City of Gold to City of Steele

Have any of you ever seen the documentary “City of Gold”? It’s about a food critic, Jonathan Gold, who writes reviews for the LA Times, and who, incidentally, won a Pulitzer in 2007. A freakin Pulitzer. Jealousy aside, the documentary is pretty amazing (and it’s available to stream on Netflix if you’re interested). It chronicles his career, but also a lot of the food that he reviewed here in LA. His focus was on smaller, less well-known restaurants, everything from street carts and food trucks to strip-mall eateries. His focus was on food that was made for a specific neighborhood, by inhabitants of that neighborhood. It was truly just about the food.

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Anyway, part of the documentary mentioned a challenge he gave himself when he was just starting out, and which later became a book, “The Year I Ate Pico.” We were so inspired by his attempt to eat at every restaurant on the 15 mile stretch of Downtown LA, that we decided to do the same thing here in our new hometown of Ventura. We’re going to eat downtown Main Street. Starting this weekend at Pete’s Breakfast House by Ventura High School, we’re going to work our way west on Main all the way to mission, eating at every restaurant along the way.

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After that, the goal is to continue right on to Ventura Blvd. (in Ventura) and eat the whole West Side. Then jump out to the beach and Eat everything along the coast. It’s a big reason we moved to Ventura, the food, and we can’t think of a better way to get to know our new town than to sample all of its delicious food.

So stay tuned for that.

Back to Jonathan Gold for a second. We needed to make sure we could trust him. We decided to check out one of his recommendations, an adorable little Ethiopian place called Meals by Genet in Little Ethiopia. We’d never had Ethiopian food before, but it was a treat. Ethiopian bread is somewhere between a pancake and a crepe. It’s sweet and delicious and it absorbs all the good spices and flavors of the food they put on it. It also serves as your utensils for the meal, which is handy. All of the vegetarian dishes on the sampler were incredible and the stew that we ordered as our meat dish was cooked to perfection.

The place was amazing, the staff lovely, and we even got to thank Genet and say hello while she cooked away in the kitchen on our way out. If you’ve never had Ethiopian food, I definitely recommend it, and I recommend that you do it at Meals by Genet. Make sure to make a reservation or go early like we did, it’s a very intimate place and it gets pretty busy.

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