Los Angeles is a weird place. To those who have never been here, I imagine it comes across as a flashy city full of movie stars where açai bowls and avocado toast run rampant and everyone is trying to break into the film industry. Unfortunately, I’ve found that when some people come as tourists, they’re let down when this illusion is broken and they come face to face with the nightmare that is the 405, the reality that Hollywood Boulevard isn’t always glamorous, and the challenge that comes with making sense of this city. I find that people don’t always give LA enough of a chance, and they diminish it to the price of their Uber from the beach, roll their eyes at all the raw juice bars, and don’t take the time to uncover its hidden gems. A friend once said to me that LA takes time; you can’t discover or learn to love it in the span of a weekend, but if you give it a chance you’ll love it more and more every day, month, and year that you let it reveal its rich and diverse culture. And I don’t think anyone uncovered and exposed the magic of LA like Jonathan Gold.
I’ve wanted to live in LA for as long as I can remember, and something really clicked in my head when I watched City of Gold and acquainted myself with Gold a few years back. I was just starting to really explore the LA food scene, trying out different taco trucks, and learning that the best Chinese food in LA is usually tucked into a strip mall. As I watched City of Gold and learned more about Gold and his approach to food writing, I felt like I absolutely had to follow up, try as many restaurants he recommended as possible, and do my own research not just of LA’s high end restaurants, but of its myriad of irreplaceable hole in the wall joints. I don’t think I realized it at the time, but Gold is the person who painted a picture of the career I want for myself. He made it okay for me to be equally infatuated with a $25 burger and a perfect street taco that goes for $1. He put into words for me the rush of pleasure that comes from discovering a new restaurant that you may not find on Trip Advisor. Jonathan Gold gave Los Angeles years of gifts through his beautiful tributes to its best food; and through his many love letters to the City of Angels, he made me fall in love with it too. The LA food scene will forever feel the loss of his words, but I hope that I’ll be able to fill part of that vacuum and continue his legacy by examining and sharing the secret jewels of LA’s incredible restaurant culture.