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Jonathan Gold Wins Pulitzer for Criticism

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  1. You go Jonathon, A TRUE FOODIE !

    1. That's really tremendous, he is a great writer - well-deserved recognition !

      1. Woo hoo! Well deserved.

        1. Well deserved!

          What I like about his work is that it has a sense of place and time. It's not frivolous food writing in vacuo. I've learned much from him over the years, not just about food, but about LA's continual evolution as a city and as a nexus of cultures and peoples. I always walk away knowing a little more about the place I live in, and with a greater curiosity for it.

          I don't always agree with his assessments, but the way he captures LA's identity and personality, along with its history and possibilities, is always spot on.

          Congratulations, Jonathan and LA Weekly!

          1 Reply
          1. re: kiwonyoon

            Congratulations Jonathan Gold! Such good news makes me hungry!

          2. Jonathan is not only a hell of a food critic, but I thought he was a terrific music reviewer for the L.A. Times back in the 80's and early-to-mid 90's. He was one of the very few critics I trusted. His tastes were off the beaten path. In an article for Los Angeles Magazine, I remember him talking about listening solely to classical music at first. Contrast that to his top 10 albums of the 80's: I remember Metallica's "Master of Puppets" being number one, and he also had albums by Public Enemy, Slayer, and Motorhead. He would also champion hardcore rap acts like NWA and grindcore bands (think thrash metal done as fast as humanly possible). In my younger rebellious years, he was a beacon of light as far as music recommendations.

            Before I move to Idaho in June, I want to e-mail the Weekly and tell him how much I've appreciated his criticism and insight. If I'm not able to, and he's reading this: Thanks for all of your work over the years, Jonathan!

            1 Reply
            1. re: nakni

              Thanks to J. Gold for (inspiring you to take) a trip down music memory lane. Definitely some stuff I would have never listened to except that he made note of it.

              In your quest for ramen in Boise -
              ....ya never know...;-)

            2. Ditto--well deserved recognition. And to top it all off, he's very friendly and accessible. I recently emailed him interview questions for a post on my very modest foodblog, and he wrote back a delightfully rich response, full of good LA recommendations:


              1. Resonating everyone's responses thus far about his excellent food writing style - something I and every other food writer/blogger aspire to. And while I don't always agree with him, I trust his sensibilities the most compared to other reviewers in mainstream LA media (S. Irene Virbila of LA Times, Patric Kuh of LA Magazine, Elmer Dills from ABC News).

                I will be curious, however, at whether LA Times will mention anything at all about this.


                2 Replies
                1. re: AquaW

                  Of course, it's local news, especially since the other two nominees in the criticism category were LA Times writers (as Gold used to be):


                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Yep, saw it - but thought LA Times would be much faster in running that announcement.


                2. I've always said that in terms of LA food critics, there's Jonathan Gold and then there's everyone else.

                  1. It's about damn time! I do believe this year mark's the 20th anniversary of Counter Intelligence. FINALLY, those people on the East Coast will believe we have "cuisine" out West! Way to go JG, we are your peeps!

                    1. Restores my faith in mankind that he was recognized! I am "old school" LA Times Counter Intelligence fan and then happy to find LA Weekly reviews. I told a kid the other day when I handed him a J Gold review on a restuarant we had been to for a class project (Japanese okonomiyaki) that it was by a famous guy- little did I know! I was also kind of pleased that the kids knew what a Pulitzer was!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: torty

                        I just want to add my congratulations to the list. Jonathan Gold has done a lot to open my palate to new worlds in LA, hitting dead on in both his picks and his writing. My thanks and congratulations.


                        BTW- Motorhead, Slayer, and PE!?! I have a physical need to buy JG a (many) drinks now.

                        1. re: AndrewS

                          I've been introduced to JG thorugh the KCRW Good Food podcast and I could not be happier for him. It's wonderful to see someone with so much passion for what they do get such an award.

                      2. Congratulations, Mr. Gold. :)

                        I appreciate the variety of places he covers. His mini-reviews are also a great resource.

                        1. Amazing!!!
                          He opens me up to so many places AND makes me both laugh out loud and marvel at his similes.
                          A hearty congrats!

                          1. J Gold cool.

                            He reviews all types of restaurants and doesn't just kiss the asses of upscale joints.

                            Plus he says nice things about Pink's.

                            1. The Pulitzer board got this one right. Congratulations, Jonathan.

                              To Hounds who have only been here a few years, Jonathan was a regular presence here at one time, and his advice was invaluable.

                              1. Great about the prize, but unless he's about to retire, it seems odd that the LA Weekly celebrated by publishing his picture:


                                7 Replies
                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  I was wondering about that too. How is he supposed to do a review fairly now that people know how he looks like? Thought food critic tries to go incognito (la Garlic and Sapphires?).

