One good thing about publicly ranting only once a week is that the smart set gets out ahead on the big sins of the day, leaving the venial ones for me to masticate. Ezra Klein rightly took the NYTimes to the cyber-woodshed for its staggeringly condescending review roundup of restaurants where the little people eat, as if the editors who approved that idiocy for publication did not go to Chili’s themselves (Applebee’s, not so much — I remember when it first opened on 42d Street and a co-worker said it was too pricey). Didn’t a political reporter even take Gomer to the Olive Garden, for crap’s sake? Some boss must have been blinded by arugula (although that canard was thoroughly roasted by another blogger who wondered what’s so elitist about a green so ubiquitous it has made iceberg esoteric in all the best restaurants). And Jay Rayner pretty much said fuck-all that needed to be said about Gordon Ramsay and his bombastic notion of fining chefs for using produce out of season. One word: Dubai. It hadn’t occurred to me, but I, too, kinda doubt there are locavores around Abu Dhabi. What’s most energizing about all this smart talk is that it is mostly coming from outside the food coven. While so many food blogs increasingly prostitute themselves to Big Food, emulating the glossies where the wine copy is indistinguishable from the Yellowtail ads, people who love to cook and eat and think about food are stepping up to the plate with really sharp perspective. Minds can’t thrive on asparagus recipes alone.