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Tejal Rao Throws California "Luxury" Dining Under the Bus


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#31 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 04:59 PM

I'm really confused by all of this.

 

Its the same critique people here make of Per Se and Shaun Hergott restaurants.  You can diagree, but its not unreasonable.  It doesn't make you a bad person or a person of little taste if you disagree?


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#32 Adrian

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 05:01 PM

You’re making a lot of ad hominem assumptions about who she is. Reviewing the high end restaurants in a region and not reviewing other things in a 500 word article are the purview of a restaurant critic. That’s a strange thing to challenge.

What statements above are neither a subjective judgment or observation (2, 3, 6) or a fair objective statement (1, 3, 4, 5) that are inappropriate in a restaurant review?

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#33 Adrian

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 05:08 PM

I'm really confused by all of this.

Its the same critique people here make of Per Se and Shaun Hergott restaurants. You can diagree, but its not unreasonable. It doesn't make you a bad person or a person of little taste if you disagree?


Though I think that people may make the case that SHO is not a restaurant of great taste, and that per se may increasingly not be, but no one would make that claim about single thread. But it is still susceptible to critiques of international style restaurants.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#34 Adrian

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 05:19 PM

The interesting story is kind of Per Se/TFL's move from being "good taste" restaurants to "bad taste" restaurants, which is probably all in Sneak's parable.  


I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#35 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 06:08 PM

It's not a restaurant review, really, is it?

 

It's a cultural review.

 

Restaurant reviews ARE cultural reviews.


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#36 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 06:13 PM

Just to personalize this for a minute -- because really, what do I care about, food culture or myself? -- this discussion really hits home for me.  Because one of the chief reasons I'm finding it hard to get a job doing what I want to do is that both the audience and the publishers have decided that criticism now has to be "useful" consumer guides and not, well, criticism.

 

I've had to whore myself out and do a "consumer guide" in an attempt to establish some kind of platform from which I can, I hope, eventually do the kind of work I want.  I'm not happy about that.  (Actually, can I call it "whoring" if I haven't figured out a way to get paid for it?  More like "slutting", I guess.)

 

Now the world doesn't owe me a living, I get that.  But I think this is a bad development for our culture at large, not just for me.


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#37 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 06:40 PM

Also, at least Rao is being fair and balanced (to coin a phrase). She's upfront about what she doesn't like about these restaurants, and acknowledges their strengths.

Not like Sifton's hatchet job on SHO, where he invented nonexistent flaws in the food to justify his not liking the restaurant on grounds of style (because, you know, it was a "restaurant review", so he had to pretend to mainly be doing a consumer-oriented food evaluation).
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#38 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 06:45 PM

Also, does this piece even purport to be a "restaurant review" rather than a think piece?  It's categorized under "Critic's Notebook", not "Restaurant Review".  It doesn't include star ratings.


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#39 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 06:48 PM

The interesting story is kind of Per Se/TFL's move from being "good taste" restaurants to "bad taste" restaurants, which is probably all in Sneak's parable.  

 

Another win for Brooklyn!


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#40 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 06:53 PM

Since I found it online somewhere, let me quote the 1922 edition of Emily Post verbatim, to give "credit" where it's due:

 

 