                                  His writing is very entertaining, and it's interesting that they picked a food critic for this award.

                                  1. re: notmartha

                                    Valid qustion, though, you can't see him that well in the picture, and I doubt the next Taco truck across the street from a carwash in South Gate he reviews is going to slip some foie gras in his taco de cabeza if they happen to recognize him, but you never know.

                                    1. re: sku

                                      You can see him quite well in the fourth picture, and he reviews all kinds of restaurants, including the kind that are likely to print out that picture and post it on the employee bulletin board.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        Perhaps he goes out in disguise … Jim Leff takes Gold up on the suggestion to wear Groucho glasses and nose to a book signing in this long ago topic on reviewer anonymity.

                                        Gold isn’t in my area but I’ve enjoyed the column from time to time. His comments about Chez Panisse from years ago are still applicable today

                                        And, I might just pull up this SF post of his from time to time where he wrote …

                                        “Acme, next door, is the best bread bakery in theU.S., though the Cheese Board has better baguettes”

                                    2. re: notmartha

                                      When I went out with him a couple times during his Gourmet days, he paid with a credit card with his real name on it (and seemed to enjoy the fuss-making), so identity hasn't been secret for a long time. Excellent writer and tons of knowledge, though.

                                    3. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      He was also visible on the nightly news for LA last night (KCAL-9). They showed him at work, at home, and celebrating the award with a gigantic glass of wine.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        Looks like you're right, even though J Gold is somewhat non-descript looking:


                                        “On this visit to Opus, which [Jonathan Gold] planned to review, he was pretty sure he hadn’t been recognized — or “made,” in the parlance of restaurant reviewers. What he didn’t know was that Josef Centeno, the chef, was on his way out the door before Mr. Gold and his party finished eating, spotted him, and dashed back to the kitchen. Damn that Pulitzer!"

                                        Wigs & sunglasses in order for the future, perhaps? ;



                                      2. I believe it's the first time ever a food critic has won a Pulitzer. Interesting, as the restaurant review is often one of the few columns I look forward to in each of the papers I read.

                                        1. This is such wonderful news! Jonathan Gold is truely unsurpassed as the uberChowhound of LA (even if he no longer posts on the boards). When I first moved here, ten years ago, in the pre-Chowhound era, it was Gold's columns and later his book that opened the doors for me on what to eat in LA. His articles have a wonderful mixture of humor and description, he appreciates the off the wall and ironic and I haven't found anyone better at writing in a way that lets you taste food. Of course, one of his greatest strengths is that he will go off (often far off) the beaten path of the food establishment, to Bell or the Covinas or Norwalk or wherever he needs to go to find the best taco de lengua or hard-to-find Burmese dish that he's been craving, and all to often, I find myself taking a long drive on a Saturday morning to seek out his latest find.

                                          I think my favorite column ever, and I believe I've read every one that's appeared in the weekly for the last 10 years, was one in which he describes the emotional peril of eating a live shrimp at an Asian seafood restuarant (I can't recall the place at all). It was absolutely hilarious.

                                          It's a great day for Chowhounds everywhere!

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: sku

                                            I'm just another big fan of Gold's. I've been reading his reviews since his L.A. Times days....quoting his reviews to friends......checking out some of the same restaurants.

                                            Since his book was mentioned, I'll mention my favorite review from it. It's the one of the Nice Time Deli in San Gabriel. Priceless!

                                            1. re: jerrystrull

                                              The bitter melon description from Nice Time is a true classic:

                                              "As bitter as envy, as bitter as hot tears -- not just tea bitter, or even chocolate bitter, but cancer-medicine bitter."

                                              I *still* use that review as an introduction for novitiates to the world of Jonathan Gold.

                                            2. re: sku

                                              I believe he does post on the boards, at least the LA Board. Look for an appropriate pseudonym...

                                            3. I remember the first time I read a review of his I think in the LAT, for a KTown soup restaurant--it was called "A Bowl of White". It made an impression that's always stayed with me. Nobody but nobody writes as well AND is into their subject as JG. Good call, Pulitzer.

                                              1. Ever since Gold reviewed Oki Dog and called their pastrami burrito a "foil wrapped grease bomb" I was hooked. God love ya JG.

                                                1. woohoo! you know it's skill when the white guy's leading a non-Chinese reading but native Chinese speaking taiwanese girls like me about how to eat around the SGV!

                                                    1. My favorite memory of Jonathan Gold is when he wrote that he had once tried to eat at every restaurant on Pico Boulevard (or was it Olympic?), starting from downtown LA and heading west. He discovered that it wasn't possible, because as he progressed down the street the ones behind of him changed, so he would have to go back and cover ground he had already finished. This was such a good depiction of the ever-changing, always intriguing food, always beckoning food scene in Los Angeles.

                                                      Sarah C

                                                      1 Reply