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Feb 23, 2010 09:19 AM

10 reasons saveur mag is wrong (about LA food scene)

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  1. I'm not a fan of LA in general and certainly never thought of it as a food town. But I'm about halfway thru the issue and am finding it fascinating. I couldn't stop staring at the old photograph of the two gossip columnists, the princess and Sophia Loren. What a great shot.

    1 Reply
    1. re: southernitalian

      Yeah, the issue should be an eye-opener for people unacquainted with the LA food scene. The variety and quality of ethnic cuisines in LA is amazing.

    2. I truly hate the contents of this link, which equates the Los Angeles food scene with industry types and trendoids. Blech.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Dave Feldman

        I don't know what list you're reading. By any stretch of the imagination, only their points #3 and #9 can be construed in that way.

        To my mind, the more telling comments are these:

        #2: "There are few food neighborhoods or food blocks or food streets, where you can walk from a great grocery to a great bar to a nice cafe to a butcher shop to a bakery—you get it." Most great food cities (NY, Boston, SF, Chicago, etc etc) have plenty of such areas. LA - apparently not.

        #6: "Driving makes for a mediocre bar scene. Don’t drink and drive + poor public transportation = let’s just have a glass of wine and stay home and watch Mad Men." 'Nuff said.

        #7 & 8, which are really two aspects of the same phenomenon 7: "There are far too few outdoor dining options." 8. "We have the best beaches and the best weather, and some of the worst beachside dining in the world." You got it, why not flaunt it?

        All those points have zero to do with "industry types and trendoids" and everything to do with a vital local food scene.

        1. re: BobB

          I think the criticism lies in the lack of knowledgeable criticism in the article. To take one point for example. I live in the Palms area. Within a two mile radius, there are several bars, one of them where you can get the infamous Kogi food without chasing down the truck.

          In that same radius, there is a south american grocery store/butcher where you can get cuts of meat that are unavailble in most places. Also a concentration of Brazilian restaurants that serve fantastic traditional and authentic food. Several Mexican bakeries with a huge variety of options. A Rockenwager bakery is also in the radius.

          There's also a highly regarded Sinoloan/Nayarit seafood restaurant which serves dishes that aren't available anywhere else.

          That's just the Palms area. There's plenty of other areas in LA that satisfy that criteria. But and it's a big but, LA is a huge sprawl. It's just impossible to use a NYC/Manhattan mentality about how to approach the city. Does that mean LA isn't a great food city? I and many Angelenos would beg to differ. LA has a breadth and width of amazing food choices. But is different than traditional. It's hard to believe that the standards called out in the criticism are the only ones acceptable to defining a great food city.

          I defy any city in the US to come up with a combination and quality of Korean, Thai, Mexican and Chinese offerings that would rival L.A's. Sure the city has it's weak spots but what great food city doesn't?

          But ultimately I guess I just don't care that much about how the author sees the city. If they think it's not that great, it's their loss. Even energetic intrepid active hounds are constantly finding new discoveries after years of searching. To me that makes LA a great food city.

          1. re: BobB


            The posters after me did a far better job than I did in articulating why I was upset.

            I live in New York. There aren't any neighborhoods in Manhattan where you can drive from wonderful great taco stand to taco stand. Would I criticize New York because it doesn't have a car culture? Because parking is impossible even if you have a car?

            Why is walking from bar to bar synonymous with great eating and drinking? And I daresay if there were great restaurants on the beaches, the beaches wouldn't be as great. There are dead zones foodwise in every city; it's only a rule of thumb, but usually there's an inverse correlation between restaurant quality and a view (and with exceptions, that applies to outdoor dining, too).

            There are plusses and minuses in every city, but as Jase so eloquently points out, L.A.'s riches are so great that I don't blame Saveur for not focusing on the weak spots.

            1. re: Dave Feldman

              Definitely agree, also I don't see why we should even compare food cities.

              What would be the point of travel for some of us if every city offered a similar social and cultural environment?

              The great and bad thing about LA is that we aren't a melting pot and most ethnic groups stick together but it is because of that, that there are many authentic ethnic restaurants here!

              IMO I love NYC and I think its a great food city and that is why making travel to it so worth it, for me food is everything because it is the driving force of the city. Because cities can become so different that is what causes different cultural trends and that difference is what makes traveling great because we can have a change of environment and discover something new in our journey to found great food that inspires or creates that great experience.

              1. re: Dave Feldman

                I didn't get the notion that beaches should have great restaurants. I mean, wouldn't you expect the beach to have the worst restaurants, even if you've never been to LA? I've only set foot in NYC's Times Square when passing through, but I don't expect that place to have NYC's best restaurants either. I don't really expect that of any popular public spaces.

                1. re: david t.

                  I think the criticism that the article lays on LA here really applies to the US in general. In many parts of the world you can get all sorts of excellent food on beaches and in public squares. Not usually haute cuisine, but fresh local fish and other simple grilled items are common in beach cultures like Greece, Italy, Israel, the Caribbean (especially the French Caribbean), etc.

                  For some reason Americans generally expect (and get) nothing more than ice cream and hotdogs at the beach.

          2. It's truly idiotic to say that LA isn't like New York so it can't be considered a food town. First off, in terms of land mass alone, LA is something like 15 times the size of New York. New York grew slowly over 400 years and with land at a premium everyone was packed in tightly. Also, as the entry port for the majority of immigrants they have a long history of food culture.

            LA, a relatively new meaglopolis, is not an evolutionary construct. It has a slapdash feel to it because that's now it was built. I've had lots of great food experiences there over the years but it's obviously not New York, nor Chicago nor San Francisco for that matter. But I'd hardly call those criticisms well-founded or fair.

            1 Reply
            1. Sounds like hes just pissed off it isn't New York which LA isn't. It's a different kind of city and the food scene is different as well. It may not be as easily accessible as say NYC but if you are willing to go out and look for it you can be rewarded too.

              Sure we dont have public transportation and all the perks of the NYC food scene but the point is we have one! Much better than the biggest town in Montana probably has (I dunno I'm just grasping here).

              As much as there are faults to LA I still love it here and having been to NYC I love it there too but I'd say LA is a harder city to get to know due to its massiveness and I, having lived here most of my life, still barely know it.

              1. Saveur should have done LA proud as most people in other parts of the country think it is a vacuous place with movie stars and palm trees..the issue portrays the city as an ethnically diverse cultural food city. Congrat's to Saveur for at the very least giving you the props you deserve...

                1 Reply
                1. re: Agent 99

                  although I don't think they went as in depth as I would have hoped how can you expect to one just one issue of a magazine? For starters its a good starting point for those who don't know the city and can expand on it.