Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Discover all the ways you can make a difference.
Support Icon
The Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams are here to help.

CLOSED: L.A.'s Iconic Dish: Philippe's French Dip Vs. Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles

Support Provided By

Los Angeles is full of people who care passionately about food, and there are plenty of restaurants happy to serve us. We don't all agree on what constitutes "good," but we do know we like our burgers, our froyo, our Korean BBQ, our pizza. (That's right, our pizza. We like it.)

The thing is, we don't have one iconic dish. Nothing that we can point to and say, "This. This is Los Angeles on a plate." So now we're going to find out. KCET Food came up with 16 contenders. You vote on your favorites. Here's the first match-up of round three -- voting for this bracket ends Friday, September 13 at 11 a.m.

hdng-lasiconicdish

VOTING CLOSED.

Photo by Mia Wasilevich

French dip at Philippe the Original: The French Dip champion.The History: Philippe's opened in 1908, though not in its current location, which was opened in 1951 after the owners got the boot from their first spot, in order to make way for the 101. This restaurant claims to have made the first French dip, though they say it happened in 1918 and was probably just a case of bread-dropped-in-broth. (Their competitor Cole's lays claim to inventing in 10 years prior, and on purpose.)

The Scene: There are many tourists here. There are also many old-timers who come for the reliable food and cheap coffee and un-changing décor and ambiance. It's an order at the counter situation, which sometimes makes things a little bonkers.

The Food: The food here is good. And sometimes kind of funky, but in that good homespun way: pickled eggs are on the counter, for instance, and one of the more popular versions of the dip is lamb with blue cheese. It's "just" diner food, but a sense of adventure helps one enjoy it.

Photo by Amparo Rios

Chicken and Waffles at Roscoe's: The chicken and waffles combo may not have been invented in our fair city (endlessly debateable), but it was perfected here.The History: The small chain's first location in Hollywood opened in 1975. To this day newcomers are baffled by the combination of waffles and chicken (even though it makes perfect sense), but they're quickly converted.

The Scene: It's always busy, but the people-watching post-closing time is especially fantastic. There are security guards milling about, but at this point I think it's somewhat for show.

The Food: With chicken and waffles, you either like it or you don't. If you don't, you're wrong, but it's a free country. The combination becomes the Platonic ideal of comfort food, all carb-y with just the right hint of sweetness.

philippesmall1

Philippe's

roscoessmall

Chicken and waffles at Roscoe's

Want recipes and food news emailed directly to you? Sign up for the new Food newsletter here!

hdng-thebracket
iconic-foods-of-los-angeles-1

See All Face-Offs
orangearrow

Support Provided By
Read More
Jennie Fou Lee is wearing a pink tie-dye hoodie and a white apron as she holds out a tray of doughnuts from a glass case. There are two kinds of doughnuts on the tray — a line of Oreo/cookies and cream doughnuts and a doughnut topped with Fruity Pebbles.

DK's Donuts Capture Sweet Memories in Golden, Fluffy Donuts

In this video, Jennie Fou Lee of DK's Donuts talks about how their family-run store has become a community staple and how their doughnuts hold memories for the community they serve.
A sepia-toned photo of Duke Kahanamoku surfing a wave while Viola Hartman stands on his shoulders. The two have their arms outstretched as they ride the wave.

Duke Kahanamoku and the Origins of Surfing in Orange County

If we were to trace back to a single place and time where California surf culture began, it was likely Corona del Mar in the 1920s. And the person who gave birth to it was Duke Kahanamoku — fittingly known as the "father of modern surfing."
Worn and slightly dilapidated beach cottages along a beach, some mounted on a hill that overlooks the ocean, not in frame. The setting sun casts an orange-y golden hue over all the houses.

Crystal Cove: When Coastal Housing in Orange County Was Affordable

Who should have the right to enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches in Orange County? Early residents of Crystal Cove fought for public access to the coast.