Movie Review: City Of Gold

You’ve tasted Korean, Thai and Mexican food. You may have tasted Burmese, Ethiopian and Iranian food. You know that Los Angeles is a city with a diverse population. In City of Gold, you learn that Jonathan Gold often begins his reviews with writing in the second person. Hence, my opening paragraph.

Food critic Jonathan Gold wraps his arms around Los Angeles and its diversity. He loves L.A., his hometown, and its wide assortment of cuisines and flavors. City of Gold explores the food of Los Angeles and the people who cook and serve it. The film also provides insight into Gold and his writing.

Gold says, “You’re not going to find food like this anywhere but L.A.” I’d argue that many cities in the U.S., including St. Louis, offer a wide range of ethnic cuisines prepared with skill and passion.

But this film is about Los Angeles. The sheer enormity of the L.A. metro area and its population from across the world make it possible for Gold to experience meal after excellent meal at favorite dining spots. Gold revels in the smaller establishments, often in the less celebrated corners of town. (He once wrote a series of articles about every block of Pico Boulevard, which runs from downtown L.A. to the ocean at Santa Monica.)

Among the spots I like best in the film are the taco stand King Taco, which also has a taco truck permanently parked outside, and downtown’s Grand Central Market.

City of Gold features appearances from food personalities Andrew Zimmern, David Chang, Ruth Reichl and Calvin Trillin talking with or about Gold. (He and Reichl commiserate over fried grasshoppers.) Gold’s wife Laura Ochoa, who also works for the Los Angeles Times, adds her takes about her husband and his work.

Gold, the first food critic to win the Pulitzer Prize (2007), writes colorfully. Of a spicy dish, he compares it to “a mysteriously pleasurable punch in the mouth.” In an Op-Ed regarding preservation of over-harvested sea animals for food, he writes of the “bitter taste of extinction.”

Jonathan Gold has a wide cultural range. He is a cello player who grew up listening to classical music but later wrote about Gangsta rap. He doesn’t seem like a truck guy, but he proudly drives a Dodge pickup.

Laura Gabbert directed City of Gold. Her shots of Los Angeles at the end of the day give the city an appealing look that contrast with the gritty look of much of her street level filming.

City of Gold provides a glimpse of the vastness of the food choices L.A. brings to the table. Gold is a man who loves his work as much as he loves his city. His passion is obvious. You will enjoy meeting him and, especially, checking out the food he eats.

 

 

 

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Hungry Girl in STL on April 20

Lisa Lillien AKA Hungry Girl returns to St. Louis on Wednesday, April 20, 7:00 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center. It’s a FREE appearance, but you need to obtain an advance ticket.

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Lisa will be in town for a Jewish Book Festival event and will be promoting her newest book Clean & Hungry. Important note: “Snacks will be served.”

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Here is my interview with Lisa recorded in fall of 2012 for the Food Talk STL radio show, just ahead of an appearance at a Dierberg’s store.

 

In the interview, Lisa mentions throwing out a first pitch at a Cardinals game. (Hmmm. There’s a day game against the Cubs at Busch Stadium on her appearance date. Maybe she could enjoy a repeat performance?)

For (free) tickets to see Lisa on 4/20 at the J, you can call 314-442-3299 OR you can send an email to mjkambal@jccstl.org OR you can stop by the box office at the JCC Arts and Education building. Location is 2 Millstone Campus Drive, St. Louis 63146.

For more info about Lisa at her Hungry Girl website, click HERE.

 

 

 

 

New Foodie Movie: City Of Gold

City of Gold opens in St. Louis on Friday, March 25. Look for my review of the film in this space a few days before opening day.

This is a documentary featuring Los Angeles food critic Jonathon Gold who reveals the diversity of foods available in the L.A. area. Gold, a Pulitzer Prize winner, is “a culinary geographer taking us where no critic has gone before,” according to press notes.

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3/10 Fundraiser for Soccer Park

The A-B Biergarten is hosting a fundraiser Thursday, March 10, 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., to support restoration efforts for World Wide Technology Soccer Park, following recent flood damage.

Tickets for the event are 50 dollars. Guests will enjoy a variety of food and beverages plus live music. Attendees can bid on a number of attractive items in the silent auction. To purchase tickets, click HERE.

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During the event, checks will be presented by officials from Anheuser-Busch and Grey Eagle Distributors to help support the cause.

The popular soccer venue’s convenient location, off I-44 just west of I-270, is close to the Meramec River whose high waters caused extensive damage to much of the facility. The photo below from stltoday.com shows the extent of recent flooding.

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Thursday’s event offers a perfect opportunity for the STL soccer community to provide needed help. The soccer park, which opened in 1982, has hosted soccer matches at all levels of play, as well as numerous other events. Almost everyone involved in the St. Louis soccer scene has played or attended games there.

For more information about World Wide Technology Soccer Park, click HERE.

The Anheuser-Busch Biergarten is located at 1200 Lynch Street, adjacent to the brewery.

