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LA Times Denies Restaurant Critic Patricia Escárcega’s Request for Equal Pay

Plus, Esquire’s best new restaurants, Primo’s Thanksgiving donuts, and DTLA’s Sky’s Tacos

El Segundo Exteriors And Landmarks - 2020 Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Patricia Escárcega put her employer on blast this weekend, after receiving a decision by management about a pay dispute. Escárcega accused her employers of paying her two-thirds of what her white male co-reviewer, Bill Addison, earns.

Escárcega and Addison were both hired in late 2018 to replace the late Jonathan Gold. The pair embarked on ambitious restaurant expeditions throughout Southern California, and published reviews on a weekly basis.

Escárcega has been vocal about this dispute since her discovery of the pay disparity this year. On Twitter, she outlined the details of her complaint, which started six months ago. Over the weekend, Escárcega received a two-page memo that said her salary will not increase or reach the level of pay of her co-critic.

Escárcega also tweeted that she received verbal assurances that a resolution was on the way, but cited “icy indifference and well-documented abusive behavior from my former managers,” likely in references to former food editor Peter Meehan. Meehan resigned in July when editors of Los Angeles Times Food accused him of creating a hostile work environment.

It’s an awkward position for the Los Angeles Times. Last week, 240 Black, Latino, and woman journalists settled a class-action lawsuit where they accused management of paying this group less than their white male peers. In September, the paper examined its failures on race throughout its 139-year history.

Co-reviewer Addison tweeted a statement of support for Escárcega. He believes she should be paid the same amount of money for the same work.

In other news:

  • Two LA restaurants made Esquire’s best new restaurant list. The list features 21 restaurants throughout the nation, with Pasjoli and Found Oyster making the cut. Bell’s in Santa Barbara also made the list.
  • California Restaurant Association’s president and CEO wrote an op-ed in the Orange County Register, noting the plight of restaurants and the large ecosystem of businesses that rely on them.
  • ABC-7 explored whether those outdoor dining igloos and tents can protect against COVID-19 transmission.
  • Primo’s Donuts just turned its Thanksgiving options up to 11 with new holiday flavors. Try the cranberry-filled jelly, cranberry maple bacon, pumpkin spice cake, or pumpkin-glazed cinnamon roll.
  • Downtown News penned a profile about the Downtown outlet for Sky’s Tacos, and its founder Barbara “Sky” Burrell.
  • Santa Monica’s beloved 25-year-old Zabie’s will close permanently, reports Santa Monica Daily Press.
  • LAist uncovered a piece of cafe life, with a story about Artesia’s Bakers & Baristas, and the impact of reopening during a pandemic.
  • L.A. Times Food Critic Patricia Escárcega Accuses the Paper of Discrimination [LA Mag]