LA’s Nickel Diner: Great Food and Home-made Pop Tarts
Nickel Diner ~ Downtown Los Angeles, California – LA’s Nickel Diner is a bit of an enigma. Where else might you find full-sleeve tattoo-adorned twenty-somethings gleefully hangin’ with a couple of baby boomers from Scottsdale, Arizona?
Here, just as if we were together enjoying a great piece of art hanging on the wall of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, people of all walks of life gather together to share a common experience. And in this case, the experience happens to be great food in a very unpretentious setting combined with a little magic from the kitchen, and a very welcoming spirit from every single member of the Nickel Diner team.
As fairly new travel writers for the AARP blog, we were in Los Angeles to attend AARP’s @50+ National Convention to forge new relationships. Also, during our precious moments of free time, we intended to explore Los Angeles on behalf of the 79 million baby boomers we hope to attract to our growing audience.
The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau had given us a list of recommended restaurants for a breakfast/lunch setting and the Nickel Diner leaped off the page as perhaps one of those rare jewels we so love to find.
The Los Angeles Times did an interesting piece on Monica May and Kristen Trattner, the founders of the Nickel Diner, which serves as a very interesting background to the initial hopes and dreams of the owners.
Now, some three or so years later, we stand on the sidewalk with perhaps a score of people all patiently waiting the 25 minutes to get a table. In fact, Monica and Kristen have now enjoyed a feature on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” with Guy Fieri, as well as a slew of other media outlets singing their praise.
She had me at “Home-made Pop Tarts”.
As we sat down at our table, smack dab in the middle of the diner, we shared that we were here as travel writers and wanted to enjoy some of their signature dishes. I no sooner got the words out of my mouth when we were told, “then you must try one of our home-made pop tarts.
Immediately, I was transported to a far simpler time.
It’s the early 1960s. Andy Williams is singing “Moon River” from the black radio atop our small white refrigerator. I can smell a Kellogg’s Pop Tart warming in the toaster. And here, now in the 21st century, I experienced the twinge of glee that I experienced when I heard our toaster of long ago pop those piping-hot tarts up into the air.
Folks, this was a seriously fine piece of gastronomical art! Yessiree!
If I have one regret from this experience, it is that I left my Nikon back at the hotel and had to rely on my iPhone 4 to capture our experience.
I (Mr. Roaming Boomer) am a huge fan of breakfast to I opted for the Nickel Diner’s Huevos Rancheros (2 eggs on corn tortillas with beans, pepper jack cheese, avocado, salsa, and mexi crema). Major YUM! Home-made salsa to boot!
Now, Carol, not a big fan of the incredible, edible egg, is a complete sucker for a pulled-pork sandwich. Therefore, she was easily seduced by the Nickel Diner’s Spicy Pulled Pork Sandwich (pulled-pork with BBQ sauce, coleslaw, pickles on soft buttered roll).
I had a bite, it was wonderful!
Oh, the other thing my bride is easily tempted by is a batch of piping-hot onion rings. Go figure!
Once again, I apologize that these photographs are not up to my usual standards. There’s only so much you can do in low-light with your iPhone 4.
However, I hope that I have convinced you to visit the Nickel Diner when you visit Los Angeles. You’ll get a great meal, the pop tarts will bring back fond memories, and who knows, you may even find yourself wanting a new tattoo.
It could happen!
Disclosure: Our home-made pop tart was on the house! Pretty smart of them, wasn’t it? 🙂