Gold Gifts You With a Chinese Christmas; Burum Does Ventura Blvd.

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Time for the big question: Where to get Yank-friendly Chinese on Christmas this year? Is there anyone better suited to answer this (or really any other) question than Mr. Jonathan Gold? The critic writes, "it is probably my duty to steer you toward a place like Mei Long Village in San Gabriel, a truly good Shanghai-style restaurant with some of the best soup dumplings in town, a range of unchallenging yet delicious dishes like jade shrimp, lion's head meatballs and the infamous pork pump, as well as enough sticky things to keep both of you happy." [LAW]

"The wild gastronomic mix along Ventura Boulevard is a magnet for culinary dreamers," Linda Burum writes while taking a look at Ventura Blvd's multicultural restaurant scene. She dotes on Japanese curry and loco moco burgers at Curry Up Cafe, Spago D.F. vet Ricardo Gonzalez at El Chile Grande, and French-influenced southeast Asian at Bistro Orient. [LAT]

Still howling at the gastropub takeover, Jonathan Gold drops one of those reviews where, like, you're pretty sure he's talking major shit, but you can't really tell and then he kind of puts it on you like you're the problem. Like this, "Sure, you may be in Pasadena, in a bright restaurant across from the Paseo, and sure, you may be munching on a Thanksgiving-leftover sandwich..." that kind of thing. He's at a restaurant called Vol. 94 and sounds pretty over it. As to the quick slide down to casual around here? He concludes, "The terrorists have won." [LAW]

We're yet to see Jonathan Gold walking "the no-tell-motel strip of Imperial Highway" where you find Coni'Seafood, nee Mariscos Chente, maybe because he's only here to eat seafood. After documenting the obsessive adherence to Sergio "Snooki" Penuelas, Gold dives into endless variations on shrimp, "fat specimens sautéed with tequila and mountains of garlic; blanketed in oozy melted cheese enhanced with pureed jalapeño or smoky chipotle chiles; or simmered a la diabla in a spicy tomato sauce." But the snook's the snare, and Gold finds the pescado zarandeado, "a vast, smoking creature split and flopped open into a sort of skeleton-punctuated mirror image of itself." [LAW]