The Other Critics

SIV Retreads Serenata’s Grounds; Gold Porks San Gabriel

La Serenata de Garibaldi
La Serenata de Garibaldi Photo: Maveric via Flickr

Apparently not interested in treading new ground these days, S. Irene Virbila goes back to Boyle Heights’ upscale institution, La Serenata de Garibaldi. She once considered it “one of L.A.’s best Mexican restaurants,” back when she got this job in the first place, but thinks it has lost its way a little bit. The prices used to be lower, the atmosphere was once more rustic, the seafood isn’t local, and “the occasional dish just doesn’t work.” Despite poking repeated holes in its consistency, she still says it produces “solid and sometimes sublime Mexican cooking along with a little piece of L.A. history,” and generally still seems charmed by her old favorite. How that final assessment results in one-and-a-half stars, we’ll never know. And don’t even get Wolfgang Puck started. [L.A. Times]

Gold digs into a favorite subject: pork. More specifically, where to procure the good shit in the San Gabriel Valley. Just as we agreed back in April, you can get some great cuts of meat at Mitsuwa and Gold even sheepishly admits he likes the stuff at Whole Foods. He loves Alexander’s Prime Meats, but for the kindest pig, suggests staying tuned to McCall’s in Los Feliz. Plus, you can always fantasize over the possibilities online at Heritage Foods. [L.A. Weekly]

Naturally, Mr. Gold isn’t very comfortable eating at the mall, even when it’s his beloved Italian food with the native pedigree to show for it. Despite Century City feeling like it’s planets away from Rome, he sounds charmed by the orgy of mozzarella options at Obika and introduces us to first local appearance of Calabrian sausage n’duja. [L.A. Weekly]

Pizzas are a “high-point” at Studio City’s 8 1/2 Taverna, writes Los Angeles magazine, though they argue “in this town, if you name your restaurant after a Fellini film, you’d better be prepared to deliver.” The farro salad and frog’s legs lack seasoning and the marinara on the gnocchi don’t help boost it past being just a “neighborhood spot.” [Los Angeles]

This week, Merrill Shindler loves Chelsea, a gastro-pub in Hermosa Beach that he deems “the coziest” in town. [Daily Breeze]

SIV Retreads Serenata’s Grounds; Gold Porks San Gabriel