Thursday, December 23, 2010

Another Yelper Makes Me Want To Shove Razors In My Eyes

"My friend ordered three dishes. I don't speak Chinese, so I don't know their exact names, but I have approximated them below:

1. Chicken Buried in a Giant Mountain of Red Peppers that is Really Goddamn Hot
2. Fish Fillet Swimming in a Giant Pool of Spicy Chili Oil that is Really Goddamn Hot
3. Ma Po Tofu (You DO speaka Chinese! -ed.) Swimming in a Giant Pool of Spicy Chili Oil that is Really Goddamn Hot"

You found this review:
Makes You Want To Shove Razors In Your Eyes

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The $26 Glass of Veuve (or, No One Wants To Read Your Stupid Manifesto)

So I hate lots of things, but especially this:

Don't skip intro! Don't do it!

You didn't skip it, did you? Good, because I HATES IT and it's so much better to HATES THINGS together.

Unless you're a hundred million, the thought of spending $44.95 on a main course of lobster tail at the sort of place that sends shrieks of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" at you from its hopelessly outdated website is about as appealing as a lapdance from Mick Foley. (Who apparently loves him some Tori Amos.)

Speaking of lapdances, if I'm spending $26 on a glass of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label (The King of Beers Champagnes!), I'd better be getting a lapdance. Gratuity included.

According to the Mark's website: "Eating" at Mark’s is truly a memorable dining experience.

I suppose "Eating" is in "quotes" because what you're doing isn't "Eating" so much as it is bleeding money out of your spiny-lobster-perforated innards, resulting in a financial sepsis that leads to projectile vomiting, spouse blaming, and - in many cases - a 22% APR.

And if by "memorable" you mean the opulence and showboatiness couldn't possibly be outdone unless you were dining in Notre Dame at midnight while the Bulgarian Women's Choir hooted out Christmas carols to your foot-high platings (is that a croquant set at an angle at the tippy top of my food pile? Spectacular!), then yeah, it's got to be.

Even if the food at this place is now and then really good, there's just no substitute for sincerity - call it the conceit of my generation, but we found the 80s a superbly entertaining bit of triviality, not to be carried on seriously now that we're grown-ups. I listen to 80s music all the time ("incessantly," says certain persons married to me), but I don't want to eat 80s.

We make fun (I make fun) of the bearded Brooklynite who carves his own utensils from co-op-grown bamboo and takes butchery classes (and yet still not butch!) and throws dinner parties devoted to his own closet-festered cheeses...but more and more, this is how I want our restaurants to look and feel. But not because they cynically put on these airs to be interviewed by the eager beavers at New York magazine (who sometimes remind me of the twentysomething babysitter I once had that let us do anything we wanted because he harbored some uncomfortably tangible need to be liked by children). Because their earnest little hearts want desperately to care about something the way our folks cared about Vietnam and civil rights.

Because we have no modern manifestos, but those regarding how we eat and drink. Economics bores our Ritalin-cured brains; politics are only digestible insomuch as they fit on our iPhone screens. Sex blackens and shrinks in a forgotten broiler - too hopelessly damaged and depressing to touch. We'll have to start over from scratch on that one.

But eating and drinking? The long-accepted pleasures of the mouth and bloodstream? That's worth a revolutionary's attention, isn't it?

Brillat-Savarin knew it, even in 1825:

"In the present state of our knowledge, we work on metals with other metals; we take hold of them with iron tongs, forge them with iron hammers, and cut them with steel files; but I have never yet met anyone who could explain to me how the first tongs were made and the first hammer forged."

