Monday, November 12, 2007

Crabby Tidbits -- and Symon Wins!

SF Bay Spill Cancels Crab Season: SF Bay foodies were starting to get excited last week with the impending opening of the Dungeness crab season schedule for this Thursday. By all reports it was going to be a banner year. But an oil spill from a tanker that hit the bay bridge last week got in the way. Commercial crabbers from San Francisco, Half Moon Bay and Bodega Bay met at the Crab Boat Owners Association's headquarters in San Francisco over the weekend and voted to delay crab season indefinitely. Fisherman also voted to cancel the sport fishing season which had opened on Nov 3. SF Chron reported over the weekend and a friend sent news of the vote.

More from Cory, I mean, the Star: I would normally make a note about some of the coming establishments from Jeff Swiatek's story on downtown restaurants in the Monday Star, however, everything he covers is something Cory Schouten over at Property Lines has already reported. Cory scoops all of us on a regular basis when it comes to eateries, but in this case, he seems to have become the source. At least, the Star doesn't note anyone else they've talked to who's provided the information. Ahh, attribution. It's clearly different today in a tightly budgeted news corporation than it was when I was in J-school. (We actually had to get original sources on everything and, you know, quote them and stuff.) Sure, there's a difference between column and straight reporting, and between blogging and news. (And certainly, blogging tends to run more like a column with a hefty dose of opinion in most cases, but most of us like to verify information and give credit where credit is due.) Swiatek's article is straight business reporting which makes it a bit jarring when sources aren't cited and shortcuts are taken. Since he hasn't cited developers, restaurant corporations, or lease-holders as sources for these restaurant confirmations, nor has he included any new or different information, I can only assume the info came from Cory's blog.

The Next Iron Chef: Congratulations to Cleveland's Chef Micheal Symon of Lola fame who will be the next Iron Chef! While I love Besh's work, I think it was pretty obvious in the last few episodes -- and last night's finale -- that Symon was cooking in a clearly different style which would help separate him from his fellow Iron Chefs and challengers. Symon has gained a terrific following in the past few years with the help of writers like Micheal Ruhlman and I'm glad to see him rewarded. His no-nonsense style and frank accounts of the difficulty of the restaurant business have been refreshing in today's world of over-romanticized celebrity chefs. Nice work, Chef Symon. We all look forward to seeing you compete! (Word has it Symon will fill the clogs of Mario Batali.) Read more at Symon Says.


Anonymous said...

I hope you're not implying that the worst repercussion of the SF Bay oil spill is that there won't be any Dungeness Crab from that area on our dinner plates. This is a major ecological disaster with far worse consequences than missing a season of crabbing and sport fishing.

scubachef said...

About Adobo:
"There's nowhere else Downtown besides Acapulco Joe's where you get really good Mexican food," he said.

How does I-Could-Puke-o's survive?!

braingirl said...
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braingirl said...

Adobo: Skip the food, go for the gauacamole!

scubachef said...

Misguided Soul:
"Adobo: Skip the food, go for the gauacamole!"

Yeah, the guac is good (as are the margaritas), but what about:
Platanos en Mole Negro?
Cochinita Pibil?

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about how to do this, but could you bury an obvious falsehood in your blog to catch the rip-off artist? Clearly no one from the mainstream would ever get fired for ripping off a blog, but they might for false reporting. It would at least be very funny.

Keep up the good work. I will always read your work before the Star's.

CorrND said...

HA! I thought the same thing when I read that Star article: "this list looks awfully familiar..."

What's interesting about this case is that Swiatek didn't just (allegedly) rip off some random blogger, he (allegedly) used an Indianapolis Business Journal blog.

George said...

I used to work with Jeff Swiatek and I can tell you that he is among the most thorough and conscientious journalists I have ever known.

Anonymous said...

On your blog: Popular Lables

Um, it's "labels." Also, as for the Star ripping you off, seems like there are a lot of ASSumptions being made. You even said you "assumed" Swiatek got his info from IBJ. Guyett cited a source in her column. Making ASSumptions is as much a faux pas as lifting info from uncited sources, don'tcha think?

braingirl said...

Thanks for the spelling correction. re: your assumptions. If you read my post carefully, I I've asked my readers to make up their own minds on my situation. I'm sure Guyett stumbled across the Meridian reservations announcement for opening night poking around the depths of just as I did.(Or, she read it here -- which seems more plausible?) Even so, I do think the Star ripped Cory off. At the very least, if they independently verifiied and reported the information, where are the attributions?

re: Swiatek. I'm sure he's a great guy and a good reporter. I supsect the blame lies more with the editor who didn't press him to cite the sources he used to verify the information. I also suspect there's a fair number of deadline pressures and resource issues at the Star these days.

It seems like your saying the act of my questioning the sources of this material is just as egregious as the Star lifting information and not correctly atributing the sources. The former is well within my right and the latter is violation of a newspaper journalistic standard (and I'm sure Gannett policy.)

I don't see those two as equal at all -- I have every right to speculate whereas reporters don't have every right to pull material out of their asses.

I seem to be hearing a little cry of "what's the big deal" which I usually attribute to people who feel the rules don't or shouldn't apply to them (unless it's useful.)

I think the Star got caught -- and I think more than a few people are irked that a few vocal bloggers are raising a fuss.

Anonymous said...

Braingirl, you sure do love you some you.You have absolutely no qualifications to be a food critic, you are simply just a gossip artist, like Gayette. I wish you 2 would find a friend and simply disappear.

braingirl said...
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braingirl said...
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Jim said...

