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Restaurants vs. Bloggers


richardv
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On the Blogosphere.

Batali: It’s amazing, these fucking Websites, these blogs. [Otto co-owner] Jason Denton hasn’t even thought about this pizza restaurant that isn’t even a pizza restaurant across the street from Otto, and he’s getting quoted. I call him and say, “Lips. What are you doing?” and he’s like “I want to tell you, I’m never planning on opening a pizza restaurant … I don’t know what happened on the blog this morning.” Whatever the blog heard is now fact.

Bourdain: I think it’s great. They’ve beaten down the wall, and everybody’s invited to write whatever shit they want about you. It’s democratic.

Batali: I’m not so much about these blogs by anonymous people saying nasty things about you. I think it’s getting pretty stupid. If there’s something interesting, and there’s somebody editing it and taking care of it, I’m down with it. But some of those people are just bit with vituperative anger and just want to rail on you.

Bourdain: It’s inevitable, it’s the tide, there’ s no fighting it. There’s a bunch of these guys that are like Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons, whipping out their fucking little cameras, and five minutes after one of them says it’s the greatest, the next will say that’s so last week. That’s inevitable. I go to all those sites and enjoy them, especially when they’re about people I don’t like.

Batali: Well, I don’t like them.

__________________________________________

Full Story at: http://nymag.com/daily/food/2007/05/batali..._much_more.html

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Well, what a surprise that Mario would bite (or worse, disrespect) the hands that feed him. :laugh:

In the days when his restaurants were never-fail, I allowed him that abrasive part of his personality, because he could put his money where his mouth was, so to speak.

But I have now had many more disappointing meals at his places than good ones, so I for one have written him off. I won't be photographng his food any more because he won't be seeing any more of my dining dollars.

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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Interesting. I think the second article should have discussed all the blogs and posts of forums that consistently PRAISE a restaurant that may otherwise be somewhat overlooked by the pro reviewers. I'm sure many people here at eGullet went to restaurants not because of a great professional review, but rather a series of "amatuer" reviews by "crazy Internet people". This can really help out a place, in my view. I'm sure there are some greatful chefs/owners out there who have been helped by bloggers.

Yes, one review by some potential crack pot on it's own may not mean much. But a series of reviews that are conistent in pointing out a flaws an issues should not be so easily dismissed. Especially when the reviewers in question post lots of reviews with lots of positive reviews and comments. We aren't all pros, but a lot of us dine out a lot and know what we like and what is good and know how to *correctly* identify something that is amiss.

I wonder if Rick Bayless reads here? Does Mario?

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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I wonder if Rick Bayless reads here?  Does Mario?

Well, Mario comments on this in a short interview posted on New York Magazine's site:

Batali: It’s amazing, these fucking Websites, these blogs. [Otto co-owner] Jason Denton hasn’t even thought about this pizza restaurant that isn’t even a pizza restaurant across the street from Otto, and he’s getting quoted. I call him and say, “Lips. What are you doing?” and he’s like “I want to tell you, I’m never planning on opening a pizza restaurant … I don’t know what happened on the blog this morning.” Whatever the blog heard is now fact.

Bourdain: I think it’s great. They’ve beaten down the wall, and everybody’s invited to write whatever shit they want about you. It’s democratic.

Batali: I’m not so much about these blogs by anonymous people saying nasty things about you. I think it’s getting pretty stupid. If there’s something interesting, and there’s somebody editing it and taking care of it, I’m down with it. But some of those people are just bit with vituperative anger and just want to rail on you.

Bourdain: It’s inevitable, it’s the tide, there’ s no fighting it. There’s a bunch of these guys that are like Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons, whipping out their fucking little cameras, and five minutes after one of them says it’s the greatest, the next will say that’s so last week. That’s inevitable. I go to all those sites and enjoy them, especially when they’re about people I don’t like.

Batali: Well, I don’t like them.

__________________________________________

Full Story at: http://nymag.com/daily/food/2007/05/batali..._much_more.html

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the Batali comment was specifically about an apparently false rumor posted on eater.

and it's not like there aren't a lot of idiots posting online.

edit: furthermore, AG was completely in the wrong on Le Cirque (his parents acted like rubes and they got a bad table and good service)...and I'm no defender of Le Cirque.

Edited by Nathan (log)
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These are interesting articles, Salli, especially the latter. I can understand the love/hate relationship restaurants have with bloggers. It is not uncommon in the blogosphere for criticism to be leveled with a sharp knife. It can get or appear personal and especially galling when coming from anonymous or not otherwise identified pen-named bloggers. On the other hand some chef/restauranteurs have particularly thin skin. I think that in general restaurants have benefitted greatly from the internet including organizations like ours and individual bloggers.

As blogs have proliferated though, it gets more and more difficult to keep track of them. The quality can be exceptional, but it is a full-time job to keep track of them. As such, I only regularly read a select few. I generally prefer to focus my attention here as it continues to be an excellent source for discussion on a wide range of topics and areas. I do find a number of blogs to be particularly good resources when I am interested in exploring specific areas either conceptually or geographically.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Any publicity is good publicity, in many cases.

