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NYT Articles on Food, Drink, Cooking, and Culinary Culture (2005–2011)


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The fried buns at Chen's are crazy molten lava hot - I wonder of the frying top and bottom helps seal in the juices. I like Chen's malantou (chopped veggie) starter, their dark sesame pastry at lunch and the red bean spring rolls at dinner. I think Mrs Chen goes back to Shanghai for the break.

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Obviously great news that Vancouver is recognised by New Yorkers. But it is very disappointing that over half of the restaurants reviewed actually reflect overseas cuisines (Chinese, Japanese and Indian). I love Chinese and Indian food, but I also like British, French, Italian, Thai and WEST COAST. Sadly (or tellingly) these garner no mention.

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I think that Chinese, Izakaya & Vij's are probably Vancouver's best conceived & well managed food options. Does anybody else recognize the limitations of the most successful spate of restaurants in recent memory that revolve around french onion soup, tomato soup(veg option), beet & cheese salad, burger(gourmet) & fries overcooked, mussels, steak etc....... How banal, thank god for the ethnic food restaurants, although they can be much alike too. I wish there was a little more imagination.

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It seems to me that the ethnic/overseas offerings is most representative of Vancouver, and is what makes our food culture here interesting, different. Afterall, Vancouver is a mishmash of cultures with a strong Asian influence, and the restaurants reviewed reflect this. Sure, there are fantastic French/Italian/etc. restaurants in Vancouver that receive plenty of kudos, and definitely flesh out the dining scene here. But if I were a New Yorker regularly reading the NYT...I dunno...I think I would be much more captivated by the overall mishmash-ness of Vancouver than by reviews of French/Italian/etc. restaurants, of which New York has many and do plenty well.

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East Village vs Richmond/Robson by Denman. Fight!

Momofuku still has my favorite beer which, by the way, you simply cannot get in BC :(Hitachino Nest, where's the love?

"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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Momofuku still has my favorite beer which, by the way, you simply cannot get in BC :(Hitachino Nest, where's the love?

fud my friend - you should really join CAMRA Vancouver! Then you would know that Hitachino Nest has been available here since the beginning of January. It's being imported by Beerthirst. You can buy Hitachino Nest at Brewery Creek...if they're not already sold out. :wink: Think I'll dip into some of that White Ale now...

健啖家(kentan-ka):A hearty eater

He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

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It seems to me that the ethnic/overseas offerings is most representative of Vancouver, and is what makes our food culture here interesting, different. Afterall, Vancouver is a mishmash of cultures with a strong Asian influence, and the restaurants reviewed reflect this. Sure, there are fantastic French/Italian/etc. restaurants in Vancouver that receive plenty of kudos, and definitely flesh out the dining scene here. But if I were a New Yorker regularly reading the NYT...I dunno...I think I would be much more captivated by the overall mishmash-ness of Vancouver than by reviews of French/Italian/etc. restaurants, of which New York has many and do plenty well.

A fair point.

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I think that Chinese, Izakaya & Vij's are probably Vancouver's best conceived & well managed food options. Does anybody else recognize the limitations of the most successful spate of restaurants in recent memory that revolve around french onion soup, tomato soup(veg option), beet & cheese salad, burger(gourmet) & fries overcooked, mussels, steak etc....... How banal, thank god for the ethnic food restaurants, although they can be much alike too. I wish there was a little more imagination.

Ironically you've made my point for me. I was making the point that there is no Vancouver equivalent of, say David Everitt-Matthias (Le Champignon Sauvage) who is cooking original, locally sourced food in Cheltenham (UK). And, it seems, any West Coast restuarants that are around have actually been imported from, erh, New York.

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  • 1 year later...

That was quick.

It was widely reported that he had his eye on other jobs. Personally, I thought he wrote like someone who was extremely bored and wishing it would be over. He got his wish.

There was much about Frank Bruni that I disagreed with, but at least he worked hard and had real passion for dining out. Both of those (hard work and real passion) were lacking in Sifton.

