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Robb Walsh

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  1. FYI: The Association of Food Journalists (AFJ) Ethical Guidelines for Restaurant Criticism: http://www.afjonline.com/rcrit.htm
  2. There are quite a few restaurant owners who swear they know what I look like. And they are mistaken. There are 8 Robert Walshs in the Houston phone book and some of them are using the confustion to their advantage when they present their credit cards and make reservations. Scott Tycer at Aires thought he knew what I looked like because he saw one such credit card. But I hadn't been in his restaurant that night. Other imposters are making reservations in my name too. The Press has received numerous complaints about my behavior in restaurants--when I wasn't there! Want me to prove it? Name a restaurant that says they know me and I'll go there without being spotted. If you read my reviews, its easy to see that the restaurants don't know who I am. Why else would they seat me at the worst table in the place, give me horrible service, lie about the fish, and kick me out so often? As for advertising, I have written extremely negative reviews about lots of Houston Press advertisers. One Italian restaurant used their ad space to launch a rebuttal. Others pull their ads in protest. But it doesn't matter. The public trusts us because we are as likely to blacken an advertiser's eye as anybody else's. There is a wall that separates advertising and editorial--reputable pubs observe it strictly and bottom feeders blatantly ignore it and trade editorial for ad dollars. But the New York Times? C'mon. If the state of Saudia Arabia buys an full page ad in the New York Times, do you think the editorial page is suddenly going to lean pro-Arab?
  3. Steven- Just curious--I understand that you don't think anonymity is important and that comps are okay. But it has never been clear to me whether you are defending restaurant reviewers who identify themselves and accept free meals in the abstract, or if you also review on this basis yourself? -Robb
  4. Ms. Nichols- In Food Fight, you note that you have abandoned the anonymity which is standard operating procedure for restaurant critics all over the world because "Times have changed...the emergence of...dining critics like John Mariani as high profile celebrities have put pressure on food writers to increase their visibility and feed the public's curiosity." In the book, The Soul of a Chef, it was reported that Mariani also gets free plane tickets and hotel rooms from restaurants he reviews. And he never pays for the food or the wine when he is reviewing. So do the "new, higher-profile" restaurant critics also take freebies? -Robb Walsh Restaurant Critic Houston Press
  5. Your white rum and lime mojito has inspired many chefs to try their hands at creating innovative cocktails to complement their cuisines. These chef's cocktails are starting to be taken quite seriously by critics. When did you first start making cocktails for the El Bulli? Have you created any new cocktails recently? Can you share your thoughts on the subject of matching cocktails and food?
  6. Russ- You need to fill AP in on this pyramid thing. They got the same memo I did. Puck Cafes are out, McPucks owned by franchisees are the future: September 2003 IRVINE, Calif. (AP) - The 8-year-old Wolfgang Puck Cafe in the Irvine Spectrum Center has closed amid reorganization of the Beverly Hills-based restaurant chain... The restructuring will focus on two concepts: the Express restaurants and high-end eateries in Los Angeles and Las Vegas....At least 300 new Express restaurants - all of them franchised - will open in the next three years...
  7. I'm a Texas food writer who has written extensively about France. I'll be visiting Brittany next week researching oysters. Mainly, I'm interested in belons and fin de claires. Anybody have any advice on the subject? Anybody in the area interested in having a glass of wine?
  8. Thanks. I will be careful with my oyster knife. A friend of mine missed his flight to a cooking demonstration recently because he absent-mindedly stuck a chef's knife in his carry on and he got nabbed by security. What do I want to know about oysters? My theory is that the old oyster and beer culture, which was associated with native oysters, is dying out all over the world and that a new oyster and fine wine culture, associated with cultivated varieties, is replacing it. Marine biologists have told me that native oyster fisheries are being phased out in some places because there's no demand. Only old people eat native oysters in France, for instance, because the younger generation have always eaten the cultivated variety. I am interested in the Colchester oyster feast and the Galway Oyster Festival becase they are two very famous celebrations of native oysters. I need to understand how Portugese, Pacific, and native oysters are harvested and or cultivated in Britain. I also hope to find a good museum or library archive of old illustrations, photos and product trademarks of British oysters and people eating them or gathering them for which I can get reproduction rights. And I wouldn't mind a little company at the oyster bar!
  9. Thanks Jackal! I wish your old professor was around to give me an oyster lecture. Actually the mayor of Colchester is taking me to lunch at the Company Shed. I'm stopping over in Whitstable as well on my way to Brittany. I appreciate your reponse--it being the only one. No doubt I will need to find a marine biologist for a serious conversation about bivalves. Foodies over there seem preoccupied with sniffing soiled chefs' whites.
  10. I'm a Texas food writer (more at: robbwalsh.com) working on a story about oysters around the world. I am going to the Colchester oyster feast next week and then looking for some historic oyster bars in London. In Texas and Louisiana, you can find oysters in posh settings, but mostly oysters are still eaten in rough and tumble oyster saloons. I ate some native Irish oysters at Moran's on the Weir in Clarinbridge near Galway last month and it felt like the same sort of "oyster pub" tradition. Any thoughts on where to go for a similar experience in London?
  11. I loved the one that said Alison and I shouldn't review the same place on the same day. All newspapers come from the same big newspaper factory, you know.
  12. Sad to hear that Portland bookstores don't have it in stock.
  13. The Gruyere cheese enchiladas at Cafe Pacifico on Montparnasse were fabulous--but that was 8 years ago, I have no idea if they are still there.
  14. In an earlier book, Nuevo Tex-Mex, I had written that migas was a Tex-Mex twist on the Mexican version of chilaquiles with eggs. But rather than the stale tortillas used in chilaquiles, migas employed stale tortilla chips, of which a Tex-Mex restaurant has an endless supply. Migas means crumbs, of course, and hacer migas, means to smash something to bits. So it all made perfect sense since you have to crush the tortilla chips to make the dish. But migas, it turns out, is also the name of a very old Spanish dish made with breadcrumbs. So I have had to amend my creation story.
  15. Great article, Caroline. What I really wanted was machacado con huevos. It was available for almuerzo if you could wait until 11 or noon, but I never did find a place in Monterrey, other that the Novotel breakfast buffet, that served eggs early in the morning. I guess I should have gone to Sanborns.
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