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Lauren Chapin - Kansas City Star Restaurant Critic


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I seriously do not understand what anyone is talking about here anymore.  I know I had a  hand in leading things off topic and for that I apologize, but could we please return to the issue at hand. 

Dave 

(BTW the issue is Lauren Chapin, lest we've forgotten)

Sorry Dave my bad, you are right. I guess that's why I like curry you just can't get spice from plain old salt.

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Continuing bravely on . . . I think I will call the Reader's Rep and ask if we might set up a conference call with Lauren. Would any or all of you participate if I could arrange it? I really think it might be beneficial or at least educational. I really don't imagine for a minute that she is intentionally misleading people so I have to think that she might appreciate (if not enjoy) hearing some of our perceptions about her descriptions not matching up with the star ratings, etc.

Since some of you [apparently wisely] treasure your anonymity, I thought a conference call would be the way to go.

Thoughts? I have no idea if she will agree to this but, after this discussion, it seems to me a reasonable next step.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Continuing bravely on . . . I think I will call the Reader's Rep and ask if we might set up a conference call with Lauren.  Would any or all of you participate if I could arrange it?  I really think it might be beneficial or at least educational.  I really don't imagine for a minute that she is intentionally misleading people so I have to think that she might appreciate (if not enjoy) hearing some of our perceptions about her descriptions not matching up with the star ratings, etc.

Since some of you [apparently wisely] treasure your anonymity, I thought a conference call would be the way to go.

Thoughts?  I have no idea if she will agree to this but, after this discussion, it seems to me a reasonable next step.

Better yet, why don't a few of you just go see if you can tag along for a dinner at a restaurant. Then you can answer your own questions eating out with her. Then you can call charlie and ask him the same. Do a study in food with both of them.

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And I can drive up to Kansas City to try out some of these restaurants, too. I'd love to see for myself what all this "smitting" is about.

At which restaurant should I begin?

:cool:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I would try a variety of star rated restaurants (by Lauren Chapin).

Try either Le Fou Frog or SO Redux for the 4 star experience.

Then try bluestem or Starker's Reserve for 3.5 stars and then see Brio Tuscan Grille for a 3 star status in dining.

I think you'll see why so many concerns.

Edited by JWest (log)

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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I would try a variety of star rated restaurants (by Lauren Chapin).

Try either Le Fou Frog or SO Redux for the 4 star experience.

Then try bluestem or Starker's Reserve for 3.5 stars  and then see Brio Tuscan Grille for a 3 star status in dining.

I think you'll see why so many concerns.

Explain please let's hear your first hand knowledge. I've been to all the above mentioned.

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Try either Le Fou Frog or SO Redux for the 4 star experience.

Then try bluestem or Starker's Reserve for 3.5 stars  and then see Brio Tuscan Grille for a 3 star status in dining.

Thanks. I get to KC once a month or so, so I'll definitely start off with the first two, and report back.

:rolleyes:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Now I should run so I can go freeze some beef scraps then slice them waffer thin and call them something fancy in Italian. Cause all my customers are dummer than a box of rocks.

Wow, I never really wanted to eat there before but now I feel curiously drawn to. :wub:

Since learning you were a flexatian until about a month ago(couldn't tell by some of your post detailing meat dishes you enjoyed at other places) this fake beef dish I was rattling off about isn't on my menu. should be up your alley! Cause it's fake. As in fake vegan I knew there was a reason I never put any merit into any of your weekly post.

