pann's was going to be the first place I reviewed even before there was a Dinerwood. Plans were made, plans fell through, and it took two years (I've been doing this for two years!) to finally make it there.

No doubt about it, Pann's is a classic. Just looking at the sign, you can tell this is a restaurant that "gets it." It has clearly 'kept up' but has stayed true to its origins as place to get good, quick comfort food. The sign and building are a marvelous example of Googie design which became popular in the 1950s. Inside, the design is second to none. There is no Johnny Rocket's or even new style Denny's phony retro-styling. It's straight legit. There's a reason Pann's is listed on LA Timemachines. The only style that has changed here in the last 51 years is the clothing.

Three friends and I came here at about 11 am on a Sunday, which is prime post-church time, but the line wasn't too bad. We were seated in no more than ten minutes.

The menu had a decent amount of variety, pulling a lot of influence from southern cooking, as well as traditional diner standards. I was really surprised by the extensive milkshake selection. Although personally I thought it too early in the day to order one, I did ask our waitress which one she preferred. She recommended the blueberry shake. For me, the oatmeal raisin cookie shake sounded awfully tempting. It's just some oatmeal raisin cookies smashed up and poured into a vanilla milkshake--and those of you who know me well know that I am a firm believer that everything is better when smashed up and put in a cup with milk.

Rachel and Charlie both ordered the Rena's Favorite (named for the co-founder): chicken and waffles and eggs. The chicken was incredibly juicy while the waffle was unspectacular but good. The eggs were tasty. They appreciated the melted butter. You don't often see that on the table unless someone orders lobster. I usually don't go places that serve lobster (and if they do, you should never order it--like ordering salmon at House of Pies) so I never see melted butter.

Tony ordered the Louisiana Omelet with a side of fresh fruit. He ordered it egg whites only but when it arrived, it clearly was not. They didn't charge him for it and he didn't care that much, but they did get it wrong. Inside the omelet were three different kinds of sausage. The "Louisiana sauce" appeared to be a tomato base with just a little bit of heat.

I ordered the hot link and eggs. I was really surprised that the hot link was, in fact, hot. It was spicy, southern-style beef sausage. There was no taste of grease at all. I had my eggs over medium, which is becoming my new default, and they were very good. My country potatoes were simple; not bland, just simple.

I chose a biscuit as my bread option; it was homemade and good, with just a bit of powdery flavor and easily peeled in half. The sign of a good, moist biscuit is this ability for it to be split without breaking up or leaving too many crumbs.

Rachel also ordered a root beer float. She's appears to have really taken a licking to it--I mean a liking to it. I made a funny!

Pann's was built up in my mind as such a classic place that it might have been hard to match my expectations. Food-wise, it certainly did--not because it was amazing or anything. I just expected good food and Pann's delivered. Style and atmosphere is where it really made me feel like it was deservedly a Los Angeles legend.

Special thanks to Charlie Chu for taking the food pictures on this outing. He's a real photographer and hot damn he makes this food look even better.

Food: Very good.
Service: A little slow on refills but otherwise quite good.
Price: A bit more expensive than it should be. $9-$13
Pie: Apple and Cherry.

6710 LaTijera Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Open Mon-Sat 7am-11pm; Sun 7am-10pm

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pete's Burgers Family Restaurant.- Burger stand or more?

We had driven past it several times. It says 'family restaurant,' looks like a burger place, but also touts its eggs and bacon breakfast and fried chicken dinners...but it looks like a burger place! Mysterious? #1DC insists that it must have been an old Long John Silvers with the bell tower and widow's walk on the roof. I maintain that it looks like a haunted Kentucky Fried Chicken thanks to the rundown and tattered look of the exterior and the red and white color scheme.

We finally decided to to try it out for lunch one day. When we walked inside, it was pretty squarely a burger joint: all booths, ordering at the counter, one giant ketchup tub dispenser, with no public restrooms to top it all off. I don't normally review places like this, but since we were here, I soldiered on.

I'm glad we did, but not because it proved to be a magical experience or anything. There was more to Pete's than just how it looked on the outside. It has a pretty extensive menu for what looks like a divey burger shack. They have omelets, burritos, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, pastrami, salads, and a selection of dinner specials.

