Jeff Ruby, the amusing Chicago magazine food critc, wrote a piece this month on why you should ignore Anthony Bourdain's advice and read food journalism for your restaurant recommendations rather than going to a site like Yelp. In a nutshell, Jeff tells us a) you can't trust Yelpers and b) they probably don't share your tastes anyway. I would add to the list that reading most of them is pure agony, whereas Jeff has sparkling wit and can spell "fork" correctly.
This made me think about how I make my restaurant decisions. Case and point, my wedding anniversary is coming up, and as new parents who've worn a path between our condo, offices and Target for four months, we've decided to go big. Not Alinea-big, but pretty dang big.
Problem is, I don't know where to go big at, because I've been in baby-love lala land for so long. Here's about how it breaks down these days:
1. Go to Urbanspoon online. Look at Talk of the Town list. Decide that this crappy economy is the reason that Alinea is the only expensive restaurant on it.
2. Go to Menupages online. Search for $$$$ restaurants that look intriguing. Click on descriptions of the newer ones. Link over to a couple of the restaurant websites to look at pretty pictures of dining rooms. Wonder if I have anything to wear. Decide new peeptoes may be in order.
3. Go to Open Table. See which of those places have bookings open. None do. Decide that this crappy economy is the reason that there aren't more options. Launch a new search for expensive restaurants that do have openings. Decide to book NoMi as a backup plan.
4. Go to Zagat online. Troll through reviews. Did I miss anything?...No. Get tired. Decide NoMi will be lovely. Go to bed, promising myself to read up on restaurants again at some point...by reading Helen Rosner at the Menupages blog, because the girl's got skills.
So Jeff, I have a recommendation for you. Develop a Jeff Ruby app for the iPhone. Charge $1.99 a pop. Now your writing is even more relevant and you don't need to rely on Chicago mag's plastic surgery ad revenue to keep you in foie gras.
You're welcome. xo