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FOOD
January 26, 2000 | RUSS PARSONS, TIMES FOOD EDITOR
Craig Claiborne, the retired New York Times food editor and restaurant critic who died Saturday, was certainly a man who had been in the right place at the right time. But he was also the right person for the job. Claiborne took the helm of the New York Times' food coverage in 1957, just as Americans were becoming curious about cuisine. Rapidly expanding air travel had made trips to Europe affordable for even the middle class.
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FOOD
August 31, 2013 | S. Irene Virbila
At this point, it's hard to imagine Californian and Mediterranean cuisines without tomatoes. But that was the case until the tomato plant was discovered in Mexico by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century, and from there it disseminated to the rest of the Americas and the Mediterranean. In some climates, New Jersey, say, the tomato season is short. Not so in Southern California. We'll be enjoying our heirlooms and beefsteaks well into November. Right now, the season is at its height, and tomatoes play star roles on menus, from the BLT to haute cuisine.
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ENTERTAINMENT
September 7, 1986 | COLMAN ANDREWS
The Southern Arizona Restaurant Assn. has warned member establishments to watch out for phony restaurant critics--disreputable types who have been showing up at local eating places and announcing that they're there to review the joint for some publication or other, hoping to get a free meal or maybe a cash payoff for their trouble.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 21, 2013 | Times staff and wire reports
Michael Winner, a British film director who specialized in thrillers and action movies, including three "Death Wish" movies, died Monday. He was 77. A bon vivant who became a restaurant critic after his film career wound down, Winner died at his London home after an illness, said his wife, Geraldine. Winner directed a few dozen films but was best known for "Death Wish," which starred Charles Bronson as a law-abiding citizen who turns vigilante when his wife and daughter are attacked.
NEWS
November 11, 2004 | S. Irene Virbila
Question: What qualifications does one need to become a food critic other than the desire to be paid to eat at fancy restaurants? Tom Gibson Redondo Beach Virbila: I think you have to have a curiosity about all kinds of foods. It would be hard to be a restaurant critic if you were a vegetarian, say, or someone who didn't like organ meats or anything spicy. You have to find restaurants endlessly interesting and entertaining. You have to be able to write. And in L.A.
BOOKS
May 6, 2007 | Susan Salter Reynolds
Gertrude Bell Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations Georgina Howell Farrar, Straus & Giroux: 512 pp., $27.50 SHE was outspoken, self-confident, smart, brave. She took a first at Oxford in modern history, began mountain climbing in her 30s, spoke six languages, loved and lived in the world's deserts and helped create an autonomous Iraq.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 11, 1987
I have a few hundred comments on Ruth Reichl's article on the death of fine dining in Los Angeles ("Dinosaur Under Glass," Jan. 4). First and foremost, elegant dining is not endangered in L.A. We never had it. To be fair, very few cities have it; perhaps two or three places in Paris, one or two in New York. The problem is in one's definition of elegant. For me, at $125 or more per head, "elegant has to be perfect." That precludes an owner at Le Dome saying "Don't ruin my evening" to a client seeking the seat he requested.
NEWS
February 5, 1992 | BILL STEIGERWALD, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
It wasn't just Mike Kalina's suicide that shocked his many friends in Pittsburgh last week. It also was the news that Kalina--a successful cookbook author, the host of a nationally syndicated Public Broadcasting Service cooking show and a newspaper and TV dining critic in the city since 1978--had been under investigation by a federal grand jury in connection with the selling of favorable reviews to restaurant owners.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 25, 1990 | JERRY BAKALYAN, CO-OWNER OF LA SERRE
"I do not resent criticism, even when, for the sake of emphasis, it parts for the time with reality," wrote Winston Churchill in 1941. We couldn't agree more. Criticism is healthy when properly directed. If we thought La Serre were perfect, we wouldn't strive to improve it daily. We expect restaurant critics to be tough and professional--and to be fair. And to do their homework.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 16, 1988 | COLMAN ANDREWS
Contrary to what most restaurateurs would like to think, their toughest critics are not professional restaurant reviewers but ordinary diners. When I eat out, for instance, it is my friends who are the least forgiving and invariably find more to complain about. One acquaintance to this day holds a grudge against a noted Los Angeles trattoria for an unpleasant pasta sauce he was served four years ago.
