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Re: “Cooking Other People's Food: How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area 'Ethnic' Cuisine

Luke makes many good points here about privilege, the comfort zone and expectations of audiences, etc. However, I do think the media plays an even larger role than Luke states. Los Angeles has Jonathan Gold, who is as adventurous and knowledgeable about all kinds of cuisine as any critic in existence. Many really great places, a majority of which are run by immigrants cooking food from their culture, are given business-altering attention by Gold's writing. This has a cascade effect, in that illuminating the often challenging Southern Thai cooking of Jitlada then opens up people's palates and minds to other Thai places doing unfamiliar things. Is Luv2Eat Thai a huge success within its first year (!) without the groundwork of Jitlada and Jonathan Gold? I doubt it.

The Bay Area (and primarily SF) has traditionally been covered by Michael Bauer and collectively the places he writes about are very different than Gold's portfolio. This has undoubtedly informed the palates of the Bay Area. Why is it a big surprise, then, that people prefer Comal to El Paisa when nobody even bothers to review El Paisa (until Luke did so last year, 7 years after it opened)? For years, Chowhound was a far better place to learn about interesting eateries than any of the normal media outlets (and its descent into uselessness is a sad story for another day). But CH fame isn't enough by any stretch to lead thousands of people to try a place or cuisine or dish that's outside their comfort zone, to turn Jitlada into JITLADA. It's not impossible: Burma Superstar has turned everybody into a tea leaf salad expert; Turtle Tower is the reference for many people's pho ga. These places are out there, but we need help separating the good from the mediocre.

Therefore, the way to balance the scales is for media members who have a broad audience to considerably expand what kind of restaurant is considered “review worthy”, and to write knowledgeably, adventurously and engagingly about them. This is not a small thing to ask. Who will take the time to understand and explain the characteristics of Jiangsu cuisine, and where to go to experience it? Who has the depth to say that this Sinaloan mariscos place stands above the others? Gold certainly wasn't born with an innate understanding of homestyle Korean food, but he can write about Soban with enough authority and enthusiasm that some people will go check it out, and some fraction of them will have a great experience and tell their friends, and so on. Whoever the Bay Area's Jonathan Gold is, she or he will need a lot of time to build trust and an audience. Maybe it's a group effort. Luke is clearly doing his part and I thank him for his efforts. I believe he's easily the best critic we have right now, and maybe in time he will be enough if he is given a platform with a wider geographic range. There's definitely a market for this type of criticism -- we just need the right guidance.

N.B. The South Bay is filled with places that are known mainly only to the immigrant populations that they serve. Would someone please start writing intelligently about them?

Posted by Peter Chang on 08/26/2016 at 5:06 PM

Re: “Oakland-Alameda Authority Confirms Unreleased Renderings of Possible Raiders Stadium at Coliseum Site

The shrewd and late Al Davis came back to Oakland for a reason. Although football passed him by, he had the presence of mind to realize the extreme value of the bay area market. It would be foolish for his very unstable son to flirt with moving the franchise. So far he has dealt with Oakland very disrespectfully, Sit down and be still Mark. Oakland will get this done.

Posted by Anthony D. Benton on 08/26/2016 at 4:39 PM

Re: “More Details on Those Rumored Oakland Raiders Coliseum Renderings and Images

Zienie is a joke he only spits out misinformation other bloggers have confronted him about what he is saying and he shows no proof and spits out hatred for any other cities that want the Raiders watch all of his vids on vegas you will see the misinformation

Posted by ridahraiders on 08/26/2016 at 4:20 PM

Re: “Court Ruling Shuts Kitchen Staff Out of Tip Pools, Prompts Some East Bay Restaurants to Consider Going Tipless

Why not make the owners of the businesses pay the kitchen. I can tell you right now the owner of the place i work takes several vacations a year. He has a huge house and owns the property. His retirement is set and he is a lot better off financially than me. So why can't he raise the prices and pay his bills? Instead of taking my hard earned cash.
People like you sicken me. You obviously are not a server. Try living the life before you tell me how to give away my hard earned cash/.

Posted by Steve Nottingham on 08/26/2016 at 1:57 PM

Re: “Six Ways to Fried Chicken in the East Bay

Merritt Bakery is closed. Although someone told me they took over the old Kwik-Way drive-thru, so maybe they have their chicken there.

Posted by BTP on 08/26/2016 at 10:34 AM

Re: “Mid-Week Menu: A Hotel Restaurant Reinvents Itself, a Sandwich Pop-Up Re-emerges, and a Fish Market Shutters

Luke, I'm so glad we have you to read at the Express.

Posted by Jono Schneider on 08/26/2016 at 9:52 AM

Re: “Oakland-Alameda Authority Confirms Unreleased Renderings of Possible Raiders Stadium at Coliseum Site

Raider did not file trademarks for San Antonio or Carson Jody Payton... Lane Blue filed for the trademark San Antonio Raiders, which cornered Mark Davis to change the Raiders name or it would force Mark to pay a hefty fee to buy Blues Patent Trademark... Carson Raiders never happened... Los Angeles Raiders I believe, still belongs to the Raiders from when they patent it back in early 80's

Posted by Adam Dyer on 08/26/2016 at 9:18 AM

Re: “Oakland Tenant Advocates File Ballot Initiative to Strengthen Rent Control and Eviction Protections

When the government disturbs prices and wages, a black market is created, because humans are always financially motivated. Renters sell the opportunity to live in their rent-controlled apartments. Workers sell employment opportunities. Physicians sell disability certifications. I'm not arguing that the disturbance of prices and wages is bad policy. I'm arguing only that these effects should be considered, not ignored.

Posted by Brett on 08/26/2016 at 8:42 AM

Re: “The Black Choreographers Festival Brings its First Summer Series to Laney College

Brilliant article. Kudos to the writer.

Posted by Rolly Viray on 08/26/2016 at 1:50 AM

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