The LA mosaic, one bite at a time

Burnt out from binge-watching House of Cards? May we suggest the perfect palate cleanser: City of Gold, the new documentary that follows LA Times Pulitzer Prize-winning restaurant critic Jonathan Gold into the nooks and crannies of Greater LA’s cultural and culinary scene. This is far more than a food movie. "The horizontality of LA, the vastness of it, makes it hard to capture in three shots,” says director Laura Gabbert. Following Gold, she says, she found a new way of seeing and filming this diverse and sprawling place. Of Gold, Variety says, “… arguably, no writer has succeeded in making the sprawling, amorphous, eclectic and increasingly diverse metropolis seem more approachable, comprehensible and delicious." Unlike many food critics, who focus on high-end eateries, this reviewer’s beat is filled with family-owned gems in far-flung ethnic enclaves across the basin. The finds he celebrates range from Korean tacos to Ethiopian chicken stew. To him, this kind of food is the doorway to LA’s spectacular cultural diversity - a kaleidoscope he says can’t be found anywhere else in the world. It’s a journey Gold never tires of. In fact, in the beginning, he says, he could hardly believe someone would pay him to do this for a living. “The idea of celebrating the glorious mosaic of the city on somebody else’s dime,” he says. “I kept feeling as if I was getting away with something.” Since the documentary premiered at Sundance last winter, audiences have regularly told director Gabbert that they want to visit LA and explore its less familiar neighborhoods and enclaves. Rolling Stone sums it up: “… there's a surprise on the menu. That's Los Angeles itself. For as Gold, in search of fresh culinary treasures, travels the hidden corners of a too-familiar city in his green Dodge Ram 1500, we get to fall in love with L.A. again.”  

Read more about the film here.  See Gold’s 101 Best LA Restaurants here.

Photo credits: Director Laura Gabbert and cinematographer Jerry Henry of the documentary "City of Gold," in Los Angeles on Feb. 22, 2016. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) Jonathan Gold in Laura Gabbert's "City of Gold." (Sundance Selects)

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