Gold Picks His 99 Essential L.A. Restaurants; Virbila Recounts 2011's New Bloods

El Huarache Azteca

Once again, Jonathan Gold drops his 99 Essential L.A. Restaurants issue. With chatter ramping up on the East Coast that The New York Times is trying its damnedest to steal our Gold, could this be his last? Doubtful, when the man is so in love with Spice Table's marrowbones, Animal's next level "Boy Food," El Huarache Azteca's huitlacoche quesadillas, Lukshon's pork belly, Park's pricey barbecue, Vincenti's porchetta, Jar's steak, birria at El Parian, cemitas at Elvirita's, and, as always, anything Nancy Silverton, Evan Kleiman, or The Too Hot Tamales touch. Although he looked and saw no signs of fine-dining's return, we think he has more than enough to keep him here and happy. [LAW]

C. Thi Nguyen looks at Arcadia's new Tofu King location, with the feeling that it will bring funk-lovers and convert those holding their nose at this "Taiwanese stinky tofu, deep-fried to a crisp and full of oddly charming fragrance." [LAT]

Unable to wait until next month, S. Irene Virbila takes a look back the year's new restaurants, surprising us with the news that "I can't tell you how many New Yorkers and even, gasp, San Franciscans have told me that Los Angeles is now their favorite eating town." She thanks Night Market, Lukshon, A-Frame, Ludo, Spice Table, Aburiya Toranoko, Strand House, MB Post, ink., Eva, Sotto, Ray's, Il Fico, and a whole bunch of other restaurants that make us sit up and say "damn, she's right!" She also gets in another dig at Son of a Gun, though only towards the name this time. [LAT]

Prolific as ever this week, Virbila lists six restaurants that might actually buck the downscale trend, suggesting Hatfield's, WP24, Melisse, Providence, The Royce, and Saam for special occasions. [LAT]