Just Happy to be Mentioned

The new NYT food critic Sam Sifton didn’t answer our question from yesterday, but in answering somebody elses did mention that he doesn’t trust the opinions posted on Midtown Lunch and other sites (but likes the photos and information.) It’s ok.  I don’t trust bloggers either!


  • Do you think he was sticking it to bloggers or to you specifically, Zach? He does say: “it on his blog, or Yelp, or Eater, or Midtown Lunch. (Why prevaricate? I don’t trust his opinion.)” Do you think the HIS=Zach?

  • I had to look up ‘prevaricate’. Wow, can’t wait to read his hoity toity reviews.

  • @klaus ok – haha. i did too

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    This Sam guy seems kind of a douchebag. “I don’t trust ‘his’ opinion.” Why did he have to single you out Zach? That seems kind of low. The great thing about blogging is that these are sometimes people, like you and I who aren’t, normally, complete food snobs or famous. They are ‘unknown’ to the public and in restaurant circles. So they don’t get preferential treatment when they go to restaurants. They get the ‘real deal.’

    I think that this guys is just trying to separate himself as something special so we have to act like his opinion matters enough to want to read his section of the paper. He could’ve just said “I respect their opinions, but I need to go out there to make my own known…” Is something like that really that hard?

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    @kalus: I don’t get that impression at all from Sifton. He seems really knowledgeable and embraces food of all kinds. Here’s Ed Levine’s take on him:


    And to be perfectly honest, I use Midtown Lunch as more of a catalog of restaurants and carts in Midtown than as a review site. I find it useful in that respect.

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    this is the kind of foodie-doucheness i friggin hate.. people that think they are superior to others.. he doesn’t “trust” their opinion? wtf is that.. He generalizes everyone on midtownlunch to have the same opinion, and then he doesn’t “trust” it? I’m okay with someone just not agreeing with “an” opinion, but he’s just being a fuck’n snob. I was hoping he wasn’t another bruni..

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    You can be knowledgeable and still be a pompous jerk.

  • @soup: he’s definitely trying to establish his everyman ‘dude’ cred with the last question. And what would Ed have to gain from writing a ‘sam sifton is bad choice’ post? in any case, he’s just another nyt guy, not my trusted source of food info. I’m convinced they cruise the blogs to find out what to review next. They basically let people like zach and SE do their leg work.

    I use ML like you do but also trust Zach’s opinions. I think he’s on the same wavelength with a lot of us cost-conscious, fill-your-belly-while-not-getting-bored-with-salads-and-sandwiches-in-midtown folks. If he says its bad I don’t wasted my money.

    In the end, I’m sure Zach’s just happy for the page views -$$$ ;)

  • In his defense, I interpreted it to mean that he loves reading food blogs, but doesn’t necessarily trust a solitary person’s opinion about a particular place (like Xie Xie.) And he probably thinks that neither should we…

    I feel like by saying “I look forward to joining that discussion” he meant he sees all these sites as part of a larger food discussion that he looks forward to being part of.

    He was admitting that he reads Midtown Lunch, right? That’s good enough for me!

  • The reason he IS a “critic” is because he couldn’t cook if his life depended on it. Everybody knows that.

  • Sifton used to do food reviews for NY Press. His usual review spent half the page space on his girlfriend, his taxi ride, the weather, etc. before mentioning anything about the restaurant or the food.

    Overall, he came across as an egotistical douche but maybe the NYT will have better editing of his minutia spewing ass

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    @ klaus: I get what you’re saying, but I don’t really see it that way. And I agree with what Zach is saying. There are lots of forums and blogs I read. While there are opinions of some people that jive more with mine, I’m not going to blindly trust one person’s opinion about food. The only thing I trust is my own taste buds. Didn’t Kenny Shopsin say something about he hates food blogs and food reviewers because people stop thinking for themselves?

  • Funny thing is that I don’t trust the opinion of “reporters” who go to a restaurant that knows who they are. I also don’t trust the opinion of reporters who think they can tell people what’s good and what’s not. I’ve had better luck with Zach and people on this site than I’ve had with guys like Sam Sifton. That’s why I read this and not that.

  • Yea I don’t trust you Zach, but I value our discussions! :P

    and I trust what wayne is saying.

  • @soup: fair enough. but with the exception of (some of) his cheap chinese food picks, Zach’s never steered me wrong!

    frankly i’m surprised how much attention we pay to the nyt’s food guy when the nyt is slowly dwindling in relevance. as far as i’m concerned the nyc food blogosphere (not just one blog but the collective) owns new york food writing now.

  • I will admit to being blinded to the badness of many a cheap Chinese food plate…

    @massconn – Actually, I’ve heard the guy can cook. He wrote this article recently about cooking for Nora Ephron that I really enjoyed reading…

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    “frankly i’m surprised how much attention we pay to the nyt’s food guy when the nyt is slowly dwindling in relevance.”

    couldn’t have said it better myself

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    this is all bs… i mean.. if you’re talking about not “blindly” trusting all of a person’s opinion, he’s basically saying that he “blindly doesn’t” trust a person’s opinion.. any way you cut it.. he’s an f’n douche…

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    @Apikoros18, 5DollarQueen: I don’t think that Sam was referring to Zach’s opinions but rather the opinions of the random people who post to this site and others. Frankly, I don’t care about the opinion of a random poster, and neither do most of you. (I think he sort of sidestepped the question of what he thinks of “eminent” food bloggers such as Zach.)

    But the point that Sam is missing is that there can be wisdom in the aggregate. While I would never take Zagat or Yelp as gospel, the collective opinion is at least as valuable as that of an NYT critic.

    The point that Sam nailed is that blogs are most useful as sources of information rather than opinion. That’s why MidtownLunch is the best food blog around. It’s not, “Well, I ate this today and here’s what I thought of it.” Boring as shit. Advice to food bloggers looking for blog stardom: Come up with a theme that is interesting and practical.

  • love eater’s link to ed levine’s post:

    Ed Levine: I Would Marry Sam Sifton if I Could (SE)

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