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Food

SF Chronicle Totally Disses Los Angeles Restaurants

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Warning, Los Angeles foodies: reading Michael Bauer's article on the Los Angeles dining experience might cause your eyes to roll back so far in your head that you will become permanently blind. Bauer, who is the executive food and wine editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, deigns to visit ten of the city's "top" restaurants, and comes away with these insights:


In the Bay Area, food is the driving force of successful restaurants. But in L.A., instead of paying attention to what's on the plate, just about everyone is rubbernecking to see who's in the house. Wasn't that Jake Gyllenhaal I saw at Cut, and Jason Biggs at Mozza? Unlike San Francisco, where tourists constitute a hefty percentage of the patrons at popular places, the Los Angeles dining scene is fueled by locals. The city is so spread out, for example, that it's difficult for conventioneers downtown to get to the top restaurants without renting a car or paying their monthly mortgage payment for a taxi. People have to drive to get anywhere, so restaurants become destinations, with elaborate interiors and high prices.


There's so much wrong with these paragraphs that I don't even know where to begin - first of all, does the man actually believe that Jason Biggs is still a star? Second of all, hasn't downtown Los Angeles always been a mecca for great restaurants (let's see, Ciudad, Water Grill, R23, Blue Velvet, Roy's, just to name a few standouts) that are easily accessible by public transit - or, for downtown residents, by WALKING? And lastly, in a city whose culinary identity has been influenced by literally hundreds of different cultures and cuisines, perhaps the most diverse and exciting gastronomic landscape in the world -- how dare he say that we don't care about what's on the plate?But no, apparently we are all superficial studio-types who give more consideration to our headshots than our dinners, unlike our oh-so-sophisticated-and-profound Northern brethren:
It was clear we weren't in San Francisco when I heard a diner on one side talking about Universal Studios and the television shows he's involved with, and a diner on my other side chatting with his date about the movie he was working on.
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Maybe if the man had visited a few restaurants outside of the rarified palaces of cuisine that made up his hit list: Cut, Spago, Patina, Pizzeria Mozza, Providence (looks like he was there the same night I was), Lucques, etc. Yes, these are all fantastic "destination" restaurants, but they don't even begin to describe the true breadth and depth of the Angeleno palate.

Hey Michael: here's a few suggestions for your next trip out here. While you're struggling to find a taxi downtown, stop in at Phillipe's. Once you've given up and decided to get on the Metro, take it down to San Pedro and enjoy some fish tacos. Make your way back up to the Westside, and dig into a Godmother at Bay Cities Deli. Move inland and hit up every taco truck and stand you can find. Finish your day out with a big fat juicy Double Double with grilled onions, and fries Animal style.

Or better yet - let's put him in a room with Jonathan Gold. I doubt he'd come out alive. In fact, he'd probably be spitted, roasted, and eaten with some really fantastic sauce.

Photo of one of LA's finest culinary experiences by SeraphimC via flickr