Miffed Orange County Chef Bites Back at The L.A. Times

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David Slay Photo: Park Avenue

We won't show you the long list of new L.A. restaurants that we're terribly ashamed to admit we haven't eaten at yet, but we will say there's been so many opening up every week that it's next to impossible to keep up with our own city, let alone whatever the hell's going on in Orange County. But one O.C. chef is furious that his city is being snubbed by The L.A. Times, as chef and partner David Slay of Stanton's Park Avenue is letting it be known. Yesterday, a Times piece dissected Stanton's so-called fiscal crisis and widespread poverty. In an opening paragraph, reporter Christine Mai-Duc writes of the small city, "At first glance, Stanton does not fit the Orange County cliche. There are no beaches, no blockbuster theme parks, no fancy restaurants, just four square miles of aging suburbia." And therein lies the problem for chef Slay and defenders of Stanton.

As relayed by the O.C. Register, David Slay tore into the paper for ignoring his "fancy" restaurant, as Park Ave. has been reviewed positively by the paper's own S. Irene Virbila and features its own edible garden and an attached Italian bistro called Il Garage that should all fit the bill.

Stanton wrote to Mai-Duc:

I have to ask, what research did you do? Do you realize the number one restaurant in Orange County is not in Laguna or Newport…but Stanton. The top Italian restaurant is not Irvine or San Clemente, but Stanton. One of the 5 top Zagat rated restaurants is in Stanton. One of the most popular restaurants in Zagat is in Stanton. We have seen 86 months of continuous growth in Stanton in an oasis 5-acre setting that your food critic S. Irene Virbilia loved.

Along with Slay's own protests, comments left on the online story are asking for a correction to be made and repeating the point that Park Ave. is a standout, not just for Stanton, but in all of Orange County and Southern California.

Our personal favorite? No doubt the guy who insists Stanton is "way better than it was 20 years ago" because "the city has way less ho's walking the streets (hookers anyway), way less gang bangers, and way nicer meighborhoods [sic]...Its always been pretty ugly around Stanton but thats why I like it."

L.A. Times Stanton story snubs top O.C. food venue [OCR]