Monday, August 3, 2009

Me and the New Times, sitting in a tree...

As you can see from the date of the last post, I've been keeping the vitriol to a minimum---mostly by concentrating my writing efforts on some paying jobs, writing about art and design in addition to food and wine, and by not ever reading the local papers. Just a couple of things have come up that I feel I must respond to. The first is a series at the Miami New Times blog written by Jackie Sayet called Plato Royal. This series reminded me quite a bit of 'Culinary Cage Match' (which I wrote for since its inception), right down to the wrestling metaphor.

According to Jackie, "Thanks for pointing out your Cage Match articles. We're comparing one dish at two different places. We give pros and cons, and then a verdict. The idea came from our sister paper in San Fran, where they've had success with Dish Duel. It appears that your series however, is not the same thing, which is fun too. You work from the ingredient up, and compare how it comes alive in different dishes at two places. Ever once in a while, you'll take a dish like Philly Cheesecake and Croquetas, which is more like our format, just without the analysis. Anywho, here's Dish Duel in case you want to check it out. Thanks for commenting!"

Unfortunately, her response is somewhat misleading. I have written CCM's comparing dishes, comparing ingredients, and comparing events, like Afternoon Tea at the Biltmore versus Pineapple Blossom. Not unlike her recent piece comparing brunch at two hotels. Or her piece on Cobb Salads Isn't that comparing the same dish at two different joints-like Philly Cheesesteak, or Croquetas? Yeah-because that's what my column was about and why I am writing this PressChops. Simply put, it is fairly obvious that Battle Royal is a ripoff lesser version of Culinary Cage Match. Just without the insight, humor, and wit. Oh, and analysis...
1) "Thanks for pointing out your Cage Match articles." Obviously someone already pointed them out to you, because that's how you guys got the idea for your column. I'm certainly not saying Jackie herself 'stole' the idea. I don't know her, never heard of her, and I'm sure she is a wonderful, honest person. That was never my intention. I am simply saying that my idea was appropriated and anyone who has read both can plainly see that.
2) "Ever [sic] once in a while, you'll take a dish like Philly Cheescake [sic] and Croquetas, which is more like our format, just without the analysis." Actually, I had a very good editor at that is why my pieces don't go on for eight screens. Verbiage does not equal analysis.
3) Culinary Cage Match. Plato Royal. One is a genuine original. The other is a cheap copy.

I know everyone on the internet has a short memory, especially in the food game in Miami, where there really isn't that much to write about. But how about coming up with your own ideas? Or just admit to stealing mine. I can live with that.

From a recent back-and-forth on the New Times blog---
ME-"Loved your burger piece by the way, LK. Except for the fact that I worked at one of the places you mentioned and everything you said, factually (not your opinions, which are pretty much worthless, anyway), was incorrect. Makes your whole piece dubious and unreliable. And I would be happy to make those facts known to anyone who cares to email me at Luvya! Posted On: Saturday, May. 30 2009 @ 2:03PM

Chuck Strouse, editor says:


New Times, of course, corrects any error in fact as soon as possible. Danny, I'm afraid, bears animus toward our critic,Lee Klein, so I don't give his claim a lot of credence. Moreover, he seems unwilling to state the allegedly incorrect facts. Why? Maybe to draw more publicity to himself? He is, after all, a public relations type. If I'm unfairly tarring you, Danerino, show me. Help out the public. Don't snipe from behind a fence.

Chuck Strouse

Posted On: Sunday, May. 31 2009 @ 9:38PM

MiamiDanny says:

First Chuck: I have never "sniped from behind a fence". It is a wall-a huge, impenetrable, brick wall.

The facts: I have worked at Kingdom and the meat there is not "ground on premises"-they buy ground sirloin. The fries are not "fresh"; the buns are not "standard sesame"-they are special-ordered from a bakery. These are facts-also, of course, Kingdom is owned by a "nice neighborhood couple". Not the neighborhood where the restaurant is, but certainly they live in a "neighborhood".

The reason I brought this up was not to 'snipe', and I don't even know how to 'bear animus' (sounds dirty); in fact, I just felt that if you can't get the simplest facts straight in a piece about hamburgers, perhaps your opinion of said hamburgers is about as reliable as your 'facts'. Comprende, Chuck?

Posted On: Monday, Jun. 1 2009 @ 1:18PM

And that, as they say, was the end of that. No response. Hey, I understand people don't want to admit it when they mess up. I sure don't. Just wish it wasn't so obvious.

Which is why I wasn't surprised that the MNT's Kleinster finally got around to 'reviewing' Mi Rinconcito, my fave Mexican restaurant in Miami, and yet still managed to mess it up. Although my definitive SunPost review is no longer available online, due to SP's demise, it is still hanging by the entrance of the restaurant, in case you want to read it. It is about authenticity-yet reading Klein I almost felt like he hadn't even eaten there (figuratively or literally-take your pick). I was going to critique the review, but I got so bored re-reading it that I felt it would be cruel to subject anyone to Kleiner's tedium. [If you must.] It just seems that Lee has a bit of an inferiority complex when he gets out of his comfort zone of shitty, overpriced hotel restaurants. I'm sure it's well-earned (his complex, that is)-but that's between him and his shrink.

And I thought I was done complaining about the lack of attention paid to wine lists, but two recent Klein 'reviews' had me thinking-first let me give you this line from Klein's review of Eos..."Even so, the bill of fare here, composed mostly of "small plates," is among Miami's most creative assemblages of comestibles."
"Bill of fare"? "creative assemblages of comestibles"? It's called a fucking menu. A menu! Anyhoo, "Eos is damn impressive and clearly the new benchmark for Miami's hotel restaurants," says Klein. Yet the wine list has 12 reds and 12 whites---"Northern Greece is represented by a rubicund Boutari Grande Reserve Naoussa". Rubicund? You mean red, right? Beating that portable thesaurus to death, aren't we? And this wine has no vintage or price-and why say Northern Greece? Are there other wines on the list from Southern Greece? Is it good? Does it go well with the food at what you have just written is the best hotel restaurant in Miami; which has exactly twelve reds and twelve white wines on offer, according to you?

Lastly on the wine issue-people know I am very passionate about preserving and promoting fairly-priced wines on wine lists--and explaining why they are, in fact, fairly priced. [Note to New Times bloggers-I also wrote a column for called 'Under Deconstruction' about restaurant wine lists and how to find the winners-feel free to steal that, too.] So it pains me when Klein writes, referring to the restaurant Au Pied de Cochon, "The wine list offers some 500 French and domestic labels. Bottle prices go from $28 to $900, but the best values rest in the $70 to $140 range. Sommelier Kareem Zarwi can help you with selections." Oh, can he? Can the sommelier help me with my selections? Really? And can the waiter help me with my food selections? Great insight, man. How about you, La Klein, can you help me---isn't the idea of a restaurant review to give me the information that can 'help me with my selections'? In your case, apparently not.

And, to repeat, the review says that the wine list offers more than "500 French and domestic labels"-in fact, there are many bottles that are neither French nor domestic (Spain, Italy, New Zealand, etc.). The most cursory examination of the list would have shown that. But again, why let the facts get in the way? My guess is that Lee is clueless about wines and his editor pees a little in his pants every time he has to edit the crusty curmudgeon. It's gotta hurt, eh Chuckles?


Danny Brody said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen Karetnick said...

hey danny--

being an advocate of the arts and children AND food, you are going to love this one:

have at it, my friend!

Danny Brody said...
This comment has been removed by the author.