FoodDigger Hopes to Become Trusted Restaurant Guide

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Sushi Los Angeles

Where should I eat? For people who love food, that question is the only question. Several sites regularly vie for your palate’s attention, including Food GPS, Eat: Los Angeles, Zagat, Yelp, Chowhound, Urban Spoon and a litany of blogs. FoodDigger is a new contestant from five passionate food and wine fiends. FoodDigger feeds off of user-generated content. In that regard, they’re hardly unique, but they are original in their attempt to generate trusted Cuisine Experts. If you agree with a review/100-point score, you can toss a “T” their way. From that point on, follow your favorite foodie’s culinary experiences.

FoodDigger uses a matrix to determine palate compatibility, kind of like eHarmony, but for stomachs instead of hearts. The founders are focused exclusively on Los Angeles at the moment, but they hope to become global. The website is certainly functional. Search by location, cuisine, rating and price. There’s also a scrollbar for “Most Trusted Cuisine Experts.” The people with the most Ts are the most trusted.

To generate interest with local tastemakers, FoodDigger has hosted several elaborate dinners. At a November suckling pig dinner at Ford’s Filling Station, Ben Ford outdid the meal he prepared for Andrew Zimmern and Eddin Lin on “Bizarre Foods.” Attendees included H.C. (L.A. and O.C. Food Adventures), Matthew Kang (Mattatouille), Matt Mitchell (Dig Lounge), Aaron (Food Destination) and Javier Cabral (Teenage Glutster). The event caused a local blogsplosion.

On Wednesday night, I attended a FoodDigger dinner at Shibucho with three of the site’s founders – Marshal, Brian and Will – and food bloggers including Kevin (Kevin Eats), Tony C. (Sinosoul), Fiona (Gourmet Pigs) and Ila (I Nom Things).

Shige Kudo is Shibucho’s traditional sushi master. He was born on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and worked in Tokyo before moving to Los Angeles 33 years ago, where he opened Shibucho in Historic Filipinotown. The space is spare, with just 10 seats at an L-shaped bar and four tables. The design: mostly wood, a stone floor and box lanterns for lighting. Kudo isn’t a complete traditionalist. His dining room hosts a sushi clock, with a different morsel of seafood for each hour, and a shelf full of cat figurines. Over the years, Kudo has accumulated a lot of good will, and a lot of cat figurines, gifts from customers to bring good luck.

For the dinner, FoodDigger’s founders paired each course with an “old red wine.” Red wine isn’t a traditional sushi pairing, but Kudo is a wine-hound. If you ask, he’ll show you his bound wine list, and will happily pair your seafood with vino. Prior to the dinner, FoodDigger’s founders consulted with Kudo to help ensure optimum pairings. There was one wild card. Kevin brought a bottle of 1978 Dom Perignon from his personal stash. With a bottle that unique, nobody minded straying from the theme. Unfortunately, I had to leave eight dishes in to the 15 dish marathon, but Ila from I Nom Things did a good job of capturing the experience.

During my stay, the pairings were as follows:

Sushi Los Angeles
Ankimo (monkfish liver) with scallions and radish in ponzu sauce
(1978 Dom Perignon from Kevin)

Sushi Los Angeles
Geoduck clam strips with scallions, seaweed, white miso vinaigrette
(1982 Pavie-Decesse)

Sushi Los Angeles
Albacore sashimi with radicchio, arugula, tomato and vinaigrette
(1978 Ducru Beaucaillou)

Sushi Los Angeles
Sashimi: toro (tuna belly) and maguro (tuna)
(1976 Rioja Lopez de Heredia – Viña Bosconia Cosecha)

Sushi Los Angeles
Buri (a wild yellowtail from Japan) and halibut treated with yuzu (no dipping) (pictured)
(1976 Rioja Lopez de Heredia – Viña Tondonia)

Sushi Los Angeles
Eggplant Parmesan
(1961 Latour)


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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Hey Josh. Thanks again for coming. It was unfortunate that we didn’t get to talk a whole lot, but it was a pleasure having you. Not all of the pairings worked, but it was fun trying. See you soon.


Heh, half a meal is better than no meal; had to skip on this one ’cause of prior engagements (and no, I can’t even do a half-and-half like the Ford’s dinner). Sounds like a wonderful experience, and I could’ve used the experiential education in old vine wines (haven’t had many of those).

A pity you couldn’t stay Josh! It was great meeting you, though unfortunately we didn’t get to talk too much.

BTW, I was also at Ford’s Filling Station. 😉 See:

Thanks. It’s not often that I get compliments on my photography.

Your pictures do a great job of capturing the artistry in the plating. I especially like the first picture of Kudo. Makes me want to go just to see him behind the counter

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