Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Journalism at its finest

The Los Angeles Alternative this week has what must be the best bit of journalism in the nation - they sent a group of bloggers to explore Los Angeles County's worst restaurants. The results are hilarious:

"Our picked-over appetizers are mercifully euthenized by our waitress, and now we’re waiting for main courses. A farfalle with a pornographic sounding “pink meat sauce” shows up. I can only judge its appearance, but it is a fairly dismal looking congealed slop practically brimming over on an undersized salad plate. For some reason I ordered the proscuitto hero, which arrives on the traditional Italian sesame steak roll. This may well be the most unremarkable sandwich ever put on a plate and sold for money. There is a single slip of proscuitto ham in there somewhere. A side salad is a couple of tears of iceberg topped with what is apparently some slimy artichoke heart. Not the kind of textures you want to be dealing with in the dark."

In order for this story to make sense, though, you have to understand LA's health department system for grading restaurants. Like health departments everywhere, LA County gives restaurants a 1-100 point grade. But unlike most other places in the world, LA County requires every restaurant to prominently post its grade in the form of an A, B, or C (anything less than C gets closed). The C sign is printed in bright orange and is a sure sign of a gut-punishing dive. A few other counties in the area have adopted a similar system, but I am told LA county pioneered the idea.

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