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NYT Articles on Food, Drink, Cooking, and Culinary Culture (2002–2005)


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Amanda Hesser got the gist of the "awards" right. The WS figured out a way to make an easy $600,000 a year. I stopped taking the WS seriously many years ago when the advertising volume began vastly exceeding the editorial content and dubious corporate owned wines started winning the "Wine of the Year" award. I choose not play their game.

Mark

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The article troubled me somewhat. Why did the Times do it. It seemed like a hit piece to me. Its not a newsworthy article as such. Why did the Times wine and food section write about a competitor's operations. It just seems to me that there has to be more to it.

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Froggy, I'm not sure I agree. I'd ask if the Times got it right. Then like Craig I'd ask is this old news--and I'd probably say it isn't out there enough in the mainstream, where customers walk through aisles and look for WS ratings and award placards on the walls of restaurants and WS numbers on lists. But there is plenty of precedent for media covering other media aggressively--do we think revealing and/or investigative food and wine pieces should be exempt? Was exposing the Zagat's false or flawed methodologies a hit-piece?

At first blush, this seems to me an article most eGulleteers would agree with and I bet most would wish the food sections around the country, the vast array of newspaper food editors and writers, would have the courage, support and skills to do something similar. Media criticism and analysis should apply to food and wine media, no?

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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The issue of whether or not "it's old news" is not the point...the point is the NY Times held up a mirror to this situation and I'm certain it's "news" to many of their readers.

Much as with any entity that offers a critique of a product or service, I'm always interested to know if there are any backdoor dealings involved which might shade or color the supposedly objective critic.

While all the e-gulleteers might be savvy enough to realize the less-than-above board dealings with various wine journals, not everyone who has seen a "Wine Spectator Award" at the entrance of a dining establishment might have known it was something the restaurateur had to pay to "win."

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While all the e-gulleteers might be savvy enough to realize the less-than-above board dealings with various wine journals, not everyone who has seen a "Wine Spectator Award" at the entrance of a dining establishment might have known it was something the restaurateur had to pay to "win."

Sort of turns my toes if you know what I mean. :hmmm:

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I liked it when he channeled Jinmyo.

:blink:

"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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The issue of whether or not "it's old news" is not the point...the point is the NY Times held up a mirror to this situation and I'm certain it's "news" to many of their readers.

I agree it is important to put the information out even if it is old news. The question is how much impact will such an article have with a publication with such a narrow readership base.

From the Wine Spectator's position - they are a commercial product after all. So what if they take money as long as their selections are legit. Paying entry fees for judging is hardly a new or uncommon activity. The Spectator did not create the idea they just adopted it. There are restaurant and wine guides all over the world who practice the same concept.

Not that makes it right.

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The awards are indeed a mixed bag. At best, the awards can at least point you in the direction of a restaurant with basic and possibly acceptable wine service. I trust recommendations from friends and forum posters for great restaurants and restaurants with great wine lists...

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  • 4 months later...

I'm a huge lover of sweet wines and Eisweins and I appreciate Asimov giving them more press. However, he is incorrect in his statement:

Incidentally, while North American wineries have adopted the German-derived term ice wine, they have thankfully steered clear of other, more brain-numbing Germanic words

We are more likely to see "Vin de Glace" or in the case of Folie a Deux, "Gewurtz Frost" or Renwood's "Ice Zin" - because the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms has regulations regarding the term "ice wine":

ATF has recently released a ruling, ATF Ruling 2002-7, restating our definition of ice wine and addressing the labeling of wines which are not true ice wines. The new ruling holds that wine made from grapes frozen after harvest may not be labeled with the term “ice wine” or any variation thereof, and if the wine is labeled to suggest it was made from artificially frozen grapes, the label must be qualified to reflect this. This ruling amplifies two previous ATF Rulings, 78-4 and 82-4. ATF Ruling 78-4, 1978 C.B. 61, held that the term “ice wine” may only appear on labels of wine made from grapes that were partially frozen on the vine. ATF Ruling 82-4, 1982-2 Q.B. 43 held, in part, that wine made from concentrate or which has been sweetened or fortified may not bear labels containing the terms “late harvest”, “ice wine” or similar terms.

