Andre Ethier, the food-blogging Dodger, showed up at Pizzeria Mozza between lunch and dinner, got a seat right away, and enjoyed himself. "Love at first bite," he writes as a blogger and a pizza lover. His post two weeks ago got him featured by the Wall Street Journal.
He's a serious foodie. Mr. Ethier knows where to find the best throat-meat tacos in Los Angeles, the juiciest Salvadoran papusas and the city's tastiest Romanian chicken stew. He waxes poetic about the pinto beans in his native Arizona, where they're often pureed with cream and lard. "Here they want you to taste the bean, not the lard, which is... different."
Mr. Ethier's gourmet obsession took hold when he was promoted from the minor leagues in 2005 and went from playing in small towns with few restaurant options beyond Waffle House to living in L.A. and earning $327,000 a year. He started reading foodie magazines and Web sites for tips and exploring the small, family-owned ethnic eateries he saw on his way to the stadium.
He's sampled the chicken, black beans and fried sweet plantains infielders Rafael Furcal and Angel Berroa bring from home and leave on the clubhouse counter, and he's asked relief pitcher Takashi Saito and the team's Japanese translator to help decipher menus from kushiyaki restaurants that specialize in grilled chicken cartilage. He's been getting more adventurous in his own kitchen, too. For a recent dinner party, Mr. Ethier and his wife, Maggie, bought a gyro-making machine at a Middle Eastern market and broiled their own chicken schwarma.
And a Manny tidbit: the story reports that "Manny Ramirez says he hasn't eaten out since he arrived in L.A. last month -- his uncle has been cooking him Spanish food." I recommend this profile of Manny in The New Yorker from back in April 2007, when he had not yet burned his bridges with the Red Sox and become an LAO local. I learned that Manny named both his sons Manny Jr., is something of a family man, likes to restore old cars, and may be the best right-handed hitter since Aaron and Mays. Ben McGrath writes:
Manny Ramirez is a deeply frustrating employee, the kind whose talents are so prodigious that he gets away with skipping meetings, falling asleep on the job, and fraternizing with the competition. He makes more money than everyone else at the company yet somehow escapes the usual class resentment, and even commands more respect from the wage slaves, who suspect he is secretly one of them, than from his colleagues in business class. It’s not that he is anti-establishment, exactly, but in his carefree way he’s just subversive enough—“affably apathetic” is how one of his bosses put it recently—to create headaches for any manager who worries about precedent. Despite his generous compensation, he is sufficiently ungrateful to let it be known that he would be happier working elsewhere. He is also, for a man of stature, strangely sensitive, and although his brilliance is accompanied by sloppiness, one criticizes him, as with a wayward teen-ager, at the risk of losing him to bouts of brooding and inaccessibility.
If you're going to read one piece on Manny Ramirez, this is the one.