Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

MISC.: Open Letter to "Best Of" Lists

Dear "Best Of" List,

I just finished skimming you in the L.A. Weekly. I have gone through this several times before with others of your ilk, both in the Weekly, and in other publications and even in other cities. Can we just drop the pretense and admit that you are NOT a "best of" list anymore?

When I see the words "best of," I expect to find an article that lets me know the publication's opinion of the best example of something in a category where there are many options to choose from in the city, not the best example of a category in which that example is the only thing in that category.

For example, there are roughly 29, 483,233 Thai restaurants in the greater L.A. area. So a "best of " list could help me by telling me which one of those places the staff of the publication has decided is their collective favorite.

There is only one life-sized statue of Captain Morgan in the greater L.A. area. Therefore, I do NOT need the L.A. Weekly to tell me which one is the "best."

I don't care if the L.A. Weekly, or Los Angeles magazine, or whoever, wants to do an article on a bunch of unique places to check out in L.A. That's great! But can we please just call it what it is, instead of giving me a list of the best place to buy slippers for your cat, or the best place to get a toenail massage? Just call it "100 One of a Kind Los Angeles Experiences" or something.

Then do another issue that tells me where the best goddamn Thai food is, and the best ice cream and the best place to buy jeans and the best record store, etc. Tell me stuff that is normal! Tell me stuff I need to know! Do not deprive me of the real "best of" list just because you found something you think is more fun and makes you look cooler.

If I really want to know if there's somewhere I can get my earwax suctioned, or a place I can purchase stapler cozies, I bet I could find the best one just by finding out that such a place exists. Because there aren't going to be too many.

I think it's interesting to read about these one-of-a-kind places, but I don't like how these articles have completely replaced real "best of" articles, and I don't like the stupid convention of retaining the "best of" format so that they insist on telling you the "best combination ice cream/dim sum/meaball sub shop." You don't need to know the best for stuff like that, you just need to know that they exist.

Do not rob me, publications. I cannot rely on Citysearch and Yelp users to tell me where to go, I want professionals! Do not abandon me and make me spend hours searching the internet just to figure out where to eat tonight!

I hate you, L.A. Weekly "best of" issue.



can i join on the bandwagon? maybe they will repost their "best of" with a side by side retraction-esque writeup with real best-ofs written by a dead clown. forbes and la weekly are equally nefarious in my mind now.

said by tae at 12:20 AM Delete

Babe, you can be on my bandwagon anytime. And you were so influential with Forbes magazine, that I am sure with Ms. E on my side the LA Weekly will be groveling in no time.

said by KT at 8:27 AM Delete

i'm with you on the uselessness of these lists. who doesn't know that amoeba's the best record store in SF? did you actually send that letter and if so did you get a response?

unrelated question: how do you do the "tag" thing? because if i google "metaphysical nightcap," my site doesn't come up.. weird, eh? how do i get around that?

said by dhp at 9:40 AM Delete

No, I'm way too lazy to actually send a letter, but I suppose I could e-mail them.

Although my take is more that I WOULD appreciate a traditional "best of" list with categories such as "best record store." Because what if there's a better record store than Amoeba? But you don't know it because you just go to the most well-known place? It should be these writers jobs to search out the NEW or the REAL best record store.

Also, I think "best of" lists are very important because it's fun to disagree with them. I can't disagree with the assessment of the best place to find a dead clown ... it's no fun.

For the Google thing, try going here.

said by KT at 10:21 AM Delete

Do they have a "best place to eat in studio city when you've been at work for like 14 hours and it's almost 11"?

I feel like they mentioned some Thai place in NoHo during last year's Best Of. E.g., "Best Place in the Valley to get Pad Thai at 1 a.m." or some such...

said by Anyanka at 10:40 PM Delete

:( You're making me sad.

I'll think of you when I am getting up ass-early tomorrow in my attempt to be able to come home earlier by going to work at the crack of dawn.

said by KT at 10:42 PM Delete

Did it work? This week sucks. I have even enslaved Allison to come into the office and help me for more money than I make. The pictures of those delicious SF cocktails do assuage, however...

said by Anyanka at 8:38 PM Delete


I didn't get there as early as I thought. Threw away my whole day on crap that I should not have had to be doing (although my poor paralegal had to do more crap she should not have been doing than I did), and then left 20-50 minutes later than I was trying to.

Bleh. Now have to go to court and argue futilely tomorrow because other people SUCK.

How about you?

Maybe I should have a drink.

said by KT at 8:43 PM Delete

hahahaaaa! this is hilarious post - I totally love the first picture. I laughed out loud... dead clowns!

said by Colleen Cuisine at 8:18 PM Delete


Yeah, the dead clowns kind of pushed me over the edge, because ... what?

But I thank them for giving me the perfect attention-getting post picture!

said by KT at 8:21 PM Delete


said by themirthmobile at 12:12 PM Delete

Creative Commons license The content on Gastronomy 101 may be reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.