To claim that some of Southern California's most venerable restaurants only welcome a clientele wearing suits and dresses and other dressy, if staid, articles of clothing is to not understand the eat-out scene's quirkier side.
Look to the Tam O'Shanter, one of the oldest restaurants in Los Angeles, where you could arrive in your kilt, or your ye olde stovepipe hat, on a few special nights of the year, and nobody would cock an eyebrow or cluck a tongue. Yes, we speak of the most haggis-y event in town, the Robert Burns dinner in January, and we speak of the landmark's annual Dickens Dinners.
The story-filled suppers are trotting around again, much like a pony down London's High Street circa 1882, and they not only promise the requisite vittles of another era -- mincemeat pie, roast goose, and squashy bites topped with cognac sauce -- but the evening's entertainment is incredibly pip pip, as well.
Actors "resplendent in 19th-century Victorian costumes" will tell the tale of "A Christmas Carol," that ghosty, Scroogean, misty-eyed journey through the mists of time. Caroling is also on the festive schedule, so let nothing you dismay. (Yep, you're right, that was a not-so-subtle shout-out to "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," a holiday hit of the era.)
All of this happens over a few nights at the Tam, which'll soon mark its first century in business, in just a few years. That doesn't make it as old as the Charles Dickens classic, but it makes it quite august, as august things go, for Los Angeles.
Those nights happen in November, not December -- surprise -- and they're clustered around Thanksgiving Week, though not on Thanksgiving proper. Though you'll feel well-feasted, like you would on Thanksgiving, as Chef Juan Escamilla's four-course roll-out is as resplendent, and rich, as the costumes in "A Christmas Carol."
And if you have relatives in town that week? Call it a lively outing, and a seasonal one, too. And call it a fine way to show visitors that we do actually get a bit costume-y in this movie-magic town, like, a lot, and even inside our restaurants, from time to time.
No need to wear your full Marley get-up, but a sprig of holly in your pocket will be the pip-pip-iest of touches. Details, dates, ghosts, geese? Grab the Ghost of Christmas Present's hand now and float this way for all the need-to-knows.