Jonathan Gold on the L.A. riots: Inspiration behind a culinary upheaval: L.A.’s multicultural dining scene was dealt a sharp blow in the aftermath of the 1992 riots, but as today’s blending of high and street cuisine shows, the malaise didn’t last long.
This is really, really great.
Before the riots, Los Angeles had been notorious in some circles as a kind of multicultural nightmare, a fever-swamp of global capitalism on a path to becoming the city portrayed in “Blade Runner.” An entire school of urbanism, sometimes called the “L.A. School,” had emerged to study our sunny dystopia.
But change in Los Angeles is often easier to track by looking at its restaurants rather than its boardrooms, and from the business end of a pair of chopsticks, extreme diversity didn’t look so bad. Sometimes equality, democracy and tolerance are virtues you fight for on distant battlefields, and sometimes they are as close as the frozen-food aisle at Vons. The neighborhood wasn’t tidy, but until those few hours in late April, it worked.
And then it didn’t.
Photo: LAPD officers draw their guns during the 1992 riots to clear a crowd on Vermont Avenue near 1st Street. Credit: Los Angeles Times