A passion for food + fashion

Civic Duty & a French Dip

In Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on March 27, 2009 at 5:52 pm


After skating through the week without having to appear for jury duty, I got nailed on the last day. So this morning I made my way downtown super early to report for duty and realized, you know, jury duty downtown is kind of fun. Provided of course you don’t actually get on a jury. More on that later. But where else can you find jury parking underneath a building as good-looking as Disney Hall?


We broke for lunch at noon, so I called my friend Adam, who works down the street at the Los Angeles Times, and met him on the corner of Spring and Second to walk over to Cole’s at 6th and Main for lunch. For those of us in downtown L.A. today, wasn’t it gorgeous? I love those old buildings near the Times.


I hadn’t yet been to Cole’s since Neal Fraser (of BLD and Grace) had revamped the menu at this historic joint. And I’m not going to get into whether or not Cole’s or Philippe’s invented the French dip in 1908, even though we all know it was Philippe’s. At the advice of my friend Katie, I ordered a lamb dip with blue cheese and a side of cole slaw, along with a pint of draft root beer.

lamb dipcoleslaw

The hand-carved lamb and bleu cheese combo is incredible, and the slaw is mighty mighty good; Cole’s differentiates itself by hand-carving its meats and serving au jus on the side, while Philippe’s doesn’t hand carve and warms its meat in the au jus before serving (no complaints here!). But one fact is indisputable. Cole’s is a hell of a lot better than its previous incarnation, and I will be back soon to try the classic beef au jus. Like maybe on Monday, because guess who has to report back to the courthouse? Oh, and is it just me, or is Esa-Pekka Salonen on the side of Disney Hall a poor man’s version of Don Johnson, who was working the room at a neighboring table at Cecconi’s last night?

esa pekkadon-johnson

  1. have you seen the LA phil mailer with like 7000 pictures of Essa Pecker? guys not as cool or good looking as he thinks. he’s freaking creepy. I pity the patrons and the people working in the little phil publications department. i’d bet tom yorke and other radioheads think the guy’s the dork he appears to be, despite proclaimed mutual appreciation. don johnson is waaaaaaaay cooler. Speaking of fashion: do you remember the perfectly aged leather shoulder holster and matte 40 cal that mr. vice sported under his linen blazerr? All that meaninglessness aside, me wants the dip. and is the varnish open at lunch?

  2. I love Don Johnson. I think I need to do a Miami Vice post soon for all the reasons you suggest. Saw him the other week at Pizzeria Mozza, too. I have some personal experience w/ EPS’s divadom, and I don’t get where he’s coming from with that.

    Varnish isn’t open during lunch, or wasn’t yesterday. Perhaps I can catch a post-jural preprandial there on Monday. The lamb/bleu combo rocked though. Adam got pork & goat cheese and said it was yummers. The quality is better than I’d expected, but the sammie is pretty big and kind of hard to dip into that little bowl of jus. Which is why I appreciate the fact that Philippe’s meat is already soaked in the jus, and it’s a little easier to dip. But there’s room for both at the table.

    And I totally want to check out Varnish.

  3. […] Cole’s – photographed by Heather John. Foodinista post here. […]

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