As readers and eaters of Southern California cope with the sudden death of the brilliant food, music, and cultural critic Jonathon Gold, the Catalyst would like to highlight his Culver City-specific work.
His 2000 book Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles includes reviews of Cafe Brasil, El Indio, El Sazon Oaxaqueno, Guelaguetza (Westside location closed), Hot Dog on a Stick, the Indo Cafe (defunct), Isloa Verde (defunct), Mago’s, Mi Ranchito (defunct), Tito’s Tacos, Versailles, and Zabumba (defunct).
The LA Times has made access to Gold’s work free for a short time. After that, non-subscribers can access the Times for free with their LA County, LA City, Santa Monica, or Beverly Hills library cards.
Culver City (and the CC-adjacent area) was generously represented on his 2017 list of LA’s 101 essential restaurants, including Vespertine at #1, Lukshon at #4, n/naka at #14, Guerrilla Tacos at #28, Kogi at #82, and Mayura at #98.
Gold also frequently discussed Culver restaurants as a regular guest on KCRW’s Good Food radio show and podcast, including Vespertine, AR Cucina, Hanjip (defunct), The Cannibal (defunct), Sambar (defunct), the Westfield Culver City (still referred to locals by its original moniker, the Fox Hills Mall) food court, East Borough (defunct), the Muddy Leek (defunct), and Lukshon. All these episodes are available free on KCRW.com and iTunes.
Counter Intelligence was the culinary version of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States or Ronald Takaki’s A Different Mirror. Gold not only decisively detached food criticism from French haute cuisine, he also put immigrants, working-class people, and avant-garde artists at the center of Los Angeles’ identity and history.