If this is March . . .

The morphing of food blogs into food glossies is continuing apace, which I guess should not be surprising given the stranglehold advertising has over both. But I was still amazed to see that just about every cyber-outlet in town picked up a “story” from the NYPost about a kosher cheeseburger without ever noticing that an essential detail was dead wrong. The “popular” steakhouse in the piece was located on the wrong side of the park. Considering I walk past it at least every other day and have never seen it full, I guess I shouldn’t wonder that the repeat offenders also didn’t realize the shill potential of the original piece was at terrorist alert level. Wait till you hear the echo chamber on chefs with charitable hearts. No shit, Forelock.

Eau de haute barnyard

In other idiocy, please tell me there is not really an award category of “best new farm-forward restaurant.” The sheep shit is getting hip-high these days. May I also suggest licensing for flacks? If you cannot spell complement, you should not be allowed to shill — beers, let’s face it, never have a nice thing to say about cheeses. Another New Rule is that any interviewer who does not know The Food Section should be automatically disqualified from covering the Internets. Give that nitwit food.alltop.com.

Chops to the head

My tolerance for most online slide shows is only slightly higher than for overpraised fake accents, but I have a soft spot for Trinidad after two trips and so was suckered into watching Roti and the Wasp when my consort forwarded the link. First I wondered if the Port Authority Canteen was really the reincarnation of the Breakfast Shed, the great, funky covered collection of food vendors near the docks that was also known as Holiday Out because savvy hotel guests always headed straight there. Then I wondered why new media has to be so much like the old — when some bobblehead on the teevee bites into anything, there inevitably has to be a reaction shot. And nothing sounds more fake, and more cringe-inducing, than someone else’s slobbering “terrific.” If it was awful, would he say so? A comment I heard on my first sojourn on that rough and magical island could be applied to too many producers now being forced to try to bring stills to life. Appalled at seeing a couple of beggars on the beach at Maracas Bay, a newfound Trinidadian friend said: “They have reached the limits of their imagination.” Enough with the Sally sounds already.

The harder they come

Sorta sad to see a prodigiously talented young thing go from zero to Mariani so quickly. I can’t tell if “intern” is code for “unpaid,” but anyone who needs help in attending parties is getting too many invitations. Food is a first-hand experience.

Sending an emissary to the starchefs.com book party at Barfry, for instance, would mean missing out on a physics lesson, some great banter, a little bitching and a surprising admission. Not to mention the most effete slider ever: foie gras. I learned that a little bottle of Champagne will bubble over wildly unless you remove the straw, which funnels the effervescence straight up and out. I heard that a bright young chef with a great resume is already anticipating trouble in bringing a venerable but tired Village restaurant up to critic speed (can you say FOH?) And while everyone was wondering why the Frialator was off, I was impressed by the steady flow of raw tuna creations from the kitchen. Only as I left did I find the table with the big pile of brochures promoting “Superfrozen tuna — ‘fresher than fresh.’” But those are just my impressions. I wonder what an untrained kiddle would think.

The fat-with-details book the party was promoting was also worth the journey. I would say it’s intended for Trotter wannabes, but for some reason Charlie is not among the 500-some “Chefs to Know.” And while I wondered why a web site would need to produce hard copy, I can already see how handy it is to have all that information to flip through while my overburdened Mac is wheezing. The birth years alone are fascinating. Until a certain Mexican starchef showed up, I was easily the oldest person in the room at the affair, and I rode home flipping pages and taking comfort in how many chefs are actually my age or older in a young guys’ game. And the interview questions could come in handy for those already bailing on what a friend called couture food-writing. . . .

Do you have San Marzano in a can?

I don’t know why I never noticed this, after 24 years in the business, but something about the idiocy piling up on the series of tubes flashed it into my brain in neon. Food spelled backward is the best reversal since god and dog. And jeebus, does it fit some of the overextended pap producers I read these days (one thanks to this BS detector). Too bad Andy Warhol is not around to reassure us everyone will be blogging for only 15 minutes.

Red alert

Not coincidentally, after our brush with the movie star, we watched “Midnight Cowboy” again, and I could only think of the Michelin when we saw Ratso doing his “I’m walkin’ here” routine. The poor guide is about that unmoored, judging by the panel it has set up to discuss restaurant reviewing in New York to try to shine some attention on the new edition. One speaker is Rogetgirl, the other a reviewer best described as “former.” And what either Daily denizen has to do with the Restaurant Witness Protection Program is a mystery. Or, come to think of it, maybe it’s not.

And it could be worse. They could be featuring the Mammamia who is filling out the Skinnygirl caricature on an unnecessary new restaurant/service web site. I have to confess I dissed yelp.com early on. But I now think the future may lie more with the youthful rabble than with the endless repackaging now going on. The internets is starting to feel like a supermarket putting clean Saran and fresh sell-by dates on old chicken. Somehow I don’t think deadlydull.com has a bright future, even if they do “Scanner Darkly” it.

A million little pies

The most basic rule of reviewing cookbooks has to be that you can’t judge them by their text. A recipe collection is only as good as its recipes, and the only honest way to determine that is to take the book into the kitchen and beat it up. Otherwise, you’re like a restaurant critic who only reports that the striped bass looked delicious, not whether it was done right or had any flavor. They’re how-to books, for Child’s sake, not vicarious eating opportunities. I know the goal is to be skinny, but this is typing clearly stretched too thin.

Or are you just happy to see him?

Speaking of one of the first clogs, as thegurglingcod dubbed them, the faux innocence is so pervasive that a plastic case meant to keep a banana from getting squished is featured without even the faintest nod to its obvious resemblance to something a lot less family-oriented. But I guess no one would ever ask an 8-year-old if that was a dildo in his lunchbox. And of course the silly thing is that no banana sold in this country is ever soft enough to need a Bunker.