A brief statement of purpose

There are already about a billion food blogs, so what might be a justification of yet another one, and who am I to do it?

What I aim to do in this blog is more than simply provide recipes. While recipes of my own will, in fact, be posted, some of the blog will consist of a variety of comments about restaurants and their practices, food preparation tips, personal annoyances (such as loud restaurants and the epidemic of misspellings on menus), and whatever else pops into my head relating to what we put in our mouths (and swallow, I hasten to add). The whole thing is meant to be somewhat provocative. I hope, if nothing else, it won't be boring. I, of course, solicit reader participation.

As for who I am and why I think I might have something to contribute to public discussions on this essential and pleasurable activity - eating - you'll have to click here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Reviews of Minneapolis-St Paul area restaurants, and a few others

   There are many avenues these days such as citysearch.com and seemingly countless other sites which solicit reviews from the public - another example of the democratizing effect of the web. But there’s a problem with this, although I’m not suggesting there’s a solution or even that there should be a solution; rather, it’s just something that one should keep in mind when reading such contributions. I refer to the obvious potential unfairness of making judgments on the basis of only one visit to a restaurant. Professional - i.e., paid -reviewers don’t write reviews until they’ve been to a given venue at least three or four times. The experience of only one visit is insufficient to draw solid conclusions about the food or the service. I'm very sympathetic to restaurateurs and staff who are the recipients of unfair and ignorant reviews found everywhere on the web now. Even if the diner got food poisoning on the first visit, that may have just been (very) bad luck. A second visit (which isn’t likely to occur) may yield a wonderful culinary experience. On the other hand, other matters, such as the ambience, physical appearance, menu offerings, location, etc , will presumably not change dramatically over at least a brief period of time and can, therefore, be evaluated on the basis of just one visit.
   I can't resist mentioning this: I've read and continue to read many reviews from the non-professional public on these public sites where the contributors clearly demonstrate a profound ignorance of basic grammar, syntax, and correct spelling. I don't expect the "King's English", but these people should be embarrassed for themselves. If their ignorance of the language is this deep-seated, why should readers put any store at all in what they say about where they've eaten? All such “reviews” should, in my view, be ignored.

   When I write a review, you may assume it’s my first visit, but at least I’ll take care to draw no final conclusions, nor to criticize too harshly. (I confess that one of the reviews below already violates those rules, but our group of six people agreed on the critique, and given the nature of the menu, there is no reason to expect matters to be different on a second visit.)
   The vast majority of restaurant reviews you will see on this blog will pertain to venues here in the Minneapolis-St Paul area. Occasionally, vacations will expose us (my wife and me) to others worth writing about. Click here to go the Restaurant Review page. (A picture of the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch's "The Scream" will indicate that I consider that restaurant to be an Auditory Assaulter.)
   Restaurants reviewed so far:
~ Usher's House, Moorhead MN
~ Aristos, Stillwater MN
~ Nova Wine Bar, Hudson WI
~ India Palace, Woodbury MN
~ Moscow on the Hill, St Paul MN
~ Yarusso Brothers, St Paul MN
~ Stella's Fish Cafe, Minneapolis MN
~ Phil's Tara Hideaway, Stillwater MN
~ Moto-i, Minneapolis MN
~ Blue Moon Fish Company, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea FL

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