Looking for a book about the history of Los Angeles Resturants
January 15, 2004 9:43 AM   Subscribe

Wondering if there's a book about the history of LA restaurants. For my December birthday, a friend gave me "Minnesota Eats Out," a fun, colorful book from the Minnesota Historical Society Press. As a former Minnesota restaurant editor and critic, I loved it. Now I'd like to find a similar book about Los Angeles-San Fernando Valley restaurants for my California in-laws, who have many fond memories of LA restaurants, some gone, some still serving today. Does anyone know of such a book?
posted by GaelFC to Food & Drink (8 answers total)
 
Doesn't really help you, but I just picked up that book from the library and I love it. I've been showing it to all of my older neighbors. Excellent idea and I hope other cities have something similar.
posted by emoeby at 10:02 AM on January 15, 2004


Just a note to say that the closest I've come so far is in finding "San Fernando Valley Then and Now", photos of the Valley long ago paired with modern pics of the same site; and "The San Fernando Valley: America's Suburb". Both are good for Valley history, but neither focus on restaurants.
posted by GaelFC at 10:06 AM on January 15, 2004


It's not for restaurants but rather for bars, but this book 101 best bars in los angeles is fantastic. A lot of the bars are restaurants as well, and the book is packed with tons of interesting information and little sidebars about famous events/people who have dined in the restaurants/bars mentioned.

One great one was about the legendary Dan Tana's, and recounted a story of when John Travolta went there just after breaking through and becoming famous. He was informed that there would be a two hour wait. Enraged, he informed the Matrie D that he was John Travolta. "In that case, Mr. Travolta, the wait is three hours," was the response.

Anyway can't recommend the book enough, written by an interesting sounding guy who worked as a bartneder, a restaurant architect, and designed over 500 album covers for the likes of Steely Dan and Jimmy Buffet.
posted by cell divide at 10:20 AM on January 15, 2004


Not a book, but while you're waiting to find one you can distract them with the great LA Public Library's Menu Collection.
posted by languagehat at 10:20 AM on January 15, 2004


Not exactly what you're looking for, but Jonathan Gold's Counter Intelligence is a cool collection of various reviews he's written for LA Weekly -- many of the diners/restuarants/etc. he profiles have quite storied histories (the legendary Musso & Frank's in Hollywood, for example). Might be a good place to start. (Heck, you might even want to ask Jonathan Gold directly -- maybe he'll run a column about L.A. food books! He's at askmrgold@laweekly.com.)
posted by scody at 1:42 PM on January 15, 2004


Counter Intelligence, yeah, good. Planning on using it to explore my new home.
posted by lbergstr at 5:31 PM on January 15, 2004


Also, eatLA is a good LA food & drink blog.
posted by lbergstr at 5:33 PM on January 15, 2004


Thanks for all the info, it's all interesting, even if there is no book like this out there.

I know there is a wonderful video about "The Last Days of Chasen's," and it would be wonderful if there was a book about Chasen's AND other old-timey LA eateries.
posted by GaelFC at 10:27 PM on January 15, 2004


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