After watching City of Gold, you will want to rush right out to Los Angeles and visit all the eating places talked about in this documentary about Jonathan Gold, who writes about food and restaurants in L.A. Numerous people appearing in the film (including people like Ruth Reichl, Calvin Trillin. and David Chang) remark about his publications’ being as much about L.A. and its culture as they are about food and restaurants. He clearly loves the city where he grew up with a rich background in classical music (he plays the cello), punk rock, and hip hop, along with museums and cultural arts centers. He brings all this experience to bear in his L.A. Times articles, so not surprisingly was the first writer about food and restaurants to receive a Pulitzer Prize in 2007.
Gold was one of the first food critics to seek out-of-the-way places to write about, such as food trucks and ethnic neighborhood restaurants. Many of the owners have been gratified by their sudden popularity after they appear in one of his columns. He has a reputation for being fair and democratic in the places he visits and what he says about them. When talking about the large immigrant population in L.A., he says that when there was a tremendous increase in people settling there from other countries in the 1960’s, it became “not a melting pot, but a glittering mosaic” in that neighborhoods and larger sections of the city maintained their ethnic identities. His reviews have been described as a “cultural mapping” of Los Angeles.
The documentary by Laura Gabbart gives a full picture of the man, his family, and the restaurateurs and critics he chats with during the film. It also touches on his relationships with L.A. Times editors, and Gold’s need to be prodded to get his articles in on time. It omits any mention of negative reviews—which, presumably, there have been.
About the L.A. Times Pulitzer prize-winning food and restaurant reviewer: Delicious.