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Newspaper food coverage


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When I was living in Long Beach, CA, I could always trust the Los Angeles Times food section for interesting reading. The exception was the inclusion of articles by Regina Schrambling, which always struck me as strange as she had no connection with Southern California, being based in NYC.

The Long Beach Press Telegram, on the other hand, was noted for it's terrible food writing, both on Wednesday's Cooking section and in the Friday "Taste" supplement, with restaurant reviews written to formula. Yes, good food is to be found in Long Beach, but good food writing seems to be outside the abilities of Al Rudis, their lead critic.

So far, I'm still trying to figure out what papers I want to focus on in Delaware. The Washington Post is probably my best bet for a major metropolitan paper, but I've got to locate something closer to home for local news, and so far the weekly Cape Gazette, while serving the area best in some ways, hasn't impressed in it's food reporting.

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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Regarding the Los Angeles Times, I think it's gone down-hill a bit since Parsons stopped being the Food section editor.

After a few weeks since I left I lost interest and haven't check the site at all.

How many people read the deadwood version of their local paper as opposed to online?

In fact, how many people read their local paper instead of the numerous other news sources online?

(Mine is the almost malevolently atrocious Ottawa Citizen and I haven't looked at it in years.)

Just curious.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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(Mine is the almost malevolently atrocious Ottawa Citizen and I haven't looked at it in years.)

Wow, another Ottawa native! I still do check on it every now and then, it is pretty bad though. I still believe that the general Ottawa reader enjoys it.

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My local paper, the Asbury Park Press in NJ as had mixed ideas as to how to cover local restaurants. While heartily endorsing local places like Far East Taste, they (understand that this reviewer was chosen to edit the NJ Zagat) managed to completly remove from the Zagat any mention of Monmouth County's oldest and largest Mexican restaurant, Casa Comida. The paper and reviewer have had a decades long history of dislike for this place, but in this case it seems to be a pretty obvious case of "I can do it so I will."

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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The Miami Herald does a pretty decent job these days with food coverage. A number of Knight Ridder service articles in the Thursday food section, but a bunch of homegrown content as well. Linda Bladholm writes about ethnic food, traveling around looking for interesting and different restaurants and home cooks (this week she's writing about vanilla; my friend Ellen Kanner writes a column every other week called the Edgy Veggie about vegetarian foods; and they cover Dade, Broward, Monroe and Palm Beach county restaurants.

The Miami New Times has a great columnist named Jen Karetnick (nickname kavetchnick) who writes about food trends, as well as regular restaurant reviewers.

Author of the Mahu series of mystery novels set in Hawaii.

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IN Portland, we have the good, the bad and the ugly... okay so maybe jsut the bad and the ugly:

The Oregonian, the only daily i know of, feautures a wednesday food section that, apart from the occasional section actually written by a food PROFESSIONAL (e.g. the wine suggestions) it is pedantic and poorly written. For a while over the summer they were featuring short interviews with 'accomplished' home cooks. In a town full of talented and eccentric chefs, this seems the dumbest idea ever.

The Tabloid style restaurant reviews are ht and miss but the ones i've read seem well done: meaning thorough, fair and they don't show up on opening night... i don't get a chance to read it much.

The Oregonian is like what you imagine food writing to be in the '50s -- Betty Crocker meets Family Home Journal or something. Every few weeks I decide I'll check it out to see if there's anything interesting and I realize, nope, there wasn't.

THe Williamette Week and the Mercury, our 'alt' papers; apart from the occasional Jim Dixon piece (i like him) i am not a big fan.  I've seen Roger Porter actually try to pass the famous Bourdain 'vegan' comment as his own (not in print, but spoken).  I am just glad Caryn Brooks is gone.  she wrote like a high school drop out from gresham.

I haven't ever checked out the Mercury's food stuff. Didn't even know they had a section. I do think the WW can be inconsistent, but at least you can get to know a reviewer and they actually seem to try to learn something about the place they're reviewing first. On the other hand, I've read reviews from the Oregonian where I've questioned whether the writer ever actually ate there. They just looked at the menu and said it sounded good or something. I start looking for the advertising in the paper at that point.

Have you checked out Portland Monthly or Portland Tribune. I haven't read much of the Tribune yet, but noticed that they were online. I got the Portland Monthly food edition and it was a mixed bag. Some things were ridiculous, like their pick for best Mexican Tienda in town. But there was some useful information as well and they seem to be trying. They are rather new, afterall.

Unfortunately, Jim Dixon doesn't write near enough for WW and appears to be selling too much olive oil making him feel like he's unable to review these places we need him to, I think.

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I am fortunate to live in DC (Tom Sietsema suck-up - I have learned so much about the process of food writing through his columns and more importantly, his chats) where the Post does a great job. I still read the NYT online, religiously - makes me miss the density of eating options in the five boroughs though.

