The LA Weekly’s new ownership decimated the paper’s staff, including Shalhoup and food editor Katherine Spiers. The Weekly’s open critic position, which was recently vacated by Besha Rodell, has been eliminated. Los Angeles Magazine has also seen its food section shrink, and since the departure of Patrick Kuh it has ceased to run restaurant reviews. With the recent death of Jonathan Gold, a critic whose work not only highlighted the city’s food but also helped define the vision of Los Angeles that national publications are now so keen to embrace, LA is temporarily bereft of any critical voice. Arellano observed that right now, the longest-serving critic in Southern California is one who is often overlooked, OC Weekly’s Edwin Goei, who has been filing reviews since 2006.
“Video and food porn does not cut it.” - I love this line.
Thanks for posting this. I’m excited and I don’t even live there. Maybe this will cause some other publishers, not just in LA, to take note. (I’m a dreamer). The Houston Press eliminated it’s critic position about a year ago, although they still maintain a restaurant blog and there are posts 5 days a week by stringers. The decline of criticism hasn’t been as dire here as in LA but it does seem there’s been a cutback. Much of it is a breathless urgency to be the first to report on the latest heavily hyped newcomer, whatever the PR firms are pushing now.
Who cares what NY and the Times says?
I moved West to get as far away from East as possible. Nothing has changed to make me regret that.
Sometimes I wish the Country was divided at the Mississippi. East & West America has a nice ring to it.
End of crotchety old fart rant.
I’m not a big fan of the NY Times and have only spent a few days in NY but I think their decision to have a California critic is a recognition of a large and growing readership in this state and it gives the paper a platform from which to also cover diverse cultures.
Here’s an excerpt from the 3rd paragraph of the linked Times press release on the matter which may help to explain their reasoning:
The Times now has more regular readers in California than it does in any other state save New York, along with more restaurants to serve them — roughly 72,000, give or take a few In-N-Outs. These establishments represent an incredible diversity of cultures and cuisines. That is an irresistible combination platter for a news organization like ours, one devoted to helping readers understand the world in which they live.
I think it’s interesting and also smart of the NYTimes to do this, especially since the critic will be able to review basically anywhere in the state.
Could be a great opportunity for a relatively unknown yet fantastic restaurant to get deserved recognition they wouldn’t recieve otherwise.
(I grew up in CA, yet became a new yorker a long time ago now- although I don’t subscribe to the nytimes i do maximize the article per month i can read online and buy it sporadically)