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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Rules

So, it is now past 8pm and I have not yet poured my first glass of wine as I am trying to sort out this whole blogging thing.  It turns out that I am supposed to have a template that everything I write is supposed to fit into.  Also, if I am writing about my experiences at restaurants then there are more rules.  Among these rules are the following:

1.      "Almost all reviews are structured chronologically, mimicking as best as possible the experience of choosing, entering, dining, paying, and considering another visit. They then take you through getting reservations, or checking out the facade, and then welcome you to the ambience: music, decor, lighting, crowd, etc. They may discuss the service, if it is remarkable at this stage, or the wine list may come up, and then desserts. These elements may be considered for price, value, presentation, preparation, freshness, variety, originality, or conceptualization."

So, as far as all this seemingly obvious rule making goes, I think I can adhere to these regulations with particular respect to the various steps of service (my OCD should help me there.)  Also, I read in another instruction manual about writing reviews that I should have a structure for grading a restaurant (a 5 star system) so I have decided to make up an equation that will give a resulting score out of one hundred that will consider: wine selection 10%, wine recommendations 10%, menu 10%, value (price vs. product) 10%, food presentation 10%, food taste 20%, service professionalism 15%, service personality 10%, and originality 5%.

2.      "Evidence: Details are as concrete as possible, always relying on a tactile sensation or a specific flavour over empty adjectives like "delicious," "amazing," or "savoury." When possible, cite as many prominent ingredients as possible. This way, the audience feels like they know the dish, instead of simply relying on your taste, which we all know is subjective."

 I can do this.

3.       "Style: The best reviews show just a little of the personality of the reviewer--personal favourites might come up, and a bit of flair often go over well in moderation. But this is not the place to make your words go off like fireworks."

 I can’t do this.  My personality is what sets me apart from other people, so there is a good chance that I will let it take over everything.  I like to be honest and use uncensored language, and I have never worked well with anything in moderation.

4.       "Narrative: Avoid telling a story of your experience. If the goal is to allow the audience to feel as if they are experiencing the restaurant first-hand, just through your words, the reviewer should be as invisible as possible. Narrate a particular experience only if it is both crucial to the review, and an experience unique to a specific incident not likely to be duplicated in your reader's experience."

 I think that it is fair to say that I won’t be invisible. I like to tell stories too much.

It is now past 9pm and I am going to pour my first glass of wine of the evening; looks like I will be enjoying a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.  Someone left it in my apartment and I am sure he isn’t expecting it to still be here when he returns (thanks MattJ).  
Okay, so let’s try this out on a small scale.

I am in my apartment.  The atmosphere is quiet; the room is poorly lit but sets a calm tone for the evening.  The service is efficient but the food is not impressive.  I was served a dish that resembled wet dog food that consisted of ground turkey, canned tomato, and hot sauce.  The wine selection is a 2009 Boomtown, Washington State, Cabernet Sauvignon; this wine is big enough to satisfy me and to distract me from the awful meal I just forced down.  Overall, I give this experience a 20% (all the marks given are for the wine).

So, I am going to get up to pour glass number two and to put my feet up to rest after my first hard day of blogging.  Now I just need someone to invite me out to eat.

And so it begins...

People have been telling me for years that I should write about my restaurant experiences, so this will be my attempt to do so.  I don't spend money on things that most people do; I spend almost all my extra cash on food and wine.  I rarely eat at places I can afford and I never order food or wine that are within my budget.
This is my passion but it sometimes can quickly turn sour when a potentially great experience is ruined by bad food or service.  I am frequently told that I 'see too much' that servers do wrong or that I 'expect too much from a plate of food' but I think that just means that I have discerning taste.
Anyhow, I will promise to always be brutally honest, mildly interesting, mostly drunk and always fed.
Thanks for reading!