Hello, Jonathan Gold Disses San Diego
I happen to like Jonathan Gold and as a food writer he rocks. One of the best in the business. He was answering a letter from a reader, not writing a food review, so why should he have waxed on eloquently about the malyn tacos? He probably hasn't been on a serious eating junket to SD in years. SD is not his area of expertise; he was simply filling a request from a reader.
The French resto rec was for El Biz and is dated as they've now gone through a couple of chefs since Gavin Kayson left.
He's spot on regarding Convoy St. and Ba Ren. What's wrong with the rec for The Linkery? He got it.
I find this far less offensive than the Jeffery Steingarten quotes that he had to bring his own food with him to SD because there wasn't any here.
The only problem with the L.A. Weekly piece is the title and I'm wondering if they didn't do that deliberately to tweak SD.
The food isn't bad in SD, in fact, if you know where to look it can be quite good. Everyone expects it to be "like someplace else" it's not. Mr. Gold needs to take a road trip south and spend a week or so eating around town. His specialty has always been the smaller, out of the way, unusual or hole-in-the wall places. I think if he really looked - and he wouldn't have to look that hard - he'd find more than enough with which to be satisfied. Jeffery Steingarten? He's just a lost cause...
Excuse me, but who gives a sh*t what he thinks? We have enough smart a$$es and paid professionals on this board as it is.
From reading that brief quip, who's to say that he did anything apart from just using the search function here and typing up the results?
Anybody who name-drops the Linkery clearly is on the payroll. That place may equate to being a religious altar here in San Diego, but for someone outside of this town to be recommending it is absolute nonsense.
Let me guess, if he had more time on his hands he'd be coincidentally recommending Sab-E-Lee for Thai and Super Cocina for Mexican, right? How about O'Briens for local beer, or Oceanaire for seafood?
But before we forget, San Diego is not Paris or Manhattan....blahblahblahblah.
How extraordinarily unique. Please, tell me more things that I don't know.
I'd rather not waste my time reading the weekend thoughts of a paid professional from another city, and instead stick with the opinions of people who actually live, work, and eat here on a daily basis.
re: Fake Name
Exactly - he even indirectly admits that SD is not his area of expertise: "Maybe I’m not looking in the right places..."
There are some cities that draw a fair amount of tourism because of its food - think cities like Paris or Tokyo. Then there are cities where food can often be a direct response to or a result of tourism. I think San Diego has many places that cater to tourists - there's no denying that tourism has a huge impact on SD's economy. But it doesn't mean that great food is nonexistent there. It seems that J Gold knows this and is more of a casual eater in the SD area but can still give a handful of decent recs despite this.
". . .but can still give a handful of decent recs despite this."
As cookieshoes stated, it seems highly likely that, based on this recs, he came up with his list by perusing the SD Chowhound boards.
Oh how I grow tired of reading and hearing about San Diego lacking in this, lacking in that. I chalk it up to sour grapes.
>>I chalk it up to sour grapes...<<
Doubtful. With all do respect to cookieshoes (who I am sure is more Chow-worthy in SD than Gold is), I sense some seriously soured grapes. Your town is bigger than that, as are your hounds. I've never gotten the impression that Gold is on anyone's payroll (most of the places he visits couldn't afford a publicist, let alone know what one is) or has some ax to grind with SD or any other town - why would he? His priority is good food regardless of where. The blurb referred to is someone apparently in the general LA area asking a food writer who is based in LA about some SD recs. This is important to keep in mind before flaming Gold. If he were a food writer based in SD, he would have no excuse - get out the napalm.
I don't agree with all of Gold's recs but his integrity is bullet-proof. I think any disagreements I have with his write-ups boil down to personal tastes, but more so my lack of understanding of particular dishes/cuisines. And he spoke very highly of the level of Chinese cuisine available in your town:
>>San Diego’s Chinatown, centered along Convoy Street, is surprisingly good. It’s not a beautiful part of town, but the best places are as good as the best in the San Gabriel Valley.<<
J. Gold knows more about the various Chinese cuisines than many Chinese do. The San Gabriel Valley (SGV) is the Mecca of most Chinese food in the US, save Sichuan cuisine. If he gives props to these places especially in comparison to the best in the SGV, it's a serious compliment that I am sure is intriguing to many LA hounds ( I would have never known).
We don't go to SD County very often - maybe 1-2x a year posing as the usual tourons visiting places like the zoo, Sea World, and Lego Land. We obviously have kids who are now rapidly outgrowing these places; thus, our visits are declining. As little as we've found that we would consider Chow-worthy, I don't think it was any fault of the area lacking in good food. We just didn't do our homework in advance and searching for good food on the wing with the chaos of hungry kids demanding food now is probably a pretty standard scenario for the temporary population that invades your fine towns on the weekends. We've stumbled upon little places in Leucadia, Encinitas, and Pacific Beach out of shear luck, and as often as we would try to revisit them, some have continued to thrive, while others have disappeared. But these were in my days before discovering Chowhound. I'll do better in the future.