It's great news. Is it you?
Photo via Flickr userChris Goldberg
The conversation with MUNCHIES publisher John Martin started out simple.
"Hey John, should we hire a West Coast Editor?"
Martin, who frequently travels to LA from our office here in our wintry—Idina Menzel in Frozen status—home of matcha tea, ramen, and BBQ-infested Brooklyn, had a lot of words on the subject. A lot.
"Any food discussion of Los Angeles usually begins by talking about New York. As a restaurant town, LA is pretty mediocre when compared to New York. The high end isn't as high and the neighborhood spots don't make you want to return every week. What's comparable to Per Se, or Brooklyn Fare? Nothing. How about Frankie's or Robertas? Exactly.
But as a food town, it's great; in fact, it's better than New York. And it's because the geography of the city, as a driving town, eases you out of your comfort zone in a way that New York never does. Live in Williamsburg but work in Midtown? Take a guess where you're going to eat all the time. Sure, New Yorkers can force themselves to hit a few neighborhoods in Queens, or make an argument for good Mexican in New York via in Sunset Park, but you're going to have to ride the R train a hell of a long way to get there. Food in New York is about rote survival— a bagel, egg, and cheese with coffee and the New York Post on the subway. It's also about practical escapism: getting out of the house for dinner with friends because, hey, you don't even have a dining room.
In LA, there are enough places to discover on your commute to keep you entertained for years. And like everyone else there, you have a car so a Saturday trip out to Din Tai Fun is no problem. But like everything else in LA, food is entertainment. That sushi place in the Valley with the chef who will death stare you and maybe kick you out? The old school Irish place with a live band in Atwater Village which is great to hit after playing nine holes in Griffith Park?"
OK—So Martin is half-sold on the idea, but here's the thing:
At MUNCHIES, we cover food and its global purpose through a youth-driven lens: from war to drugs, restaurants, and the culinary industry at large; from politics to health, sex, science, contemporary pop culture, and all things delicious. Los Angeles seems like the next place we need to go.
Hell, we even write about witches.
But in our current New York seasonal affective disorder states of mind, it's difficult to imagine an editor in a sun-drenched place where fresh avocados and lemons magically grow like weeds; where the BasedGod of food, Jonathan Gold, inhabits, along with life-changing tacos, ever-flowing sharp vodka martinis from Musso & Frank Grill, and Sqirl's Crispy Rice Salad. Is this real life?
In my own state of disbelief, I set out on a quest to find out why we should hire a West Coast editor. Naturally, I started my search with West Coast MUNCHIES correspondent, Richard Parks, who has been waiting for this to come to fruition since our site launched last April.
"MUNCHIES writers on the West Coast have gone too long without a local editor to take us out to lunch, annoyingly reposition our commas, and start the work day with us at a respectable/chillaxed 10 AM (PST). California is also where all the good vibes, tacos, and Thai food are in the nation. It's the birthplace of food. Is that last sentence true? Of course not. But I could probably get away with writing it and getting it published here on munchies.vice.com without a West Coast editor to keep me in check. We're running amok in the Wild West—as starved for thoughtful, alternative food coverage as we are for Dunkin' Donuts, a good slice, and sub-70 degree weather. MUNCHIES is arriving not a moment too soon.
MUNCHIES belongs in the great state of California, where you can find some of the most fascinating food and culture stories in the nation. We need different perspectives on what's going on here—particularly what's going on with us. Show business types need attention, analysis, validation. We like therapy, and getting famous, and changing our minds. Our chefs are sensitive, our food practices often derided. We need more places to voice our precious opinions about sustainable farm food CSAs and where you can crush the best soup dumplings in the San Gabriel Valley. We need more things to read on our phones while waiting in line at the taco truck, in the room at the therapist's office, or waiting for the valet to bring the car around. I'll be reading MUNCHIES."
Touché, Richard. Touché.
The argument was getting stronger, but I still needed additional evidence to pull the trigger, so I looked no further than LA Weekly restaurant critic and former New Yorker, Besha Rodell. "There's been a bunch of great LA-focused content on MUNCHIES recently, and hiring a dedicated West Coast editor just shows that you guys are serious about getting our weird, cool, rapidly changing food scene right."
For that, Besha, you deserve the sound of an air horn as a token of my solidarity.
So with all of these blessings and John Martin's complicatedly beautiful relationship with Los Angeles, I'm excited to announce that MUNCHIES is seeking a full time editor to spearhead West Coast editorial content for us. The ideal candidate is a seasoned journalist who possesses in-depth knowledge of the global food scene and the diverse voices that surround it. He or she also has a rich understanding of the West Coast food scene—from the players to the makers, and the offbeat, too.
If your qualifications stop at the joy of eating, or phrases like "nosh," "nom," and "gobble" are in your writing wheelhouse, this gig is probably not for you. John Martin's opinion on the right candidate is simple, though.
"God forbid we hire someone who wants to blog about scene-y restaurants, especially that one on Abbot Kinney. Fuck that place." He adds, "first assignment: seeing what brand of potato chips the coyotes who flood Griffith Park prefer (they are attracted to the sound of those bags.)"
You can apply here or by e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
God bless Los Angeles. We look forward to covering great stories from the City of Angels very soon.