LA Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold has had an ongoing Instagram theme this month: restaurant pics from a summer jaunt though Italy. Ten days ago, for example, he posted from Osteria Francescana in Modena with this photo of "the best tortellini in the world? I'm guessing." As it happens, today another foodie from Los Angeles, Michael Krikorian, posted a blog item revealing that he too was at Osteria Francescana this month ("one of the world’s greatest restaurants"), along with his girlfriend Nancy Silverton (of Mozza) and Ruth Reichl, the food writer, editor and author. On her website, Reichl exults about the Michelin-starred osteria in Modena and includes pics of many dishes, including the tortellini that Gold loved.
Inside the private celebrity terminal at LAX.
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1. Garcetti has weekend event scheduled in the Hamptons
Mayor Eric Garcetti is officially out of the city until he returns to Los Angeles next week, on August 29. There's already been some reporting on one of his known stops
— in Manchester, New Hampshire to campaign for a local candidate — which spurred media stories and arched-eyebrow speculation about whether Garcetti wants people to (wink) be talking about him as a possible national candidate for the Democrats. Now, former California politics reporter Shane Goldmacher (newly embedded at the New York Times, covering local politics), reports on Twitter
that en route to New England, Garcetti will stop this weekend in the Hamptons. He has a Sunday cocktail meet and greet scheduled at the estate of billionaire Ronald Perelman.
Goldmacher notes that Perelman plays both sides. He hosted Republican Mitt Romney at The Creeks in 2012 and has been a donor to other Republicans, among them John Boehner, Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham. But he also has contributed to Democrats like Kamala Harris.
For Garcetti, it's another chance to raise his profile beyond Los Angeles. In June he spoke to a Democratic convention in Wisconsin, and in July he gave a talk to Democrats living in Berlin. Back home, KPCC has been pushing hard its investigation into $31.9 million in behested donations to causes favored by Garcetti.
2. An LA Times story that will anger you
Times staff writer Paige St. John dug deep on a horrendous incident
in the San Luis Obispo County jail. A schizophrenic man was confined naked and shackled to a chair for 46 hours — until he died. Much of the ordeal was captured on video. The county reached a legal settlement with the dean man's parents, and changes are brewing.
3. Food writers do Tuscany
For what it's worth, Reichl and Gold's wife, the editor Laurie Ochoa, together ran Gourmet magazine for a bunch of years and were Food section colleagues at the Los Angeles Times, which Reichl left in 1993 for the New York Times.
Seeing Gold's Instagram food pics from Italy makes me wonder if the new regime at the LA Times will go forward with plans to have Gold lead a tour of Italy next summer for paying Times readers. The old regime, in one of its last acts, unveiled a schedule of expeditions with current and former Times journalists, with trips like six days in Chicago with architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne for $3,995 a person and eight days in Cuba with Alice Short (Gold's former editor) for $6,995.
Gold's expedition to Tuscany with Times readers was the only trip not given a date or a price. "Be among the first to know when Gold's tour is available by calling...to reserve a spot on a waiting list," the paper says. Perhaps Gold was in Italy this month scouting restaurant stops, while he still had the chance. The publisher who green lit the tours was fired this week.
4. Quick hits
Adam Popescu gets inside the new private celebrity terminal at LAX in a piece for Vanity Fair
. "Organic seaweed snacks, 85 percent cacao, Laurent-Perrier Champagne, scented candles, daybeds. Passengers can take advantage of seemingly every toiletterie and travel hack under the sun, from universal chargers and noise-canceling headphones to Emergen-C and roll-on deodorant. Instead of rushing to the gate and jockeying for a seat, the biggest problem in this terminal is figuring out whether there is any Dijon mustard (there is), and how to switch from CNN to MSNBC on the suite’s TV." Customers ride across the tarmac to their plane in the back of a BMW sedan.
Reporter Henry Meier has been promoted to managing editor at the Los Angeles Business Journal. He succeeds Omar Shamout, who left for an editing job at UC Riverside... Peter Hong is leaving Cal State LA's executive office to be Associate Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications at Claremont McKenna College. Hong is a former LA Times reporter and chief aide to Supervisor Hilda Solis... 11 Women Who Are Making LA a Better Place, in Los Angeles Magazine... Cooper Hefner, 26 and now chief creative officer at Playboy, has bigger plans than just bringing back nudity... Finalists for the Online Journalism Awards are posted... Bruce Russell, Los Angeles bureau chief for Reuters in the 1960s and 70s, died at age 88.
And: The LA Times followed up on everybody's coverage of the Canter's deli closure for vermin. The specific violations were "more than 10 cockroaches and 20 rodent droppings in restaurant storage areas, and more than 20 flies in the food preparation area." The C grade sign has been hidden deep inside the restaurant, the LAT says.
5. 'School beneath the wave'
It has been six years now since the March 2011 tsunami inundated a large section of Japan's east coast, killing more than 18,000 people. Richard Lloyd Parry, a British reporter, knew all the facts, saw the devastation, spoke with survivors, and posted his dispatches. But he writes, in his forthcoming book "Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone," that he was never doing justice to the actual event.
"In the weeks afterwards, I felt wonder, pity and sadness. But for much of the time I experienced a numb detachment, and the troubling sense of having completely missed the point." Then he found the village of Okawa, and returned again and again. "Iit was there, at the school, that I eventually became able to imagine."
From an excerpt Thursday in the Guardian.
Everyone who experienced the tsunami saw, heard and smelled something subtly different. Much depended upon where you were, and the obstacles that the water had to overcome to reach you. Some described a waterfall, cascading over sea wall and embankment. For others, it was a fast-rising flood between houses, deceptively slight at first, tugging trippingly at the feet and ankles, but quickly sucking and battering at legs and chests and shoulders. In colour, it was described as brown, grey, black, white.
The one thing it did not resemble in the least was a conventional ocean wave, the wave from the famous woodblock print by Hokusai: blue-green and cresting elegantly in tentacles of foam. The tsunami was a thing of a different order: darker, stranger, massively more powerful and violent, without kindness or cruelty, beauty or ugliness, wholly alien. It was the sea coming on to land, the ocean itself picking up its feet and charging at you with a roar in its throat.
It stank of brine, mud and seaweed. Most disturbing of all were the sounds it generated as it collided with, and digested, the stuff of the human world: the crunch and squeal of wood and concrete, metal and tile. In places, a mysterious dust billowed above it, like the cloud of pulverised matter that floats above a demolished building. It was as if neighbourhoods, villages, whole towns were being placed inside the jaws of a giant compressor and crushed.
From the hillside that overlooked Kamaya, where they had narrowly escaped to safety, Waichi Nagano and his wife, Hideko, could see the whole scene spread out below them, as the water swept in pulsing surges over the embankment and across the village and the fields. “It was a huge black mountain of water, which came on all at once and destroyed the houses,” he said. “It was like a solid thing. And there was this strange sound, difficult to describe. It wasn’t like the sound of the sea. It was more like the roaring of the earth, mixed with a kind of crumpling, groaning noise, which was the houses breaking up.”
There was another fainter noise. “It was the voices of children,” said Hideko. “They were crying out – ‘Help! Help!’”
Only later would the full scale of the tragedy at Okawa elementary school become clear. The school had 108 children. Of the 78 who were there at the moment of the tsunami, 74 of them, and 10 out of the 11 teachers, had died.
Read the whole thing.