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Is one of these the best restaurant in LA? Dinah's or DuPar's

Vital Information | Jan 6, 2004 09:17 PM

We found Dinah's by accident. We intended to go to another coffee shop, Norm's, but I thought it was on Sepulvda (it's on La Cienga). After a long way of driving, well actually if you know where Norm's is, this is kind of stupid, but we were drifting down Sepulvda oblivious. We passed Dinah's. It looked great in its googie style, and the siren call of fried chicken beckoned. We resisted for a few miles, still hoping for Norm's, but when it seemed like we would soon be back in El Segundo, we u-turned for Dinah's. Best restaurant in LA area? Surely the favorite of the chowhoundita's.

Ms. VI, the Condiment Queen, got turned to Dinah when the sassy waitress answered her dressing question with the retort, "they're all home made, girl." With that, my wife ordered the very California cobb with homemade blue cheese dressing. She loved it, while critical me would have preferred the parts to be a bit more diced. Still, excellent and abundant chicken. Note, the homemade dressing included a fair amount of mayo, which again, my wife likes more than me--she insists she has mayo on her blood because she's from the South, Florida, but it's Miami and I never buy that. Both chowhoundita's equally loved their meals, chicken strips, whole pieces of white meat, yes, and BLT, bacon extra crisp. Gorged on earlier burgers, I stuck to a really superb piece of coconut custard pie. See if Ms. VI really was a southern belle she would have ditched the cobb at once and ate two pieces of this pie. Surely as good as anything out of the old Wise's Cafeteria. Well, truth be told, she did eat a lot of my pie. And anyone, north, south, east or west would do the same.

They should film movies at Dinah's. They probably DO film movies at Dinah's--Pann's a few miles east did look like the coffee shop from Pulp Fiction. Dinah's would make the idea movie location. First, its curved, comfy red vinyl booths looked unchanged from years ago, but the restaurant is also completely open, a feat of modern architecture that allows one to see the whole glorious room, with all the glorious food I wished I had gullet room to order. I saw people eating chicken and waffles I swear looked better than Roscoe's. I saw people reaching down to get the last drops from gigantic milkshakes. I barely touched anything here, but I am convinced it is nearly all great. It all looked geat. Please do not say otherwise. I am also horribly biased from that sassy waitress who constantly met our needs without us barely ever asking anything.

OK, if Dinah's is not the best restaurant in LA, how about DuPar's. It aint hard to find. I'll always know where it is, anchoring the east end of the Farmer's Market. DuPar's turned french toast into foie gras. Like most great French chef's DuPar's figured the one great secret to making something taste fantastic, butter. These thick slices of bread, I realize they must start with great bread also, get so much butter, I think maybe they use a sauce beurre blanc. I wished the next day was a marathon in LA and I needed to carb load. Then, I would insist I need 4 helpings of DuPar's french toast, but only 4 as I would need room for pie. In fact I would only have one piece of pie to keep me light for the run. I would agonize and agonize. How could I pick just one piece. Last week, I settle on boysenberry in honor of Knotts Berry Farm where we almost went for kid's day. I guess in some way, the Knotts family got rich growing boysenberries. DuPar's puts them to great use, and as great as the pie was at Dinah's, I have found nothing tastier in LA than DuPar's pies.

During our meal at DuPar's, two older woman who seemed really rather out of place in LA. I mean do not you expect everyone to be young or face-lifted? Instead, they seemed to belong in a much more urban setting, say a tea room in Baltimore. They sat down with cups of coffee and twin pieces of chocolate cake. What more could you want from a restaurant than seeing this slice of heaven. Oh, and they were so nice at DuPar's to give me an actual laminated menu as a souvenir. Well, then, maybe I'm biased here too.


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