The Wall Street Journal Skims L.A.’s Surface

Rivera's flower petal tortillas
Rivera’s flower petal tortillas Photo: KevinEats

The Wall Street Journal took a flash-bang trip through L.A. last week with the intention of telling New Yorkers where they can eat like they do back home. The story starts just like these always seem to do, with the wishy-washy blanket assertion that “The Los Angeles food scene is usually not as fun as the one in New York,” before exploring “some particularly forward-thinking stops on the Foodie Express.” If you want to start a story like this, hey, go for it, but you maight want to consider some of L.A.’s more fun or forward restaurants first before plunging into another staid selection, something Rupert Murdoch’s rag goes on to do.

You may want to tell readers where to avoid bull penis while chowing down on heavenly KTown mutton kebab, or where to enjoy live uni as the urchin scuttles across your table, and where to do battle with wriggling octopus tentacles using a pair of chopsticks. You may want to mine our renowned markets, shout out an Italian Masterchef and Michelin-star sushi, explore avant garde Vietnamese at Red Medicine and radical Middle Eastern at Mezze, alpaca stew at Mo-Chica, or the proprietary creations of Josef Centeno at Baco Mercat. You’d probably want to consider the mad talented Frenchman who kicked off our pop-up craze with foie gras croque monsiuer, the makers of veal brains vadouvan and flower petal tortillas, seafood savants at Providence and MB Post, or the wild-men who pulled off a marijuana-laced pop-up. Maybe you should point the way to what are arguably the strongest Chinese, Thai, Mexican, and Vietnamese scenes in the country.

All of which is to say that instead of mentioning any of the above, really just the start of a long list of fun and forward restaurants we could spiel out all day, The Wall Street Journal picked Sprinkles, 800 Degrees, Fonuts, ink.sack, and Umamicatessen in its guide to finding L.A.’s “food Mecca.”

Not all weak choices, of course, we like ink.sack and Pigg at Umamicatessen, and admire the hustle more than the pizza at 800 Degrees, but could happily continue our lives without another visit to Fonuts or the cupcake ATM.

But ever more eye-rolling, this is just another in a long line of stories that stereotypically skims the ice in Los Angeles without cracking the surface, not necessarily offering our best face and nothing necessarily more relevant to New Yorkers than say, Langer’s, Musso & Frank, Cole’s, or even Big Apple re-creationists like Papaya King, Soho House, Cafe Habana, or Joe’s Pizza. (Our recent pizza boom, by the way, gets credited entirely to Mario Batali here). Hell, even Gjelina is proud of having “a New York attitude.”

We’d love to say we’re surprised that an East Coast outlet is bobbling our landscape while making broad statements comparing our restaurants to the ones they slobber over daily. But alas, this is a road L.A. is all too familiar with. Maybe then we shouldn’t be so surprised the paper also appears to have blown climate change.

Finding a Food Mecca in the West [WSJ]

Earlier: L.A. Not on Huff’s Best Local Foods List [GS]
Hey L.A., Please Pardon John Mariani’s French [GS]
Has Haute Living Really Ever Eaten Mexican Food in L.A.? [GS]
Now Rick Bayless Dares To Call Angelenos ‘Timid’ [GS]
New Yorker Ivy Stark Attacks L.A.’s Mexican Food [GS]

The Wall Street Journal Skims L.A.’s Surface