There are times in your life when you are doing fine, sure in the knowledge that you are doing your utmost to put your best foot forward. Confidently striding along the precipice of disaster, you take one teeny-tiny false step and find that you are slipping down that old proverbial slope, realizing that the substance that makes it so slippery is grease - specifically french fry grease. Aaaarrrgh! Why are french fries so darn tasty? It is impossible to just try one french fry. French fries from The Apple Pan in Westwood are, of course, no exception to the rule.
|Mr. Tiny looking sheepish after he answered|
the siren song of french fries...and hamburgers.
I really have been trying to "eat better" (vague enough to allow for a multitude of sins). Sometimes, however, in my quest to bring you good people the best in wacky tacky, I make selfless sacrifices, yes, even my health and well being.
|The Apple Pan|
To be honest, The Apple Pan is as close to my idea of perfection, in terms of the type of restaurant that I would like to own, as an existing building could be. It looks like a 1930's roadside cabin painted a creamy white with green trim and awnings. The horseshoe counter accommodates no more than 25 guests, the kitchen (such as it is) is visible behind a brick facade, ceiling fans circulate the air so a fine coating of french fry and hamburger grease is evenly distributed throughout the restaurant and upon each guest, and then, of course, there is the tartan wallpaper.
|The screen-door entry|
The building could not offer any more charm.
|The tartan plaid wallpaper|
With all of its old-timey charm, The Apple Pan is in no way my idea of a perfect operation. I realized, after not offering my patronage for many years, just why I had been absent for so long. Firstly, the seating is limited to whatever stools happen to be vacant around the counter. Let's just put it this way, the seats at The Apple Pan never have a chance to cool down between uses; it's always extremely busy and names are never taken. Thusly, getting a seat is akin to an ancient Roman blood sport. I hate waiting in line more than I hate people who refuse to use their turn signals. I hate even more that someone who might have come into the restaurant after me gets a seat before I do because they happened to be staking out an area of quicker eaters than I. Seriously, in the above picture you can see the culture of hovering (which isn't pleasant for anyone) and the one guy who chose to eat standing up because he could not get a seat. Secondly, the service at The Apple Pan is, shall we say, gruff. The staff is extremely efficient but efficiency and ungraciousness need not be synonymous. Obviously, they are doing something right because they have been serving the same menu in the same location for 65 years but a little gentility wouldn't hurt the operation.
|The french fries....pure evil.|
In spite of my quibbles with the seating and customer service, there are things that I genuinely like about The Apple Pan. Although it isn't a dining car, it is definitely reminiscent of the kind of joint where one could catch Wimpy offering to "Gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." The cups are wax paper cones set inside those metal, tulip-shaped stands (in all honesty I prefer a glass and a straw but this practice gets major nostalgia points). Plus, once one is actually seated, it is the kind of place that feels perfectly old-timey; when one's eyes are squinted, it is hard to tell if it is 1947 or 2012 - that's a very good thing! And then there is the food....
|It doesn't look like anything particularly special but the spice-filled relish is|
quite good and all of the ingredients add up to a harmoniously balanced burger.
|Caught in the act|
I really shouldn't bad mouth the service too vehemently; noticing that her meatless hamburger (she's always trying to one-up me in the "eating better" arena) took an inordinate amount of time to prepare, the server slung Mary a free piece of pie. Such is Mary's life; she pretty much gets free stuff/preferential treatment wherever we go.
|No pie for me...but can I keep the plate?|
Except for the pie, nothing at The Apple Pan is served on a proper plate;
if I had these plates, I would probably save them for special occasions too!
I'm at a loss as to the exact explanation of the restaurant's name. As is evidenced above, they have pie, even apple pie, but there is absolutely no apple pan dowdy to be seen. In it's glaring absence, I bring you some shoo-fly pie AND apple pan dowdy of a different variety.
"Shoo-Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy" - June Christy
Pay no attention to the sexy lips, this is a very chaste
song about homemade dessert...or is it???
The Apple Pan
10801 Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA