Over the last six months, I've felt that the food at Little Szechuan has slipped a full notch or two. I may now know why. Dan Luo, the owner of the new Grand Szechuan restaurant in Bloomington, has hired Little Szechuan head chef Luo Guanghe (who was also the head chef of the Teahouse in Plymouth) to run his new eatery. Grand Szechuan holds amazing promise given the guy running the kitchen. You can find the new restaurant at 10602 France Avenue South in Bloomington (at the intersection of France Avenue and W. Old Shakopee Road in the strip mall next to Cub Foods), and the number is 952-888-6507. See you over there tonight for a chili oil pig out! Anyway, let me know what you think. And yes e-mailers, I like Tian Jin in Chanhassen very much, just ate there once though.
I've gotten a ton of e-mail re my Cuba show, and for those who wonder where the voices of moderation are, check out this article, which takes me to task and also provides some balanced thinking.
So I am catching up over the weekend on my reading and I see that several local websites, most notably Shefzilla, have enjoyed the column on Grubstreet written by Dan Maurer last week regarding the rise of the foodiot. Maurer’s piece is spot on, and it’s just an extension of the dumbing down theory of American culture that we have been reading about for a decade. But in this market it holds a special meaning because here in the TC we also have such a difficult time telling the truth—or hearing it. I can't tell you how many times I pick up a local paper or magazine to read a column by a food writer or critic that eschews the essential role of OPINION on a given subject. I don't need a recitation of the menu items at a given eatery, I want to know if the food is good. Maurer takes it a step further and correctly points out that most food writers these days just don’t have a clue if food is good or bad. And he rightly points out that sensationalism sells these days in the food world arcane ingredients are praised even if they don’t work in a dish, gimmickry trumps technique, and foodiots can't tell the difference. I agree. Foodiots have been around forever, but the Internet democratized the food world (good thing) and gave foodiots as a big a voice as knowledgeable legit fooditarians (bad thing now, could change over time). The biggest issue in my opinion is the softening of the role of the editorial voice in the food world, from dining columnists to restaurant critics, 90 percent of local writers seem hell bent on pasteurizing any legitimate critical commentary. Who cares about a family-run farm selling scones and homemade chocolate milk at the farmer’s market if the product sucks!?!?!???!?! Who cares about the newest little neighborhood eatery if the foods not cooked well and the service is clueless??!?!?!?