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I would be surprised if it were Pete Wells. As editor of the whole dining section, he has a much broader impact than just writing one column a week. He is a frequent dinner guest of the restaurant critic (whoever he or she may be), so he gets many of the benefits without being tethered to a weekly review.

I also think he is close enough to realize that it's a grind, which is why no one has ever lasted in that job for a really long time. Mimi Sheraton did it for eight years, but most have not lasted even that long. Reichl was 6 years, Grimes about 5, Bruni about 5, and now Sifton 2.

Compare that with Anthony Tommasini, chief classic music critic since 2000 (and a staff reviewer since 1993); or Ben Brantley, chief theater critic since 1996; or A. O. Scott, chief film critic since 2004 (and a staff reviewer since 2000).

These other disciplines don't wear people out the way the restaurant beat does.

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There are, of course, those who will miss Sifton dearly and hope the next critic carries the mantle of the style of writing which made Sifton, ummm, Sifton.

Eddie Huang, of BaoHaus, is one of those. In his long blog post yesterday (when does this guy find the time to cook?), he wrote:

Sifton was the perfect guy at NYT because he WAS New York. He told inside jokes, understood stigma, used code words that we would get, and became someone we could trust to steer us away from scenes that weren't for us. He was able to applaud a restaurant for one group while warning those that wouldn't fit in to pass. He had a genuine interest in sub culture.

So, while I'm sure there are plenty of folks around the cyberworld who, for whatever reasons are happy to see him go, I guess some wish he would stay.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I'm sure there are plenty of folks around the cyberworld who, for whatever reasons are happy to see him go, I guess some wish he would stay.

Obviously, anyone writing a column like that is going to have some supporters; how could he not? My sense, although entirely unscientific, is that he had much less of a following than Bruni.

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I'm sure there are plenty of folks around the cyberworld who, for whatever reasons are happy to see him go, I guess some wish he would stay.

Obviously, anyone writing a column like that is going to have some supporters; how could he not? My sense, although entirely unscientific, is that he had much less of a following than Bruni.

I had that impression as well, and I'd add that he may have been even less revered by those who considered themselves "serious" about food. While Bruni was at least consistent and predictable, Sifton's reviews seemed random and primarily focused on showing off in one way or another. This was my own opinion, but also that of all the regular readers (and industry folks) that I know.

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By the way, the speculation about the next restaurant critic always reminds me of the election of a new Pope. We're just waiting for the College of Cardinals at the "Times" to send up those smoke signals.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Speaking for myself and a few friends, I have long thought that Sifton's writing was incredibly mannered. It sounded fake, like the man was trying too hard to conjure his images. Reading him, I thought that he was attempting to prove that he was "in" enough to know the lingo (as he might call it) of certain segments of the city's younger, grittier food culture.

Having said that, Sifton wasn't exactly blessed with a wondrous moment in NY restaurant openings. A recession sucks for food, and so that sucked for Sifton.

Edited by ckkgourmet (log)
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I like Sifton's writing, but I think I prefer his food writing to his restaurant reviewing. The weekly reviews don't seem very interesting or lively these days.

Major Pete Wells fan here; dunno how he would be as a restaurant reviewer, but I'd be happy to find out. Especially if Dexter goes along for the ride. He could do a tandem review for each of his dad's and zero in on the more critical issues.

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Sifton wasn't exactly blessed with a wondrous moment in NY restaurant openings. A recession sucks for food, and so that sucked for Sifton.

This is entirely true, but there are a few things Sifton could have done in spite of that.

First, he could have called a spade a spade. A recession is no reason to write in praise of mediocrity, even if mediocrity is the best we have at the moment.

Second, he could at least have distinguished excellence where it was available: Colicchio & Sons is better than SHO Shaun Hergatt?? I don't think so.

And finally, he could have used his discretionary reviews (i.e., the reviews not compelled by external events) much more judiciously. I mean, did we really need to be told that Chin Chin is a one-star restaurant? Novita?? Palm and Palm Too???

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