-- The Physiology of Taste

So, carve on Bearded Brooklyn Boys, as you meander towards adulthood, balls blue with the hope and audacity you couldn't consummate as quickly and ferociously as you'd desired, and a Kiva loan out there somewhere, whittling its own small path through the darkness. Butcher away, you skinny-jeaned seekers of the primitive self, whose extreme measures are misguided (unless a 29-year lifespan is the goal) but dewy-headed with earnestness. Argue into the night about the difference between "real" and "natural" wines, and eschew marketing firms and Mega-purple. Each guffaw directed at your fixie is also a tiny cheer of the heart. For each cleaver swing, each tamp of the muddling stick, each plate of homegrown, homemade, lowrise of not-glistening or architected food is one step further away from blowhard Wine-Spectator-Award-boasting cruiseship aesthetics like this.


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Monday, December 13, 2010

Edie Loves Everything!!!!!!!

So I love going to new restaurants, especially ones that give me free food when I go because they know I'm a blogger and my words can really influence a person's decision to go. Which is a power I will not abuse, by the way, so don't even ask me to! Heeheeheehee.

In fact, I've been invited to a few "Influencer Events" since I started my food blog, Edie Loves Everything!!!!!!, which is totally an unexpected, happy perk. I had started it simply because I love to eat, and I love to talk, and I love....almost everything! Yay!

One time, this chef even came out of the kitchen during one of our blogger events and said he hoped we would all say really nice things about him and his restaurant, and that if we needed any more information to help us write our blog posts, we could contact his PR rep, a pretty lady getting trashed in the corner. She sort of half-waved, half-fell off her chair, and then the chef leaned on the table and started to cry a little bit. He muttered something about a Bernard Loiseau???? (of course I had to Google it—an old mentor, maybe?). Then he rubbed his face with his dirty towel and went back into the kitchen. We were all like, Whatever. My Tweet that night: OMG, chefs are soooo intense. It's because they're also creative. Ask me how I know LOL

So tonight, I went to this little wine bar by my house. I love it because it has hay on the floor and all the servers are dressed in green jumpsuits, like mechanics or something - yet, it's a wine bar! It's not trying to be anything it's not, in other words. It's like they're saying, "Yeah, we serve wine, but we don't care about it and so you don't have to, either!" It's way more fun this way.

We started with a plate of meat and cheese. It was manchego, I think, which is like, really, really hard to get and from somewhere far away, like Morocco. They cut it into these big cubes that reminded me of the cheese plate at all my work events; that's my favorite part of those parties, by the way. I sit there and spear cubes of orange, white—even green cheese, while all my coworkers just laugh 'cause they know I am so food-crazy! I'm just like, "What can I say? I love really good cheese." My favorite is brie. OMG, to die for.
<--- No brie. Sad face!

After finishing off my cheese cubes, I moved on to the meat. It was some sort of dried meat, like prosciutto. It was so yummy nummy nummers with the fig jam!!!!!! This place is really creative.

I drank a glass of something red that was really scrumptious because it tasted like a wine I had before that I really liked and someone told me was expensive. And this one wasn't! I drank two glasses of it. I think it was Spanish.

<--- like this, but Spanish

All in all, a really good wine bar and really good prices. I can't wait to be invited back! (Hint, hint) Thankfully, this time no one came out of the kitchen and cried. Hello - note to restaurants: that's a total buzzkill.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This Is Happening

: It's me, bitches. I'm back.

You: Oh, were you gone?

: And I'm here to tell you that although I'm not a waitress anymore, I still have to endure more stupid bullshit on the Internet about food and wine than I can stand. So now you get to hear all about it.

You: You're going to keep making fun of Yelpers, aren't you?

: Yaaaarrrrr. And food bloggerz and Twitter Twats and fucking chefs, and....GRAWRRRR! PR releases!!! I FUCKING HATE PR RELEASES. THEY MAKE ME WANT TO SHAVE MY FACE LIKE BOB GELDOF IN "THE WALL."

You: And, hopefully, you'll keep giving us good recommendations for wines to drink that are crazy-affordable and natural and taste like real actual wine from a place made by people not robots and chemicals.

: Fuck yes. Now I'm about to go down on this 2002 Pierre Peters Cuvée Speciale like Mama Cass on a ham sandwich. Peace out.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's Not You, It's Us

: This is a very difficult decision for us, but we think it's time for you to move on.

