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Sep 20, 2001 03:22 PM

zagat marketplace

  • n

ok, so i was wondering if anyone likes the zagatsurvey 2000/01 marketplace book. is it supposed to be a listing of all the best places to find weird cool food or just a yuppie list of places to buy waffle irons? my sister lives in los angeles and i wanted to order it from amazon without looking through it and then i thought--maybe i should ask the chowhounds. if it does suck, got any other suggestions? you know how patrica wells did the purveyors book in sf? i'm looking for something like that.
thanks for any info!

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  1. Any Zagat guide is good to put under a table leg to stop it from wobbling.

    10 Replies
    1. re: 2chez mike

      i know! so what do i get her? this girl needs the 411! i guess maybe a computer with internet access and chowhound as the homepage?

      1. re: novella

        Can't believe noone's mentioned it yet... Counter Intelligence by Jonathan Gold. It's not really a comprehensive guide to every great eatery, and Zagat's could probably be a helpful suplement, but it's a perfect intro to the world of LA's hidden culinary treasures.

        1. re: chris o

          isn't counterintelligence about restaurants?
          i'm actually talking about markets--like bread shops, specialty cheese shops, wine shops, little ethnic markets that sell spices and such. like, where do you buy ghee in los angeles? all the secret stores that sell food that you take home and make into a meal. you know?

          1. re: novella

            Coming from someone who buys flowers, wines, baked goods and arranges caterers and parties for work and also loves to cook at home, I think Marketplace is a good book to have as a reference. I do use it as a phone & address book and make my own judgments on quality. Hopefully she'll use it as a starting point to go explore & forage on her own!

            1. re: julia

              Zagat Marketplace for LA is in my view a very fine resource and would make an excellent gift. I keep it in the glove box of my car. I credit it with leading me to Al Dente, which is my favorite Italian Deli. Highly recommend!

            2. re: novella

              I wish I could help you there. In fact, I'd love to find a resource like this myself. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be surprise to find out there is nothing like this for the Los Angeles area. I hate to say it, but though I'm a loyal LA native, I think SF people not only take food much more seriously than us southerners, they have vastly more sources for the epicurean (cheese stores, high end markets, bread shops, stores for cookware). We probably corner them in the sheer number of ethnic eateries. I think as a group, SF folks are much more houndish than us LA folks. Look at how many get togethers and SF Chowhound board members vs. la.eats and LA Chowhound board have.

              BTW Yes counter intelligence is about restaurants. But it does have the one or two bread shops (Europane). No cheese shops/ wine stores...

              1. re: Panoz

                I think the closest we get to a guide to LA food are the 2 books by Linda Burum - Cooks Marketplace - LA and A Guide to Ethnic Foods in Los Angeles. Both are out of print now but remain a useful resource.

                1. re: KarenRose

                  Again, we can do this ourselves. We have a LOT of people on this board, with a TON of knowledge. Someone start a thread, and let's all pool all our knowledge. The resultant info will be way smarter and more current than anything out there.

                  There's no reason for a chowhound to EVER "tsk tsk" the lack of good info out there...this site was built to rectify that problem!

                  1. re: KarenRose

                    Agree completely, Karen. I especially love Burum's LA and A Guide to Ethnic Foods in Los Angeles.

                    Armed with this book and Jonathan Gold's columns, one could do a lot of Chowhound damage. Yes, Burum's books are out of print, but worth picking up as a resource for "marketplaces" as well as restaurants.

                    But in 2001, Gold's book will at least send you to some terrific restaurants.

                2. re: novella

                  I'm entirely for Zagat's Marketplace guide.

                  This is coming from someone who despises the Zagat's LA restaurant guide with all his heart.

                  Zagat's is a survey. It's knowledge is as good as the people who use submit. I remember the Boston Zagat's, which was absolutely perfectly spot-on for Italian, and a truly pathetic thing for Chinese. Makes sense, given Bostoners.