While in line to order, I snapped this shot of the kitchen staff. Although most reviews of Pete's that I've seen have referenced its being cash only, I saw a credit card machine by the register. Maybe it is decorative? Or perhaps it's a haunted credit card machine that they don't like to use because of the y'know, haunting.

Antoinette says that all that she remembers about the tuna melt was that it was crunchy. Not good, not bad, just crunchy.

My hamburger looked nice and thick when I first unwrapped it. I then saw that this was because of the hunk of iceberg lettuce in the middle. The burger patty was a decent size, but the bun was toasted a bit more on the burnt side than it should have been. It tasted alright.

We agreed that the fries were the only really noteworthy part of our visit to Pete's. They were pretty good, came seasoned, and were just a little soggy.

So in conclusion, Pete's is a burger shack that also happens to have other kinds of food--much like Jumbo's Clown Room is a bar that happens to also have strippers. I can't imagine you'd want to specifically seek this place out, but if you are stuck in the area and need some variety, Pete's can supply it.

Food: Okay
Service- Serve yourself.
Price $4-7
Pie- No pie, but they do have milkshakes.

Pete's Burgers
2400 S. Hoover St.
Los Angeles CA 90007

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Frank's Coffee Shop - STEAKS!

#1DC Antoinette and I happened to be in Burbank one Saturday and passed Frank's by accident. She had never been and I hadn't been in several years. My first favorite thing about Frank's is how complicated the sign is. It's a whole mess of different styles going on there.

As we have learned from the Foxy's review, you can't always trust what is listed on the sign. There were no steak outlets nearby, just an apartment complex that shares the parking lot. I can't imagine a more wonderful living arrangement for myself. A coffee shop right outside my door! The apartments did look a little shady though.

The other amusing thing about the sign is that it may be inaccurate--the building itself reads "Frank's Restaurant," not "Frank's Coffee Shop." Which is it?

I do not have a panoramic camera; just take my word for it that the "urant" is there.

Frank's is a wonderful 70's throwback: long counter and plush Naugahyde booths that will surely remind you of ol' uncle Jimmy's easy chair in the den. The large windows flood the place with brightness that can only be outshone by the sunny dispositions of the waitresses. There's no snark there. They were really nice and friendly.

We started off with coffee, which came in a hilarious hodge-podge of thrift store mugs. My mug celebrated 'tee-time' while #1DC Antoinette's had a lovely seascape. The coffee itself was nice and smooth but could have been a little bit stronger.

#1DC Antointte noticed an odd number of italian dishes on the menu, and not just standards like spaghetti or lasagna, but more elaborate (for a coffee shop) dishes like homemade wild mushroom ravioli and gnocchi.

She theorized that the cook or the owner (I assume, Frank) may be Italian. Neither of us were in the mood for Italian, though thus the quality will remain a mystery.

We were in the mood to splitzies and ordered the two items we had both been eye-balling. We decided on the Fish and Chips and the Beef Melt.

The chips were crunchy, thick steak fries and the fish tasted fresh, even though it most likely wasn't. The crust wasn't oily and was more like the kind you'd find on chicken strips. In fact, I'd call it more of a breading, than a crust.

The beef melt was one of the best sandwiches I've had in a long time. I honestly wasn't expecting much but this really exceded my expectations. It had roast beef, bacon, avocado, tomato and cheese. It had a perfect amount of all the ingredients. I ordered the coleslaw, since we were getting fries-er, chips already. The coleslaw was decent and not soggy at all.

Now my second favorite thing about Frank's, after the sign of course, is that it is populated with these little guys.

They are every where. Drunk little tuxedoed goombahs. Stay classy Frank's.

We both really enjoyed Frank's. It's a place you don't expect much from just looking at it, but it will surprise you. There are some good diner choices in Burbank, but Frank's really is the best.

Food- Great
Service-Nice and friendly.
Price- $7-$10 for most dishes.

916 W Olive Ave (at Olive and Victory)
Burbank, CA 91506
(818) 845-2216