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Eater Louisville slams local food writers

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Re: Eater Louisville slams local food writers

Postby Robin F. » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:51 pm

A thoughtful and well-reasoned response. Well played Zach.
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Re: Eater Louisville slams local food writers

Postby Aaron Newton » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:30 pm

Nice responses Zach. I hadn't looked at Eater before, but I will now!
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Re: Eater Louisville slams local food writers

Postby Steve P » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:31 pm

Richard S. wrote:If nothing else, props for the cajones to respond.


Yeah, I'll give him that. Hats off to Cajones...and vice versa of course.
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Re: Eater Louisville slams local food writers

Postby Stephen D » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:32 pm

OK Zach, I'm good with your response, although you do of course know that wasn't cool...

Next week, Thursday or Friday, you're more than welcome to come and join me through the daily riguers of set-up.

I'll try to bring in some fois, but will not if the market price doesn't warrant it. There's plenty of fun to be had with whatever we will be working with.

I'll make you a Sazerac to sip on and we'll just get to going. It's kind of entertaining watching me get worked-over in the couple of hours leading up to a shift.

:wink:

PM me or simply call me at the restaurant, mate. 618.2222.

PS. Actually, Thursday would be more interesting- we'll be tasting and selecting wines for the next Featured Selections list.
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Re: Eater Louisville slams local food writers

Postby Antonia L » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:40 pm

I have a blog. I guess that makes me a blogger, although I don't get paid for it. I like to write, and it's a free and easy way for me to practice. I like to eat and drink and cook, and so I write about that. I apparently also like to start sentences with "I."

I contributed to Eater, during their year-end review, and had fun with it. I was waiting for folks here to dump on it a bit, because it seemed inevitable. I took the hint when Robin made a reference to someone grazing on the "AstroTurf" when they posted a link to it.

I love this site. I also read national websites and blogs. It's cool to get the chance to write stuff and put it out there for people to read. It's all good. Props to Zach, not only for his responses, but also for clearly being a smarty and having the good sense to move to our awesome town! :D
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Re: Eater Louisville slams local food writers

Postby MichaelBolen » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:54 pm

Whoa...easy on Zach guys. He is exactly the type of young professional talent the city is trying to attract and keep.

I personally enjoy his articles, and it is a nice "summary" of the food scene. In general, his "heat map" is accurate and I like the look and feel of the website compared to hot bytes (much better design for eater), no disrespect to Mr. Garr. I have been away from Louisville for awhile for my job, as a I move all over, but I would not mind coming back. I think its provincial nature is changing with "bloggers" like Zach and transplants like the folks at www.new2lou.org that are connecting transplants and locals alike. The more the merrier. I am also of the impression that an NBA team needs to share the arena with UofL, as half the metro area is not Cards fans. The city also needs a trolley, bus rapid transit, or light rail. But overall, Louisville should be proud that is now probably recognized as a top 20 food city. But these are discussions for another forum. Cheers and good eats :)
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Re: Eater Louisville slams local food writers

Postby Marybeth B » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:01 pm

Steve P wrote:
Jeremy J wrote:Also- wake up, people. Our local food critics kind of do tend to like nearly everything or at least try to put on a positive spin. It's a reasonable point.



Meh - I can't say I -totally- disagree with this statement but...I think Steve Coomes does an admirable job when it comes to calling it like he sees it. When it comes to Robin and Marty I've observed them both do an admirable job of what is known as "damning by faint praise"...ya just gots tah read between the lines a bit more carefully :wink:


The bit about "damning by faint praise" reminded me of the restaurant reviewthat went viral early last year. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/restaurant-review-of-the-olive-garden-goes-viral.html A woman in North Dakota was reviewing the new Olive Garden there and a lot of people didn't understand that she was writing about what the servers wore and the atmosphere because she didn't have anything nice to say about the food other than "the portion was generous".

On another topic, if you don't understand why someone would talk about a restaurant being in the old Sears building (or the White Castle at Bardstown and Eastern Pkwy, or Stewart's, or any of the "used to be" landmarks) you don't understand Louisville.Know your audience.
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Re: Eater Louisville slams local food writers

Postby Stephen D » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:16 pm

It should also be kindly pointed out that the Courier awards a maximum of four stars, not five.
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Re: Eater Louisville slams local food writers

Postby Christina Hall » Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:32 am

I found the article to be...unusual.