Me: What? Why me?

: You have a bad attitude. And you're arrogant.

Me: Wait, is this because of the blog?

: What blog?

Me: Nothing.

: Lots of people complain about you.

Me: Customers? But they're always coming up to you and saying what a great server I was. The other night, a little girl and her parents waited for me to finish at another table so they could say thanks.

: No, not customers.

Me: Who then? My coworkers? We get along great.

: Just people. You've been awful for about a year. I keep thinking it's because of the wedding, but now that's over and you still suck.

Me: Is this because I don't go out drinking with you guys after work? Look, I get tired and want to go home. It doesn't mean I don't get along with you all. What about the lake? All summer by the pool? Was I "awful" then?

: Maybe we just don't get you. Maybe we're just not the right group of people for you.

Me: Is it because I never 1)screamed at you in a parking lot in full view of customers? 2)insulted your taste in wine to the owners? 3)gave my husband free drinks at the bar? 4)got drunk on the job? 5)no-showed? 6)threatened, while drunk, our female sous chef with violence...twice? 7)stood in the middle of our crowded bar area and loudly, grumpily declared brunch a chaotic mess that I would never work again?* (see editor's note)

: ...

Me: Look, I'm no stranger to criticizing myself, often to a deluded and scary point. But let's get real here: All my friends, new and old, all the acquaintances I make daily who seem to like me just fine, all the colleagues and associates I work with...none of these people have had the acute intuition and ability to judge character that you guys have? Which is why no one has delivered such a strangely impassioned personal attack on me since I was in the sixth grade?


: I guess so.

Me: And this has nothing to do with my other job as a restaurant critic? You said "a year," and that's about when I started writing for them full time. Do you think I'm a defector or something?

: Nope.

And just then, the dark lord Cthulu swept down and annihilated the restaurant, the increasingly boring wine list, the fragile egos and hypocrisies, and made me his queen. And because it's my fucking fantasy and I can do what I want, he let my husband and dog come, too. And we all live in Denmark and get free health care and no one minds a smart president.


*: True story! All things other servers did and did not get fired for...except for the threatening the chef, but that had to happen twice before any action was taken.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

But...Where's the Wood?

: I want a glass of wine, but I don't know any of these.

Me: What do you normally like to drink, even though I know you are going to say "Oaky Cab Sauvs"?

: Oaky Cab Sauvs.


: ...

Me: We don't have one of those. But try this (pouring a taste of Carneros Pinot Noir and a Valpolicella Ripasso). The first one has the style you want, but the second has the weight.


Me: Okay, try this. I normally don't go in for Mendoza Malbec, but this one is really balanced. It won't be oaky but it is stylistically and weight-wise the closest thing you're going to get to what you normally like. And hey, why not try something new?

: Hunh....mmmm....ssssooo confuuuused....must...have...oak!

Me: Or let's do something totally different but that you'll love: a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. It's like cocoa-dusted raspberries and—

: Raspberries?!?! In WINE?!

: You do know wine is made from grapes, right?

: I'd never think of raspberries and wine...or cocoa...and WINE?

Me: There's a lot of fruit to smell in wine when there isn't a whole forest of oak to mask it.

: But oaky wines are always the most expensive.

Me: Yes! You've hit upon something that's very controversial in the wine industry. It's the effort on the part of winemakers to please Robert Parker and his peers, a bizarre oligarchy of mouths that only respond to oak, plum, coffee, chocolate, smoke, and—provided there's enough of the stuff I just mentioned—tobacco. So any wine forcibly made to taste like these things get higher points and higher prices.

: (Pointing to a funky, poopy-licious biodynamic Rhône Syrah on the menu). I'll just have the Syrah. Is that like a Shiraz?

: Yes. Yes it is.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

And Please Don't Do This, Either

There's this new one I get all the time, and - surprise! - it really pisses me off.
It's this: How come you know so much about wine?

