Rank #1: Jonathan Gold finds breathtaking fare while dining in Tokyo
“What’s the closest I’ll ever come to drinking a tree?” An answer to this question isn’t what Jonathan Gold expected to find at Narisawa in Tokyo. Alas, the LA Times food critic found himself sipping from a wooden jigger filled with oak-flavored water just before dining on what Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa calls “Satoyama Scenery,” a plate made from raw wood, topped with moss-like garnishes, accompanied by small speakers playing audio from the nearby forest. Before this innovative chef made his way to California for the LA Food Bowl, Gold thought he should fly to Tokyo and try Narisawa’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant. Gold was also moved by the exquisitely aged fish at Sushi Kimura, an eight-table sushi house south of Tokyo.
“Satoyama Scenery” is one of the Japanese mountainside-inspired dishes
available at Yoshihiro Narisawa’s Toyko restaurant. Photo courtesy of Narisawa.
May 25 2018
Rank #2: Jonathan Gold praises Travis Lett's dive into Japanese gastropub fare at MTN in Venice
These temaki (hand rolls) are among the stars of Travis Lett’s
Izakaya menu at MTN. Photo by Ashley Randall.
Travis Lett is credited with defining Venice’s culinary identity with his modern Californian restaurants Gjusta and Gjelina. However, the James Beard Award-nominated chef recently turned his attention to Japanese izakaya fare with his latest Venice opening, MTN. LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold believes that Lett’s rigorous attention to craft and tradition is authentically Japanese. Although he says the temaki, Dungeness crab ramen, and expertly poured beers are not to be ignored, he was most impressed by Lett’s deft touch with vegetables.
MTN: 1305 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291 | (424) 465-3313
Jun 29 2018
Rank #3: Carolina Miranda on Jonathan's review of Simon LA
Carolina Miranda talks with Jonathan Gold at the USC Annenberg School
of Communications in 2017. Courtesy of Carolina Miranda.
As the world mourns the loss of Pulitzer prize-winning food writer Jonathan Gold, we wanted to recall some of our favorite pieces that he wrote. Carolina Miranda is an arts and culture writer for the LA Times. She joins Evan to talk about the magical prose of “L.A. Simonized,” Jonathan’s 2006 review of the now-shuttered restaurant Simon LA near the Beverly Center.
Jul 27 2018
Rank #4: Jonathan Gold enjoys Nayarit-Sinaloan style ceviche at El Coraloense in Bell Gardens
Fresh ceviche tostada topped with crema and pineapple. Courtesy of El Coraloense.
Fresh ingredients like shrimp, fish, and abalone are overflowing at El Coraloense in Bell Gardens, and LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold says the generous portions and vibrant seafood keep him coming back. Although he says the aguachile shrimp plate is covered with a brown sauce and the shrimp look like some prosthetics effect from "Alien", Gold concludes the family-friendly eatery is bringing wonderful Nayarit-Sinaloan style ceviche to the greater LA area.
The aguachile at El Coraloense may have an interesting appearance,
but the flavors are mouth-watering. Photo courtesy of El Coraloense.
El Coraloense: 6600 Florence Ave. Bell Gardens, Ca 90201
May 18 2018
Rank #5: Laura Gabbert: Jonathan Gold's 1992 piece on the LA Riots
Aug 03 2018
Rank #6: Mona Holmes: Jonathan Gold's 1989 story on N.W.A.
Before Jonathan Gold turned his attention entirely toward food, he was primarily known for his music writing. Eater reporter Mona Holmes recalls the first time she read Gold’s richly detailed feature on N.W.A. that he wrote for the LA Weekly in 1989. She shares a passage about the musicality of the group’s single, “Straight Outta Compton.”
Mona Holmes remembers reading Jonathan Gold’s
cover story on landmark rap group N.W.A. in 1989.
Aug 10 2018
Rank #7: Remembering Jonathan Gold's favorite food flicks
In movies, food can represent many things. The documentary “Udon” depicts noodle making as an all-consuming obsession. In the 1995 rom-com “Christmas in Connecticut,” two unlikely lovers are brought together in the kitchen. And in the Wes Anderson film “Grand Budapest Hotel,” a baker uses her patisserie as an opportunity to help a love interest escape prison. In each of LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold’s recommended films, food is the active ingredient that brings people together. Find out what else made the list!
*This segment originally aired on June 8, 2018. KCRW is re-sharing it this weekend to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Jonathan Gold's passing.
Jun 08 2018
Rank #8: Jonathan Gold turns up the heat at Chongqing Special Noodles
It’s no secret that LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold loves Sichuanese cuisine, particularly that of the city of Chengdu. But this week, he’s breaking down a different kind of Sichuanese food that makes his mouth burn and smile at the same time: Chongqing-Sichuan cuisine. The former chef at Best Noodle House in Rosemead left to create the San Gabriel establishment Chongqing Special Noodles. His pulled noodles come in a variety of widths and shapes, but many dishes share a vibrant red color and adventurous spice level. Pro-tip from Gold as well as all the panelists from last month’s Sichuan Summit: always order the twice-cooked pork.
The noodles at Chongqing Special Noodles might make you see red
(if you aren’t a fan of Sichuan peppercorns). Photo by Nick Liao.
Jun 22 2018
Rank #9: Jonathan Gold finds magical nostalgia at Freedman's in Silver Lake
Siblings Amanda and Jonah Freedman, chef Liz Johnson, and co-owner
Nicholas Papadatos in front of their east side delicatessen. Photo by Louis DeCaprio.
When LA Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold first stepped into the new eastside delicatessen Freedman’s, he was delighted to find modern, inventive takes on Jewish staples from head chef and Noma alum Liz Johnson. The tableside sliced brisket, fried chicken skin sandwiches, cured fish on bagels, and what Jonathan describes as the “only good black-and-white cookie” he’s ever eaten will keep him returning for more.
Freedman’s: 2619 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026 | (213) 568-3754
Sliced tableside, the brisket at Freedman’s is unbelievably luscious.
Photo by DYLAN + JENI.
Jun 01 2018
Rank #10: Jonathan Gold recounts the LA Times Food Bowl's Sichuan Summit
Yu Bo hosts a food demo at the LA Food Bowl “Sichuan Summit.”
Photo by @JenJPhoto
The LA Times Food Bowl is the largest food festival the city has ever seen. Events run throughout May, and Jonathan Gold is often at the center of all the fun. On May 4, the Food Bowl hosted the “Sichuan Summit.” Gold moderated a panel featuring legendary chef Yu Bo and writer Fuchsia Dunlop. The event also brought together some of the best Sichuan chefs from Los Angeles to collaborate on a a meal. Gold also talks about the Food Bowl’s Night Market from May 16 to 20, an open-to-the-public event where eaters get to mingle with their favorite chefs.
May 11 2018