[ Photo: Sundance Institute] Jonathan Gold, the Pulitzer Prize-- winning Los Angeles Times restaurant critic who tragically passed away of pancreatic cancer this previous Saturday, was an excellent food author. But he was more than just that: Jonathan was a writer whose objective was to break down the psychological walls that people set up in between themselves and their next-door neighbors, and he did that by shining a light on all the fantastic food offered in far-flung neighborhoods all over the LA basin. I do not know a bachelor severe about food who has checked out the city without taking a trip a half hour away from where was hassle-free, just to consume some taco since Jonathan had discussed it.We didn't know each other well, although we had many friends in common. I did have the opportunity of giving Jonathan and his spouse, Laurie Ochoa, a food trip of New york city City in 1999. Jonathan had simply handled the restaurant critic job at the now-defunct Premium magazine, and Laurie had actually simply been tapped to work there as editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl's second. That was nearly 20 years back, but I remember we went by Sullivan Street Pastry Shop and Melampo Imported Foods, and I bear in mind that he impressed me as both a splendidly serious eater and a serious thinker. When none people could eat another bite, Jonathan turned to me and stated, "If I can ever do the exact same for you in Los Angeles, let me know." And now I think I'll always regret never ever taking him up on that deal.
However the reality of the matter is that Jonathan has actually left a substantial and beautiful body of work that enables me or anyone else to take a self-guided Gold tour of the city he enjoyed as much for its food when it comes to the people who live and work there. If you have no idea anything about him, I urge you to watch the documentary City of Gold, or, if you've got some time today, pay attention to the Unique Sauce interview I did with him after the film was launched. I likewise suggest that you check out his work at the Los Angeles Times-- they have actually raised the paywall on his guide to the 101 finest restaurants in LA, in memoriam-- and his book, Counter Intelligence: Where to Consume in the Genuine Los Angeles. Here's a bit from the intro to that book that, I think, records much of exactly what I appreciate about both the guy and his writing:
"Exactly what I'm aiming to state, I believe, is that the most genuine Los Angeles experiences have the tendency to include a mild sense of dislocation, of tripping into a bunny hole and turning up in some wholly unanticipated place. The biggest Los Angeles cooking, the genuine Los Angeles cooking, has first a sense of marvel about it, and just then a sense of place, since the place it has a sense of is likely to be elsewhere totally. Los Angeles is, after all, where specific parts of town have stood in for Connecticut or Indiana so frequently on TELEVISION that they look more authentic than the real thing; where communities are called Little India, Little Tokyo, Little Central America, and Koreatown; where a typical residential block might consist of a couple of Spanish haciendas, a Tudor estate, two thatched Cotswold cottages, a Palladian rental property and a cream puff of a replica Loire chateau.
As people here like to say, often when pondering a piece of Peruvian-style sushi or among the Teriyaki Donut stands that have actually popped up in Tarantino flicks, only in LA."
The food media world has actually lost another giant, and we are all the worse off as an outcome. Exactly what is the best way we can honor the guy? If you can, visit Los Angeles, check out among his suggestions. If you cannot, eat something unfamiliar, something you have actually never had prior to. Raise a glass to the late, excellent Jonathan Gold.May he rest in peace. I hope there are plenty of tacos in paradise.