Dear Ba Foodist,
Do you think Yelp and other online restaurant review sites are the future of restaurant criticism? As a restaurant owner, I'm afraid that now, in addition to all my other responsibilities, I have the joy of responding to semi-literate nincompoops.
Barbara Ortiz, Fawnskin, California
Allow me to offer this piece of advice: Do not get into an online back-and-forth with your critics. Arguing with an anonymous poster will only frustrate you and might cause problems. As for whether Yelp and other online review sites are the future of restaurant criticism...no, and yes. No, I don't think the traditional restaurant column with a named critic is passe. Critics' reviews in New York magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and the like still matter greatly--just ask any chef whose restaurant has recently been reviewed. (Back when Zagat guides became popular, pundits predicted that these public ratings would render experts obsolete. Didn't
Blog Posts by Andrew Knowlton, BA Foodist, Bon Appetit Magazine
- Andrew Knowlton, BA Foodist, Bon Appetit Magazine | Shine Food – Thu, Jun 17, 2010 8:15 PM EDT
Dear Ba Foodist,Read More »from Will Yelp and "Cit Crit" Replace Restaurant Critics?
The country known for Pinot Grigio and Super Tuscans has recently become a creative frontier for beer. Unbound by brewing traditions (unlike Germany and Belgium) and heavily influenced by the Slow Food movement, Italy is crafting food-friendly brews beloved by the beer intelligentsia, including Justin Philips, owner of the superb Beer Table bar in Brooklyn. Here, Philips shares his favorite birre.Read More »from A Beer Revolution
Birra del Borgo Genziana, $9 for 12.7 ounces
"Brewed just outside of Rome, this crisp, herbal ale is made with gentian root, imparting a floral bitterness."
Piccolo Birrificio Sesonette, $9 for 11.2 ounces
"Nearly a beer-wine hybrid, this unique pale and spicy beer is matured in wine barrels."
Birrificio del Ducato Via Emilia, $10 for 11.2 ounces
"A magnificent interpretation of pilsner--zippy, frothy, and super-refreshing."
Birreria Baladin Wayan, $14 for 25.4 ounces
"Reminiscent of a Belgian saison, Wayan is brewed with an array of spices and malts; it's citrusy and crisp."
BA Foodist,Read More »from Summer Beach Reads for Food Lovers
I've exhausted my list of food memoirs and other foodie books. What are some similar reads that I can take with me to the beach this summer?
Belle Summers, Ocala, Florida
I'll assume you've already read the works of M.F.K. Fisher, Elizabeth David, and Wendell Berry. And, of course, Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential is a gritty and fun behind-the-scenes look at professional kitchens. Food politics may be a bit too weighty for beach reading, but if you've already finished all of Michael Pollan's noble works, your best bet is the smallish, unpreachy manifesto-cum-memoir called The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming, by Masanobu Fukuoka.
And my current obsession is Oishinbo, the title of the seven-volume Japanese manga (think comic book) recently released in the United States. Written by Tetsu Kariya and illustrated by Akira Hanasaki, Oishinbo ("The Gourmet") chronicles the adventures of young Shiro Yamaoka as he eats his way across
Dear BA Foodist,Read More »from How to Deal with Dinner Guests' Food Allergies
I love hosting dinner parties, but it seems that everyone has a list of food restrictions--no carbs, gluten-free, no red meat. Should I accommodate my guests, or should they all just eat what's on the table?
Miles Randall, Oklahoma City
The modern-day dinner party is a minefield of potential misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and downright hostility--and that's before you even start talking politics. Here are a few tips to get you off to a good start: If you decide to throw a party, the invitation should include a request that guests notify you about their food allergies or dietary restrictions. Further, as the host, it's your duty to meet those needs--within reason. If your boss's partner is lactose intolerant and you were planning to serve macaroni and cheese followed by cheesecake, tough: You must change the menu. If your brother's new girlfriend is a vegetarian and you want to grill steaks, make her an alternative entree. Likewise, if you're invited
Greece has given us democracy, a fine salad, and, as it turns out, outstanding wines made from a number of indigenous grapes, such as Moschofilero and Assyrtiko. Not only are the white wines of Greece delicious and affordable, but they also go quite well with spring food. Here are some strikingly refreshing bottles that are sure to rival your favorite Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc.Read More »from Save a Country--Drink Greek Wines
Gaia 2008 Notios White, $14
Made from equal parts Moschofilero and Roditis grapes, this bargain wine has big peach flavors and slight lemon notes.
Boutari 2008 Moschofilero, $17
From Greece's largest premium wine producer comes this zippy thirst quencher made with Moschofilero.
Enoteca Emery 2008 Athiri Mountain Slopes, $18
Athiri, a grape from the island of Rhodes, produces wines with bright citrus notes.
