Dinner at Pig ‘N Whistle March 5, 2012
Imagine a place where you stay the same and never grow old, and are constantly playing hide and seek with the staff that can see you, wearing the same white dress that you wore in the 1920′s. This is a famous place, a sort of haunt for many old Hollywood types. It has great food, fun libations, and serious atmosphere, in the heart of Hollywood. The people that work there say they have seen a lot of folks from the very distant past, but these are not ordinary patrons, these are folks that spook some of this establishments workers. Why you ask? What comes along with the Hollywood history are the playful ghosts, in the form of a little girl, a talking painting, and a swinging light fixture. Like something out of a scary Hollywood movie, so many stories so little time, so many ghosts and so little time.
Enrique is part of the wait staff, and he does his inventory every Monday night in the basement of the Pig ‘N Whistle. He says, “the first time I saw her she was playing hide and seek, peeking her head around the corner and laughing, she had dark hair and lots of soot on her face, but she was playful and did not scare me, and my manager did not believe my story.” Enrique heard that the other cooks saw her too; they call her the little girl in the white dress. Enrique has to do inventory alone every Monday after midnight, and that’s when he says he hears strange noises from the inventory room, where he has sightings of the little girl. There have been some stories by customers as well. A young girl said that she heard the lady in the painting talking in the bathroom downstairs, and a recently a man felt a slap on his back in the men’s lavatory. Then there’s the unknown reasons why one of the chandeliers swings back and forth on it’s own.
My first visit, I was told to use the main bathroom on the bar level, their have been customer incidences with other worldly creatures in the basement bathrooms. So when I went to use the main bathroom and it was locked, I waited tapped on the door again, had one of the workers knock and try to open the door to no avail. Then after waiting for about 5 minutes I pushed on the door one last time and it miraculously opened. When I went back to the bar there was a tapping of my foot while sitting at the bar, when I looked down there was no one there. Then when I came for my tasting, I took a tour with Chris, the handsome manager, and Enrique. With them once again, I experienced the poltergeist first hand as a door that led to the common bathroom area locked after Enrique said that he unlocked it ten minutes earlier. This was not just one isolated incident, it seems that there have been many mysterious door locking and unlocking events that the staff can tell you about. I also had a swipe of an invisible hand that I could feel when I walked through the hallway in the basement.
The story goes that in between the early years of the restaurant being open and then closing, there was a fire at that time for school for deaf children; supposedly the little girl in the white dress, who appears to the wait staff, perished in the flames. Another coincidence about the Pig ‘N Whistle is the unsuccessful Hollywood actress Peg Entwisted, who jumped off the Hollywood sign on September 16, 1932, maybe lurking around this establishment, uncanny how this name is so close to hers.
The other big-time attraction is manager/actor Chris Caldovino. He has played such parts as Billy Leotardo in The Sopranos, and will have a new reoccurring role on Boardwalk Empire, starting to film this month. Every now and then he gets recognized, when the tour buses come by. They tell the tourists about the famous TV star that moonlights as a manager, or manager that moonlights as a famous TV star. He is Italian, and can weave some marvelous stories about his roots, his Momma Violet, Grandma Maria, and his love of Violet’s lasagna. Chris however, can’t wrap his head around the paranormal activity, and thinks that his staff is just fooling around with him for laughs. But either way he is another one of the many reasons to visit this remarkable pub.
The Pig ‘N Whistle opened its doors originally July 22, 1927, with it’s Mayan Egyptian Architecture, it is all part of The Egyptian Theater complex. It boosts gorgeous hand carved ceilings and all of its original dynamic design elements. There are 8 big screen TV’s and an old style jukebox, which was playing the sounds of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Stars such as: Judy Garland, Shirley Temple, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, and Loretta Young, used to be regulars.
Restaurateurs Chris Breed, Alan Hajjar, Eric James and George Nahas, make up the Sunset Entertainment Group, which was founded in 1990. They previously owned The Roxbury, The Sunset Room and The Cabana Club. (This spring a new club called LURE will open at the old Cabana Club location.) An amazing 1.5 million renovation was completed in 1999 and the Pig ‘N Whistle reopened. They have some notable names as part of the stars on The Hollywood Walk of Fame right outside their door: Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, soon to be Malcolm Mc Dowell. As well as hosting the Iron Man 2 premiere party.
If all of this wasn’t enough for you to saunter down to this bright Hollywood star then just try the fantastic food!
This is what I had:
Ahi Tuna Tartare – chopped pineapple, glazed cucumbers, white and black sesame seeds and avocado – nicely presently in a round mold with layers of pineapple, avocado and aha tuna, with 2 gorgeous sesame wontons and a nicely drizzled sesame oil and wasabi.
