The Original Pantry Cafe, LA
It doesn't really get more down to basics than this. This place (877 S. Figueroa St at 9th, 213-972-9279) is an institution in downtown LA, having been around for over 80 years and owned by former mayor Dick Riordan itself. Don't come here for fine dining; this is a rough and tough diner, complete with a counter, which is where I sat today. I had heard that it was once staffed with ex-convicts too, thus giving the place a bit of an attitude.
So for breakfast today, I just got a simple plate of bacon and eggs. Not unexpectedly, the bacon was crisp and thin, while everything else went together well too. It's fun watching these guys go at it with these huge mounds of potatoes on the grill, as well as these flat metal slab things that they used to keep the bacon (or steak or ham or whatever you're ordering) nice and flat without curling up during cooking. They drizzled oil over the bread, flipped eggs, and made pancakes practically with their eyes closed. Pair this with some coffee or fresh OJ and you've got a great start to the day.
And breakfast is only part of the menu of course (OK, technically I was at their Bakery extension next door)...they're open 24 hours, and things like the hamburger steak are awesome grease bombs. There is such a ludicrous amount of food included between the huge loaves of bread, heapings of cole slaw, and sides of raw veggies like radishes that there is no way one can finish all of this and still be hungry. I think I remembered being able to eat several times off of one meal's leftovers.