Estate Argyros 2008 Assyrtiko, $22
The lauded Greek grape Assyrtiko, from the island of Santorini, is known for its minerality and dryness.
Domaine Gerovassiliou 2008 Malagousia, $30
The fruity and
Dear BA Foodist,Read More »from Street Food Without Fear
I love street food, but, unfortunately, my stomach doesn't always agree with me after indulging. Do you have any guidelines for satisfying my cart cravings--at home and abroad--that won't result in my doubling over?
Francis Reyes, San Francisco
Street food is great, but eat enough of it and you will eventually spend time, uh, let's just say, not enjoying life. That said, eat boldly, but with some common sense. Adam Sachs, travel writer, glutton, and frequent contributor to Bon Appetit, follows a rule he was told in India--eat only at carts where women are cooking. "I have some vague notion that women are more fastidious," says Sachs. I choose busy carts with the longest lines since turnover of ingredients is good. But on some trips it's only a matter of time until my luck runs out. So finally, I have three simple words of advice: Pepto-Bismol tablets.
Dear BA Foodist,Read More »from No Jacket Required
My wife and I just celebrated our wedding anniversary at a favorite restaurant. I was taken aback to see what people are wearing (or not wearing) when they go out. Since when is it proper to wear jean shorts and a T-shirt to dinner?
Luke J. Skunza, Johnston, Rhode Island
The famous '21' Club was the last restaurant currently open in Manhattan to require a tie in its public dining rooms, until it dropped this rule last year. Only 12 restaurants in the Big Apple, arguably the most formal dining town in America, even require a jacket. Many fine-dining spots suggest but do not require a jacket, and most will accept diners in casual trousers and a collarless shirt if the other choice is losing that diner. So be it. What is more interesting to me is what it says about the "casualization" of American dining. Some of the country's most exciting food is being served at restaurants that are super-casual, featuring blaring music, backless chairs, and tattooed
Dear BA Foodist,Read More »from Food Smuggler's Delight
What food items can I bring home from a foreign country? Seasoned travelers have advised me never to declare even legal foods, but I want to stop being nervous at customs. What are your thoughts?
Michelle Whitman, Redmond, Washington
We all have a friend who has a friend who knows a guy who got busted with unpasteurized French cheese, had to pay a steep fine, and, worst of all, got his delicious illegal goodies confiscated. Confusion abounds. To get some answers, I e-mailed U.S.. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). They quickly e-mailed back that failing to declare agricultural items (including food) will cost first-time offenders $300. The CBP says the key to avoiding the penalty is to declare all agricultural items, because prohibited foods can "generally be abandoned at the port of entry without consequence." So, what foods are illegal or restricted? That's where, in my opinion, it gets a little unclear.
First of all, don't mess with plants,
Spring! That means the Kentucky Derby (this Saturday) and the Mint Julep--the rare convergence of sports and an extremely elegant libation. The drink is so refreshing, so potent that you might want to throw a julep party this weekend. Proper is the point, so do it the traditional way.Read More »from How To Make the Quintessential Mint Julep
First you need the right ingredients and the right gear. Try Maker's Mark or pricier small batch bourbon like Basil Hayden's. Brown sugar and fresh mint give the drink depth and freshness. Pewter julep cups are classic but an Old Fashioned or highball glass will do the trick. A wooden muddler is a must for crushing mint. If you're really serious, buy a Lewis bag for crushing the ice.
For each serving: Crush 4 cups of ice. In a pint glass or cocktail shaker, muddle 8 mint leaves and a teaspoon of brown sugar. Add 2 ounces of bourbon and stir. Pack a julep cup with ice until overflowing. Strain bourbon mixture into cup. Stir drink until the outside of the cup frosts. Top with more ice, garnish with a
After I posted my top five restaurant service pet peeves, readers quickly chimed in with their own dining out dislikes. Many took issue with one of my grievances in particular--Waiters who say, "Hello, my name is X, and I'll be your waiter tonight." "What are they supposed to say?" many argued. I'll have more to say on that topic in a post later this week. In the meantime, here are some of your restaurant pet peeves:Read More »from Part 2: The worst restaurant pet peeves
--The most annoying thing about restaurants is when they bring you the check and you are still eating. Do you really want to herd us out that quickly? Do you mind if we talk and enjoy ourselves a bit before we leave?
--May I add a # 6 to your April list of things we don't like about restaurants? CELLPHONES! Those next-table conversations can ruin a dinner in a fine restaurant.
--When waiters ask, "ARE YOU STILL WORKIN' ON IT.'
--One of my pet peeves when going to a restaurant is that when tables are cleared, the salt and pepper shakers are not cleaned--just rearranged.