By Mark Saldana
Rating: 4 (Out of 4 Stars)
Jonathan Gold has two main passions in his life: food and writing about food. The Los Angeles based, Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic lives to experience as much culinary delight as humanly possible in L.A. Though he can appreciate fine cuisine, he is not so snobby that he would avoid food trucks or any hole-in-the-wall, working class restaurants in the various, culturally diverse neighborhoods in his beloved town. To Jonathan Gold, his city is his playground to explore the unexplored and share his wealth of discovered treasures to the masses.
Written and directed by Lauren Gabbert, City of Gold is a fascinating, intimate portrait of man passionate about grub and cuisine who can eloquently document his experiences. As Gold himself narrated his writing, I sat in awe how beautifully poetic and descriptive his writing is. I also sat with my mouth watering and my stomach rumbling as I beheld the delectable delights Gold’s career allows him to sample. Gabbert’s film definitely covers a tremendous amount of ground and does it in a fun, sometimes entertaining, but always intelligent way.
As the title indicates, the documentary not only serves as a portrait of Gold, the artist and connoisseur, but also delivers as a love letter to Los Angeles and the plethora of cuisine and culture that it has to offer. The film sheds much light on Gold’s background, education, and how he became a writer and food critic. It also covers his personal life as a husband and father. Gold gives movie audiences a wonderfully insightful tour of the city and allows him to reveal some of the lesser known gems of the city, often overlooked by the media and tourists.
I must highly recommend City of Gold to anyone and everyone, period. I’m sure that fans of Gold and his work will absolutely enjoy this quite pleasing documentary, but I feel that anyone who can really appreciate the experiences of discovering savory and enticing food will also delight in watching Gold at work and in learning how he got to where he is today.