With Foodies in the Field, CNN staffers share restaurant tips for their home bases or places they've visited on assignment.
Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- I've been a photojournalist for CNN since before it went on the air in 1980. My work has taken me to war zones around the world, where I've sampled mystery meats I can't identify to this day.
In the field: David Rust
I've eaten while submerged in a fast attack nuclear submarine traveling under the Arctic ice pack, had dinner with Fidel Castro and eaten barbecue with Ronald Reagan.
On assignment: Los Angeles, California
I worked in the Los Angeles bureau covering stories around the clock. These three L.A. spots offer classic American food at odd hours of the day and night:
Hours: Open 24 hours
Price: Breakfast usually costs about $30 per person and dinner is about $70 per person.
I discovered this downtown restaurant, open since 1921, after covering a massive office building fire. When I finished the shoot at 3 a.m., Pacific Dining Car was the only full-service restaurant open in the area.
It is upscale in both food and prices and has the feel of an old-time steakhouse complete with white linen tablecloths. It is well known for prime beef aged and cut on site.
My favorite meal here is the more affordable breakfast. The banana-pecan pancakes are popular, with Dining Car sausage or applewood smoked bacon. Coffee is made fresh every 15 minutes.
Hours: Open 24 hours, even holidays
Cuisine: Coffee shop/diner
Price: Breakfast usually costs about $10 and dinner costs about $13.
Located in the heart of downtown, the Original Pantry was my preferred breakfast destination when covering the courts, either trials at the Federal Court or the Los Angeles Lakers basketball court nearby.
During peak hours people lined up in the street for this landmark eatery that never closes. The same wait staff has been serving huge portions to Pantry patrons for years.
Breakfast is probably the most popular meal. For $5.95, you can get a huge ham steak, eggs, toast and potatoes. Dinner is usually less crowded but offers standards and daily specials such as short ribs at bargain prices.
Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Price: Average meal is $9.
The two-story restaurant between Chinatown and Union Station features community tables and sawdust-covered concrete floors. The walls are covered with historical newspapers and local memorabilia.
Food is ordered cafeteria-style at the counter and served on paper plates. Opened in 1908, Philippe's still serves a cup of hot coffee for 9 cents! The owners claim to have originated the French dip sandwich, which is made with beef, pork, ham or turkey. It is also known for its own brand of hot mustard and sweet-and-sour coleslaw.