Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Original Pantry: A Staple in My Life

How many of you have a restaurant that you've been going to since you were a toddler? A restaurant that your parents have been going to since they were kids? Well, for me that's the Pantry. Since I was little I have always had this sense of nostalgia and I guess I get it from my Dad.

I walk into The Pantry.  The seats are the same, the smell is the same, the food is the same, some of their servers are even the same.  Perfect.  I don't know how long I've been coming here, I don't know how long my dad's been coming here and don't even know how long my grandparents have been coming here, my only answer, as long as we can remember.  They only take cash, there is a cage in front of the cashier, and when you look down, you can see 7 layers of floor that have been worn through.  The walls are an old dingy green, everything is exactly how I remember it.

We all have that restaurant that gives us a sense of nostalgia.  It has our favorite meal, it reminds us of when we were kids.  And the moment we sit down, we already know what we are going to order and our mouths start to salivate. 

For me that meal is: sourdough bread, roast beef, fried breakfast potatoes, and corn or green beans depending on what the vegetable is that day.

When you walk up to this old building you would never guess that this place in downtown LA has been here for years. There is typically a line around the building during busy periods for lunch and dinner.  They don't have a waiting list, just a line because it is first come first serve.  When you least expect it a waiter comes and tells you where to sit whether you like it or not.  They get your drink order and tell you the menu is on the wall.  It hasn't changed in years.  It is your quintessential diner with chalkboards and old signage. 

I always order the same thing unless they are out, then I proceed to cry.  But before we get to the roast beef we have the "starters".  They start everyone with coleslaw and sourdough bread.  I always push the coleslaw to the side because that's what my dad used to do (though he's changed it up on me the last few years and started to eat it, still not sure what to do about that).  The bread is amazing, always fresh and always hard not to fill up on it before the meal.  If you get breakfast which they serve all day they toast it, equally as good. 
On to the main course...

I can always see the waiter bringing the food and I smile inside.  The Roast beef is so tender you would think its pot roast.  There is a ladle of brown gravy over the top to add some salt and make it even moister (if that's even a word).  My favorite part of the meal are the potatoes.  These diced potatoes that have a thick brown crust on them, crunchy, yummy and orgasmic, yes you read that right.  I love it when the potatoes touch the gravy, its simply heaven.  Roast Beef, potatoes, and gravy the perfect bite of my life.  I wish I knew how to make them but I can't, but oh how I have tried.   I prefer the corn to the green beans because it adds a touch of sweetness to the dish.  This dish hasn't changed in years, if ever.

I will never stop going here, and I cant wait to take my kids here one day.  If you're in or around L.A, give it a try.

Original Pantry Cafe on Urbanspoon

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