It’s my dream, or one of them, to go to Los Angeles one day and see all the famous comedy venues, Largo, UCB, Comedy Store, Nerdist; and now, thanks to the documentary City of Gold, I know where to eat while I am there.
The documentary focuses on food critic and Pulitzer Prize winner Jonathan Gold as he navigates his way through the different culinary neighborhoods of Los Angeles for the purpose of honoring good food from many regions while showing there is more to offer beyond Hollywood Boulevard; if you’re willing to search for it.
As food trucks become more and more popular, all you would have to do in LA is follow the owners and popular chefs like Roy Choi on Twitter to find their location and the hot menu item of the day.
Gold, writing for the Los Angeles Times and formerly LA Weekly, is known in the culinary world as a fair critic. Chefs want him to come to their restaurant, but deep down hope he doesn’t strictly to avoid the angst of knowing someone is judging their work. We’ve all been there, right?
At least the chefs, from all parts of the world and culinary influences, can rest assured Gold will visit a restaurant four to five times before writing a review; often why he misses his deadlines at the newspaper.
Gold discovers mom-and-pop restaurants, gourmet food trucks hidden on a corner downtown and world-class shops throughout the city. The documentary only skims the surface of the restaurateurs’ stories; perhaps that could be the sequel.
One year early in Gold’s career he “ate Pico Boulevard,” meaning he tried every restaurant along the 15 mile roadway.
I could try to hit a few of those hot spots when I go to LA, in hopes they are near a comedy club.
I would say City of Gold is more of a literary and storytelling achievement rather than one of high cinematic caliber because of how many threads of Gold’s life and work, as well as the city, filmmaker Laura Gabbert managed to fit into 90 minutes.
Gabbert, though interviews with Gold, his family, many other journalists and chefs, covered the definition of food criticism, how restaurant owners find their way to Los Angeles and the underlying character beneath Gold’s writing.
I recommend the film for its glimpse into the hidden treasures of the city of Los Angeles and people making their life there; and as I said for some tips about restaurants to try if you’re planning a comedic tour like me anytime soon.
Another plus of the film and Gold’s favorite eateries: it seems most of the restaurants and food trucks he tries are affordable. Just don’t leave your wallet in El Segundo.