Another reason to love L.A. (as if you needed another): iHop.
Over 50 years ago, in 1958, Toluca Lake (a pricey chunk of The Valley between Universal Studios and Warner Bros Studios) witnessed the opening of the first INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PANCAKES.
Any other city — your New York, say, or your Cincinnati — would have been content with a NATIONAL house of pancakes. More than content: smug. Not Los Angeles.
With its vast, beckoning Pacific horizon and the lofty mountain vantages ringing ’round, Los Angeles has always looked beyond itself, beyond California, beyond the nation and, yea, beyond the parochial confines of a continent.
Well, then, you ask, does at least the Western Hemisphere claim our allegiance? Is half a planet big enough for our House of Pancakes? We say to you: Oh? Are we then citizens of a mere hemi-sphere? Is your brain encased in half a skull? Do you play hoops with half a basketball? Will your peanuts remain seated in but half a shell? Nonsense! A hemi-sphere is one hemisphere too small for the great encompassing heart of the Angeleno. Los Angeles, home to the world, is at home in nothing less than the entire world. Our pancakes recognize no borders. Our pancakes are INTERNATIONAL.
How Did He Get So Smart?
A lot of you are asking now, “How did he get so smart?” The more ambitious are asking further, “How can I myself become so smart?”
The answer is: Read fine books like Kevin Roderick’s The San Fernando Valley, America’s Suburb. Surely there is some fine independent bookstore near you that stocks this highly smart-inducing photo-filled look at The Valley, its history and culture, its groves and Bob’s Big Boys. If they don’t have the thing sitting right there on the shelf, do not scowl; they will gladly order it for you at no additional cost. Buy it, study it from cover to cover, and then you will be well on the way to matching our admittedly intimidating degree of erudition. Of course, by the time you finish The San Fernando Valley, America’s Suburb I will have read another book and will still be ahead of you, but you will have made a start and that’s what counts.
The San Fernando Valley, America’s Suburb
By Kevin Roderick
(Los Angeles Times Books, Paperback, 240 mall-crawling pages)