To walk into Philippe the Original is to imagine a Los Angeles of yore. This city institution claims to have invented the French dip sandwich, even dating the invention to the year 1918. Little has changed since then: walk up to the counter, and a Carver (the name for a Philippe's server) will prepare your order. Ask for a lamb dip ($8) with blue cheese ($0.80).
What you get may not look remarkable at first glance, but the first bite will clue you in. Several thick slices of tender lamb pair well with a generous heap of tangy blue cheese. The French roll is simple but baked fresh in house. The entire sandwich is dipped in a rich meat jus before it reaches your plate. Upon first bite, the bread melts away, giving in to the soft cheese and juicy meat.
The lamb French dip may not be the trendiest sandwich on the block, but it's one that never gets old. I'll make my way back to Philippe's soon enough, both to enjoy another sandwich and to soak in the history.
Philippe the Original
About the author: Sarah Woo is a pasture-raised, California girl paired with slow-grilled Santa Maria tri-tip and piquant Korean kimchi. Check out her kitchen adventures at Winner Celebration Party. You can also follow her on Twitter at @wcpartyparty.