We're going to give the L.A .Times a break this week (of course, I haven't seen My Favorite Weekend yet...) and single out the San Francisco Chronicle for a lashing this week. I don't know whether restaurant critic Michael Bauer is loved or reviled up there, but his article The Dish on Los Angeles seems pretty lame. He's only, what, 360 miles away, and yet he hasn't been to L.A. in 10 years? Give me a break. Surely S. Irene gets to San Fran a little more often than that. We've been dissed, I guess.
Let's put aside some of his more shopworn cliches (Spago "keeps going like the Energizer Bunny" and gasp, "people have to drive to get anywhere") and look at his selections: ...two Wolfgang Puckeries, a Mozza, Lucques, Jar, La Terza...is he trying to chose the most San Francisco-esque selection of restaurants possible? Yawn. They're certainly some of L.A.'s best, although you get the idea that Hatfield's made the cut mainly because the chefs hail from San Francisco. But other than endlessly repeating that, surprise, people in the industry seem to go to a lot of good restaurants, where they do a lot of business, he shows absolutely no insight into the character and texture of L.A. dining. This is about as good as it gets: because it's warmer here, restaurants have patios. Oh, and also, there's this thing called Disney Concert Hall, and it's cool-looking, although Patina? Not so hot anymore.
OK, Michael, you can go back now.