Twenty years ago, almost exactly, I moved from California, where I grew up, to New York, on what I have come to call the Pretty Woman model of success: I wanted to either be discovered, or like Julia Roberts' character in that movie, be saved. Since I figured I had no hand in whether or not I would be saved, and since deep down I knew that I was too competent to be saved and too opinionated to attract saviors, I decided to be an actress. "If I were Julia Roberts," I think I was actually ridiculous enough to have said out loud. "I could go on David Letterman and people would listen to what I had to say." I wish I knew what I thought I had to say, but in any case, I did my research, found a good acting teacher, got a job as a waitress, paid more money than I'd spent on a semester's tuition at Cal for big-hair head shots (oh, the horror!) and signed up for my future of fortune and fame. My acting teacher, Ron Stetson, is a man who likes to call it like it is, and since I was 25 and still ...

Read More

One of the reasons I haven't written in this blog for months is that I am a hater for food bloggers, and this blog made me one of them. What made--or rather makes--me a hater is nothing more than an old-fashioned desire for hierarchy. Respect. In the blogosphere, any ol' one can spout his or her opinion on any ol' thing. There are no filters. The one time I looked online for restaurant reviews was about five years ago, when I was working with Kenny Shopsin on his book, EAT ME. Kenny asked me if I ever used the Internet, or if i thought it was any good (Yelp, Chowhound, etc.), as a restaurant guide. I told him that I didn't, but it did inspire me to take a look down what I found to be the sad avenues of these sites. I decided to conduct a test of their efficacy and chose to see what they had to say about a restaurant I know well, Barbuto, owned by a well regarded chef, Jonathan Waxman, who has been around several different blocks and is near-worshipped by his peers. (In the years befor ...

Read More

Colman Andrews With all the noise around food and all the blah blah blah about food blogs these days, it's refreshing to read something like this interview by the James Beard Foundation with my friend and former editor, and one of the founding editors of Saveur, Colman Andrews. I'd like these words even if Colman didn't mention me in them--because of the perspective he brings to what for lack of a better term I'll refer to as the "Food World," the depth of his knowledge about food and restaurants, the sense of humor and levity he brings to so many things, most of all himself, and the fact that he knows better than to celebrate the celebratization of chefs. And anyway, about me, he emailed the day after I first saw this to let me know he was only joking. ...

Read More

First let me say that in the pantheon of fast food, I think Chipotle is the lesser of countless evils--and I am not even saying that it is evil. I'm just, in my ongoing beef with them, questioning  whether what they are doing is a marketing strategy or genuine belief. My hunch is that it is a marketing strategy. While I could say--like the Stonybrook Farms yogurt mogul does in the movie Food, Inc., that better to have big biz on the sustainability bandwagon than not--but I'm not so sure that is true. I am afraid that when the message gets distorted, and used for people's capitalist goals, that the consumer is mislead. People lose site of what is important, and why it was important to begin with. My beef, essentially, is this: if you truly believe that something is bad, in this case, the beef raised in the industrial American food system--is bad for the planet, bad for our health, and bad for the animals, then how can you justify serving it 65% of the time?  I also wanted to get a clea ...

Read More
1 2