Category Archives: Food

foodies

“I’m not a foodie, I just like what I like,” she says. “Yes, I know, it’s just like hipsters saying, ‘I’m not a hipster.’ ” (The cliché cracks her up.) “But it’s like when my boss says, ‘Oh, you’re such a foodie.’ I’m like, Oh God. When I hear the word foodie, I think of Yelp. I don’t want to be lumped in with Yelp.” – Young Foodie Culture via @Davidchang

I’m not taking offense because of the narrow exception of myself and a handful of Yelp friends whose reviews are merited not only for their candor but also for the writing itself. I have a problem with people who so emphatically dismiss (or worship)a group of people without exception or clear basis. While I’m not a cheerleader for team Yelp, I can’t deny the undeniable place the site has established for itself regardless of the deteriorating quality of its reviewers (o, it can be personal). This influx of “foodies” seem to take that aversion to new heights, effectively establishing a hierarchy of a sort of authenticity (oh, exploring new foods is a personal hobby, it’s a part of my identity. It’s inherent in my being; I didn’t need an external incentive like a forum of expression.) Well, having your rhetoric memorialized in a publication like New York Magazine closes every inch of that gap – the magazine’s perspective and identity being informed by what everyone else is saying. Plus, the obvious fact here is that your reference to Yelp in that context renders your whole shit reactionary and derivative – as if not being a Yelper is supposed to validate and legitimize you, as if the restaurant owner who replied to my review with: nyt gave us 2 stars, is supposed to render my review invalid. To you I say: who you? Seriously, like who are you to tell me that you know better just because you’re not on Yelp? The problem isn’t “Yelp”, sure it provides a medium for people who delight in an imaginary audience (hi!), but really, you’re both drawn by the same force and your self-branding as a non-foodie food lover who likes what you like follows the same rhetoric. It’s the same whether you use your hands or a toy; you’re still just getting yourself off.

Food is a basic and subjective concept the quality of which anyone can discern (some might choose to be more or less discriminating). That sort of faux denial laced of a self-congratulatory tone (oh, I’m a hipster without the shackles of a label). Spending your money on pickled lambs tongue, because it’s a new frontier and soon to be item du jour is not “liking what you like”, and you, Diane Chang, are a sucker. This is not about the ridiculousness of your chosen lifestyle from my point of view (I mean spending a quarter of an income that’s described as modest is pretty bad finances, but I probably spend more on worse things like dresses I never wear), I could care less about how you spend your money. Buying into a marketed commercial movement all the while coloring yourself as an exceptional instance is delusional, as if a label is your problem.

YELP

When I first started Yelping, I had no idea of its associations or whatever with douchey yuppie foodies. I just liked it as a medium for musings more inane than those I’d post here. That and I wanted to impose my superior tastes on the rest of the community. This urgent agenda was especially so considering Yelp was responsible for the terrible setting of what was at the time a very important first date. The build up and subsequent let down of the meal were, in many ways a way, symbolic of the ensuing liaison.

After which, I was like, hell the fuck nah, a first date already has enough stacked up against itself, do not let a woman sit through a bad meal on top of it, too. Because, we are each individually (not as a group) deserving of all the gems life has to offer. I took on the honorable role of a vigilante facilitater of oral pleasures. pause.

Since then, I’ve heard many iterations of Yelp bashing, the most prevalent being: Yelp is the new Asian Avenue.

Y’all, as much as the Asian supremacist in me would like to believe that Asian taste buds are superior, they just aren’t. Some of us were meant for greater things in life and some are just supposed to be happy with white rice and soy sauce.

Now, don’t think I actually read the article, I’m completely going by presumptions. But focusing on the appeal of Yelp for Asian girls and their perverse fans is completely missing the point. There is an issue far too sinister to leave unaddressed. Aside from the vanilla ass language that rival the restaurants they critique, my major gripe with Yelp is people who feign to be well-versed and cultured when they’re simply bumpkins. I, too, worship at the alter of Epicureanism, but too many Yelpers have false idols. It’s the disease of our generation that everyone wants a voice in the ugly cacophony of nothingness. Aspiring designers, bloggers, tastemakers, photographers, political pundits and yelp reviewers are all plagued with the same narcissistic illness of needing the world to witness and acknowledge their soggy and affected point of view.  Also, proof that democracy and libertarianism can only work in a society of people with functioning brains, a minimum level of self-awareness, adequate level of truthful self-assessment and a healthy dose of shame. Plurality of shitty uniformity aside, they serve to mislead people to venues of subpar quality and waste money they don’t have. Yelp’s 3 to 4 stars reviews contain a dangerous curve – going to a three starred and sometimes even four starred restaurant is a gamble as risky as playing Russian Roulette. There’s got to be a better system.  It also begs the question why. I stated why I began Yelping, but for the rest of you common reviewers of run of the mill taste buds, I have to wonder what you’re trying to achieve by upsetting the curve so. Can I eat? Can I live?

To be fair, my severe standards are genetic – my grandmother thinks 95% of NewYork restaurants serve unrefined, peasant food that deserve a place no higher than the dishwasher’s dinner plate. I’ve been eating snakes and razor clams since I was 7, you chumps are only now catching on. Please.

On fat girls and jeggings

On Sunday, I was breakfasting at Pain au Quotidien and reading the Times (poseurrrrs). In the Style section, some girl wrote in saying her friend and she both bought jeggings and wore them to work, her friend wasn’t reprimanded and she was. In response, I said something like, yeah well they both should’ve been fired but her friend was also probably thin and she was probably fat therefore looked obscene in jeggings. I said fat really loudly and the girls at the next table were fat and eating a basket of bread and…remained silent for the rest of the meal. I don’t know I thought it was really funny.

Behold the embodiment of all that is wrong with Americans: the entitlement, irreverence, appropriation/bastardization. I have so much hate for California rolls.