Two LA Landmarks: Pacific Dining Car and Langer'sRemember the 80s? We didn't walk; we power walked. We didn't eat breakfast or lunch. We had a power breakfast or a power lunch. And a suit wasn't a suit. That's right. It was a power suit. The whole thing made me want to power puke.
When a friend invited me for breakfast at the venerable Pacific Dining Car in downtown LA, my first thought was, "What should I wear?"
I considered wearing a power suit (or at least a power jacket) while we ate our power breakfasts, but settled on a look that was more casual Friday than uptight Tuesday. After all, I figured the ultimate power comes from having a flexible schedule that allows you to take off the morning for a downtown breakfast outing. (Don't ya' love stickin' it to the man.)
Sure enough, all of the other diners were dressed in suits and ties and gazed at spreadsheets and pie charts between sips of coffee from a china cup. To fit in, dining companion and I studied Jonathan Gold's list of 99 Things to Eat Before You Die while we developed a strategy for our next take over of a restaurant.
I hadn't set foot in the Pacific Dining Car since the 80s, when I worked downtown as a briefcase-lugging corporate drone. I was happy to see that it hasn't changed a bit. Some icons become stodgy over time, but not the Pacific Dining Car. It still looks and feels fresh and elegant, refined and special with its rich colors, linen table cloths and fine china and silver.
Butter rosettes and a fresh rose at every table
I ordered the breakfast hash, which is made from the left over steaks from the night before. Unlike most hashes, which tend to be at least 50% potato, this one was 85% steak and 15% potato, all swimming in a rich, savory gravy. The steak came cubed, not shredded, and was so tender that I barely needed to chew. It came topped with a poached egg with two biscuits on the side. Power breakfast indeed.
Dining companion went for the Cajun style eggs benedict, featuring sauteed mushrooms and a crab cake instead of Canadian bacon.
After our two-hour breakfast, we realized that it was time for lunch. So we did what any food-loving duo would do: we traveled a few blocks away to Langer's to try one of their legendary pastrami sandwiches.
When the sandwiches arrived, the first thing I noticed was the warm, untoasted bread. Then when I bit into the sandwich, I immediately noticed the crisp, chewy crust. I was enraptured. Apparently, this is what rye bread is all about. Why doesn't everyone do it this way?
We packed up our sandwiches to go, and I vowed that I wasn't ever going to eat again. That is until I returned home and that rye bread started calling my name.
Of course, I did what any good girl from the 80s does. I powered down the pastrami sandwich and then I took a power nap.