At least its Waygu...You know, not that cheap select stuff from CostCo :wink:

Costco up date: I checked out their beef it is choice Colby and btw they had Waygu in the freezer section and a heads up on your winter menu if interested they had a 4 pac of already braised lamb shanks woohoooo.....my head is swimming now on my new menus, can't wait for the first snow for the shank :wink::wink:

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  • 2 weeks later...
The Association of Food Journalists presented its journalism awards during its annual conference, held this year in Charlotte, North Carolina.

from the Food Media and News Boards
FOOD COLUMN WRITING

First: Debbie Moose writing in the News and Observer, Raleigh

Second: Brett Anderson, The Times-Picayune

Third: Lauren Chapin, The Kansas City Star

Her peers liked her writing enough to give her this award.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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The Association of Food Journalists presented its journalism awards during its annual conference, held this year in Charlotte, North Carolina.

from the Food Media and News Boards
FOOD COLUMN WRITING

First: Debbie Moose writing in the News and Observer, Raleigh

Second: Brett Anderson, The Times-Picayune

Third: Lauren Chapin, The Kansas City Star

Her peers liked her writing enough to give her this award.

I don't think it's the writing anyone here is objecting to - rather the apparent disconnect between the description of the meal and the star rating. I'm curious, though, if this award was for reviews or contributions to the Food Section. From the name of it, more likely the latter.

Jill Silva won a James Beard Award for a series of articles she did a couple of years ago as well.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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If you check out the Star's rate card (pdf), they try to make you think they have over 700,000 readers: ... but if you search the small print, their actual run is exactly 350,000...

... which barely qualifies them to stay in the mid-level newspaper catagories (150,001-350,000) for the awards: 2006 Association of Food Journalists Awards (also a pdf).

So it's not like Chapin was up against the big boys in that competition. The Star is sort of a big fish in the little newspaper pond, and as such, their writers will gain more awards.

Edited by mamagotcha (log)

Come visit my virtual kitchen.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I Just read G.E. Fellrath's one Star Review on Cafe Sebastienne. Finally! Someone who's telling it how it is! The review actually makes sense and is completely fair to the restaurant and to the readers. It's a nice breathe of fresh air to see KC Magazine give it a one star instead of Lauren Chapin giving out Four Stars like it's candy.

Also, it says 2012 but Im assuming Lauren Chapin's review was in 2002. If so, is this her most recent review of Cafe Sebastienne?

Edited by JWest (log)

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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I went back and read Lauren Chapin's review of Cafe S. While I've had great experiences there, it seems like what she and both G.E. Fellrath are saying are one in the same... but Chapin gives it four stars and Fellrath gives it one. They seem to agree there's something funny with the crab cakes.

Also, I find it interesting that Chapin and Fellrath both describe the budino in sorta the same way, but Chapin doesn't really say whether and why she liked it so much - other than it tastes sweet? I just have a hard time finding how she justifies her ratings.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I went back and read Lauren Chapin's review of Cafe S.  While I've had great experiences there, it seems like what she and both G.E. Fellrath are saying are one in the same... but Chapin gives it four stars and Fellrath gives it one.  They seem to agree there's something funny with the crab cakes. 

Also, I find it interesting that Chapin and Fellrath both describe the budino in sorta the same way, but Chapin doesn't really say whether and why she liked it so much - other than it tastes sweet?  I just have a hard time finding how she justifies her ratings.

I feel the same way...both reviews have similiar experiences but for some reason she makes excuses to give out four stars. For instance, saying the food is off key when she's not in the kitchen but when she's there it's great. So based on that she gives them a four star rating, the best you can get on her scale.

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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Right, what JWest said... shouldn't the review be for the restaurant, not the chef? Shouldn't diner expect the same level of quality whether one particular chef or person is in the house... ??

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I re-read Lauren Chapin's review of Phillips Chophouse. I have to admit, I never sat down to fully read this until now. The only thing I had noticed a few weeks ago (has it been a month?) when I glanced at the article was the first line:

"After two wonderful meals..."

But, now, I've read every sentence leading up to the last... here's some of what happens in-between:

"The dish was an embarrassment of riches... The rich and mineral-y pork fell off the bone in two-bite chunks."

Tell me, anyone, what is "mineral-y pork?" I'm not trying to be snarly, I simply am confused by this statement.

