Monday, March 28, 2016


LA food critic crusades for diversity in lively 'City of Gold'

Whatever you may think you know about Los Angeles, you may find your assumptions challenged by City of Gold. And, no, it is not a movie about the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

It's a fascinating foodie doc by Laura Gabbert about Jonathan Gold, esteemed food critic for the LA Times, whose insightful writing about the culinary scene in LA has earned him a Pulitzer Prize for Journalism.

Gold has not won this accolade by choosing the most exquisite verbiage to describe plates of decadent delights. He's not that kind of food writer. What Gold does is hit the streets in his bottle-green pickup truck, cruising strip malls, ethnic neighborhoods, vendor carts and food trucks all across the sprawl that is LA in search of undiscovered eating experiences.

Jonathan Gold in action: man bites food.

And discover them he does, incredible treasures in the most unexpected places, mostly run by immigrant families who make up the vast cultural diversity of the city and its many, many 'burbs—from Mexican, Thai, and Szechuan, to fried grasshoppers and hot dogs. More of an explorer than a food critic, Gold writes insightful pieces about understanding cultures through the medium of food.

Many proprietors of the eateries he champions (often in hole-in-the-wall storefronts you wouldn't look at twice while driving by) credit him with saving their businesses. Says one observer, Gold brings "value to restaurants and experiences that other people weren't writing about."

At the end of the movie, Gold speaks about the liveliness of the local cultural scene, constantly reinventing itself, with new foods and ideas to share. "We are all strangers together," says Gold.

This is what community is. And when ignorant voices in society talk about closing borders, building walls, and homogenizing our cultural experience, this is what we lose.

(Read complete review)

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