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Original Pancake House There may be no meal in America that commands more acreage than breakfast at the Original Pancake House, a massive if two-dimensional feast that covers large tabletops as thoroughly as king-size fitted sheets. Jumbo spinach crepes are served with a side of thin, LP-size potato pancakes; butter-dripping Dutch babies are the size of satellite dishes; and puffy cheese omelets, already as big as Mary Poppins’ handbag, come with broad stacks of buttermilk pancakes — or, for an extra buck, an oozing payload of chocolate-chip pancakes buried underneath a shot put of freshly whipped cream. If you can see even a scrap of table underneath the barrage of sausage patties, fresh orange juice, basted eggs, stewed prunes, hash browns, strawberry waffles, Cointreau-flavored sour cream, and ham, the restaurant hasn’t been doing its job. At prime brunch hours, the wait for a table can verge on the infinite, although you may be the only person in the restaurant if you show up on a Tuesday at noon. 1756 Pacific Coast Hwy., Redondo Beach, (310) 543-9875. Mon.-Sat. 7 a.m.-2 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-3 p.m. No alcohol. Takeout weekdays only. Lot parking. MC, V. Breakfast for two, food only, $12-$20. JG $
Pann’sEvery Angeleno has a secret backdoor shortcut to the airport, and Pann’s is smack on the route of at least two-thirds of them. It’s a grand ’50s coffee shop right on the triangle formed by the intersection of La Cienega, La Tijera and Centinela, a bright, neon-lit fortress of patty melts, Dreamburgers, banana splits and pie, bottomless cups of coffee, and a twangy soundtrack that veers from Duane Eddy to Elvis and back. Pann’s is a coffee shop, not a temple of cuisine, but we all owe it to ourselves to stop by for a plate of chicken from time to time. 6710 La Tijera Blvd., L.A., (310) 337-2860. Open Mon.-Sat. 7 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-10 p.m. AE, MC, V accepted. Beer and wine. Lot parking. American. JG $?
Woody’s As you blast down Slauson toward the Westside, Woody’s Bar-B-Que is visible from a long way off, a white plume that looks from a distance as if it might come from a belching bus or a car fire, but quickly sorts itself out into a meat-fragrant cloud of woodsmoke. What you get here is, y’know, barbecue: crusty pork ribs spurting with juice; thick, blackened hot-link sausages with the chaw of good jerky; chewy, meaty little rib tips; giant beef ribs; and charred, only occasionally stewy-tasting, slices of well-done barbecued beef brisket that even Texans condescend to like. The sauce is one of the sweet brick-red kinds, hotly spiced with red pepper flakes, less a condiment than a way of life. 3446 W. Slauson Ave., L.A., (323) 294-9443. Also 475 S. Market St., Inglewood, (310) 672-4200. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Takeout only. Cash only. JG$ b
East Los Angeles
El Tepeyac The burrito is a symbol of abundance, the humble taco transformed into a plump, overstuffed creation. At El Tepeyac, the legendary East L.A. stand whose name has practically become synonymous with the burrito, the Hollenbeck, named after the local East L.A. police division, is more or less an old-line Mexican restaurant’s entire menu wrapped into a tortilla the size of a pillowcase — rice, beans, stewed meat, guacamole and lakes of melted cheese. 812 N. Evergreen Ave., E.L.A., (323) 267-8668. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Wed.-Mon. No alcohol. Street parking. Cash only. Entrées $3.75-$12. Mexican. JG ¢
LA99 Tacos Baja Ensenada In most of Mexico, the words estilo Ensenada signify just one thing: fish tacos, specifically the fried-fish tacos served at stalls in the fish market down by the docks. In East L.A., you will come no closer to the ideal than these crunchy, sizzlingly hot strips of batter-fried halibut, folded into warm corn tortillas with salsa, shredded cabbage and a squeeze of lime, sprinkled with freshly chopped herbs and finished with a squirt of thick, cultured cream. Entire religions have been founded on miracles less profound than the Ensenada fish taco. 5385 Whittier Blvd., L.A., (323) 887-1980. Lunch and dinner Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. No alcohol. Lot parking. Cash only. Entrées $3.99-$10. Mexican. JG ¢b
El Loco del Pollo The tastiest roast chickens in the Los Angeles area, if not the Western Hemisphere itself, are the smoky rotisserie fowl beloved by the Peruvian community, the shotgun marriage of plump birds, roaring wood fires, and a sharp marinade made with citrus, chiles and immoderate amounts of garlic. And the best chickens of all may be a couple blocks from the Glendale Galleria at El Loco del Pollo. With the chicken comes a small crock of aji, the doctored chile purée that serves as a universal Peruvian condiment, and maybe some hand-cut French fries, stewed beans, or the mayonnaisey potato salad that is for some reason a Peruvian standard. It is enough. 230 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, (818) 956-5888. Lunch and dinner Mon. 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Tues.-Thurs. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Beer and wine. Takeout and delivery. Lot parking. Lunch or dinner for two, food only, $10-$22. MC, V. Peruvian. JG ¢