Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ragging on the SF Chronicle for a change

We're going to give the L.A .Times a break this week (of course, I haven't seen My Favorite Weekend yet...) and single out the San Francisco Chronicle for a lashing this week. I don't know whether restaurant critic Michael Bauer is loved or reviled up there, but his article The Dish on Los Angeles seems pretty lame. He's only, what, 360 miles away, and yet he hasn't been to L.A. in 10 years? Give me a break. Surely S. Irene gets to San Fran a little more often than that. We've been dissed, I guess.
Let's put aside some of his more shopworn cliches (Spago "keeps going like the Energizer Bunny" and gasp, "people have to drive to get anywhere") and look at his selections: ...two Wolfgang Puckeries, a Mozza, Lucques, Jar, La he trying to chose the most San Francisco-esque selection of restaurants possible? Yawn. They're certainly some of L.A.'s best, although you get the idea that Hatfield's made the cut mainly because the chefs hail from San Francisco. But other than endlessly repeating that, surprise, people in the industry seem to go to a lot of good restaurants, where they do a lot of business, he shows absolutely no insight into the character and texture of L.A. dining. This is about as good as it gets: because it's warmer here, restaurants have patios. Oh, and also, there's this thing called Disney Concert Hall, and it's cool-looking, although Patina? Not so hot anymore.
OK, Michael, you can go back now.


brainylagirl said...

wow, that really is extraordinarily lame.

Nina said...

Agreed. He should have scratched much deeper into the LA food scene, or at least been more insightful.

I was surprised by his musing that:"Desserts at Patina also reminded me of a trend I saw a couple of years ago in San Francisco that's still the rage in L.A.: savory ingredients paired with sweet."

So, SF was doing this only a couple year ago, and has stopped? As far as I can tell, restaurants in SF and around the country (not to mention the world) have been doing this for quite some time... and still are.

Anonymous said...

what's typical is not our restaurant scene but his tired old attitude..

being a "foodie" city preoccupied with what you put in your body is morally superior than being a physically-fit driven city

that dot-com business wealth and deals are morally superior to the same in the entertainment business..

I was particularly annoyed with the comment that there's no (!) good (!!) mid-priced restaurants in LA. first off, he didn't try many, and the ones he did (mozza and BLD), he like a lot! but he makes the sneer nonetheless.

why is that we (LA) love and appreciate SF and its difference from us, but many of "them" can't feel the same about us?

John S. said...

This is an almost aggressively uninformed article. Wow. Very bad, wish I didn't read it.

Having lived in SF for years (an amazing food city, though LA is much stronger imo), it's disappointing that the head food critic for SF Chronicle is so... well amateur-ish seeming.

Anonymous said...

Huh. I didn't think it was so lame - his observations on celebrity pretty much summed up why I despise higher-end dining in Los Angeles. I *don't* appreciate being given a marginal table (or other bad service) because I'm just a mere mortal - something that hasn't yet happened to me in SF's more upscale spots.

That said, I wish he'd made those ethnic places that he lamented not going to more of a priority - to me, that's what defines L.A. dining.

Anonymous said...

I was a restaurant manager for some of the top restaurants in San Francisco for about 15 yrs. I can assure you that his weekly restaurant reviews were just as uniformed as this article

SauceSupreme said...

I've found more informed opinions on Yelp.

Steve said...

The Chron seems to trot out that article in one form or another at least once a year. Clearly a cheap and easy shot when one of the writers need to poop out a column in a hurry.

brainylagirl said...

Re: "cheap and easy shot"

But a shot so off the mark, it's not even a flesh wound.

sm said...