In his "Recession Obsession" inventory of low-priced but tasty eateries, LAist's Caleb Bacon reports on that reliable staple, Philippe's. (More officially known as Philippe the Original.) Even with nearby Yee Mee Loo's and the postal sorting center long gone, Philippe's remains a packed venue, and with good reason. Bacon wryly runs down a list of qualifiers that make the place an institution (it's been around longer than the Grove and has sawdust on the floor) before getting to the heart of the matter -- its French dip sandwiches. In this town those have been prized more highly than the Maltese Falcon might have been for some folks up in Frisco.
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Naturally, the Weekly's own Jonathan Gold has shared a thought or two over the years on this subject, as well as the eternal debate over whether Philippe's or Cole's PE Buffet invented this succulent, $6 beast. If and when the economy gets back on its crutches, I'd propose to a newly minted middle class that it try the French dips at Atwater's Tam O'Shanter Inn. The Tam's sandwich-bar fare runs 80-90 percent higher, costwise, but the rich, corn-flavor juice and deep-Highland atmosphere make the price worth it.