Friday, May 20, 2011

I'll Have a Shingle with a Shimmy and a Shake in the Alley

Photo by Nat Farbman, April 1959 from LIFE Photo Archive
What the heck is the title of the post you say? It's diner lingo! A shingle with a shimmy is buttered toast with a jam or jelly spread and a shake in the alley is a shake on the side. Diners are right up my alley in so far as nostalgia goes. I love the coziness of the food, the throwback feel, and the sense of an American tradition. Locally I have three favorite diners that I would highly recommend if you are in the area.

Pie n'Burger in Pasadena, CA
913 E. California Blvd. (*Ooooh, and according to Yelp, a new Pie 'n Burger food truck is coming!!)
The Rocky Cola Cafe in Whittier, CA
6757 Greenleaf Ave. 

Andy's Coffee Shop in Pasadena, CA
1234 E. Colorado Blvd. (even the address is classic!)

I'm also listing some trivia about diner history and of course diner lingo. You can also visit this awesome website for more:

  • The word diner comes from "dining car" because a diner is supposed to be a prefabricated structure that is brought to a permanent location where it will serve as a dining establishment.
  • Diners started as converted wagons in the late 19th century (the earliest of lunch trucks). When electric steetcars began replacing the horse drawn wagons, they were converted into dining cars for a cheaper price than actually purchasing a new prefabricated dining car.
  • After women got the vote in the twenties, diners begain re-vamping their image in order to gain a feminine following. They basically prettied up their places with flower boxes and fresh coats of paint. Bathrooms were also added.
  • Streamlining of dining cars began in the 1930's and when buses replaced trollies, trollies were converted into dining cars as well.
  • The 1940's and 1950's were the boom era of the diner. Demand for them skyrocketed and designs followed a more futuristic appeal, especially in the fifties.
  • Many diners were and are open 24 hours and many were located strategically near factories that were open all night to cater to night crew laborers.
  • Typical wallet-friendly menu items of most diners include hamburgers, fries, shakes, coffee, and of course classic breakfast items like pancakes, eggs, bacon and waffles (you know, all the healthy stuff).
Can you guess what this order would be in regular talk:

"A Stack of Vermont with a Baby and Throw it in the Mud"

Photo by Will Hastings from Flickr Creative Commons

(Answer: Pancakes and a glass of milk with chocolate syrup)


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