Hungry? If you want to eat some of the best food in L.A., we’re here to help. Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold has released his list of the 101 best restaurants in the L.A. area. You won’t be able to access the full list if you’re not a subscriber, but you can peek at the top 20 here.

Photos, from top: Bethany Mollenkof / Los Angeles Times, Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times, Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times, Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Jonathan Gold’s best Los Angeles restaurants revealed!

Pultizer Prize-winning critic Jonathan Gold has finally lifted the curtain on where he thinks the best places in L.A. to grab a bite to eat, a luxurious meal or just a huge upgrade to your workday lunch.

The full list is behind our paywall, but the top 20 spots are nonetheless open for everyone to take a peek.

Gold’s top pick, by the way, is Providence, a restaurant that has already been met with widespread acclaim. Though far from a bargain, the Mid-Wilshire establishment is, at least in Gold’s opinion, worth the expense.

Photos: Christina House / For The Times

The king of Chinese restaurants

How many Chinese restaurants have you been to? A few? Maybe a dozen?

For L.A. attorney David Chan, that number quickly skyrocketed, currently sitting at a preposterous 6,297 (with more still to come).

But Chan didn’t always have Chinese cuisine, reviews for which he keeps collected in a massive spreadsheet cataloging his travels and meals:

As a child, Chan hated Chinese food. The few times his parents would drag him to Chinatown restaurants like Lime House for banquets, he’d sulk over a bowl of plain rice. Home-cooked dinners were American standbys like meatloaf and spaghetti.

If Chan didn’t feel Chinese, it was partly by design.

"I think my parents wanted to protect me," Chan said. "I was pretty much raised as an American."

And for those looking to follow in his footsteps (at least for a little while), here are Chan’s personal top 10 restaurants.

Read more about Chan’s culinary mission here.

Photos: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

The fight over foie gras

To some, it’s a delicacy with a taste beyond comparison, but to others, its cultivation is an act of cruelty, and its consumption a crime. Foie gras, to put it simply, is traditionally meat from a goose or duck that has been forcibly fed (like so) which leads to a gigantic, fatty bird.

California has a ban on serving the fattened meat, but that hasn’t completely stopped people from serving dishes with the illegal ingredient.

From chefs Noah Blom of Arc and Santana, who think they’ve found a legal way to serve the meat - giving it away for free with a $55 glass of wine:

"No one has the right to tell people what to eat or not eat," Santana said. "Just because you’re vegetarian, vegan or love animals, it doesn’t mean your neighbor feels the same way.”

PETA, in response, has threatened legal action against the duo.

Read more on the debate here.

Photos: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

kcetliving:

‘El Bandini is El Finito’ — The End of Great Taco Hunt

For many curious taco lovers in Los Angeles, the site GreatTacoHunt has been a bastion of knowledge and insight into the untold number of trucks, tables, stands and storefronts that dot the city. Run by a shadowy figure known only as El Bandini, Great Taco Hunt was a home for focused discussions about neighborhood tacos, including a proprietary taco ranking system, photos from the front lines and dispatches from across the internet that always helped to fill in the blanks.

The site began in 2005, with the simple mission of documenting as many L.A. tacos as possible. Since then, El Bandini has reviewed, mapped and photographed hundreds of locations, plus helped to put together the influential yearly Taco Madness tournament. Now, after seven years of tasting and talking about tacos, El Bandini is calling it quits. KCET got in touch with the mysterious eater to discuss his decision to pull out of the taco game after all this time, and to look back on his own influence in the food blogging culture that has pervaded this city.

Farley: You’ve always been known as El Bandini online. Are you comfortable giving us a little bit of information about the man behind the taco blog?

El Bandini: I’m Andy O’Neill and I’m a recovering taco-holic. And I’m almost 40. But I’ve never lived in a van down by the river.

Read more here.

A reblog for all other taco-holics out there.

test reblogged from kcetliving

Delis in crisis: Traditional Jewish delicatessens, once a mainstay in urban areas, are in a tailspin, facing a decline in customers and a changing culinary climate. In New York, where thousands of delis thrived following World War II, now just a few dozen remain. And the delis in the Big Apple aren’t alone in their struggles:

Demographic shifts in Los Angeles in the last few decades — along with the arrival of brands such as Langer’s in MacArthur Park, Canter’s on Fairfax and the Brent’s chain — sparked hope of a Jewish deli revival in the Southland.
Lately, however, the region has suffered the same troubles bedeviling delis in the east.

Read more on the decline of the Jewish deli, just know that the read is best accompanied by pastrami on rye.

Delis in crisis: Traditional Jewish delicatessens, once a mainstay in urban areas, are in a tailspin, facing a decline in customers and a changing culinary climate. In New York, where thousands of delis thrived following World War II, now just a few dozen remain. And the delis in the Big Apple aren’t alone in their struggles:

Demographic shifts in Los Angeles in the last few decades — along with the arrival of brands such as Langer’s in MacArthur Park, Canter’s on Fairfax and the Brent’s chain — sparked hope of a Jewish deli revival in the Southland.

Lately, however, the region has suffered the same troubles bedeviling delis in the east.

Read more on the decline of the Jewish deli, just know that the read is best accompanied by pastrami on rye.

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! Test your coca knowledge with a quiz from restaurant critic extraordinaire Jonathan Gold, and perhaps if you get a high enough score, reward yourself with something sweet.

Photos: Gary Friedman, Ricardo DeAratanha, Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times

The ABCs of restaurant grades: They’re a snapshot of some issues but may not indicate how likely you are to get sick from dining at an establishment.
Photo credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

The ABCs of restaurant grades: They’re a snapshot of some issues but may not indicate how likely you are to get sick from dining at an establishment.

Photo credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

"There’s one dish at Café Gratitude, the new vegan restaurant on North Larchmont Boulevard in Los Angeles, that stands out from the others," writes Emma Watzman. "It’s called the I Am Grateful bowl. Piled high with shredded kale, quinoa, black beans and garlic-tahini sauce, it’s filling, flavorful, healthful and free. That’s right. $0.”
Photo: Cafe Gratitude’s “I Am Grateful” dish. Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

"There’s one dish at Café Gratitude, the new vegan restaurant on North Larchmont Boulevard in Los Angeles, that stands out from the others," writes Emma Watzman. "It’s called the I Am Grateful bowl. Piled high with shredded kale, quinoa, black beans and garlic-tahini sauce, it’s filling, flavorful, healthful and free. That’s right. $0.

Photo: Cafe Gratitude’s “I Am Grateful” dish. Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Times Restaurant Critic S. Irene Virbila takes on six Bay area restaurants in six days.
Photo: A lobster cracker topped with caviar, finely diced bone marrow and flakes of edible gold leaf at Benu in San Francisco. More photos of Bay Area food and sites at the gallery. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Times Restaurant Critic S. Irene Virbila takes on six Bay area restaurants in six days.

Photo: A lobster cracker topped with caviar, finely diced bone marrow and flakes of edible gold leaf at Benu in San Francisco. More photos of Bay Area food and sites at the gallery. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times