NEWS
December 4, 2012 | By Russ Parsons
It's an axiom of food writing that the only restaurant critics chefs like are the ones who've just retired. Apparently, that's not quite true. In fact, The Times has two exceptions on its staff. Jonathan Gold and S. Irene Virbila are both in the Top 10 of the nation's restaurant critics, according to a poll of chefs and restaurateurs conducted by the Daily Meal website . In fact, Gold is No. 1 over all, earning the site's only three-star ranking. Virbila is No. 10, with 2½ stars.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 20, 2012 | By Russ Parsons, Tribune newspapers
The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat Thomas McNamee Free Press, 339 pp., $27 Ask your average Food Network viewer or Yelp poster about Craig Claiborne and you're likely to be met with a blank look and a "Who?" How fleeting is fame in the food world. Claiborne is one of the giants of this modern age, even if today - less than 20 years after his passing - he is largely forgotten. People remember James Beard because of the foundation that keeps his name alive. Julia Child lives on in television reruns (even if some fans now believe she looked just like Meryl Streep)
FOOD
December 30, 2010 | By Russ Parsons, Los Angeles Times
Well, that was interesting. A couple of days before Christmas, one of the owners of the new Beverly Hills restaurant Red Medicine created a firestorm by confronting Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila while she was waiting for a table, snapping her picture, kicking her and her party out of the restaurant and then posting the picture on the Internet for all to see. By the next morning, more than 15 years of working to remain anonymous were...
FOOD
December 1, 2010 | S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times
When I first got my iPhone, I was thrilled to discover Convertbot, which made it fun and easy to convert ingredient quantities or temperatures from my British cookbooks. That app, it turned out, was just a taste of the onslaught of food and wine apps to come - so many, you'd have to be a full-time app tester to try them all out. (Unfortunately, I have another job.) But I do try a lot. Here are apps for the iPhone that I've found most useful. Several are also available on the Android platform.
FOOD
December 2, 2009 | By S. Irene Virbila
When it comes to my kitchen, I'm not strictly practical. If I were, I'd have stainless steel cupboards instead of painted wood glazed with beeswax, or a concrete floor instead of wood. And I certainly wouldn't have a copper sink that threatens to turn furry and green every other day. The way things look matters to me. And that instinct for the beautiful follows me into the kitchen too. Before I begin to cook, I lay out all my ingredients in bowls and baskets. I'll pull out the shallots and garlic I keep in glazed ocher bowls that I carried back from Provence, or the bouquet of red peppers and Sicilian dried oregano that are stored in a basket a friend brought me from South Africa.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 4, 2009 | JAMES RAINEY
Circling Valley Boulevard in Alhambra, lost in suffocating, 100-degree heat, I'm wondering: What could possibly justify leaving my air-conditioned office to stumble around this too-familiar Southern California bleakscape of tire outlets, big box stores, nail parlors and fast-food joints? A few minutes later, I've finally limped into 101 Noodle Express, and the answer is at hand. It's the restaurant's beef roll, something like a crispy Chinese pancake, rolled around thin layers of savory beef and topped with a homemade bean sauce.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 24, 1985 | RUTH REICHL
People ask me a lot of questions. One of the most frequent is: "How come you only review restaurants on the Westside?" The answer is, "I don't," but I can't seem to convince anybody of that. The truth is that I'd rather do almost anything than fight the traffic that makes driving westward a nightmare around dinner time. Restaurant critics do a lot of traveling, and just to prove it, here's the diary of a week that began in New York. Is that far enough east?
ENTERTAINMENT
January 27, 1985 | RUTH REICHL
Restaurant critics are asked three questions: How did you get your job? How do you keep your figure? How do you choose the restaurants you review? This won't answer the first two questions, but it ought to give you some insight into the last. MONDAY Today 32 people I don't know called and asked for dining advice. Some of them were very nice, but when a secretary called from Boston I finally lost my patience. Her boss was coming to L.A.
FOOD
July 8, 2009 | S. Irene Virbila, Restaurant Critic
reporting from napa valley Every couple of years I feel that siren call to go up and spend some time in Napa Valley. For most of us, this was our first wine country experience, as exotic as anything discovered later in Burgundy or Piedmont. Who can forget the smudged violet of the hills, the rows of vines with mustard blooming bright yellow at their feet? The cool dark of the cellars or the view from Auberge du Soleil or Domaine Chandon?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 17, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Elmer Dills, 82, a longtime restaurant and travel critic known for his popular radio and television reports, died Monday at Pasadena's Huntington Memorial Hospital, according to KABC-TV Channel 7, where he dished out his reports on Southern California dining. The cause of death was not specified. Dills, a longtime Pasadena resident, said he developed his knowledge of food and wine while working with the State Department.
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