My hometown paper? Don't laugh now...it's the Scranton Times. When I most recently visited their web site, I almost fell off my chair when I learned that they do in fact employ a food editor (I tried to find out if he were also handling sports on the side or something, but no dice). Although the area has a number of good to very good restaurants, like in NJ, they skew toward Italian-American food, and there isn't a ton of turnover for whatever reason. It would be difficult to write a weekly restaurant review after the initial 4-5 months getting up to speed on existing good restaurants.

The paper puts out a weekly entertainment/nightlife supplement that features "reviews" however they tend to fall into the "nicey-nice" category, most likely because only advertisers in the guide. "Hmm, I would how THAT happened. What a coincidence!" I can almost hear people say. The reviewers surely only visit once to get that "I had the pasta with cream sauce" experience.

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I had some of the best tasting pizza I had ever tasted on in Scranton Pa while stopping for the night on the drive to NY from Tenn. Man I still talk about it..Wish I remembered the place, but the sauce and flavors of herbs were just right....and the crust....dont get me started, crispy and flavorful....oh...I want some pizza now and its only 8 am

Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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The Los Angeles Times does a terrific job of covering just about everything on the food scene.  In addition to Editor Russ Parsons' interesting and informative articles on food preparation, the section boasts writers David Shaw, Irene Virbila, and Linda Burum reporting on ethnic restaurants.  The section also covers restaurant openings and closings, as well as chef movements.  The food section is the first thing I turn to in the paper on Wednesdays.

Week-in, week-out, I think the LA Times publishes the best food section in the country. But Michalene Busico, not Russ Parsons, is the section's editor.

Ditto. The LA Times food section just gets better and better.

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Regarding the Los Angeles Times, I think it's gone down-hill a bit since Parsons stopped being the Food section editor. Home cooks, farmers' markets, and food history have had to make way for restaurant reviews and gossip. It's not that I think that restaurant reviews have no place in food sections, but I also don't think that dropping all mention of what's fresh at the farmers' markets--David Karp was fabulous with this--wasn't warrented. Recipes are fewer as are special essays on food history and cooking techniques. And there even used to be articles about GM foods and what it means to be certified as organic. Now we have multiple articles about "hot" new Westside restaurants and trendy wine buys (though I do enjoy David Shaw's essays).

I couldn't disagree more. I think it just gets better and better, partly because there's such a diverse representation of topics. It's lively, interesting, well-written. It seems to me that Russ is so good as a writer, he's actually doing better stuff now than when he was the editor and probably didn't have time to do the kind of great stories he does so well. I look forward to it every week now and am seldom disappointed. I thought their Thanksgiving section was particularly good. I also read the NY Times and think the LA Times section blows it out of the water. It doesn't seem to have as strong a vision and cohesive a feel as the LAT section.

Agree re David Karp, but isn't he writing for Gourmet now? And I haven't really noticed much on trendy Westside restaurants. Were you thinking of a particular article or place? Personally, I like having restaurant reviews in the food section. Makes sense to me...

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The Durham Herald-Sun food coverage is pretty bad. On Wednesdays we get a section of the paper with AP articles, a local restaurant buzz column (which includes meat deals from the local chain grocers (?); I read that section because it also has the comics. On Friday's we get a restaurant review which ranges from aweful to just OK. Either the restuarant reviewed has been around forever and has seen plenty of reviews or the reviewer writes things like "the food was excellent" and the dogs everything they ate.

I read the NY and LA Times on-line to suplant what I live with.

Bryan C. Andregg

"Give us an old, black man singing the blues and some beer. I'll provide the BBQ."

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I had some of the best tasting pizza I had ever tasted on in Scranton Pa while stopping for the night on the drive to NY from Tenn. Man I still talk about it..Wish I remembered the place, but the sauce and flavors of herbs were just right....and the crust....dont get me started, crispy and flavorful....oh...I want some pizza now and its only 8 am

Pizza *is* done well in the area, I will admit. My personal favorites... Salerno's in Old Forge. They serve smallish rectangular slices, good cheese, served in a bar that used to be the 1990s drug trafficking hub of Northeastern PA - the back room is more family-friendly :smile:... Arcaro's on the Taylor/West Scranton border, for something different. Thin crust with a soupy sort of sauce-cheese mixture. I tell people it's an acquired taste - once you're into it, you will crave the taste forever.

PM me if you'd like me to try to help you figure out where you were and how to eat their pizza again. Alternately, you could just go to Scranton's Italian Festival during Labor Day Weekend - pretty much every good pizza joint in the area represents around Courthouse Square. You could make your rounds saying "no, not that one...let's keep looking."

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