Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Special Sources

"Trust Me" says the whiteboard Bart Simpson presiding over the omakase-only sushi bar at Echigo (I believe it was drawn by Matt Groening himself). But who can you turn to for the best restaurant recs? I prefer to ask the experts - there's no substitute for scribbled directions to Best Szechwan from the dude who actually hails from Szechwan province, or for eating ramen with someone who worked in a noodle house in Japan (that would be you, Tomo). Failing this, here are some really useful resources for exploring beyond my blog:

Counter Intelligence
by Jonathan Gold
Gold is the Big Daddy of Los Angeles food critics, and Los Angeles (the greatest international food city in the U.S.) has in this book the guide that it truly deserves. I've eaten at 87 of the restaurants in the book and most are sensational. Gold is very strong on all kinds of Mexican, regional Chinese, and a host of other cuisines. There are only a few complaints: he cannot be trusted on Singapore and Malaysian food, some inevitable downhill reports (avoid Aladdin Falafel) and that amazingly there is not a single Filipino restaurant in the book! has kindly posted a neighbourhood guide to Counter Intelligence.

Gold's website at LA Weekly. Worth a browse, particularly the Ask Mr Gold columns. Their searchable guide is similar to mine but non-overlapping in many areas.

Finding Chinese Food in Los Angeles: A Guide to Regional Chinese Cuisines

by Carl Chu
Awesome book that describes Chinese regional cuisines and lists many practitioners for each style. Chu is a true expert and apart from small lapses in the Teochew/Chiu Chow section (no mention of Teochew goose) the book is superb. Now he has busted out a 2004 volume called Chinese Food Finder that I have yet to read. - there is a dedicated Los Angeles board
The biggest and best place to discuss restaurants on the Internet. Chowhound is truly a labour of love for Jim Leff and I appreciate his efforts to create a community for productive restaurant research. It's hard to search the site quickly for neighbourhoods and cuisines, which is one reason I wrote this guide, but there is a vast amount of great info on the board. Signal to noise ratio is predictably poor - posts by Jerome, Sonia (about Koreatown), Thi N., Ernie (Mexican food only) are reliable. I don't read regularly any more but subscribe to the excellent ChowNews weekly summary for a paltry $15/6 months.

Professor Salt's blog

A cut above the average Chowhound, the O.C. homeboy Professor Salt knows his stuff. Plus his blog has great eye candy (unlike mine).

Eating L.A.
Chowpatty/Pat seems to share my core values but skews higher end. A rare chowhound whom one can consistently trust (except for Malaysian - the farmer's market is pretty bad), her fine blog has mouthwatering photos like Professor Salt's.

L.A. County Health Department
Ignore the letter rankings, but every restaurant in L.A. is listed here - plus it's searchable. Good for finding addresses.

Happy eating, and please let me know what you find!


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