The Plaza Inn is an Edwardian fantasy where lunch is served and recollections of a tender past are everywhere. The interior is filled with genuine beaded-board ceilings, brackets, curlicues and volutes. The outside is rich with vine-covered trellises over a pleasant terrace where you can sit and eat a few steps above an umbrella-covered patio. From the terrace you can see under the umbrellas to the central plaza where there is a grove of olives, some Ficus benjamina (of the sort that expensively grace New York City apartments) and gnarled old jacaranda trees, which bloom brilliantly blue in June. The trees provide reality at an immediate level that remains unshattered by the appearance of the plastic Matterhorn looming above the palm trees, olive trees and umbrellas. The Plaza Inn combines Victorian Gothic tracery, a set of Corinthian columns and Tiffany-like stained-glass ceilings lighted from above to give an air of opulence that graciously accepts its casual white metal garden furniture. The architectural details outside are endlessly diverting. Dormers sport volutes that go not in the plane of the window, the way they usually do, but forward, flanking the sides like cheeks; on top of each dormer is a lunette, and above that is a freestanding pyramid flanked by orbs. The details are meant to charm, and they do. Under the marquee, past a tasseled yellow awning, past beveled glass that sparkles around the door, is a sort of console with a stained-glass cabriolet top, which lends elegance to the cafeteria line you are about to enter.
-- Charles Moore, Peter Becker & Regula Cambell, 1984
The City Observed: Los Angeles, A Guide To Its Architecture and Landscapes
Vintage Books, Random House, New York
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