A Dear John Letter to Jonathan Gold.
It’s very hard for me to write this letter. I’ve been struggling about ending it for a long time but I’ve hung in because of the good times – your winning the Pulitzer Prize for Food Writing, your huge success at LA Weekly and The Los Angeles Times, feeling so special standing by your side among the hoards of screaming foodie groupies. But now my gut says I must go.
It began with the juice. Pressed Juicery juice.
You’ve become obsessed with Pressed Juicery. It’s always Pressed Juice. Immune Orange for breakfast, Lemon H2O for a morning snack, Greens 1.5 at lunch, Roots 2 if you’re stressed out like when you couldn’t get a reservation at Maude despite dropping your name on their voicemail. And then there’s dinner where you must have your Master Cleanse juice to guard against a possible hangover from corked wine.
I keep asking you to stop the juice. You say you will. Then, when you come home after a long day at the office and restaurant hopping, and I smell the ginger and kale on your breath, I realize you can’t stop. I’m tired of all the lies.
I suspect the juice dampens your appetite for food. I could see it when we went to Le Comptoir, the 6-course tasting-menu restaurant in Koreatown. You were satisfied with their “miniscule” (your word not mine) tasting-menu. I call it a 6-course starving-menu.
I don’t understand why you were so enamored with the vegetable and fruit plate. You gushed about its probably 20 different elements including asparagus, carrot, apple, persimmon, cauliflower, turnip, zucchini, watermelon radish, red pepper, yellow pepper, broccoli – and the precision with which they used tweezers for plating (as you said, “assembled at the last moment with long tweezers, you should probably will yourself to become as excited as a 3-year-old”).
C’mon, Jon! You’re a good – no great – writer! You know how to be precise in your descriptions. Did you somehow forget that it was ONE sprig of asparagus, ONE Julienned slice of carrot, ONE cauliflower flowerette on the plate? Sure, there were THREE persimmon seeds sprinkled in. But do a few nibbles of veggies do it for you now? You, the man who built his reputation for pigging out on pork belly? It’s the juice, isn’t it? Drink enough and you don’t have to eat anymore?
And the tweezer assembly? What’s exciting about that when tweezers are the most appropriate tool for placing a few measly pieces of produce onto a plate.
And Jon, how could you not notice I was ravenous all night, especially when I demanded during Course Five that you take me to In-N-Out for a 4 x 4? Your insensitivity is one of the main reasons I’m out. Maybe you were entranced by the improvisational jazz played at ear-piercing, conversation-stopping levels. Or maybe you were distracted by the ass-kissing servers who doted on your every word while they only occasionally gave me a luke-warm “Yes, Ma’am.” This whole thing of being ignored while people treat you like the Food God has really gotten old.
And how can you recommend a veggie-centric tasting-menu with microscopic amounts of protein? Two miniscule Wagyu pieces and one scallop? Such picayune amounts of protein make it vegetarian to me – and you know how I feel about that. Are you stepping out on me and veering towards Vegan?
And what about the undercooked food? You tout how the chef cooks vegetables at precise low heat to bring out flavor. I assume the chef was aiming for al dente but I almost broke a tooth on the single country corn kernel he put on my plate.
Based on this love affair with raw veggies, I’m afraid you’re turning into one of those Raw Veganist people now!
And I know you think I haven’t noticed but I’m on to you. I know all about your visit to M.A.K.E. in Santa Monica. Yes, I heard the podcast of you on KCRW’s Good Food. I heard you loud and clear when you called their raw, vegan fare “intellectual food, abstracted and cerebral.” That sounds like love to me. Good for you but it’s not working for me. I want to know what happened to the pork rind pusher that I fell in love with.
And I’m worried about your judgment in general. You told readers that the Le Comptoir meal was $69. However, you know and I know that people will get the wine pairing because you recommended it – and the truffles because the chef promises they’re half the price you’d pay anywhere else in town. Next thing they know, people will be paying $200 per person. That’s French Laundry pricing! Yes, your title said “Bring Your Wallet” but your article didn’t paint a true picture. It makes me wonder what else you may be hiding from your readers – and me, too.
I don’t want to put all of the blame for my decision on Pressed Juicery or Le Comptoir. We’re just not on the same wavelength anymore. Remember the other night when we went to Cassia in Santa Monica? You fell hard for the pot-au-feu, later calling it “brilliant and soothing”. Not to me. The broth was bland. I remember the days when you and I bonded over bland broth. Sadly, those days are long gone.
It’s time to part before things get ugly. I know we love each other but sometimes love isn’t enough. I’m sure you’ll find a Pressed Juice-loving, vegan-vamping, raw food-flirting, tiny plate-popping girl who’ll make you happy.
Know I’m wishing you all the best with your upcoming Top 100 List. I’ll continue to read your articles, though I just may take them with a heaping tablespoon of Himalayan pink salt.
Cinnamon & sugar kisses,