Everybody comes through Philippe the Original: movie stars and guys who’ve managed to scrounge 11 cents for coffee, politicians and city workers, families who drive once a year from Visalia to see a Dodgers game, travelers alighting at Union Station — pretty much anybody with a couple of bucks in her pocket whose longings are not satisfied by the delights of Chinatown in one direction or Olvera Street in the other. Philippe’s is the spiritual home of the French dip, that famous sandwich of carved meat layered onto a jus-soaked roll, imitated, never successfully, all over the United States for even longer than John McCain has been alive. Now that its only serious competitor is about to be retrofitted into a gleaming simulacrum of itself, the café is one of the few relics of the Los Angeles that Philip Marlowe knew, a sprawling complex of long tables, cheap coffee, sawdust-sprinkled floors and a Depression-era beef stew of the type that has always made hard-working Americans swoon. It is hard to believe that Philippe’s turns 100 this week — less because of the longevity almost impossible to imagine in the days of Top Chef and restaurants whose expiration dates are the same as those on the carton of chocolate milk in your refrigerator, but because Philippe’s is one of those places that seems truly timeless. It has always been there, it will always be there, and if I reach my own 100th birthday, I intend to celebrate it there with a lamb dip, extra blue cheese, a dish of tapioca pudding and a glass of California red wine. 1001 N. Alameda St., L.A., (213) 628-3781.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.