I get this from probably 1-2 guests per night, or 4-6 per week. It's like a UTI that just won't clear up. You start to feel relaxed again, the wincing pain in the vajayzer has begun to subside and then - WHAMMO. How come you know so much about wine?

Lists calm me down, so here's a list of Reasons This Makes Me Crazy:

1) I don't know so much about wine. You just know that little. And that's okay, but what you are implying by How Come...? is that I shouldn't know something you don't, OR that wine is a subject upon which you think you should be an expert, and therefore, it's bewildering that you aren't, even though you read Wine Spectator in your podiatrist's office.

2) Because it's my job, dumbass. What do you do for a living? Well gosh, I hope you know some shit about it.

3) Because I give a care. I realize that in this town, most servers are stoned, hungover, or between 12-step meetings, but I do it because I stupidly believe in the restaurant I work for, and I stupidly believe I can change someone's life by getting them to drink Lagrein from Alto Adige instead of California Merlot. Stupid stupid stupid.

4) If you walk into a nice-looking restaurant with a "challenging" menu that changes daily and a wine list full of names you've never heard of, chances are, you're not at a fucking Burger King. Are you really surprised that the server knows "so much about wine"? How about the fact that they know the steak is dry-aged, the difference between a rabbit rillette and rabbit confit, and where the oysters are from? Is that shocking to you?

5) Oh yeah, stop asking me "REAL RABBIT?" as if that's the craziest thing you've ever heard of. Well, it probably is if you eat at Burger King all the time.

6) Every single person who asks me why I know so much about wine totally ignores my advice anyway. Then they ask me a series of even dumber questions designed to give them a chance to participate, like "What's your favorite? Mine's La Crema;" or "I bet you're a red girl, huh?" Shut up and drink what I told you to get and let's have a conversation about that instead. It's going to be much more interesting than whatever brilliant gem you gleaned from the latest mid-rate freelancer's article in GQ.
<-- Is totes down with Lagrein. "It's so plummy but not overly extracted, and the long, lean, herbal finish is tits!"

The long story is: I "know so much about wine" because I have an obsessive-compulsive attraction to things that can be classified. I also have been with a sommelier for the last 4 years who is a walking encyclopedia of wine, so I made him teach me everything he knows. But I did all this because I love to learn and because I use it in my profession, and want one to benefit from the other. And if you're going to do anything - stuff envelopes, catch fish, sell wine, make wine - go big or go home.

So quit asking me stupid questions, dispense with your weird hang ups and insecurity issues and drink the "weird" Lagrein. You'll thank me one day.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Make Don Draper Cry

Me: Hey Don Draper, why so sad?

: You made fun of me for drinking oaky Chardonnay, not knowing that rosé wasn't sweet, leaving bad tips, and asking for my fish to be filleted.

Me: Yeah, well, those things are fucking irritating. And they do make you look like a big idiot to the people you're trying to impress who know more about food and wine than you do.


Me: It's "I." And yes they should. Do you go to your mechanic and sound like a know-it-all? Wait, nevermind. Of course you do. And your doctor? Probably that, too.

: Well, I just don't want service people taking advantage of me because they know stuff I don't.

Me: So you would prefer professionals whose expertise you seek to NOT have more expertise than you?

: Yes. That's why I believe in a god that couldn't possibly be smart enough to come up with evolution and hate uppity intellectuals who went to college and think they know how to run the country.

Me: Surely there's some stuff you know that I don't.

: ....

Me: You're right. That was ridiculous. And motherfucker, you're good-looking.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sweet Berry Wine!

Today in Thanks Yelp A**hole, Next Time I'll Just Ask My Dog:

"The wine was light and had a strong fruit/berry flavor."

This might be a good time to revisit John C. Reilly's best work ever ever!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Here, try this. It's the same fucking thing you drink every night.

Me: Can I help you with the wine list at all?

: I'm just trying to find a wine.

Me: Red or white?

