Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Oakland hipster slams restaurant in RECORD TIME, so John Birdsall is now obsolete

Flora, a cute little restaurant in downtown Oakland, has been open for approximately four hours, so of course it has already been declared DEAD AND PASSE AND LAME by a snide local hipster who has better taste in restaurants than you, because you live on the wrong side of the Caldecott Tunnel and work in an office and are probably wearing Dockers.

Kevin Cook, food writer at, hasn't actually been to Flora, but he has read another writer's blog about when she went to Flora earlier this afternoon, and he has already had it up to here with the restaurant, which he vows to never visit again, or ever, since he's never actually been in the first place.

Based on seven pictures and a 193-word review, Cook declared, in the comments of course, the following:
I will never understand why a place like flora attracts anyone. I don’t care how new the kitchen staff is–making a decent vinaigrette shouldn’t take any practice or time for a professional. Tuna melt? Come on, this place sounds like an upscale togos for the walnut creet office worker lunch crowd.
To recap: Kevin Cook does not understand why Flora does not throw in the towel and shut down and admit it's over, already, since it has managed to ruin its reputation in the four hours it has been open by making a bad vinaigrette and, uh, serving sandwiches, to people who work in offices. And possibly live in Walnut Creek. Ew.

This is the glorious future of food criticism, which shows why reviews printed on dead trees by so-called professionals who secretly love sandwiches and Contra Costa County and cubicles are now obsolete forever, oh holy god I want John Birdsall back they laid him off I didn't want to tell you but there it is The End.

(Seriously, the East Bay Express laid off Birdsall and six other staffers, including Kara Platoni.)

A Better Oakland: Flora opens tonight! (Updated with pictures)

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Monday, June 11, 2007

SF cooks vs NY cooks -- guess who wins, hippie

Hey, hippie San Francisco cook dude, put down the ganja reefer weed for a second and try to focus on something other than your own navel!

Danny Myers apprentice Sarah Schafer has come to San Francisco from New York, and she brought some opinions with her about YOU! So wake up and sober up and detox or whatever!
"I don't want to sound like I'm putting any West Coast chefs down," said Frisson Executive Chef Sarah Schafer, 10 minutes into a discourse on the virtues of New York cooks. "I just don't think they are as disciplined as East Coast chefs."
Oh yes, she did!

She totally just did that!

That might sound rough, but Sarah has some constructive, practical advice to go with her criticism:
  • Try not to be a total flake, especially if you have an interview scheduled!
  • It's called discipline. Have you heard of it?
  • Did you know there are other cuisines other than California Cuisine!? Hard to believe, I know!
  • You are not a television star so please just stop.
  • Work in New York and, if possible, make sure your schooling and childhood were in New York
  • Try to do something other than smoke ganja weed and sleep all the time!
It turns out there are a lot of other chefs around town who favor cooks from East Coast kitchen culture, which is basically "Shut up and get yelled at and do as you are told," very military except even meaner.

And it turns out that if you want to work in certain top kitchens and have a problem with this, go eat some tofu or to yoga class or surfing or just drop some ecstasy and sleep for 16 hours on your stupid futon or whatever, you dirty hippie, and deal with it The End.

Full story in the ...

Business Times: S.F. chefs seek cooks with N.Y. state of mind / They're used to higher pressure, work load (free link)

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Drug dealers bankrolled Chez Panisse; Waters dropped LSD; hippie waiters stole wine, smok--zzzzzz ......

So according to this totally uptight Bloomberg money writer dude in snooty old "London," the new book on Alice Waters says her earliest investors were Marxist drug lords; her high-as-a-kite waiters stole $30,000 worth of wine and she personally almost went on a kill-crazy Zodiac-style rampage while high on LSD.

Channeling her longtime mentor Eric "Eazy-E" Wright, who invented gangsta rap after a stint in the Chez Panisse kitchen, Alice says something totally deep about the whole amazing scene and how everything is, like, connected:
"They (the drug dealers) were the only people who had money ... The only sort of counterculture people who had money. We couldn't get it from a bank. God knows."
Thankfully, we in the Bay Area don't get our "book reviews" from a Republican New York smear machine like Bloomberg any more than we get our dietary advice from "scientists" with "advanced degrees" from "accredited universities."

We have our own, totally unmedicated John Birdsall at the Express to speak truth to power, and he's not going to play the Man's little games. Tell him a story about drug-crazed restaurateurs who are frothing at the mouth as they hand satchels full of drug money to the criminal waiter gangs doping up patrons and plotting a communist revolution, and he'll calmly yawn, call your tale a boring, "incurious" "surface narrative" written by an obvious sellout and of course not mention any of this in his book review because it doesn't matter.


Thanks to the Express' Weatherman Chris Thompson for telling us which way the reactionary wind is blowing.

Bloomberg's story about drug deals, LSD and other things that put us to sleep in the Bay Area: Inside Dope on Chez Panisse, Complete With LSD, Stoned Waiters

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Kim Severson selects embarassing truffle, unmasks Iranian agents. Yes, I'm serious about the truffle thing.

Former Chronicle food writer Kim Severson is now at the New York Times, which last fall dispatched her to wage war against the accumulated sum of human knowledge and progress and to not stop writing until she had burned science itself to the ground.

Oh, sorry, that was Michael Pollan.

Severson was deployed last fall to Italy, where she was to infiltrate the Slow Foodintern gathering at Terra Madre and link up with what she called, in a debriefing that has since been yanked from public view, "the elite troops in the fight against McFood."

I have reviewed this restricted account of the battle at Terra Madre.

There was a "call to arms" involving yak cheese. There was an incendiary "honey manifesto." There was, I kid you not, "some of the warmest applause" when the flag of Iran was unfurled.

But our decorated operative Severson left something out of her November 1 report, perhaps ashamed of the awful, awful truth. Buried deep in a story wrapped in an engima wrapped in the Winter 2006 edition of Edible San Francisco, freelancer Andrea Blum reports:
In Alba (an hour from Turin), during a heavenly meal of white truffles at Lalibera restaurant, the chef/owner Marco Forneris showed me the stack of business cards he had collected from Americans who visited his domain. Among them was Sue Moore of Let's Be Frank and Chez Panisse fame as well as New York Times food writer Kim Severson, who ate there four consecutive times, including lunch.

The pair came to the restaurant the night before, proudly armed with a truffle of their own. Flavia Bodda, co-owner of Lalibera and the only woman on the Italian commission controlling the quality of white truffles in the marketplace, was astonished. "I didn't want to tell them," she said shaking her head. "But it was the worst truffle I had seen in a while. I felt terrible."
So there you have it: Kim Severson, award-winning journalist, really-really-nice-advice-giver to a friend of mine once, good writer, exposer of Iranian sympathizers in our midst -- and terrible picker of truffles. The shame.

Blum's story ends, by the way, with Flavia Bodda bringing Blum an amazing truffle, which is way way so much better than Severson's, and which transforms Blum's senses. "We all have our food moments but this was mine," Blum writes.

And so a freelance journalist not-so-subtly one-ups a New York Times writer; Flavia Bodda escapes stoning from the Iranian Slow Food squads; Michael Pollan successfully bans from all kitchens "anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food" and all pesticides were evaporated forever The End.

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