http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/16/food/la-fo-bill-chait-20120216

All this talk about some guy named Jiro eating sushi got me thinking it's time to post this story I wrote in the LA Times. My editor at the time, Leslie Brenner, came up with the idea, which was way before it's time. (Her specialty, and why I thought the LA Times food section at the time, was better than the NYTimes food section.) Every similar story I have seen since pales--not for the writing. (Not my best lede!) But because Leslie had a great idea about what people really needed and wanted to know about eating sushi, even if they didn't know they wanted to know, which is: how am I supposed to do it?

The story came about at a lunch--baby vegetables hidden under salad greens at Patina, if memory serves me—as I told her ov ...

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Not long ago, following my new Tibetan doctor's prescription to slow down and be nice to myself (don't you just love a prescription like that!?), I let myself enjoy a leisurely lunch with my friend, the chef Jonathan Waxman, at the Venice restaurant phenom, Gjelina. As we looked through the menu deciding what to order, I pointed out the words typed on the cover side of each menu, "changes & modifications politely declined." Gjelina, as anyone who follows the shallow, eating disordered life of Victoria Beckham knows, does not allow substitutions. "What do you think of that?" I asked J-Wax, curious about his point of view on an issue that became pretty loud and controversial in the City of dressing-on-the-side Angels after the VB incident. "I"m fine with it," he said. "Fine with people asking for substitutions or fine with Gjelina's policy of declining them?" "You know the famous quote," he went on in the cool, calm, and all-knowing way he has that inspired younger chefs he compet ...

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I keep reading and rereading this, below, from Sam Sifton's farewell story in yesterday's New York Times. Is it a sentence? A paragraph? A poem? Three nights in April: one in a comfortable booth at the Dutch, Andrew Carmellini’s terrific pan-American clubhouse in SoHo, where I ate crabmeat dressed in bloody-mary sauce, a rib-eye steak and some apple pie; another at a sticky table at La Joya de Ceren on Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Queens, where a fried pork chop came flanked by pupusas, rice and garlicky beans; and a third at Masa, the sushi temple in the Time Warner Center. I like Sam Sifton's writing, pretty much, and he's treated me kindly and with respect in all of the few interaction I've had with him but, I don't know... Why does food writing so often have to get so... weird? And then there is the brilliance of these last two graphs: But the best meal I had on the job? It was in the garden of Frankies 457, on Court Street in Carroll Gardens, on a summer evening with my wife, ...

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People who know me know that, despite the pesky fact that I have this blog, which contains a lot of information about food and that this might make me therefor a kettle-calling pot, I have a beef with food bloggers. "There is no hierarchy," I often say, quoting myself. "Anyone can say anything!" "The only qualification as far as I can see is the ability to type." "And besides, who cares what you ate for dinner last night." And then, on August 11, as if my only qualification were the ability to type, I went and issued this tweet. Umami Burger's "burger crack" = MSG. No, thank you. Why do we need chemically good? What's wrong with just "delicious." It was a nice thought from the Department of Grumpy, but the truth is, I had no idea what I was talking about. This is no excuse but by way of explanation, I saw the word "crack" and "Japanese" in the same sentence and  immediately blinded by visions of MSG. I have major issues with MSG--bigger issues than I have with food bloggers even. ...

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