I have to tell you, the Pompeii exhibit at the CA Science Center through January 11 is quite the show to take in. Amazing artifacts, jewelry and such. But what really got me was the casts of the bodies found in the city as they excavated it.
In short August 24, 79 The city of Pompeii was struck by an eruption of Mt Vesuvius. The folks ran and hid, then were buried with ash. Flash forward some 1600 years and archeologist figured out the ash covered corpses were hollow and proceeded to fill them with plasters capturing this folks in the final moments of their life. Moving. Morbid. Incredible. Much more telling than all the artifcats and murals.
I have to admit, I’m a fan of the French Dip and its quite the conundrum for me to chose between Cole’s and Philippe’s sandwiches. Both are very good, terrific au jus, tender meat that tastes the way it should. They aren’t that far apart in price and neither is going to break the bank.
Atmosphere, both got a ton. Philippe’s is more of a fast food vibe with lines and find your own table at your own risk during peak times. Cole’s is more of a sit down dark old timey bar that has charm all onto itself starting with the tinned ceilings and going down to the antique booths.
Both claim to be the original French Dip. Neither will relinquish the title to the other, suffice it to say I think L.A. can lay claim to the sandwich as its own and we can move on. You won’t go wrong with either French Dip Sammy.
Philippe has the edge on convenience for me. Getting there is a quick hop on the Gold Line to Union Station and a 5 minute walk. Cole’s is more involved and finding parking in the area can be a challenge, except for weekends.
Which is your favorite? Why? Sound off in the comments for kicks and giggles.
Cole’s is 101 years old this year. One hundred one! While it’s not quite the same as Philippe’s 100th birthday last year when it sold sandwiches for a spare dime, Cole’s does plan to have a three day celebration on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday (also helps that these are the slowest day of the week for most restaurants). Like any good host, Cole’s has the whole schedule mapped out: on Sunday, it will award its first ever Jimmy Barela Award (named after the Cole’s bartender who spent 65 of his good years manning the restaurant’s Red Car Bar) to the barman who concocts a tequila-based cocktail and best pairs it with a French dip sandwich. The winning cocktail will be featured on Monday and Tuesday (although, if it’s really that good, I hope that the drink at the very least will make it onto a secret off-menu menu item). If, like any good guest, you’re planning on buying Cole’s a birthday present, look no further than the dusty books on your shelf: clean it up a bit and gift it to Cole’s. Cole’s will donate the tome to support Midnight Mission’s renovation of the Mary Murphy Library. As your goodie bag gift, you will receive a $1 discount on any sandwich. C’mon, we all have a book that we were supposed to read, but haven’t, and won’t. I’m looking at you, Wally Lamb. My heart just can’t take that kind of heavy right now.
No word on whether The Varnish, Cole’s not-so-secret speakeasy-ish bar in the back, will have any birthday-related specials. But then again, any night at The Varnish is special, isn’t it?
A Christmas tree light show at LA Live, the Grammy museum opening, and the return of Cole’s highlight the busy commencement of the holiday season in Los Angeles. And guess what? It’s all happening Downtown. Just in time to abuse Metro’s late night Red Line and DASH hours. Fill your Calendar app accordingly.
Ice Skating in Pershing Square with daily concerts. What, no outdoor movies this year? At least you have an excuse to wear that Old Navy scarf of yours in 80-degree weather without looking like a total Hollywood jackass.
ESPN Zone opens at LA Live. There is no local NFL team to cheer on to the playoffs, and the BCS Champion, the Super Bowl Champion, and the Gold Medal Curling Team of the 2010 Winter Olympics have already been decided by HAL 9000. But you can still watch the events as they happen on a bunch of big TV screens.