7/10/2013 06:39:00 PM

What LA, Circa 1984, Tasted Like

Michael's today
Another trip down memory lane comes to us today via an old New York Times article, in which food columnist Marian Burros looked at what was happening in the Los Angeles dining scene on the eve of the summer Olympics in 1984. Puck got high marks at the original Spago but not so much at Chinois on Main. John Sedlar was creating nouvelle Southwestern cuisine at St. Estephe in Manhattan Beach, which he continues today at Rivera. Michael's was still the talk of the town even with Jonathan Waxman's departure. And Piero Selvaggio was the consummate host at Valentino, even if he was "curt" about a bottle of wine going back.

There were hits and misses according to Burros, all detailed with that subtle yet unmistakable New Yorker-on-LA accent. Many of the 15 restaurants mentioned - Roy Yamaguchi's pre-Roy's empire 385 North, L'Orangerie, Trumps, Rex - are long gone, but still left an indelible mark on the way LA, and even the country, eats today. It's an interesting read, like a culinary time capsule, especially for anyone who thinks Roy Choi and food trucks are the beginning of LA's food culture. Check it out here.


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