RIP Jonathan Gold. He not only made it okay for a person of any ethnicity to visit a restaurant of any other ethnicity in L.A., he made it downright cool to do so. And our world is a just little bit closer for him having passed through it.
This hit me so hard.
First off - my heart breaks for his family. So young and from diagnosis to his passing? So horribly fast.
For me? Jonathan Gold made Los Angeles possible, doable. I grew up with my dad talking about New York all the time and I thought LA would be that tough and intimidating. And in a way, it was, with its sprawl.
Then I found J Gold and his columns.
He made the city understandable, with it’s neighborhoods and traditions. And his glee at finding and celebrating awesome food in a non-awesome location? Had me in my car, on a hunt, many a time. And at my first bite at the new place? Finding it as good as he said it was? I was gleeful as well.
I’ve been here long enough, I now know the areas, the locations, I’ve found extra places for food info (including this website!), I can survive. But to lose a cultural ambassador, a kind hearted, open hearted sharer of joy? This town is less, so much less, without him. And so am I.
BTW, I am crying right now. We’d never met - and I am crying.
perhaps right now he and anthony bourdain are arguing about oki dog.
Oh! I would SO love that!
R.I.P. mr. gold. you were my imaginary friend. i have followed you for years. you changed the way i lived my life. before there was a term foodie i used to try all the “better” restaurants in LA. when the zagat guide became popular i would drive to pasadena or the valley (when i thought there was only one) to try their restaurants with a 24 or higher rating. i considered myself a very experienced eater. that ended when i discovered your book counter intelligence. the book was given to me as a gift. i clearly remember that even before i looked through it, i assumed that i would have eaten at most of the places. was i ever wrong. there were over 300 restaurants and i had maybe been to 10%. i was shocked. these were restaurants i’d never
seen mentioned before, in areas that i vaguely knew what freeway they were near.
so i decided to try a couple of the places. i found that not only did i like the food but it was a mini adventure.
i was exploring areas in the city i grew up in that i never had been to. i found the people friendly and welcoming. eventually i made my way through the entire book sort of the same way jonathan made his way
down pico. i still remember driving to bakersfield to eat at the basque restaurant family style in the noriega
hotel. i remember so often thinking to myself, how the hell did he find this place? there are hundreds of
mexican places and he knows the best oaxacan, the best korean for hangovers, etc. when jonathan worked in
NY i used to go there almost weekly so the loss of him in LA wasn’t too hard, although he would only review
one restaurant a month for gourmet magazine. upon his return to LA , i’d visit all the places he’d review. i’d
also check out his ask mr. gold column in the weekly for other places he knew about. i always found that whatever place he’d mention was always worthwhile, even if i didn’t like the place. i understood what he was trying to teach me. this continued through his work at the times. although they stopped months ago, i would
look forward to his lunchtime chats as much as his reviews.
for years now, i eat at a different restaurant for lunch everyday . i don’t review places or blog. it’s solely for my
own enjoyment. i do my own research going to new places, or checking out what the experienced food writers
or compassionate eaters here on FTC recommend. in LA we have eater LA, esparza, chan, lurie, sinosoul, thurman, LA mag, brooks, etc. all doing great stuff. i used to think what jonathan would think of the places on
my lists. when i was eating at some remote restaurant i would wonder had jonathan been here.
i thought something was off when his instagram hadn’t changed in a month. i thought that maybe he was in
italy for his annual vacation. i really wish that he was. i am forever grateful for what you gave to me.
i still have my dogeared copy of counter intelligence on my desk. goodbye my friend.
A sad day indeed
Here’s footage of him on a Japanese TV show (e.g. 20 ish minute mark) eating the creations of the chef owner of Sushi Aoki (Ginza) at a competition (as a judge)
true for me as well
Pete Wells’s obit has a chicken story that may be the one Ruth Reichl alluded to.
For a time he saw a therapist for writer’s block until it was mutually agreed that somebody as prolific as Mr. Gold could not be described as blocked.
He had a better hat than me.
So sad. I’m speechless. I moved to LA in 1981 and have been reading Gold since his music writing days @ the Weekly. I will miss his perspective and enthusiasm
Along with many of you folks on Chowhound, JGold helped guide me to so much wonderful and uniquely LA type food. Dragged my family all over LA in search of cheap eats when I lived there and still do to this day even though now down in SD. Very sad news.
Incredible outpouring on Twitter. Likely a larger reaction than if a major Los Angeles political or sports figure had passed.
The man was epic.
RIP J Gold.
Coming to LA in 2007, he was my guide to Los Angeles. As Asian kid in growing up in Michigan I never even had a taco outside of Taco Bell. He opened my culinary and world view well beyond my wildest dreams. Now I’m effin making aguachiles and seeking out aji amarillo and snook. I even got to cook for him at a cooking event. Tragic and sad beyond compare and condolences to his family.
Six hours later and I’m still devastated, the man meant so much to many, nice to see Twitter respond in kind. We’ve lost a titan.
Amazing post. R.I.P. indeed.
I used to think food critics only reviewed the most fancy and the most expensive restaurants in town with big high profile chefs.
JGold changed that. Gave respect and honor to our hole in the walls.