A couple of us from the magazine got invited to a restaurant opening last month, and it was more than fantastic. After dinner, after everyone else left, we stayed with a few from the hotel and had some more wine. Needless to say, I started to open my mouth about this and that. You see, I just didn’t like the Beggar’s Chicken. It was too jazzy for me. Many people complain that Hangzhou cuisine is too bland, but I like it that way. As far as I’m concerned, it’s supposed to be that way. Though many would love to have their chicken this way, I just thought it was too revolutionary. Call me a traditionalist. That’s how I feel. After hearing me analyze this and talk about that, one of the dudes asked me why we never do it in the magazine. He said he would love for us to rip into a few places. I told him that we just don’t do that. I’m warning you all now that we won’t. Alright, last month we did get a little lippy about all the mega-expensive fashion shops, but it was all in jest. These companies make millions of dollars. We can’t make millions of anything. It was all in fun.
I warn you that we won’t do negative reviews because we want you to make the choice. Just because we don’t like something doesn’t mean that you won’t. How the fuck am I supposed to know what really good sushi tastes like. Yeah, I have had it many times, but I haven’t been to Japan, and I’m not about to spend 500 bucks for it in New York. Who the hell are we to be the critics? How often does anyone even want to listen to the critics? Rather than tell everyone that we think the Beggar’s Chicken is not traditional enough, why not just tell everyone that it’s jazzy. It is. You like jazzy and you go there. You don’t and you don’t.
Alright, that’s a bad example. What if something is really bad? If it is, then we just don’t mention it. When the atmosphere is good, we mention that. When the story is good, we mention that. When the food/drink is good, we mention that. When nothing is good, we just don’t mention the place, period. Could you imagine it if we mentioned every time a bar had an unbearable toilet? The magazine would reek.
You’ll see a bunch of new reviews in this month’s issue. When you don’t see something about the food in a restaurant review, then take the hint; we either didn’t think it was that great, or we really just don’t know enough about it to judge. When we find something good in a place, we write about it because not everyone goes out for the food. We could be totally stupid and tell everyone that we know everything about everything, but we don’t. We know about Hangzhou, how to gather information and how to keep you all up to date on what’s going on. If you really want my personal opinion, then get me a bottle of good wine, and you’ll get more than enough. Enjoy the freedom.
By Tim Hoerle