Some of the phrases that were bolded, didn't make sense in what I *thought* the article was attempting to convey. I was under the impression that the article's slant was that Louisville food critics are just too darn nice and easy going. Fair enough, I think we could probably use some more realistic reviews. But the bolded sentences just seemed to be random bolding of phrases the writer did not like for whatever reason. The highlighted sentences did not help to convey his message, in my opinion.

Then there's the idea of taking other peoples' writing, and putting it through your own personal shredder for some sort of social or monetary gain. I seriously doubt Zach would like for his writing to be put to that same test. I found it lacking in originality and rather juvenile, to be honest.The entire article (which was comprised mostly of others' works) had a smirky, condescending tone which I found extremely off-putting. I generally wouldn't say any such thing about another's endeavors, but I believe the author feels that we should be more honest...so I am.
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Re: Eater Louisville slams local food writers

Postby Carla G » Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:46 am

Christina Hall wrote:I found the article to be...unusual.

Some of the phrases that were bolded, didn't make sense in what I *thought* the article was attempting to convey. I was under the impression that the article's slant was that Louisville food critics are just too darn nice and easy going. Fair enough, I think we could probably use some more realistic reviews. But the bolded sentences just seemed to be random bolding of phrases the writer did not like for whatever reason. The highlighted sentences did not help to convey his message, in my opinion.

Then there's the idea of taking other peoples' writing, and putting it through your own personal shredder for some sort of social or monetary gain. I seriously doubt Zach would like for his writing to be put to that same test. I found it lacking in originality and rather juvenile, to be honest.The entire article (which was comprised mostly of others' works) had a smirky, condescending tone which I found extremely off-putting. I generally wouldn't say any such thing about another's endeavors, but I believe the author feels that we should be more honest...so I am.


Well put Christina.
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Re: Eater Louisville slams local food writers

Postby DanB » Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:37 am

I just don't see the point in reading about something a week after it was already on LHB. The format's pretty though.
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Re: Eater Louisville slams local food writers

Postby Zach Everson » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:29 pm

Thanks for the kind posts—and emails from all you anonymous lurkers.

I'll avoid responding to specific criticisms about the article (such as it was wrong to criticize the space spent on talking about the old Sears building and what phrases I bolded). We're just going to disagree on that. The recap of reviews is going to be a regular feature on Eater, likely to run biweekly.

As for some specifics:

Whoa...easy on Zach guys. He is exactly the type of young professional talent the city is trying to attract and keep.


Thanks for the sentiment, but no need to go easy on me. My first job was in a bank's call center, taking 65-80 calls a day, most of which were quite nasty. I can handle negative feedback (and often find it helpful).

It should also be kindly pointed out that the Courier awards a maximum of four stars, not five.


Please kindly review Marty Rosen's reviews at Metromix: http://louisville.metromix.com/restaura ... collection. They show a scale of five stars.

Then there's the idea of taking other peoples' writing, and putting it through your own personal shredder for some sort of social or monetary gain. I seriously doubt Zach would like for his writing to be put to that same test.


I assure you I profited in neither money nor status from that article. My contract is to write one to three articles a day for Eater Louisville. I get no bonus from page views, so there's no incentive to write about topics that might inflame people. And I'm always happy to receive feedback on my work, positive or negative. Feel free to post it here, where I'll probably see it, or email me privately (zach@eater.com).

Thanks again and have a great week!
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Re: Eater Louisville slams local food writers

Postby Will Gaines » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:44 pm

Marybeth B wrote: On another topic, if you don't understand why someone would talk about a restaurant being in the old Sears building (or the White Castle at Bardstown and Eastern Pkwy, or Stewart's, or any of the "used to be" landmarks) you don't understand Louisville.Know your audience.


Yes, but the review didn't talk about the restaurant being in the old Sears building, because it isn't. It is in close proximity, which may be noteworthy, but to Zach's point the whole first part of the review is spent talking about Sears. Is Robin writing history lessons or restaurant reviews?

