Welcome to the weekend! First, we should mention that "City of Gold," Laura Gabbert's documentary that chronicles Jonathan Gold's Los Angeles, just opened here. (To state the obvious: Go see it!) Maybe because of that, we've all been feeling circumspect this week, thinking about new and old restaurants, chefs whose careers and circuitry match the way this city eats or transforms it, how food is culture and the people who write about it are as much anthropologists as diners.
So Jonathan reviews a newish restaurant in Venice and Jenn Harris checks out an old-school dumpling factory in Pasadena, where a family makes manti from scratch in a tiny storefront. And so a much-lauded French chef opens his first Los Angeles restaurant, or will soon, and we consider California wines and cups of ice cream topped with cotton candy. It's a vast universe of food in this town, whether documented on screen, on your Instagram feed, or just on the plate.
The barber of Venice
In his latest review, Jonathan heads to the beach, to chef Jesse Barber's latest restaurant, Dudley Market, where he finds food that suits the new Venice. Barber was chef at Barnyard before this, and cooked at the Tasting Kitchen before that — both also in Venice, and also vaguely Italian in genre. At Dudley Market, there's some excellent food by a chef who is "one of the lights in California urban rustic cooking at the moment."
Deputy Food editor Jenn Harris visits the Yegiazaryan family, who run a small business making manti, the Middle Eastern-style dumplings, in its tiny shop, the Monta Factory, in North Pasadena. There, Evelina and her son, Sarkes, will make thousands of manti every day, old-school style, rolling out and filling the dough. The dumplings, which are kind of like meatballs crossed with potstickers, are both traditional and highly addictive, drawing customers from as far away as Fresno.
Jean-Georges comes to L.A.
If you love Las Vegas for its restaurants, we've got three newish ones for you to check out now. But if you prefer eating the remarkable cuisine of Jean-Georges Vongerichten closer to home, we have good news: The lauded chef is opening his first Los Angeles restaurant next year, at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills.
Wines of the Week: California Mourvedre
Our wine writer Patrick Comiskey pairs red wine with, well, prose, considering three bottles of Mourvedre. These are all from in-state, wines that are often under-appreciated, great to glug or to appreciate more slowly. One wine comes from a new Paso Robles winery, another from a vineyard not far from the San Diego Zoo.
Pop rocks and unicorns
As part of our recurrent (mostly) What We're Into section, we consider matters of hot sauce and pies, and Jonathan heads to CottonHi in Koreatown. If you don't know what this is, you probably need to go right now. Because: cotton candy, Pop Rocks and Lucky Charms, all on soft-serve ice cream. And there's more: a shot of cold brew in a lab pipette that transforms your dessert into "a kind of Candy Land affogato."
Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants, the authoritative annual guide to local dining, is online for subscribers.