                  I tried using the LA Zagat's and found it depressing. My theory is that the average LA restaurant-goer is trend-impressed and lo-fat-impressed and non-taste-bud-centric. But the LA Zagat's Marketplace submitter - I figure these are hard-core food people. The people who dedicate themselves to *cooking* are quite a different crowd from those who dedicate themselves to restaurant-going.

                  Anyway - unlike with the LA restaurant guide, I have found the market guide immensely useful. It's spot-on for ethnics, too - I've found really fantastic places for Indian spices, Chinese ingredients, Thai ingredients. In the end, a well-stocked cooking supply shop is a well-stocked cooking supply shop - it's not that hard to put together a guide to them, and I can't really see how bad taste and trend-orientation can interfere too much with that. And they were spot on about who had the freshest and cheapest spices.


          2. Like all Zagat guides, the ratings are worthless. But... I do find this particular guide useful simply as a kind of phone book. Say I'm looking for a Thai grocery in Pacoima... I can see if one's listed in the Zagat guide. It's by no means comprehensive or reliable, but I keep it in my car, in case I find myself in some unfamiliar neighborhood and feel like doing some food shopping.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sheryl

              I do the same thing; it's a worthwhile resource, better than the yellow pages. I'd like to say better than the yellow pages but not as good as this board, but honesty compels me to note that it is best for both spur-of-the-moment needs and outlying areas, both of which are areas where the board can be weak. All knowledge of food is indeed contained among the denzens of this board, but unless a subject has already come up the knowledge may not be public.

              It occurs to me that those who contribute to the Zagat Guide are trying to do exactly what we do, share information about the food we enjoy with other afficionadoes, but the medium chosen (a little paper book), isn't up to the job. The internet is precisely the right medium for whhat we do. We can develop trust in some commentators over a period of time, go into greater detail, give up to the minute commentary, and they can't. I have a suspicion that if the people who faithfully contribute to the Zagat Guide knew about the Chowhound Boards, they'd be here in a shot. I wonder also - did anybody here ever contribute to any of the Zagat Guides before they found this board? I did.

              Funny, as a lifelong science fiction reader and occasional SF writer, I never thought about the internet as a local rather than global phenomenon until recently... The net was supposed to abolish locality, and to a degree it has, but it has also made locality more important under certain circumstances. I planned two vacations this year using the Chowhound boards for Philadelphia and Wisconsin, and somehow I don't think the military planners and academics who developed the ARPAnet and Internet had that in mind.

              Whoops, wandering off topic again... must be late. Sorry. Been reading Montaigne again, he wanders all over the place. Would have liked the Chowhound board, probably had strong opnions about food and wine pairings.

            2. v
              Vanessa On The Town

              Sounds like some industrious Chowhounder's need to get together and write a book.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Vanessa On The Town

                Or, simply start a new thread or two.

                Don't forget the power of having all these savvy hounds around. Comprehensive overview can be achieved in a few days. And who can we trust more than our fellow chowhounds?

                I'd suggest that someone post a whopper message featuring their very top choices (including less-obvious ones) and request other contributions. Give it a catchy title. Sit back and watch what happens.


                1. re: Jim Leff

                  I don't disagree with you at all, Jim. I think chowhound is probably *the* definitive source of finds for food lovers in Los Angeles, but sometimes a portable version of infomation would be nice when you need information there and then, when you happen to be in a new neighborhood.

                  1. re: Panoz

                    I am, this very day, working quite hard on our portability factor.

                    1. re: Jim Leff

                      so, what are you doing to make chowhound portable? you didn't get a bunch of publisher's breathing down your neck after that new yorker article, didja?

                      i do like books, though, and would be glad to hear about it.

              2. v
                Vanessa On The Town

                So, it's not a book, but the link below might be helpful. It's a list of Farmer's Markets in the L.A. area. I love the Farmer's Markets, and there's one in virtually every neighborhood. They are always a good source for produce, bread, sometimes seafood and such. I've also found that the vendors are always really helpful with recipe suggestions and food info.