In today's feature food story, local journalist Laurie Winer considers whether we've come to the end of the era of white-tablecloth dining here in Los Angeles. Because although this may not be a permanent condition, things have decidedly changed since the pre-recession days: when the Michelin Guide still published in Los Angeles, before Bastide and L'Orangerie and Ortolan closed, before food trucks lined the streets and more casual restaurants dominated the food scene.
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The decline of "white tablecloth" dining had been a long time coming. Maybe it never recovered from the scene in which the Vietnam-era hippie played by Treat Williams danced on the formal wedding table in the film version of Hair (1979) -- sending guests scurrying to recover flying dishes and flowers while he sang "I Got Life."