Best Dishes of 2013: The not-necessarily-NJ edition
Spicy Thai Basil Beef: Pad Gra Prow?

Things food writers should: stop doing


2013 is winding down, and I thought I'd wrap it up on a positive note, helping those who are less fortunate: those who write about food, horribly.

While I can't make people more interesting than they are, I can, and will, point out a few things that food writers people who write about food should stop doing/writing/typing/thinking. This goes for everyone, including Yelpers, posters on the big food boards, and writers for traditional media outlets*.

In no particular order, please stop this:

  • Calling soup dumplings "Xiao Long Bao."
    Typing "Xiao Long Bao" instead of "soup dumplings" makes you seem like a douche.
  • Using the useless phrase "cooked to perfection."
    It has been beaten to death to perfection, and additionally, says little.
  • Not understanding that Neapolitan-style pizza isn't supposed to be "crispy."
    It isn't.
  • Using any variation of "amazeballs."
  • Thinking that "brick oven" is a specific style of pizza.
    "Brick oven" is meaningless with respect to the type of pizza you should expect.
  • Going gaga for Five Guys.
    I still can't get over this.
  • Getting an unqualified hard-on for bacon.
    Mediocre bacon, which is used just about everywhere, is not exceptional. Don't encourage this.
  • Going to free press meals and gushing about the restaurant.
    You're helping no one but you, your ego, and the restaurant. File under: you're a whore.
  • Wishing you can give half stars on Yelp.
    This isn't science, and it doesn't matter, so just get on with it.
  • "To die for"
    This tired phrase ran out of steam in 1997, long before you were eating adult food.
  • "Wait for it..."
    I'm waiting for you to stop using this lazy device.
  • "Deducting a star" because "the table next to us was really loud."
    Don't be an asshole.
  • Claiming that Neapolitan-style pizza is really good because the "ingredients are fresh."
    The tomatoes came from cans, the dough is a day old, and there's nothing wrong with that, but, you're wrong.
  • Complaining that the burger, served with fries, at a full-service restaurant, was 15 dollars.
    That's an entire meal for 15 bucks, ya dope.
  • Starting off your "review" with "OK, so, here goes."
    Waste, of, four words.
  • Grossly exaggerating the amount of time you waited to be seated, to get menus, to get your food, etc.
    You have no concept of time. And if you really did stand at the door for 30 minutes before anyone acknowledged you, and never thought to get the attention of someone in that 30 minutes, then you must be very used to being ignored, and you deserve it.
  • Taking photos with a flash.
    If there's one easy way to make a close-up shot of food look like a two-dimensional pile of washed-out doodie, it's by using a flash. Sit near a window, use a candle, or, better yet, buy a decent camera and lens. Also, it's a bit rude to use a flash in restaurants. But you already knew that.
  • Absolutely loving that the cocktails are "strong."
    Cocktails (should) have specific ingredients and specific ratios. Adding more booze doesn't make them any better. In fact, quite the opposite. (Some highballs are the exception. But only a heathen would drink Rum and Coke).
  • Referring to '00' flour as "doppio zero."
    It says '00' right on the bag. It's pronounced "double zero" unless you are in Campania and are Italian-speaking.
  • Using "myself" instead of "I" or "me."
    Trust me, you're wrong.
  • Misspelling the name of the restaurant you're reviewing.
    Unless you want people to know that you have zero attention to detail. In which case they shouldn't care about your opinions on what you ate.
  • Misspelling "restaurateur."
    This is a tricky word, but the red squiggly line that shows up under a misspelling of it should be an indication that it needs review.
  • Using ALL CAPS.
    That's just DICKISH.
  • Referring to a restaurant as an "establishment."
    It doesn't make you sound smarter. It makes you sound desperate.


Some additional, unsolicited and helpful advice:

  • When you write “hubby,” it makes me want to strangle your pets.
  • Using “DH” ("dear husband," if I'm not mistaken): see “hubby”
  • Words that end in a vowel do not require an apostrophe for their plural form (pizza's, pasta's).
  • Nor do days of the week (Tuesday's, Wednesday's).
  • Take a moment to google the difference between “it's” and “its,” and commit it to memory.
  • I can assure you that the "desert" was dry and flavorless. Perhaps you should order "dessert" going forward.
  • Don't punish your server because you didn't like the food. You probably ordered wrong or didn't understand what it was you were eating.
  • When you complain that a bar doesn't have a blender, you're announcing to the world that you have the taste of a 22-year-old. Which is fine if, you're 22. Otherwise, well, you know.
  • An ellipsis isn't a period, and a string of commas is absolutely positively nothing, other than annoying.


So there ya go. Please study this before logging on to your restaurant reviewer account.

This guide was brought to you by a sore throat and a hangover.

Have a great day.


*Note that most of this list applies to me.