Pacific Dining Car
L.A.’s oldest steak house is built around a vintage railroad car. Expect good-quality meat and service, and lots of manly sides. Prices for a hunk range into the thirties, but the dry-aged prime is almost worth it.
Best 5 a.m. Breakfast, August 2008
In L.A., a five o’clock breakfast is as common as an eleven o’clock dinner. The Pantry downtown looks and sounds like dawn’s best breakfast spot; a half-dozen loners coming off night shifts are your company. But food there is meted out as if you’d requested the tasting menu: first toast, then eggs and bacon, then pancakes, then your juice, and finally butter, as cold as your plates by now. At the Pacific Dining Car, you might be the only customer, but they treat you like James Ellroy. The portions are cop size, the OJ is fresh squeezed, the butter and marmalade are served on silver, and the restaurant is all yours. Sit up front to watch the sun come up.