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    north Texas
  1. Finally, a topic on this board where I actually have a modicum of experience! I just finished reading the Richman piece, and I find it to be alright when he sticks to criticism of food, but he can't seem to resist being condescending and insulting. He begins his article by rejoicing in the closing of Uglesich’s where he had a traumatic po-boy experience, as if Katrina had done him a personal favor. He then refers to Antoine's and Arnaud's as the 'twin tourist standbys' which he and everyone else abandoned decades ago, while extolling the virtues of Cafe du Monde as if it were some quaint local eatery frequented only by locals. (Unfortunately Cafe du Monde is possibly the most frequented tourist trap in the entire city, and seems to me to be run by an oriental family. Not exactly the model for local cuisine.) This dichotomy continues throughout the article. One minute he accurately critiques a food item or restaurant, the next he is taking a potshot at the entire city. Some of his non-critique generalizations: - New Orleans is decadent and wears five-day stubble - is there is anything in the city worth cherishing or preserving? - he all but writes off the French Quarter - implies that all previous praises of New Orleans cuisine were made by drunks - narcissism, revelry, indolence, and corruption rendered locals incapable of responding properly to Katrina - writes off Creoles as myth - seems to equate Bourbon Street with the entire French Quarter - asserts that most citizens get their exercise by stumbling out of bars I can certainly understand why residents would take umbrage with his depiction of their city, especially those who are still trying to cut through the red tape and get back into their homes. At least he spent money there, as did my wife and I over the week between Christmas and New Year's. The difference is that we had a wonderful time, had no predisposition to hate bread pudding or any particular food, and will return again and again. Mr. Richman does his profession a great disservice with such a hatchet job. Perhaps he should update his byline to 'culture critic.'
  2. Just for fun, I did a bit of MapQuest analysis. From Nice, France to Brest, France you will drive almost 900 miles. So French cuisine, as it were, covers a lot of ground. From Brownsville, Texas to Dalhart, Texas is almost 900 miles. But that is just one out of fifty states! To truly compare American cuisine you would have to use all of Europe including Great Britain. Is there any such thing as "cuisine of the European Union?" If there is, then let the comparisons begin......otherwise.....*shrug*
  3. I found this thread very informative. My perspective is skewed by several factors, but that might help me contribute to the discussion. I was almost 30 before I began enjoying beverages containing alcohol on any sort of a regular basis, and I was over 40 before I discovered that not all wine was as paltry as that sold in a ceramic jug. When it comes to wine I am very new, not very experienced, and still to this day can't come up with tasting notes longer than three words. But perhaps my compressed wine education will prove educational if not humorous. First, I have lived my entire life in Texas and have not yet begun to travel extensively. The region is heavily influenced by fundamentalist religion and this greatly influences both availability and price when it comes to wine. For an example, I live on the northern edge of the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area, where the population is on the brink of six million. Still, this area, along with much of the state, is 'dry' by default. To be able to sell alcoholic beverages requires a local election, and the petition and election process is convoluted at best. It was only three years ago that wineries in Texas were given an exemption from this process so that one may give tastings without a local election. When my wife and I began drinking wine I was fortunate enough to select a delicious German dessert wine which I adored. However, finding the exact same vintage, class and producer a second time proved difficult. We quickly settled on Gallo's Cafe Zinfandel as our favorite for every day drinking while occasionally trying others based on label, marketing or recommendation. We then began touring the wineries of Texas and the tastings at least opened our eyes to the many varietals available, and we began enjoying red wine as well. We were also fortunate to have a friend working for one of the largest beverage distributors in the state and she kept us supplied and informed with many other wines from the world. And lately we visit a local wine store with a well-traveled owner who is pursuing the title of sommelier and who has further enhanced our exploration of wine. We recently purchased a bottle of Cafe Zinfandel, and most of it went down the drain. Ack! Such sugar water! Hopefully this means that our tastes have advanced..... Now to the topic of this thread. I can not say that I have experienced much in the way of French wine of any price range, except for a few tastings. The same goes for South American, Australian and other European wines. I have, however, found several Texas wines that I enjoy, and they are mostly in the under $20 range. I do not, however, trust my taste buds and palate yet, so perhaps I should start making those notes. While I agree to a certain extent that the original poster made some sweeping generalizations I do thank him for the many suggestions he has made for inexpensive French wines. These suggestions and Peter Mayle's books are great inspiration. I have also enjoyed the discussion of large formulaic corporate labels vs. estate wine and the comparisons of old vs. new world. Thank you.
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