: WHITE! I NEVER drink red. Ech. I want something that's not dry but not sweet but I don't like a lot of oak... And no Pinot Grigio.

Me: I'll let you in on a little secret. "Dry" is the most useless word to people selling you wine. It means something completely different to everyone. Let's try this instead: I'll pour you a taste and you tell me where to go from there. (Pouring William Fevre 2008 Chablis without her seeing the label).

: Hmmm. Hmmm. (Hands it to boyfriend, unable to form a conclusion on her own.) What do you think?


: It's too... too...

Me: Is the acid too high? Do you want something creamier or more mouth-filling?

: Um, not CREAMY. But not, I don't know, what was that word you used?

Me: Never mind. Here try this. (Pouring a slightly honeyed, softer Soave.)

: Woah, this is SWEET.

Me: OK. How's the feel on the tongue, though? Is that level of acid good for you?

: Nnnnnh. Mmmm. Emmmm. Uhhhh.

Me: Do you like Sauvignon Blanc?


Me: Okay, I think this is our winner then. (pouring a taste of Pinot Grigio. Scarpetto, which is truly decent)

: Mmm! That's PERFECT! What is it?

Me: Pinot Grigio.

: Dang it! I keep trying to drink something besides Pinot Grigio, but I can't seem to get away from it!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

From Cosmo to Chablis in 60 seconds

"I'll have a cosmo," said the woman I waited on last night. We only have a beer and wine list, and I told her so.
"If you were in the mood for a cosmo, I'd suggest one of our rosés. We have several by the glass, and some have this great red fruitiness that--"
"NO," she waved her hands around. "I don't want sweet." Said the woman who asked for a cosmo.

I explained that rosés aren't sweet, that she's thinking of spending her teenage years parked outside a DQ with a 40-oz. styro of Boone's Farm warming up on the dashboard. Well, I didn't say so in as many words.


I brought her a taste anyway, of Chateau d'Oupia, a wonderful Languedoc rosé with a coy strawberry smile and creamy little tongue. A whisper of granite on the finish gives it elegance and beauty, keeps it from being too slutty.

"Nah," said the woman. "I think I'll just have this Chablis." A Chablis that's like licking an oyster shell dipped in lime juice.

You know, I give up listening to people tell me what the fuck they want. They don't even know.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

People Love Themselves on Yelp, the coda

I'm back to reviewing restaurants regularly while also maintaining my pink-collar loyalties a few nights a week (the subject of an essay I will work on right after my graphic novel about the customers who have sucked most—enter now for a chance to win a guest appearance!—and my memoir about trauma and tragedy, affectionately called "The Dead Mom Opus").

Couple that with my freelance work on a wine website, and you have three—hahaha, three!—jobs to help me barely get by while trying to buy things like wedding rings and little stringy white lights.

Ah Ah Ah! You're getting married in a recession, Dumbass!

That also means I'm back to perusing Yelp boards to try and understand the opposing points of view, or at least the popular conception of a restaurant I am writing up, having lost the faint scent of anyone there who even remotely knows what they're talking about (by now they've all ejected and started their own blogs - so have plenty of people who know absolutely nothing).

Thus resumes my frequent venting about Yelp (and other hyper-democratized online reviews) so that I don't grind my teeth into powder and say "I Do" with one eye twitching madly.

Here's a great kick-off:
  • Authentic! <--remember this for later
    I was delighted by how wonderful and fresh this new Latin restaurant was.

    My Bistec and Carnitas tacos were amazingly flavorful if not a bit small for liking. The Spinach Salad with Jicama, mandarin oranges, walnuts , queso fresco and a light vinaigrette were such a surprise and contradiction to the standard ICEBERG and GUACAMOLE salad at most Latin restaurants...
There's so much wrong with this clutch of words that I can't even ridicule it. Not without Photoshop. Let's see what I can do with Snagit Beta in thirty seconds...I do have three jobs, after all.

Please send Photoshop, ASAP.