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Overused restaurant reviewer words & metaphors

Fat Guy

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  • 3 weeks later...

TOOTHSOME! := (:gak: :barf: :bloody awful:)

A new one which I at first thought made-up, but after checking my Webster's New International (2nd ed, unabridged, 1952), found it listed, was:

PLENTEOUS! :toothsome:


Gack Barf Bloody awful!!!

(Especially because my mother uses it always to describe a hunk. "Your father looked particularly toothsome in his cashmere turtleneck last night. Or "Boy, is that Pincus Zucherman one toothsome conductor!"

Wonderful that however a child may be in her extremely late forties and a woman of the world, her mother can still make her blush. :biggrin:

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel


A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites


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Last night I saw "beet carpaccio" on a restaurant menu. That just sounds so wrong.

Carmelita's? I've had their squash carpaccio and it was good. In the context of a vegetarian restaurant.

There was a recipe for beet carpacio in Gourmet 12/02.

Has cloyingly been mentioned yet? A certain NY Times food writer used a perfectly good word every damn Sunday.

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Sure enough, "a whimsical creation" in a review I read today in Atlanta. This has to be Atlanta reviewers favourite adjective but its so wrong. Is anything really created on a whim in a restaurant kitchen? no! I mean who goes into a restaurant and says 'make me what you want and i'll eat it regardless.' Nobody i've ever met.

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Reading this thread is giving me a headache (or maybe it is lack of caffeine). I love eGullet and this thread epitomizes why. I read the banter regarding Steve Klc and his most recent article and had to keep on reading. I started to search the site for more posts along the same lines and came across this one. I worship you guys :wub: your wit and moxy. It is a great combination that makes a good read for a neophyte, like me. I love reading reviews; the language, the cadence, the content; all the heady stuff that I sometimes don't get, but I love nonetheless. I long to think like that...to recognize all of the subtleties and be able to express them to others. But unfortunately that is not a talent of mine. I go to restaurants to eat, drink and hopefully feel satisfied by the experience. Friends know me, as a good "recommender." I can tell you a good spot to check out, with great parking that is amenable to a toddler-tag-along :smile:, but that is about it. So I just wanted to let you all know that your work (posts) is greatly appreciated and your talents recognized -- even if just by lil-ol me :wink: .

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I am ashamed to admit I used an overused restaurant reviewer phrase in a recent piece. The phrase is: "hot spot"

I apologize.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 2 months later...
  • 7 months later...

This should be an easy list for people to contribute to:

1. "studded" - should be reserved for tires or S&M attire

2. "kissed with..." - do I have to qualify this?

3. "tantalizing" - Webster: "to tease or torment by or as if by presenting something desirable to the view but continually keeping it out of reach" so if it's out of reach how can anyone accurately review?

4. Rachel Ray - I know, not an adjective or adjectival phrase, but it ellicits the same emotion.

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as in, 'a grilled scallop was perched on a raft of potatoes...'

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Not overused, but annoying..a Boulder reviewer once described a veal dish as "obdurate & recalcitrant", which I consider to be personality traits rather than food adjectives. I'm sure the veal was tough, but lay off the thesaurus!

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Outside of egullet and the food press, the reviews that I am involved with most often involve the little Mayhaws. While both of them are very experienced diners and have a suprising amount of fine dining under their belt, their vocabularies involving food do not reflect their rediculously expensive schooling. Here are some of their favorite (mostly negative, because if they like stuff they are too busy eating to talk) terms:





grotty (grow-Dee)


not fresh (used for any leftovers, which they must be fooled into eating)

chunky (Mayhaw 1 likes smooth sauce, no chunks :angry: )

And the Ultimate description of Bad Food.....

Tastes Like Escargot :laugh:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I can't believe there were 5 pages in this thread and not one slash of

"It's a good thing" {insert plastic smile here}

Just awful. Even more painful when other reviewers attempt to recycle the phrase.

What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?


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