It's true how the food blogs have proliferated! When I first started food-blogging back in 2002, there weren't that many of us... Bread Chocolate Coffee Yoga, Leite's Culinaria and what is now A Full Belly (the author lived in NY before moving to SF) were up, I think. It's quite a challenge after 5 years to 1) keep eating and 2) keep writing, but I still find such activities very satisfying. And I love reading other food blogs and message boards such as eGullet (especially eGullet!). :biggrin:

On the other hand some chef/restauranteurs have particularly thin skin. I think that in general restaurants have benefitted greatly from the internet including organizations like ours and individual bloggers.

As blogs have proliferated though, it gets more and more difficult to keep track of them. The quality can be exceptional, but it is a full-time job to keep track of them. As such, I only regularly read a select few. I generally prefer to focus my attention here as it continues to be an excellent source for discussion on a wide range of topics and areas. I do find a number of blogs to be particularly good resources when I am interested in exploring specific areas either conceptually or geographically.

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the Batali comment was specifically about an apparently false rumor posted on eater.

Well no, read his comments and you will see that he goes on to talk about "some of those people are just bit with vituperative anger and just want to rail on you ... I don't like them."

Wasn't Babbo a "no cameras allowed" restaurant?

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Given what bourdain has written about eGullet elsewhere I doubt they were talking about eGullet.

I was under the impression that Bourdain is no longer a fan of eG.

Indeed, so he's unlikely to be disagreeing with Batali re: eG.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think that is actually a reasonable piece as is Mario Batali's discussion on Bloggers on eater.com.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Amateur Gourmet seriously compromised his credibility when he allowed Sirio to have him back to Le Cirque to make up for the alleged slight that occurred when AG brought his parents to the restaurant the first time. You can't wrap yourself in a cloak of journalistic credibility and then act like a shakedown artist.

On a larger sense, the same applies to blogs and message boards like eG. If I/ we/they/whomever are going to pretentiously take credit for democratizing food criticism -- and, given the way most Americans eat, God help us if that ever really happens -- we have to act like grown-ups. We have to do our homework. We have to stop speculating and make a phone call or two, just like the real reporters whom some take so much joy in slagging as "yesterday's papers".

One example, from another food site: A review appeared in the Washington Post which mentioned --almost, but not quite, as an aside -- that a hostess had committed the faux pas of telling two gay men on a date that they liked to hold one particular table "for couples." The young woman may not have have recognized the men as a couple (not everyone is that sophisticated, even today), or she might have been virulently homophobic. Or she might have been hungover. At any rate, soon a gang of posters had whipped themselves into a frenzy over the restaurant in question's hiring homophobic staff. There was talk of boycotts and all sorts of outrage, based on one sentence in a review.

It wasn't my problem but I knew the mod of the other board, and sent him an e-mail, he contacted the restaurant, the owner sent word that a) the restaurant loves everyone and b) the faux pas was one of several and the hostess in question had been fired already and c) y'all come. The point being that no one bothered to spend the 90 seconds it would have taken to get the facts before mouthing off on-line -- an all-to-common occurrence.

So, though I am the voice of food criticism for the masses, I think Mario has a point and one that is oft-overlooked.

And PS: what percentage of food blogs rise beyond recycled press releases and overlong reviews, anyway?

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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BusBoy - agreed - the fact that the Amateur Gourmet was invited back to Le Cirque possibly made his career possible - its such a great story for the Media to latch onto - but it was unprofessional by existing standards.

here's my take on the matter.

An ecclesiastical history of the food web, the media’s response to online restaurant criticism, and why Mario Batali is an idiot. -

I read a few hundred food blog posts each week.

Edited by dcress (log)
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BusBoy - agreed - the fact that the Amateur Gourmet was invited back to Le Cirque possibly made his career possible - its such a great story for the Media to latch onto - but it was unprofessional by existing standards.

here's my take on the matter.

An ecclesiastical history of the food web, the media’s response to online restaurant criticism, and why Mario Batali is an idiot. -

I read a few hundred food blog posts each week.

Well done. Thanks for the link.

Batali’s Pizzeria Mozza is the most blogged about restaurant in the last six months; BlogSoop lists 17 reviews, all of which had positive things to say. The same goes for Otto, Del Posto, Babbo and others. This man should love food bloggers, not hate them. And the notion of anonymity? Most bloggers proudly go by their real names: I’ve been in touch with every blogger whose reviews are listed on BlogSoop - many in person.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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BusBoy - agreed - the fact that the Amateur Gourmet was invited back to Le Cirque possibly made his career possible - its such a great story for the Media to latch onto - but it was unprofessional by existing standards.

here's my take on the matter.

An ecclesiastical history of the food web, the media’s response to online restaurant criticism, and why Mario Batali is an idiot. -

I read a few hundred food blog posts each week.

Uh-oh -- a blogger doing his homework instead of just spewing. I hope it's not a trend! :wink:

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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