Category Archives: Restaurants

Nawlins Pralines

#stillkillingtheserhymesinanawlinsaccent

Earlier this month, I took a short jaunt to NOLA. I’d never been and didn’t know much about it except for Mardi Gras, which is still a vague reconnaissance. Fortunately for me, we stayed in the French Quarters where every night sees a circus-like ambiance of drunken debauchery. I’ve had my share of debauchery in life but something about Bourbon Street nightlife is almost pathetic. It’s like misplaced and feigned enthusiam, but that would be my projection since I can not at all imagine such deliberate lack of self-regard/awareness. It is the 20 year college reunion of every college third tier fraternity/sorority wherein they do the same thing they did as 19 year olds.

Otherwise, the most unsavory aspect of traveling to tourist driven areas would be how often tourism can make caricatures out of a place, which is natural when there is a high concentration of kitsch “embodiment” of a city’s specialty or whatever. If your initial contact (and it is often the case) is with that setting, well, it’s hard to see the charm behind such syndication. I find it a little insulting that people choose to just proliferate and peddle a formula without standard rather than try to find new ways to appeal to visitors and draw them in.

Not that it’s completely without its redeeming qualities, many areas of the city are beautiful.

It goes without saying that visiting the site of Katrina is moving in the way that seeing the aftermath of any tragedy can be. I think this is especially true after having witnessed 9/11. My reaction to any tragedy – all human tragedy after all – has become much more visceral.

Last observation: I’m not sure if it’s because I live in New York and am just accustomed to seeing the kind of poverty that New Yorkers show or have just accepted them as a part of New York’s social fabric or the city is organized in a way that it’s never that outstanding or if New York’s obsession with image extends to every socio-economic class. But every other city, the state of the impoverished is always very jarring. This is true for NOLA, many cities in Europe, Shanghai and Beijing. On the plus side, this manifestation made the tour guide’s pride in NOLA’s low unemployment rate and resilience sound especially optimistic.

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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.