One must be discriminating when it comes to dining out due to the cost (perhaps not everyone, but I do). If reviewers are constantly heaping positive praise on everything it really negates the purpose of the review. What would Pete Wells say about Guaca Mole? I know the last time I visited my fish tacos were served in a batter that was more of a grease sponge than a batter. The guacamole was ok, but nothing special. I figured I must be wrong so I went back and got tinga tacos, which were better. But I certainly did not find this place worthy of the praise Mr. Garr heaped on it (or any Fernando Martinez production as it turns out). On the 100 point rating scale it actually scored higher than the Mayan Cafe and tied Palermo, which in my mind is a complete joke. If I were writing the reviews it would be more like 90 Mayan, 90 Palermo, 70 Guaca Mole, and I would have dropped a Pete Wells on Chuy's and given it a 10. It was completely abhorrent, and yet Robin glaced over many of its flaws really only noting the food was a bit salty. So obviously Robin and I have different tastes, which is why I stopped reading his reviews. Critical reviews are really only useful if you have the same taste as the critic. I often find myself in agreement with Roger Ebert, and so typically I refer to his reviews in deciding whether a movie is theater worthy or a rental.

Back to the main point. Regardless of if you have the same taste as the critic, a good critic must be able to deliver this type of lashing

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/dinin ... quare.html

when called for. It doesn't appear that any of the Louisville critics have the gusto to actually do it, and in that the Eater article was spot on.
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Re: Eater Louisville slams local food writers

Postby Matthew D » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:50 pm

The font at Eater is distracting to the reader. The page makes use of one font with four modifications: standard black text, blue text, bold blue, and bold black. It's a visual trainwreck, to be frank. I would use the modified texts as little as possible. Minimal coloring of linked material in blue. Names bolded in black. Everything else in standard black. Less is more.

That would be much easier to read, which might lead me to actually read the copy. Just a visual trainwreck as it is, but that's probably a template distributed by corporate.
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Re: Eater Louisville slams local food writers

Postby Shane Campbell » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:34 am

I read the reviews by professionals and amateurs posted in this forum and other local media outlets cognizant of the “FACT” that reviews are an opinion and are therefor not right or wrong in themselves.

Who really thinks that even if all the known reviewers and all the half dozen other less well-known reviewers like or dislike their experience at some restaurant that it will “in fact” translate to the same experience for you?

Any individual's opinion matters just as much and just as little as the next person's, whether they are a recognized reviewer or just some “me too” person piling on. So why even bother to read them? Because some reviews contain more than just a lifeless regurgitation of the reviewer's experience. Think Bourdain would have a television show if all he did was report where he went, what he ate, and if he liked it or not? Well, maybe if they changed the title to “Layover with the Food Zombie.”

So, should Robin include verbiage about an insider geographic reference within his restaurant reviews?
Should he tell us about his comical interaction with his smart phone like he was talking to us as a friend? Should he set the scene by reminiscing about ominous feelings leading up to a surgical procedure then surprise us with the juxtaposition of a positive review?

I'm not from Louisville and so I sometimes do not get references like “the old Sears building” but I've heard it often enough to wonder. Now I get it and I got it from a restaurant review! I'm glad he is not so caught up in the “shoulds and should nots” of restaurant reviews that he won't allow himself to add something outside the walls of the restaurant itself.

When the reviews for Guaca Mole started rolling in I was, to say the least, skeptical. Yet I couldn't wait to have my own Guacorgasm. I went, I ate, I drank, and guess what? It was good. Haven't been back so no gastrogasmic experience for me. Does that mean the person who posted “the best thing I ever put in my mouth” was wrong? Nah, for them it was fact. For most everyone else, irrelevant. But because they wrote about it in a creative and interesting way they got my attention and appreciation.

This Zach guy has a strong personality and he is not afraid to express himself. Is he wrong or right? No! He's just expressing himself and not in a “me too” food zombie way so for now at least he has my attention.

I like that he got us talking about the reviews themselves. A little history, some comic color, or genuine emotion thrown into the mix can add spice to what is otherwise just a bland report of “details.” That foodies who claim to appreciate creativity and character would complain about it in the review seems like a contradiction me. That's just my opinion though. Cheers!
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