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WakeUp LA: Philippe The Original

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Phillipe The Original is oh so good for breakfast - especially the biscuits

Philippe The Original is one of those places that has been around for so long, you almost forget its there. Every weekend, we wonder aloud where we'll go for breakfast and Philippe's rarely enters our mind. But when it does, we remember their biscuits - big, flaky, warm, delicious - and we can't believe how much time has passed since our last visit.

There is, of course, the timing thing. Breakfast is over at promptly 10am. Promptly. This can be a challenge if you wake up on a Saturday morning around 9:30ish and remember those excellent biscuits. If you are in line when it's 10am, that is not enough. No. You must get a ticket. The ticket is the key to happiness at Philippe's and so when the clock strikes 10am and the ladies at front start handing out those tickets, you better race on up there, elbow your way through the frantic people waving their arms, and get a ticket of your very own. You can then step confidently back in line, even if it's 10:03am, because with your ticket, you'll get your brekkie.

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So important is this ticket that we've been known to send a recon man out to do the job while we park the car: "Okay! You go get the ticket, we'll park the car and meet you inside!" There's also the matter of cash-only. That's right, no plastic. Cash only. You can get to the front of the line and bat your sad "I'm so hungry eyes" and those seasoned ladies in their vintage uniforms will show no mercy. Cash. Only cash. So a typical visit to Philippe's in the morning often includes one recon man for the ticket and one to secure cash at one of the two ATMs inside Philippe's.

You might be wondering if such ticket-hassle and cash-nabbing, so early in the morning, can really be worth it. Why would anyone want to endure such madness at breakfast, before they've had their coffee? We'll tell you why: your coffee will only cost you 15 cents.

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Your breakfast, by contrast, will run anywhere from $2.95 to $8.35 for a ton of food. And did we mention the biscuits? And the fifteen cent coffee? We did. We did. The food, it must be said, isn't brilliant. When we order the two eggs anyway with sausage and a biscuit (oh those biscuits!), we never dig in and think "this is the best egg I've ever eaten." No. But it is one of the cheapest egg breakfasts we've ever eaten and it works. And there's the biscuits.

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Most regular Philippe visitors, however, will tell you that it's not really about the food (unless you go for lunch or dinner and have the french dip and then, oh then, it is about the food) but about the atmosphere. Philippe is like Disneyland, with huge rooms that open up onto tiny hallways that open up into other huge rooms. There are big neon signs everywhere. They have vintage phone booths. They have a train collection. There are hamster-cage-like shavings all over the floor.

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You order your food, you pay a paltry sum for your food (cash only!), you take your food to any table of your choice (upstairs, downstairs, down any long hallway that suits your fancy) and you dig in. It's a very democratic way of eating and it works.

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Philippe The Original
1001 N. Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213.628.3781
Cash only!