This week we faced the passing of another champion of small, little-known, upstart restaurants and cafes of the world. Jonathan Gold passed away from pancreatic cancer on Saturday evening at the age of 57. He was the restaurant critic for the L.A. Times, and before that Gourmet, and the L.A. Weekly.
Gold rarely wrote ‘bad’ reviews, and would seek out the authentic, mom-and-pop places in the myriad neighborhoods of Los Angeles, his birthplace and lifelong home city. Some of his reviews changed the fortunes of struggling restaurants, as many L.A. Times readers dutifully followed Gold’s recommendations. Gold earned this reputation with stunning prose, often dropping illusions to literature, music, film, and religion in his reviews of Korean, Mexican, Vietnamese and various other types of restaurants in the L.A. area. In writing about a mole from East L.A.’s Moles La Tia, he wrote it was “so dark that it seems to suck the light out of the airspace around it, spicy as a novella and bitter as tears, a mole whose aftertaste can go on for hours.”
Looking at his writing is a reminder for us to explore Philadelphia, our city, and the neighborhoods near and far for the innumerable gems they have to share with us. Stray off the beaten path, take a journey, bring a friend, and try something new to you.
The L.A. Times has opened its paywall to all things Jonathan Gold. Do check out some of his reviews and other pieces. Here’s a link to his appreciation of Anthony Bourdain, who we also lost this year.
by Josh Kane