LA Weekly released its 2018 99 Essential Restaurants on Thursday and it’s never been more apparent that Los Angeles misses Besha Rodell. Except, instead of crafting new blurbs, new LA Weekly food editor Michele Stueven felt it was appropriate to simply regurgitate previous work done by Rodell even when she hasn’t worked for the publication in over six months. But that’s far from the greatest sin committed by Stueven and her team as the list reeks of LA Weekly soliciting commitment to participate in future food events in exchange for a spot. How else would you explain the omission of Majordomo, inarguably the biggest restaurant opening in Los Angeles (and perhaps country) this year, and yet Hock+Hoof, a DTLA restaurant that won’t even open until next month, somehow occupies real estate amongst the 99?
How can you rank a restaurant that hasn’t even officially served its first customer?
Stueven may have been able to subsist as a casual outsider on the periphery of the Los Angeles culinary scene up until now, but the ineptitude of LA Weekly’s latest offering has outed her as nothing more than a food fraud. From the inclusion of the likes of STRFSH, Cleo, and Javier’s to the omission of Rossoblu, n/naka, and Gjusta (hey, if Ray Garcia can get two spots, Travis Lett can have three), the list lacks the requisite congruency a true food writing auteur would bring to the proverbial chef’s table in synthesizing the best of Los Angeles bite by bite. The thoughtlessness and disregard for our city exhibited by LA Weekly should come as no surprise – hell, this is the same publication and the same editor that recently encouraged readers not to pay the optional 3 percent charge applied to the bill at NoMad that helps provide health care for employees.
Hey Michele, how are the numbers looking for Sunday? Thought so.
We here at DTLAer admire the efforts of the folks at LA Taco for constructing their own list – the Rogue 99 – under the leadership of former LA Weekly food editor Katherine Spiers and writer Tien Nguyen. It’s a fantastic read if you haven’t had the chance to check it out as it conjures the authenticity Jonathan Gold first brought to the original 99 Essential Restaurants back in 2005 and carried out daily by the likes of Eater LA’s Farley Elliott and Los Angeles Magazine’s Garrett Snyder. There’s still hope for an expansion of the type journalism that the Los Angeles food & drink scene demands, but LA Weekly is not part of the equation.
Dan Seco is the editor-in-chief of DTLAer. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.