Chopped BBQ Chicken Salad – romaine lettuce, black beans, corn, red cabbage, carrots, cilantro, jack cheese, tortilla strips, fresh BBQ chicken breast, tossed in ranch dressing – great flavor, perfectly cubed cheese and same size bbq chicken, nice ranch dressing, liked this salad alot.
California Cobb Salad – Mixed greens tossed with grilled chicken, bacon, avocado, blue cheese and hard-boiled egg. Not your usual Cobb salad. All the ingredients are separated, this salad everything is tossed together with fresh farm greens.
Homemade Chicken Soup with Rice Spiced with Nutmeg and Cinnamon – nice slices of tender white meat chicken, sliced onions, with a glorious dash of nutmeg and cinnamon, almost tastes like a Armenian chicken pastry, very delicious.
Yukon Gold Potato and Leek Soup – rich creamy, comfort soup.
Crispy Calamari served with Spicy Marinara Sauce – this dish was excellent, it was so crispy and not greasy that it got gobbled up.
Pepperoni Pizza served thin and crispy, traditional New York style pizza, very crisp and tasty.
Classic Fettuccini Alfredo - Creamy cheese and shallots alfredo sauce with shrimp. Very rich, need to share this dish with someone, but nice garlic flavor, and the shrimp’s pop in your mouth.
Rustic Shepherds Pie - Casserole of beef slow cooked in brown gravy with peas, carrots. Topped with creamy mashed potatoes and jack cheese. I grew up with this dish, which both my cousin Lydia and my Dad used to make. This pie is a new take on an old traditional dish, but works perfectly. This is one of Pig ‘N Whistles signature dishes and I know why, it’s GOOD!!!
Chicken Pot Pie – Oven roasted chicken breast and market fresh vegetables, Béchamel sauce topped with puff pastry – not your usual pot pie with pie crust, this is so much more delicate, if I was a skinny girl I would eat this luscious dish everyday, worth the calories.
Pig ‘N Whistle Burger – Juicy grilled ground chuck, greens, tomato and sautéed onions with French fries. By far the best fries in Los Angeles, and the burger is so juicy, ripe with flavor, a very great taste treat.
Peppercorn Sautéed 10 oz. New York Steak – garlic mashed potatoes and grain mustard reductions sauce. The meat is sliced and served over these luscious garlic mashed, with a super creamy reduction sauce, this dish screams of old style steak house.
Grilled Atlantic Salmon – Basil potatoes, fresh green peas, cherry tomatoes, sautéed spinach and beurre blanc sauce. The salmon is served with a basil-mashed potatoes, something I have never tried. It has great flavor and a nice green color; with the sweet peas it becomes a whole new experience. The salmon on top adds to the overall presentation and gives the fish a totally new taste sensation.
Pecan Pie with vanilla ice cream – a perfect ending to a great dinner, and oh so Southern don’t you know.
New York Cheesecake with strawberries – Great creamy texture with just the right amount of sweetness.
The Wines and Cocktails that I enjoyed:
Cherry McGuire – Sky Cherry Vodka, Lemonade and Grenadine, so sweet, but very thirst quenching.
Greg Norman Santa Barbara Chardonnay 2009 – just the right amount of fruit and oak to enhance the Aha Tartare and nice salads.
Justin Chardonnay – Paso Robles – a great accompaniment with the Calamari and the Fettuccine with Shrimp. It has a nice creamy vanilla flavor that works great with any of the fish dishes, including the Salmon.
1805 Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2010 – Really good with The Chicken Pot pie, subtle fruit forward tones that don’t muddle any of the rich chicken flavors.
Ravenswood Zinfandel – really terrific with all of the meat dishes – The Pig ‘N Whistle Burger, The Shepherds Pie, The New York Steak and The Pizza. Just the right amount of cherry, and vanilla flavors to not over power the meat dishes, with great natural balance.
The icing on the cake, I spoke to a priest who had been dining, and said he loved the food, and knew nothing about the friendly ghosts, he said next time would bring some holy water. One would think that this would creep out the workers of the Pig ‘N Whistle, but in reality, it adds to the history and fantastic hipster Hollywood atmosphere of this famous Landmark. Run don’t walk to the Pig ‘N Whistle; you might be a little spooked, but will absolutely be pleasantly surprised.
Pig ‘N Whistle is located at 6714 Hollywood Blvd
(Besides the restaurant they also have a back room where they do music, and comedy, check out their website for more details.)
Open 7 Days a week -2 Happy Hours Daily, 4pm-7pm and 10pm-12am.
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Kitchen Hours: Sun-Thu 12pm-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 12pm-11:30pm.
Bar Hours: Sun-Tue, 12pm-12am, Wed, Thu, Fri & Sat, 12pm-2am.