There is perhaps no more "of the moment" food critic in the world right now than Jonathan Gold, whose Sundance-approved documentary City of Gold is now in theaters citywide. He’s been dutifully lining up for tons of media outlets as a result, glad-handing out of towners over breakfast or talking about punk rock sensibilities in his writing — all in service of the movie and, well, his own writing over at the Times.
Here are five of the best lines we could find from around the internet as Jonathan Gold continues his whirlwind worldwide media blitz.
"There were a couple of years where I spent more time with Snoop than I did my family probably." Here, Gold talks with First We Feast about his past within the music writing community, particularly in the growing 90’s rap scene of South L.A. He talks about being at the park when they filmed the Let Me Ride music video, and buying a cell phone in 1989 just so Eazy-E could contact him. Of course, he also mentions backyard barbecues at Dr. Dre’s house, and occasionally writing a bad review.
"You are eating something at a restaurant and you have a big fuzzy microphone over your head and somebody wants nothing more than for you to say witty things." For Munchies, Gold talks about the awkwardness of being on camera (something he’s rarely done, of course) and the pressure to perform, despite it being a documentary. He tells friend Javier Cabral that eventually he loosened up and stopped worrying about saying the right thing. Much like with his own writing, Gold decided to just start talking, about the place itself or its history or what he didn’t like, and that’s ultimately what makes the movie so compelling.
"I’m not fond of eggs." Over at Newsweek, Gold chats about his likes and dislikes, including an apparent aversion to the egg in most of its forms. He can’t necessarily pinpoint exactly why he declines them at any meal — including one dish made by Daniel Boulud himself that was covered in truffles — but he certainly knows how overused they are. Still it’s surprising to learn that something so simple as the hearty morning egg constitutes just about the only thing Jonathan Gold doesn’t seem to care for.
"I admire the people who could do it as much as a sports writer admires athletes. It takes a lot of stamina." Gold chats with The Examiner about his documentary being a true love letter not just to Los Angeles, but to the larger restaurant industry as a whole. It’s not easy doing what they do, of course, and there are lots of conversations to be had about improving the working life of a line cook or a dishwasher. Gold, however, doesn’t much count himself as the person to have those conversations in his reviews, though he admits they are important.
"You chose the restaurant." This one is a bit cringeworthy, as Gold heads to The Hart & The Hunter with Ben Vaughn of The Daily Meal. A self-described out of towner, Vaughn blunders through a street name or two in the opening sequence of his Breakfast Show video with Gold — which is, interestingly, among the first fully sit-down on camera interviews Gold says he’s done — before asking Gold exactly why they’re at Hart & The Hunter, out of all the possible restaurants in the city. The rub is, of course, that Vaughn and the production team chose the restaurant well in advance, a fact that the stoic-as-always Gold points out in his most deadpan way.
The interview does pick up from there, as the duo chats about Southern ham, the rise of multicultural diners, and retells a long-famous stinky tofu story about how it was his palate that needed to change, not the restaurant’s. It’s fun and ultimately engaging, but boy that opening line.