ATF is aware that a number of domestic wine producers desiring to make a wine similar in style to ice wine are practicing cryoextraction in which the grapes are frozen after harvest but before pressing. The production of true ice wine is a labor-intensive process with the grapes harvested by hand after they have naturally frozen on the vines. The frozen grapes are then pressed. As the grapes are pressed, the natural water portion of the juice remains inside of the grape skins as ice crystals while a small amount of sweet, highly concentrated juice is expressed. While cryoextraction is a cost-effective means of producing juice with properties similar to juice pressed from grapes frozen on the vine, wines produced in this manner are not true ice wines and cannot be labeled as such; this includes but is not limited to using “ice wine” or foreign terms which translate to “ice wine” on the label.

The Alcohol Labeling and Formulation Division (ALFD) is aware that a number of domestic wine producers hold approved Certificates of Label Approval (COLAs) for wines labeled “ice wine” or similar terms implying the product is an ice wine when, in fact, the wines were made with artificially frozen grapes. In addition to the aforementioned ruling addressing labeling issues affecting true and imitation ice wines, 27 CFR 4.39(a)(1) prohibits the use of any term or statement on a wine label which tends to create a misleading impression about the wine. Because “ice wine” is a recognized term for wine made from grapes frozen on the vine, the use of this term or others which may suggest the product is ice wine is misleading to consumers if used on a label of wine made using methods such as cryoextraction which simulate the properties of ice wine. ALFD must ensure alcohol beverage labels comply with federal regulations and accurately reflect the composition of the product. Wines labeled as ice wines made from grapes frozen after harvest do not reflect the actual nature of the product.

If you hold a COLA for a product labeled “ice wine” which is not made from grapes harvested after naturally freezing on the vine, ALFD is asking that you do the following:

• Surrender your original COLA to ALFD.

• Submit a new COLA application (in duplicate) with “ice wine” or any

foreign word literally translating to “ice wine” removed.

• If you wish to use other terms on the label which might suggest the wine is similar in style to ice wine, ALFD will evaluate these on a case-by-casebasis. Additionally, a disclaimer statement must be included on the label indicating the grapes were frozen post-harvest. An example of an acceptable disclaimer statement is, “Made from grapes frozen postharvest.”

Should you have questions about submitting labels for products made from

artificially frozen grapes, please contact ALFD Customer Service at (202) 927-

8140.

Also, compliments of the Alcohol and Tobaco Tax and Trade Authority:

Domestic Ice Wine Labeling

By Leslie Nelson (202) 927-8140

ATF will soon be issuing a ruling, which holds that wine made from grapes frozen after harvest may not be labeled with the term “ice wine”, or any variation thereof, and if the wine is labeled to suggest it was made from such frozen grapes, the label must be qualified to show that the grapes were frozen post-harvest. This ruling amplifies ATF Rulings 78-4 and 82-4. ATF Ruling 78-4, 1978 C.B. 61, held that the term “ice wine” may only appear on labels of wine made from grapes that were partially frozen on the vine. ATF Ruling 82-4, 1982-2 Q.B. 43 held, in part, that wine made from concentrate or which has been sweetened or fortified may not bear labels containing the terms “late harvest,” “ice wine” or similar designations.

ATF is aware that a number of domestic wine producers desiring to make a wine similar in style to ice wine are practicing cryoextraction in which the grapes are frozen after harvest but before pressing. This method is not weather-dependent and is a cost-effective means of producing juice with properties similar to juice pressed from grapes frozen on the vine. The production of true ice wine is a very labor intensive process with the pressing of the grapes frozen on the vine yielding a much smaller quantity of very sweet, concentrated juice.

27 CFR 4.39(a)(1) prohibits the use of any term or statement on a wine label which tends to create a misleading impression about the wine. Because “ice wine” is a recognized term for wine made from grapes frozen on the vine, the use of this term is misleading to consumers if used on a label of wine made using methods such as cryoextraction which simulates the properties of ice wine. 27 CFR 4.39(l) impacts the labeling of ice wine as well. 27 CFR 4.39(l) prohibits the use of any foreign term on a domestic wine label which either describes a  condition of the grapes at the time of harvest or which denotes quality under foreign law. ALFD will evaluate foreign terms appearing on domestic wine labels  which might lead the consumer to believe the product is ice wine. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact ALFD Customer Service at (202) 927-8140, toll free (866) 927-ALFD (2533) or by email at alfd@atfhq.atf.treas.gov

Government links found through Robin Garr's Wine Lover's Discussion Group

Edited for formatting.