 

Cards Spring Games on BPV TV

Ballpark Village has one humongous TV screen. It’s not only ginormous, it also has a bright, clear picture.

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For many of the Cardinals spring training games from Florida, four of Ballpark Village’s venues will be offering a $10 Burger + Beer special.

You can enjoy this deal at Budweiser Brew House, Cardinal Nation, Drunken Fish and Fox Sports Midwest Live! (FSML! is the area with the big TV.) For ten bucks, you get any menu burger plus a pint of domestic beer. (For Drunken Fish, you can substitute a bowl for a burger.)

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Also—tickets to regular season Cardinals games will be given away each day the special deal is offered!

Here is the schedule for the Burger and Beer $10 special (with Cardinals baseball on TV). All games begin at noon, except the March 30 game which begins at 11:00 a.m.

Sunday, March 6 vs Nationals

Monday, March 7 vs Mets

Wednesday, March 9 vs Marlins

Friday, March 11 vs Braves

Monday, March 14 vs Twins

Friday, March 18 vs Tigers

Sunday, March 20 vs Marlins

Monday, March 21 vs Redsox

Wednesday, March 23 vs Marlins

Saturday, March 26 vs Nationals

Sunday, March 27 (Easter Sunday) vs Marlins

Monday, March 28 vs Mets

Tuesday, March 29 vs Nationals

Wednesday, March 30 vs Marlins.

For info about the Ballpark Village Spring Training Special, click HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Potbelly Sandwich Shop in O’Fallon (MO)

The St. Louis area now has its third Potbelly Sandwich Shop. The newest Potbelly is open in O’Fallon, MO, at 2025 Highway K. (That’s 1.6 miles south of I-70.)

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The shop features “toasty” warm sandwiches, salads, soups, chili, and shakes and smoothies. And a friendly crew!

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I sampled the Potbelly sandwich called “A Wreck” which comes with salami, roast beef, turkey, ham and Swiss cheese. Take a look…

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I got mine with lettuce, tomato, pickle and mayo. There’s a lot of good stuff on that sandwich. Very filling! (Took the other half back to share with a co-worker who loved it.)

The Sriracha Black Bean Soup was just spicy enough to enhance its deliciousness. I want more!

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If you’re a milk shake fan, try the coffee flavored shake. Or maybe get chocolate and coffee mixed for a mocha shake.

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And would you believe that a sandwich shop has live entertainment? Yep. Everyday between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., there are live music performers! Nice touch.

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The manager at the O’Fallon Potbelly is Mike Wright. Owners are Todd and Angie Stimson. They also have Potbelly Sandwich shops in Creve Coeur (on Olive in the old Provisions location) and in Clayton (on Bemiston in the old Fatted Calf location). Their next Potbelly is set to open in late summer in St. Charles near Lindenwood University.

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By the way, the name comes from the potbelly stove that was in the original Potbelly Sandwich Shop in Chicago. It was an antique store that began serving lunch to their shoppers and, before long, they were better known for their food than for their antiques.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop in O’Fallon is open at 11:00 a.m. each day. It closes at 9:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and at 8:00 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, click HERE.

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Pearl’s Oyster Bar at Ameristar

St. Louis area seafood fans, put Pearl’s Oyster Bar on your list! Located at Ameristar Casino in St. Charles.

Ameristar has added a new executive chef for the St. Charles casino and has just introduced a new menu at Pearl’s. A recent tasting event featured several items with a distinctive New Orleans influence, including Shrimp and Grits, shown below.

photo (2)Atlantic Grouper is available at Pearl’s, grilled or blackened, as shown below.

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The new executive chef for Ameristar St. Charles is Chicago native Don Yamauchi who was on hand during my recent visit to Pearl’s Oyster Bar.

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Yamauchi’s honors include having been listed by Food & Wine magazine as one of the “Top Ten New Chefs in America” and being named one of the “Top Five Rising Chefs in America” by the James Beard Foundation.

Pearl’s Oyster Bar offers cornmeal crusted fried oysters in a po’ boy sandwich and as an appetizer. And, of course, they have raw oysters.

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Among my favorite items at Pearl’s were the Lobster Rolls and the Shrimp Po’ Boys, seen below.

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Add Hush Puppies, with remoulade sauce…

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And a bowl of Gumbo…

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And finish up with Key Lime Pie that has a perfect blend of sweet and tart.

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If you’re up for a cocktail, Pearl’s has a cocktail menu that includes concoctions called “Cajun Lemonade,” “Sweet Mother of Pearl,” “Blazing Cyclone” and “Who Dat.” (I’m more of a beer guy—and they have a good variety of beers available.)

The food choices at Pearl’s also include a Filet Mignon Po’ Boy, Live Maine Lobster, New England Clam Chowder and that New Orleans favorite Red Beans and Rice.

Pearl’s Oyster Bar is open Fridays and Saturdays, 5:00 p.m. to midnight and Sundays, 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Click HERE for more info.

For info about Ameristar Casino Resort Spa St. Charles, click HERE.