"Shortcomings were easily summerized: Hardiman hasn't mastered rice and risottos. All three times I tried a rice dish... the rice was undercooked..."

Okay, fair observation...

"There were a few other quibbles: The Hollandaise sauce on the steak Oscar had no lemon taste..."

Sure, this too makes sense...

"While the tableside presentation [of a pineapple flambe] was well-executed... the final product was unwieldly. Served in an elegant but asymmetrical bowl and a spoon, the hot slices of pineapple immediately melted the honey ice cream. I had to snatch a fork and knife from the empty talbe next to me to carve into pineapple."

I'd have to agree with her here - I hate it when ice cream melts before you eat it - AND when there's not adequate service ware ready!!

BUT - here's the kicker - the last sentence of the review:

"But all these misstemps seem ones of finesse and experience and not raw talent and vision."

Undercooked rice (on three tries), non-lemon Hollandaise, and serving a freshly flambeed chunk of pineapple in a bowl with ice cream with nothing but a spoon to eat it with is not my idea of finesse or experience... that doesn't even seem like raw talent.

Edited to add: FWIW, she gave it 3 stars.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I Just read G.E. Fellrath's one Star Review on Cafe Sebastienne. Finally! Someone who's telling it how it is! The review actually makes sense and is completely fair to the restaurant and to the readers. It's a nice breathe of fresh air to see KC Magazine give it a one star instead of Lauren Chapin giving out Four Stars like it's candy.

Also, it says 2012 but Im assuming Lauren Chapin's review was in 2002. If so, is this her most recent review of Cafe Sebastienne?

It is refreshing, if somewhat painful, to read a constructively critical review. I'm sure Jennifer and the management winced but hope they will embrace the good and roll-up their sleeves to fix the rest. There is much potential there.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Agreed, I have had a couple of good meals at Cafe Sebastienne. If there are off-experiences (as I'm sure there are at even the best restaurants), I hope the staff finds a way to correct them.

Edited: to enable link.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Agreed, I have had a couple of good meals at Cafe Sebastienne.  If there are off-experiences (as I'm sure there are at even the best restaurants), I hope the staff finds a way to correct them.

Edited: to enable link.

Thanks for the link U.E. I just posted a comment on that topic to continue the discussion there and stay on topic with Lauren Chapin here.

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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  • 2 weeks later...

From Chapin's review of The Avenues in the Kansas City Star.

Several promising dishes were wrecked by the heavy, oily coating of panko-like crumbs, a Japanese-style breading, including the sole meuniere, the Basque-style chicken and the Alpine pork tenderloin sandwich.

How does one do anything coated in panko "meuniere"-style? That would be disastrous. I'm also curious to know how they worked panko onto a pork tenderloin sandwich.

And, I just visited The Avenues website to look at their dinner menu. Holland sole for $16.95? :shock: Isn't that the same as "Dover" sole. Maybe you just get the tail? :raz:

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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From Chapin's review of The Avenues in the Kansas City Star.
Several promising dishes were wrecked by the heavy, oily coating of panko-like crumbs, a Japanese-style breading, including the sole meuniere, the Basque-style chicken and the Alpine pork tenderloin sandwich.

How does one do anything coated in panko "meuniere"-style? That would be disastrous. I'm also curious to know how they worked panko onto a pork tenderloin sandwich.

And, I just visited The Avenues website to look at their dinner menu. Holland sole for $16.95? :shock: Isn't that the same as "Dover" sole. Maybe you just get the tail? :raz:

I'm bet it is the IQF Holland "lemon" sole. Not Dover

It is easier to change a menu than a growing season.

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UE, I'm willing to bet the pork tenderloin is sliced, pounded thin, breaded, and sauteed. Hence the panko. At which point, forget the bread for the sandwich, just gimme a plateful of pork schnitzl, which is kinda what it is.

What do you mean I shouldn't feed the baby sushi?

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