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Bob's Big Boy

Bob’s Big Boy (Photo credit: donnjmck)

“I like pancakes.” ― Brandon Mull

In America’s postwar boom, family vacations were road trips. The mom, the dad, and the kids hitting the Interstate in the station wagon. Life was fast and bright. Chrome gleamed everywhere–on cars and bikes, and especially in the all-American diner. The menu racks, pie cases, and napkin holders glinted with the colors of the leatherette booths, and huge menus offered breakfast all day. Pancakes. At diners, you could have pancakes all day any day.

And what does that have to do with the unicoast?

Ellay is the birthplace of Bob’s Big Boy (http://www.bobs.net/). It’s the land of the parking lot, the freeway, and the drive-in. Despite its growth and new-century sophistication, restless, ever-mobile Ellay remains about food on the go 24/7. Diners and coffee shops are integral to the topography.

Esseff, on the other hand, was a staid lady by the time Ellay was an upstart. Her glinting gems were the bay and the sea in the sunlight. Her compact terrain is sidewalks and storefronts. She boasts blocks end-to-end with tiny restaurants offering kim chee, souvlaki, linguini, and crepes next door to the burgers.

So the diner experience in the cities of the unicoast is as different as, well, north and south. In Los Angeles, coffee shops with all-day pancakes are everywhere. In San Francisco, you have to look. But you’ll find them.

Cafe Rain Tree, Amazing Fantasy

Cafe Rain Tree, San Francisco
(Photo credit: frankfarm)