Best French Dip (Thick-Gravy Division): Jolly Jug
Everybody knows who makes the best French dip in town. It's Cole's, which serves a chopped-and-channeled version of the venerable sandwich in L.A.'s oldest restaurant. Or it's Philippe's, the sawdust-floored diner that also claims to have invented the sandwich.
But if you like gravy with a little heft to it, gravy that will stick to the ceiling if you want it to or double as Bondo in a body-shop emergency, Jolly Jug is the place you want to go, home to El Monte's Most Honored Sandwich: a light, crisp roll; strata of carved beef; and the gravy, a fearsome substance that could probably be a primordial incubator of life given a few million years and a nurturing yellow sun. If our soldiers were to crave a French dip -- a freedom dip -- as an MRE, this would be the one they'd take to Afghanistan.
Jolly Jug: 4264 N. Peck Road, El Monte. (626) 444-8425.
Look for more "Best of L.A." pieces in our annual Best of L.A. issue, out Oct. 7th.