Edited by Carolyn Tillie (log)
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  • 1 month later...

From today's New York Times restaurant review of Casa Mono by Marion Burros:

"Even fried anchovies are well prepared, if you like fried anchovies. I am not a fan."

Okay. Fair enough. But then...

"I will never know how cap i pota fria (the name is catalan dialect for calves head and feet, or headcheese) tastes. Do you really want this on the menu in the age of mad cow?"

Translation: "EEwww! Scary and gross. I'm not touching it! And it might make me sick! Maybe you shouldn't eat it either (though I don't know cause I ain't putting that in my mouth--ever.)"

NOTE: The dish is one of the best things on the menu--and a cherished--some say signature feature of Batalidom.

"And I am afraid you are on your own when it comes to cockscomb and tripe."

Translation: " Gross! Who would ever want to eat tripe?! That's like guts, right? And cockscomb..That can't be good. Yuk! YOU try it--if you want. Not me--I'm ONLY THE ACTING FOOD CRITIC OF THE FUCKING NEW YORK TIMES!!"

NOTE: Again--one of the best things on the menu--and about as traditional--and representative of both Casa Mono, the chefs' philosophy--and a little place called SPAIN--as one could hope for.

Given her unapologetically stated prejudices,and unwillingness to even TRY important menu elements, Ms. Burros is reviewing Casa Mono.....WHY?

Hey--It could be worse. They could hire a seriously compromised, immediately recognizable novelist with minimal food knowledge,a 20 year trail of comped meals in his past--and no culinary background. But that would never happen, right?

abourdain

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Well, if the Times is going to drop the ball like this, they're leaving themselves wide open to serious competition. That review is useless.

What other NYC publications might be able to snatch the crown away from the NYT and become the premier source of serious food reviews in NYC?

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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yeah, we've got a good thing going here, but we're nowhere near as systematic and regular as a publication with a dedicated critic and a budget. The Times wrote up at least two restaurants a week, every week, with a thorough description of the offerings, space, ambience, etc. I don't think that we're up to that pace here.

As a matter of fact, our discussions often spring from the choices of the Times reviewers and the tangents that lead from them. We'd need to get into the drivers' seat and be much more active to provide as useful a service as the Times has...

That would involve lots of people getting off their collective asses and writing comprehensive reviews here of places they've been recently.... which would be great if it happened...

but you're more likely to get reviews like this (which in fact describes last weekend's amusements):

"Braved the elements to go out to Astoria to eat at Kabab Cafe on Steinway St. Place was packed upon arrival, had to wait about 45 minutes for a table to open up. Chef/host Ali was a gent and offered myself and companion a glass of wine to ease the wait. Beautiful and well executed mezze platter, and excellent lamb breast in pomegranate sauce. "

Different in quantity and quality from a proper review, and probably not as useful.

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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No matter what she thinks people who know the owners (or management) of a restaurant are treated differently than those who don't. And what's the point of working as a reviewer if you're unwilling to eat offerings on the menu? Oh no, it might taste icky!

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yeah, we've got a good thing going here, but we're nowhere near as systematic and regular as a publication with a dedicated critic and a budget. The Times wrote up at least two restaurants a week, every week, with a thorough description of the offerings, space, ambience, etc. I don't think that we're up to that pace here.

I was joking, of course. But, more to your point: no matter how low the Times stoops, I don't see anyone else even remotely positioned to step up and take their place.

--

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Note that she thought it important enough to disclose that she's known two of the owners for years and is not dining there as a regular patron.

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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Note that she thought it important enough to disclose that she's known two of the owners for years and is not dining there as a regular patron.

:hmmm:

Fair enough and proper. The question still stands, however, and I'll be glad to ask her when the Q & A comes up: how can anyone write a review of a restaurant, when the reviewer didn't/wouldn't/never will sample dishes known to be important elements of the regional cuisine in which the restaurant claims to specialize?

If the lady can't do better than this, she needs to go back to writing 30-minute recipes and doing think-pieces on nutritional issues.

:blink:

Me, I vote for the joyride every time.

-- 2/19/2004

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Well, if the Times is going to drop the ball like this, they're leaving themselves wide open to serious competition. That review is useless.

What other NYC publications might be able to snatch the crown away from the NYT and become the premier source of serious food reviews in NYC?

Steve Cuozzo writes some entertaining and sometimes downright hilarious reviews in the New York Post.

Mark

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