Clifton’s Cafeteria – Jello Emporium
Dave and I had the pleasure of taking Charles Phoenix‘s “Disneyland Tour of Downtown LA” this past weekend. It’s a unique tour where pop culture historian Charles compares sites of LA to attractions at Disneyland. You can check out my photos of the tour here.
The tour’s lunchtime spot was “Frontierland” – Clifton’s Cafeteria. I have been a fan of Clifton’s for years, since I discovered it in LA Bizarro. The Clifton’s chain once included 12 cafeterias around LA and its suburbs, but now only one remains – Clifton’s Brookdale. Some of the cafeterias had themes, and the theme of this one is the woodlands. Be sure to check out the weird little chapel on the 2nd floor and the museum on the 3rd floor, where you can learn the Clifton’s history. I learned in the museum that there used to be a sherbet conveyor belt running through the fountain in the middle of the cafeteria!
When you walk into Clifton’s, it feels like you are walking back into the 50s. Food selections range from three bean salad to texas toast to turkey and meatloaf. The desserts are delicious – especially the pies. And much to my delight, there is a wide range of jello.
My eyes were immediately drawn to the jello item labeled “Confetti Jello.” It looks like the Crown Jewel Dessert in my jello cookbook, which I can’t make until I get to the more advanced section of the book. Clifton’s confetti jello was white with various colored jello “jewels” embedded in it.
I guess I should have realized since it was served on a bed of lettuce that this was a salad item, but I felt inadequately prepared for its mayonnaise flavor. I had Dave take a bite to verify that it did seem to have mayonnaise involved. The mayo base really clashed with the fruit flavors of the jello jewels.
Our tour guide Charles came around while we were eating to see how we were enjoying ourselves, and I mentioned that I thought the jello had mayonnaise in it. “It’s probably Miracle Whip,” he clarified, and I think he was right, which would explain my revulsion. I’ve always hated Miracle Whip. Unfortunately, I could only stomach a few bites. If you are a Miracle Whip fan, you might love it, but regardless, if you are in Downtown LA and craving jello, or comfort food in general, Clifton’s is the place to be. I’m sure the more traditional fruit jello varietals are scrumptious.