Tim Foolery

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Where I’m Eating…Los Angeles

On the Editor’s Letter page in Food and Wine magazine, Dana Cowin always includes a sidebar called “Where I’m Coming From” which outlines the cities she’s recently visited along with restaurants in those cities.  I love this idea and I’m going to steal it.  I just returned from Los Angeles and tried a new hotel, the Omni and a new restaurant — Pacific Dining Car.

My main work travel companion loves the show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  He demands we visit these little shit holes — while the food is good, the restaurants are usually just crap.  I thought Pacific Dining Car was like this — as he doesn’t really suggest higher end restaurants…he’s very casual.  I checked the website on my phone and the first thing that popped up was that the restaurant was open 24-hours.  Good God, this can’t be good.

Let me start by saying Pacific Dining Car is not a Diner, a Drive-In nor is it a Dive.  It’s a great white table cloth restaurant that just happens to be open 24 hours.  The menu is that of a traditional steakhouse (at least at dinner).  The waiters are truly professional waiters — not like so many other places in LA, where the waiters are actors who just can’t find acting gigs.  Our waiter spoke English, French, Russian and Spanish fluently and a couple other languages not so fluently.

You’ll notice the online menu doesn’t have prices.  This place isn’t inexpensive, but it is well worth the price.  I had a small Roquefort Steak while one of my colleagues had the Baseball Steak — we loved it.  We split a couple sides – the Au Gratin Potatoes were wonderful.  Another colleague had the Pecan Pie for dessert and said it was the best he ever had.  I opted for a glass of Kopke Port.

It is likely I really enjoyed this place because my expectations were so low — the name and seeing that it was open 24/7 really set the bar low for me.  Would I go back next time I’m in Los Angeles — absolutely.  If you are Downtown LA and want a truly classic Los Angeles steakhouse, this is where you must go.  They’ve also got a location in Santa Monica.

Can’t wait to return!

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