The French Dip

April 26, 2008

If you are like me, you may have assumed that the French Dip sandwich has it's origins in, well, France. Non! Eeet ees actually from...Los Angeles. Despite my images of Gallic housewives stewing bones in ancient stone farmhouses to render the dipping broth, or Au Jus, that makes this dish unique, it's generally accepted that the French Dip was created 100 years ago in the City of Angels. That's not to say there isn't some controversy about it's origins. The restaurant Phillipe The Original claims to have invented it, they even have a colorful history about the happy accident. However, it turns out that there is another place, Cole's PE Buffet, which also claims to have invented the sandwich. Here's an article in the LA Times with a full review of Phillipe's and history of the controversy.

If you aren't familier with this delicacy, check out my video report from a recent visit to Phillipe's.

Finally, there is a nice recipe to make the French Dip at home at the blog Baking Bites.
Philippe the Original on Urbanspoon



dreama's picture

I also thought the dip got it's start in France...thanks for the right info. Wish I had one to eat right now!!!

Andrew's picture

Hey Barnaby. Don't go looking for a french dip at Cole's next time you're in LA. It is slated to re-open soon as a "swanky bar/restaurant" but I doubt they will retain maintain something on the menu that will keep the rivalry going. Let me know next time you're in/around Downtown, happy to show you around everything worth eating within walking distance of 1st + Spring. Your's may be the first Phillipe's review I've seen to not mention the cheap coffee (give it a miss) or the beet-juice pickled eggs. Sadly, Charles Perry, who wrote the LAT Phillipe's appreciation, is leaving the Times, to work on his magnum opus cookbook, 'Party Like It's 1399.' Buen Provecho! ~ ADN

Melanie D's picture

What? French dip originated from France? So much for the word "french". lol. Regardless of its origins, it's really one of my favorite sandwiches

growitgreen's picture

I will never forget the first time I tried a french dip. My grandfather and I sat in a very hard corner booth at the local bowling alley/bar/restaraunt. It was served on a wonderfully crispy roll, and packed so full of roast beef I could barely pick it up and hold it together at the same time. I remember thinking that it was the the most ingenious invention ever, essentially soup and sandwich in one glorious bite. I have discovered in the years since that French Dips are usually best served in a tiny hole in the wall, mom and pop kind of joint. Can't wait to get off work and hunt one down.