Colman Andrews has compiled a "101 Best Restaurants in America" list. It's kind of cool that a few places I brought to public attention are included. And, in case you're wondering, er, no, I wasn't included among the "panel of 176 food critics, cookbook writers and others in the food business." Which provides an odd symmetry to my long relationship with food and food media.
In my late teens and early twenties, before I began writing, I'd offer zillions of write-in votes for unlisted places on my Zagat ballots. None made it into the book. I felt more and more disconnected from the foodie scene, which focused on chasing hype rather than sussing out great unsung treasure. Realizing I was eating to a different drummer, I became a writer, eventually founding Chowhound to provide a clubhouse for kindred spirits - hype-averse treasure hunters alienated by foodies and food media.
Cut to 2013, and my perspective on food seems like crazy talk on Chowhound, and the general interest level in my food finds and opinions resembles Zagat's, circa 1985. So I find myself eating exactly like I did at age 19: deliciously and marginally. It's come full circle, except that a random few of my ancient faves have been engraved in the hypey pantheon I always spurned.
You can't refuse co-option by the status quo and still expect its embrace. Maintaining an alienated attitude ensures alienation. Yet I still thoroughly enjoy chowhounding, same as ever, blithely going my merry way and finding all sorts of great stuff. I guess alienation suits me!
But, still, thanks for thinking of me, A.O. Scott!
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