Gold Standard: Pulitzer Winner Defends His Tastes 

Wednesday, Oct 22 2008

A Reputation at Steak

You have bestowed upon Philly West the culinary equivalent of a Nobel Prize. Jonathan Gold has chosen our cheesesteak in the Best of L.A. issue [Oct. 3-9]. It would seem not to be in our best interest to bite the Pulitzer Prize–winning hand that feeds us such high praise, but at least let us nip at it. We’ve got to outcurmudgeon the curmudgeon.

Mr. Gold and Philly West have a history concerning his misinformed treatment of the cheesesteak on the pages of L.A. Weekly. Eleven years ago I was moved to respond to a story of his which mentioned our cheese steaks. My response was printed. It still rings true.

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Once again, Jon has wandered, without guidance, onto that hallowed ground where lies the restless soul of Rocky Balboa. He grudgingly gave us the cheesesteak “title” but managed to confuse the hell out of more than a few readers. The most important thing I take issue with was his mentioning cheap meat, Cheez Whiz and rolls shipped from Philadelphia as essential ingredients in a cheesesteak — none of which are used by Philly West. As far as his last line — “But for the love of God, ask them to hold the tomato sauce” — there is a well-known cheesesteak in Philadelphia called a pizza steak that comes with marinara sauce. We ask everybody who orders a sandwich whether they would like sauce or not. Approximately seven out of 10 people get sauce.

Using Gold’s own words, I implore him: For the love of God, stop writing about cheese steaks.

Mark Lifland
Philly West Bar & Grill

Gold responds: As Phillies fans amply demonstrated last week, Phila­del­phians have a funny way of expressing gratitude to Angelenos. I hate to think what Mr. Lifland would say if I didn’t happen to like his sandwich. If I ever bump into him in his hometown, I’ll stand him a roast-pork sand­wich with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone at Tony Luke’s — Philly’s real contribution to the sandwich pantheon.

Eating at His Conscience

Bro — now you’ve crossed the line [“Korea­town 1.0,” by Jonathan Gold, Oct. 17-23]. For far too long, you have been chowing down on every marine critter I’ve spent my life protecting, from shark’s fin soup to live prawns to bluefin to wild-caught sturgeon (largely freshwater). What did I do to you in our childhood to justify this ichthyocide?

Now you’re on to whale meat. This time you’ve crossed the line. IT IS ON! For all you J.G. aficionados out there, as a child, Jonathan was a voracious consumer of Oscar Mayer hot dogs skewered on a straightened wire hanger. The dogs were then charred to the point of being unrecognizable on our gas-stove burner. Also, he guzzled La Victoria green by the case.

Great training for a foodie. As penance, he should have to write a series on sustainable seafood within the next few months.

Mark Gold
President, Heal the Bay

Gold responds: Ichthyocide? Nice use of your fancy-pants Ph.D., dude — shouldn't it be cetaceacide? Whales, as I shouldn't have to remind you, are not fish. Anyway, as they say: Tastes like chicken. Remind me to tell the story of the Purim-carnival goldfish you gave away to a friend with a pet raccoon in third grade — or as I like to think of it, your first foray into the world of marine-life preservation.

Send letters to 3861 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. E-mail ­readerswrite@laweekly.com. Or fax to (323) 465-3220. Letters may be edited for purposes of space or clarity.

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