My sources read Panchito so I don’t have to suffer the increasingly saccharine insipidity while the Chimp he flacked continues to go unpunished. So I know the lamest restaurant critic ever has gone all Hallmark on America’s ass without ever noting he is the first gay uncle who does not have to pretend to be straight. Given that we are, for the first time, going through a civil rights revolution driven by neither a war nor legislation crammed down the throats of the free Xians, surely the cause deserves a better banner bearer. As the cries to burn down the op-ed pages grow, and especially after the pushy broad has been ousted, maybe sign up a guy who can both bake and think? Anyone who could bring his own mom over to the enlightened side would be preaching to the convertible. And I don’t mean that in the car sense.
Mad Martha is increasingly looking like the Glenn Greenwald of fud: hopelessly polarizing. I have my issues but would like to remind every detractor: She went to prison, while Jamie Dimon will undoubtedly get a bonus. And the fine for his shenanigans amounted to about half what the Republican shutdown of the government for two weeks cost. Meantime, she at least she has now reminded people there are still bloggers. Blogging.
If not for the Twitter, I might have totally missed the coffin-nailing of a restaurant every critic in the eons I’ve lived in Manhattan has felt compelled to evaluate. My first reaction as the Tweets started was: Shouldn’t that be a TONY “who goes there?” When, really, was the last time that particular circus came to town in anyone’s cognizance? So I slogged through the dis and was rather stunned that the service is the only thing four-star about it these days. Wonder what could possibly have happened to change the arrogant assholes who tapped their order pads and wondered “did you come to talk or come to eat?” and then upended chairs around us as we finished our big-deal dinner after getting suckered in by my lunch with a big-time editor at which the asshole-in-chief did some serious butt-kissing himself? So I did a little poking around online and was reminded of another young un who was disabused of the notion that the temple of haute cuisine was anything but a private club, and then I turned up a story of how that same temple is now dependent on websites offering discounts. So file this under Dover sole served cold, the incomparable Seymour Britchky in 1990 on the ringleader now reduced to kowtowing to the hoi polloi: “With his slicked-down hair and accidental face, in his surely hand-tailored but too-tight suit, [he] is not aware that, though the moneyed and the powerful are his clientele today, in any reverse revolution, he and they will be separated at the first cut.”
I think it was also at the onetime tyro’s warm-and-friendly anniversary party that someone asked me if I watched the silly dueling-chef shows. I only wish I could tune them out, but they’re everywhere, especially after the huge rippling exposé on the vegetables used in the White House episode. People were apparently shocked, shocked that they were ringers. You mean radishes won’t hold up indefinitely? Come on, fools: It’s a reality show. Nothing is real. I’m just amazed no one has done a remake of “Casablanca” with cleavers and Crocs.
But I know it was at the warm-and-friendly anniversary party (I need to get out more) that I had a conversation about why the relatively mainstream restaurant blogs are so deadly dull lately. The writer I was talking with mentioned they mostly post on real estate, rarely food, and it struck me: No one really has a budget to eat in these hip-happening joints. Plagiarism and speculation (to steal Jay McInerney’s immortal phrase) only take you so far. It’s safer to stick to the dry facts in a comment-crazed world. A lease has to be as good as tongue now.
I have to admit I felt a pang when I saw that fans of my pal the Not So Tyro thought I was dissing him for his innocence of old crap in the food world. Things are spinning by so fast no one can keep up anymore; another young friend was marveling at lunch the other day that her even younger brother has no conception of Al Gore as inventor of the internet; he only knows the guy who made “An Inconvenient Truth.” (Oh, to be so ignorant of the evil the Villagers can do.) But I really felt a pang when the kid decided to educate himself by way of Craig Claiborne. Even the old pharts in the food world have not quite gotten over that particular memoir. My advice: Do not Google Frugal Gourmet.