THE SMALL HOUSE OF PERFECTION

  It matters not in the slightest whether the guest room’s carpet is Aubusson or rag, whether the furniture is antique, or modern, so long as it is pleasing of its kind. On the other hand, because a house is little is no reason that it can not be as perfect in every detail—perhaps more so—as the palace of the multiest millionaire!   59   The attributes of the perfect house can not be better represented than by Brook Meadows Farm, the all-the-year home of the Oldnames. Nor can anything better illustrate its perfection than an incident that actually took place there.   60   A great friend of the Oldnames, but not a man who went at all into society, or considered whether people had position or not, was invited with his new wife—a woman from another State and of much wealth and discernment—to stay over a week-end at Brook Meadows. Never having met the Oldnames, she asked something about their house and life in order to decide what type of clothes to pack.   61   “Oh, it’s just a little farmhouse. Oldname wears a dinner coat, of course; his wife wears—I don’t know what—but I have never seen her dressed up a bit!’   62   “Evidently plain people,” thought his wife. And aloud: “I wonder what evening dress I have that is high enough. I can put in the black lace day dress; perhaps I had better put in my cerise satin——”   63   “The cerise?” asked her husband, “Is that the red you had on the other night? It is much too handsome, much! I tell you, Mrs. Oldname never wears a dress that you could notice. She always looks like a lady, but she isn’t a dressy sort of person at all.”   64   So the bride packed her plainest (that is her cheapest) clothes, but at the last, she put in the “cerise.”   65   When she and her husband arrived at the railroad station, that at least was primitive enough, and Mr. Oldname in much worn tweeds might have come from a castle or a cabin; country clothes are no evidence. But her practised eye noticed the perfect cut of the chauffeur’s coat and that the car, though of an inexpensive make, was one of the prettiest on the market, and beautifully appointed.   66   “At least they have good taste in motors and accessories,” thought she, and was glad she had brought her best evening dress.   67   They drove up to a low white shingled house, at the end of an old-fashioned brick walk bordered with flowers. The visitor noticed that the flowers were all of one color, all in perfect bloom. She knew no inexperienced gardener produced that apparently simple approach to a door that has been chosen as frontispiece in more than one book on Colonial architecture. The door was opened by a maid in a silver gray taffeta dress, with organdie collar, cuffs and apron, white stockings and silver buckles on black slippers, and the guest saw a quaint hall and vista of rooms that at first sight might easily be thought “simple” by an inexpert appraiser; but Mrs. Oldname, who came forward to greet her guests, was the antithesis of everything the bride’s husband had led her to believe.   68   To describe Mrs. Oldname as simple is about as apt as to call a pearl “simple” because it doesn’t dazzle; nor was there an article in the apparently simple living-room that would be refused were it offered to a museum.   69   The tea-table was Chinese Chippendale and set with old Spode on a lacquered tray over a mosaic-embroidered linen tea-cloth. The soda biscuits and cakes were light as froth, the tea an especial blend imported by a prominent connoisseur and given every Christmas to his friends. There were three other guests besides the bride and groom: a United States Senator, and a diplomat and his wife who were on their way from a post in Europe to one in South America. Instead of “bridge” there was conversation on international topics until it was time to dress for dinner.   70   When the bride went to her room (which adjoined that of her husband) she found her bath drawn, her clothes laid out, and the dressing-table lights lighted.   71   That night the bride wore her cerise dress to one of the smartest dinners she ever went down to, and when they went upstairs and she at last saw her husband alone, she took him to task. “Why in the name of goodness didn’t you tell me the truth about these people?”   72   “Oh,” said he abashed, “I told you it was a little house—it was you who insisted on bringing that red dress. I told you it was too handsome!”   73   “Handsome!” she cried in tears, “I don’t own anything half good enough to compare with the least article in this house. That ‘simple’ little woman as you call her would, I think, almost make a queen seem provincial! And as for her clothes, they are priceless—just as everything is in this little gem of a house. Why, the window curtains are as fine as the best clothes in my trousseau.”   74   The two houses contrasted above are two extremes, but each a luxury. The Oldnames’ expenditure, though in no way comparable with the Worldlys’ or the Gildings’, is far beyond any purse that can be called moderate.   75   The really moderate purse inevitably precludes a woman from playing an important rôle as hostess, for not even the greatest magnetism and charm can make up to spoiled guests for lack of essential comfort. The only exceptions are a bungalow at the seashore or a camp in the woods, where a confirmed luxury-lover is desperately uncomfortable for the first twenty-four hours, but invariably gets used to the lack of comfort almost as soon as he gets dependent upon it; and plunging into a lake for bath, or washing in a little tin basin, sleeping on pine boughs without any sheets at all, eating tinned foods and flapjacks on tin plates with tin utensils, he seems to lack nothing when the air is like champagne and the company first choice.


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#41 voyager

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 07:15 PM

Sublime.    I remember years ago when husband and I had to "interview" for an apartment.  The owner of the jewel box apartment building lived next door in a 3 story, very elegant mid-1800s octagonal Victorian.    We entered a kind of drawing room with only several chairs and a couple of side tables.    "No furniture!   This guy is really property poor!" I thought.    Then, as I sat and really took in the room, I realized that it was perfectly furnished.    Everything in balance, no excess, just great lines in both architecture and furnishings.    I learned something but was never able to pull off that level of elegant restraint.


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not my monkeys.


#42 Behemoth

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 07:33 PM

Class and refinement are the stories the middle class tell themselves to not get too outraged about the oligarchs.  ;)


Summarizing, then, we assume that relational information is not subject to a corpus of utterance tokens upon which conformity has been defined by the paired utterance test.
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#43 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 07:42 PM

Funny you should say that.  Here's an excerpt from the introduction to the section I quoted above:

 

Popular opinion to the contrary, a man’s social position is by no means proportionate to the size of his house, and even though he lives in a bungalow, he may have every bit as high a position in the world of fashion as his rich neighbor in his palace—often much better!    2   We all of us know a Mr. Newgold who would give many of the treasures in his marble palace for a single invitation to Mrs. Oldname’s comparatively little house, and half of all he possesses for the latter’s knowledge, appearance, manner, instincts and position—none of which he himself is likely ever to acquire, though his children may! But in our description of great or medium or small houses, we are considering those only whose owners belong equally to best society and where, though luxuries vary from the greatest to the least, house appointments are in essentials alike.    3   This is a rather noteworthy fact: all people of good position talk alike, behave alike and live alike. Ill-mannered servants, incorrect liveries or service, sloppily dished food, carelessness in any of the details that to well-bred people constitute the decencies of living, are no more tolerated in the smallest cottage than in the palace. But since the biggest houses are those which naturally attract most attention, suppose we begin our detailed description with them.

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#44 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 07:43 PM

I love reading old Emily Post, both because it makes me laugh and because it makes me want to go to Manhattan with a machine gun.


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#45 Rich

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 07:43 PM

"Verbosity is a tool of the devil disguised as an angel."