Gold Walks the Line at 800 Degrees; Kuh Inspects Post & Beam

800 Degrees
800 Degrees Photo: Tony Chen via Sino Soul

Jonathan Gold sounds almost as obsessed with the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine at 800 Degrees as the rest of us, though maybe not as much as the junior high kid he spies trying to hack into it. He wonders why nobody has thought of this “high-quality pizza reformulated as fast-food” concept before, throwing out the inevitability that it will become the next Starbucks. How’s the pie? “I like the purist pizza at Mother Dough better than I like the pizza here,” the critic notes, “and I consider the squash blossom pies at Pizzeria Mozza to be proof of a loving God, but 800 Degrees is remarkable.” Gold advises that you enjoy this one now, before it’s everywhere. [LAT]

“Dressed in stucco and wood, Post & Beam could be a prototype for a new line of restaurants by a big operator like Houstons,” Patrick Kuh writes of Govind Armstrong’s new home, “but the interior is too personal, too idiosyncratic for that.” The chef “puts out smart, unassuming food that draws effortlessly from an array of sources,” of which the author notes the Middle Eastern-ness of flash-fried chickpeas on the octopus, the idealism of this “modern California cook” sourcing from South Central Farmers Collective, and the “less is more” mantra exercised in his sauces that he must have picked up while working for Puck. Kuh helps sum up the movement here in saying, “Armstrong’s restaurant is postgastro and, judging by the amalgam of ethnicities that work and eat here, post-racial,” with the cooking “making no claims about where it comes from…” even if the cobbler might be better in Leimert Park. “Food like this has an emotional tug that is as important to the atmosphere as anything adorning the room.” [Los Angeles Magaqzine, April Issue]