Read it if you’re a compulsive list maker. Read it if you have no other clue on how to search out good bites in LA. Read it if you were a lit major and Pulitzers make you wet?
If your life resolves around a bunch of foodiot savants, it’s inevitable you will hear about various items on the list. If you are even a casual peruser of Mr. Gold’s column, you should be able to compile perhaps a quarter of the list on your own. Having not clicked on the links, nor read through the paper, one can surmise: beef roll from 101 Noodle, some form of pizza from Mozza, a hot dog from somewhere, probably Ludo’s fried chicken, maybe Gorbal’s matzo thingie, Spago’s dessert, some form of bacon candy, one of Jitlada’s rank curries, and Euro Pane’s egg salad sammie, something with pork belly at Animal, gelato at Bulgarini, an Mexican offal taco/torta somewhere, ad nausea.
To be frank, if JG’s 2009 Essential 99 Restaurant list was a test, I’d score a pretty solid B. Yes, I did what everyone else did last year, trying to measure up to the Gold standard. Not that I should even dare, as I’ve been Anonymously told. But it was fun.
And therein lie the problems with this new list. The previous versions of the “99” allowed leeway while being suggestive. This new list sounds like preachy homework assigned by a Catholic nun. The eats now seem demagogical, are myopic beyond belief, and the article was unapologetically titled as an ultimatum. If you disagreed with the LAW critic on certain dishes at a certain restaurant prior to this, you are still… by most definition of the word, “OK”. Now, you’re not in line, you’re not worthy.
The media is portraying this list as the end-all, be-all to LA dining. If indeed the case, why only 99 items? For those who refuse to light their stoves at home, 99 items wouldn’t last a year, much less a life time. Finally, and this is rather annoying pet peeve: the concept of only 1 thing being deserving enough to be eaten at a restaurant such as Urasawa is a tremendous disservice to the establishment and its cuisine. Invariably, everyone goes to Jitlada only to order that green lipped mussel in Southern curry because Gourmet advised them so. Why why why? When there are 50 items in the menu that will blow your mind equally? Why only 1 flavor of gelato at Bulgarini, especially when the flavors are seasonal? Armed with this list, the unadventuresome will cross off a restaurant with impunity after tasting 1 piece of beef roll from 101? How ridiculous? Perhaps even more ridiculous than the hatred of Oinkster after only one visit?
PS: The eggy beef roll at Mama’s, now 4 doors right of 101 Express, is still superior, no matter how much positive verbiage bestowed upon the original.
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