Halfway through Laura Gabbert's documentary City of Gold, a salute to Jonathan Gold, the Pulitzer Prize–winning food critic's brother Mark reveals a dark family secret: Gold grew up devouring iceberg lettuce and orange Jell-O.
Courtesy of Sundance
Every day, we eat. It's a must. And those meals tell a story: The peanut sauce Grandma invented, the Korean tacos that signify L.A.'s mash-up culture, and even that Jell-O, a shorthand for a childhood in South Central, where Gold's father, a probation officer who dreamed of being an English professor, cared more about filling his sons' heads with high culture than he did filling their bellies with fancy food.
He fed them right. Gold doesn't just judge a black mole — he compares it to sculpture. In his reviews, the merits of a bowl of pho spill over into opinions on punk rock, gentrification, and the American Dream. Food is vital, interpretative and alive. Every small restaurant represents someone's homeland and hope. As Gold tells the camera, "Taco should be a verb."