Wow, the last Anonymous that posted sounds threatened that there are independent voices out there like braingirl that aren't afraid to speak their mind. I wish there were more people out there that would call out the trash thats passed for the Indianapolis Star. Maybe this city could then have a decent paper.

Bill Kennedy said...

Without knowing george's bona fides, do I accept his word that Swiatek is the next Bob Woodward because he worked with him? The Star has gone from an OK local paper with a stable of very good writers to an ad supplement holder one step above (or below) the Noblesville Ledger. With fewer good writers. Example: on the front page of Monday's Star, there's a blurb about how sectarian violence in Iraq is waning, go to page A-4. No story on A-4, A-3 or A-anything. Anyone that has read the Star on a regular basis has seen the slow erosion. Their "news" is not fresh and, with respect to the scope of this blog or Cory's, woefully late. Stay on point braingirl.

PS Z's opened tonight

terrykirts said...

If Braingirl doesn't have any qualifications to be a restaurant critic (last time I checked this was a general culinary blog, but, hey, take what you want from it), then no one else in this country who reviews restaurants is qualified either. Are you so patently naive to think that there is a license or degree in it (maybe Sally Struthers' college offers an associates in restaurant criticism?) or that only chefs can be restaurant critics (sorry, chefs, but that thought scares me). I can't believe that I'm actually responding to someone who has such awful syntax and who loves the comma splice as much as anonymous does.

But let's just do a little research on the whole "qualifications" issue.

Frank Bruni, currently the most high-profile restaurant critic, was previously Rome bureau chief for the Times before he was critic. Hmm. . .maybe he ate a lot of pasta when he was in Italy?

Ruth Reichl, now editor of Gourmet, has a B.A. in art history, though she did run a restaurant once.

Michael Bauer (San Francisco Chronicle) has a master’s degree in mental health mass communications at Kansas State University, though he worked in his father's meat market as a kid.

Terry Kirts has an MFA in Creative Writing, but he's only cooked for 25 years and catered small meals and taught a couple of cooking classes way back. Guess he's not qualified. Maybe someone should alert the local media.

Seems like a strong opinion, zeal for and knowledge of food, and some articulate expression are enough, and well, Braingirl has that in spades.

By the way, I know the temptation to lift facts from blogs, and I can't say that I haven't done it at times--but I try my best to call and verify a lead or put my own spin and verbiage on it. I'm sure Braingirl would agree that it's no sin to look at a Blog, to say, "Interesting. . .I'll check on that," and to find out additional facts and make the whole story one's own. But when reporters use the same sources, the same examples, and, in some cases, the very same organization, well, then, that's just lazy reporting, as well as unethical reporting. It's often very hard to scoop, but it's not that hard to write and to make phone calls and to follow up on facts or to think through a new organizational or thematic strategy.

But what the hell do I know? I don't have any qualifications to be a restaurant critic anyway.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
braingirl said...

Comments with personal attacks, nastiness, and general assholery will be deleted.

Anonymous said...

Hey BK! What do you have against the Noblesville Ledger?


Anonymous said...

I remember when this blog used to be a great source of information. Now it seems like it is just a bickering match. Could all the real a-holes just sit on your hands and leave the educated to discuss.

Anonymous said...

I hate when the comments turn nasty. That is the issue with the anonymous aspect of the internet. I don't think that individuals would be so hateful towards one another if we were sitting face to face. I love how people visit your site with YOUR opinions, Braingirl and then bash, bash, bash.

Let's agree to disagree!!

Anonymous said...

Braingirl, I don't think that it is fair that you have stricken my voice from the record. You have free reign to delete the comments made by your readers and you also will not restrain yourself from general assholery at the same time. Terry Kirts should never compare himself to the people that he mentioned and you know that. The Nuvo is nothing like Gourmet or the other "critics" that he consideres himself to be. He is not in the same category. I told you months ago that he was going to the Monthly. Now he contributes to the dish every week. Love, The Star

Anonymous said...

| Yeah, I'm with you anonymous, I hate it when people come on and post stupid stuff anonymously. If you have an opinion and aren't even comfortable using your login name, then maybe you are afraid that the point has no validity in the first place?


braingirl said...

Anon, 11:14 --

It's my blog and your comment was particularly nasty. I'll post a comments policy if that will help but it will, in essence say, that I can strike whatever comments I feel are appropriate to strike. This isn't the Star talk back, that god.

I believe, if you re-read, Kirts wasn't comparing himself to any critics. He was defending the fact that those who write about food come from varied backgrounds and their credentials may not be obvious.

Not sure what your real agenda is other than to pile on the personal attacks, but I'll continue to delete nasty posts if I feel they're out of line. You did post here (inappropriately at the time, I might add) that Kirts was going to IM. While there's been discussion for some time, his role was only officially finalized a few weeks ago, and he's going to have a much larger role than just contributing to the Dish each week. For that matter, I often contribute to the Dish -- as you would be free to do so, too, if you so chose.

If you're in such disagreement with local food writers, than I highly recommend you stop reading them. Better stick with InTake and the Star. If you don't like Kirts' reviews, you'll soon be unable to read Indianpaolis Monthly as well. Oh, and you might want to skip this blog, too.

terrykirts said...

Funny how only a witless idiot couldn't figure out that I was *joking* by putting myself in that league of writers and referring to myself in the third person. In no way did I want to compare myself to Reichl, Bruni, Bauer, etc. It was all to make a point that anonymous just couldn't get.

At least when someone is that clueless he/she tends to keep posting just to make him/herself look bad. And, well, that's what anonymous keeps doing, over and over again.