It's been far too long since I've gone on one of my angry rants, which I know are much beloved by my readers (especially my roommate, I can tell by the way she presses her lips together and rolls her eyes while she looks over them). Anyway, there are a couple of things grinding my gears at the moment, and instead of being mature and letting them roll off my back I figured I'd share them in the interest of provoking thought, or at least amusement.
Irritant #1 - Maybe there is such a thing as bad publicity...
So this morning I wake up and see a little red light blinking on my phone, which indicates I have e-mails waiting. In the virtual stack I found this:
Just in case the issues I have with this message aren't painfully clear, allow me to break them down. First of all, I HAVE reviewed "most food trucks". The first review I ever posted was about a food truck. I've been pimping, pushing and throwing whatever influence I have behind the cause of promoting our local street food vendors for quite some time now. So, I'm hoping that was a typo. Moving on, I take issue with being called a cowardly bigot. I replied to ask who it was I was supposedly discriminating against and have yet to receive a reply. There was an optimistic moment where I thought that perhaps a new food truck offering some kind of unusual cuisine had popped up and I was simply unaware of it, even though I kind of doubted it. I have a resource I use in this sort of extreme circumstance; it's called Google. Keep it under your hat though, will you? I have a feeling they might be big someday and I'd like buy some stock before everyone knows about them. Anyway, I did a search on the person who sent the message which led to a newspaper article, and information in that article led me to a website where I learned that the person in question is the proprietor of a food truck (bet you didn't see THAT coming!).
Remember now, I'm just one guy with limited funds and a lot of restaurants that I would like to review. On top of that, in addition to the ones I've been interested in for months or even years, people contact me to suggest places they enjoy and feel I may be missing. Several times I've even been contacted by restaurant owners inviting me to drop by. Sometimes I go, sometimes I don't. If I haven't reviewed a place, it's usually for one of the following reasons:
- Insufficient resources (time and/or money).
- I'm simply not interested in the place.
- I'm unaware that the place exists.
- I HAVE tried the place and just haven't posted the review yet.
- I didn't like the place and don't want to risk hurting their business with a negative review.
In this case, I did indeed try one small thing at the place and enjoyed what they had to offer, but wanted to hit them again more comprehensively before I posted my review. If the message I received had been more along the lines of "Hey, we noticed you haven't reviewed us yet, we're going to be at so-and-so location on this date and would love for you to give us a try" that would still be the plan, but I'll be damned if I'm going to show any support to a business that considers grade school-style insults and blatantly obvious reverse psychology to be good PR.
Irritant #2 - No moos is good moos...
I recently received a little backlash from a social networking post I did back in January. Earlier in the day I had been chatting with a restaurant owner who offered to let me sample one of his dishes. When he brought it out, he told me it was veal. I've never knowingly ordered veal for the obvious reasons, and I never would as things stand now. But here was a plate of it in front of me and the chef across the table, a man I like and respect, was encouraging me to try it. So I took two bites, complimented him on the dish, and when I got home I posted this:
Apparently this pissed off more than one of my readers (who would have guessed that I have so many animal rights people and vegetarians perusing my ramblings?). I guess you might argue that I could have provided more detail about the circumstances, but apparently the truly offensive thing was that I enjoyed the food. Really? I mean the stuff has been considered a delicacy for centuries now and is a staple ingredient in European cuisine from Austria to France to Italy and beyond. I think it's safe to say that the reason for this is because the meat is tender and delicious. Horrifying or not, those things are true. Now as I've said I have issues with how veal calves are raised and treated, but I'm a sensualist, not an activist. Whether I agree with your agenda or not, the only one I'm pushing here is the enjoyment of good food. Think what you will of me, but if a chef I admire (let's just say Anthony Bourdain for example) were to set a plate down in front of me and say "Try this, it's a dolphin slider in baby seal demi-glace garnished with bone marrow from a bald eagle", well...what do you think my response would be?
I really do love doing this blog. I've had some great discussions with people, swapped stories and recommendations, chatted with some terrific chefs, tried a lot of amazing food, and made a few friends along the way. I'd like to think that most of my readers are like me, searching for that next really good restaurant, that next perfect dish, caring as much about why their food was made and by whom as they do what went into it, willing to try almost anything in hope of achieving that moment where you taste something new that hits all the right notes and makes time stop, making you close your eyes and get swept away in it. But hey, if you're more concerned with my moral stance or pissy because I haven't reviewed your