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Does anyone like Meredith Brody??? (column, not person)

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Jon Leventhal Apr 9, 2002 02:38 PM

The thread below on "Alex" got me thinking about Meredith Brody, whose column I destested in NY when she wrote for the Voice, and now here in LA. Unfortunately, there aren't alot of food critics in LA, so I read the column just to hear about different places, but I don't think I can stand another word about movies, nephews, trips, cars, friends and everything else in her life that has nothing to do with food.

She seems to have a decent palate, and I find here food criticism on the mark more often than not.

Anyone feel differently?

Jon

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    soccerdad RE: Jon Leventhal Apr 9, 2002 02:50 PM

    I like what she says about the restaurants and the food per se. Like you, I guess, I could easily do without the constant references to her lack of car, her adorable godson, her many friends who enjoy seeing obscure movies with her, etc. But she is positively brilliant compared to the execrable "Fat Man" who recently stared reviewing there.

    4 Replies
    1. re: soccerdad
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      Rafi RE: soccerdad Apr 9, 2002 03:15 PM

      Meredith is a friend (though I haven't seen her in awhile) so anything I say here is to be taken with the requisite fleur de sel. But I would like to mention a few things I know about her that I think come across in her writing: 1) she likes food; 2) she believes in thoroughly researching her subjects; 3) most important, she tries to be generous in her assessments. After all, the restaurant business is tough -- as is the writing business.

      1. re: Rafi
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        soccerdad RE: Rafi Apr 9, 2002 03:43 PM

        I agree with all of your points, Rafi. That's why I said that I definitely enjoy the restaurant portions of her reviews. Her column is the first page that I turn to when I pick up the New Times each week. IT's just the other "stuff" - but as Joe E. Brown said at the end of "Some Like It Hot", nobody's perfect.

        1. re: soccerdad
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          TE RE: soccerdad Apr 9, 2002 08:54 PM

          Ditto whatever that guy said in Latin in an earlier post!

          Generally speaking, I detest food and travel writers who pepper their pieces with personal information.

          That said, Brody's column is the first thing I turn to in New Times each week (unless they've let Andy Klein write a movie review). Don't know why, for sure. Never met her. Only know (and barely) one of her friends.

          For one thing, she doesn't suffer from the Times disease -- and not just in the food department -- of trying to see how far one can push an expense account. (Or, in Jonathan Gold's case, how obscure the food and/or restaurant can be).

          While Brody covers expensive places, she also writes about places where real people eat. Unlike S. Irene, I'll bet she knows what chili cheese fries are!

          (I'm waiting for some 'Hound to ask "What are the best chili cheese fries in Los Angeles?")

      2. re: soccerdad
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        THEE STEALTH RE: soccerdad Apr 9, 2002 03:36 PM

        BTY--Is the "Fat Man" named Bill Stern???

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        Michael Robertson Moore RE: Jon Leventhal Apr 9, 2002 03:07 PM

        If Meredith Brody had a fascinating private life or great writing style, I wouldn't mind. She doesn't, and I do.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Michael Robertson Moore
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          mc michael RE: Michael Robertson Moore Apr 9, 2002 04:31 PM

          It seems like a compared to whom issue. Compared to Trillin or Leff or Gold, she leaves much to be desired. Compared to Virbilia or Lois Dwan, she's easier to take.

          1. re: mc michael
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            Zoe RE: mc michael Apr 9, 2002 10:03 PM

            Hey, Lois Dwan wasn't toooo bad - she had kind of a breathless school marm delivery about restaurants. It was a style something that cannot be said about S.Irene, the yawn of all reviewers.

            1. re: Zoe
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              mc michael RE: Zoe Apr 9, 2002 10:14 PM

              The best thing about Lois Dwan was the time she got put on to reviewing a restaurant (in the valley--preCamelot--I think) called Mother Phucar's or something, believing that it was not pronounced as you might expect. I'm pretty sure the Times ran the review.

              1. re: mc michael
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                Janko RE: mc michael Sep 25, 2008 08:51 PM

                Yes, the LA Times did publish the name of Mother Phucar's restaurant, but it wasn't a review -- just a bogus announcement of a new business. Obviously, that slipped past more than one person at the paper.

                1. re: Janko
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                  Edward Miller RE: Janko May 27, 2009 02:56 PM

                  Au Contrare:
                  Mother Phucars Was mentioned by the LA times Playboy "about town" and a feature article in the "LA Star" I think. The publicity for Mother Phucars was presented by My friend Travis Hardison Who wrote so well that part of the "bogus announcement" as you call it was mentioned as " If you feed as good as you read" They also mentioned my Italian Hot Dog which was the purpose of the restaurant etc to the best of my recollection.
                  BTW the name was an acronym for Please Help Us Create A Restaurant.
                  Which at the term was not well received by the phone company which refused to list us.
                  Just trying to set the record straight
                  Edward Miller former owner Mother Phucars PHINE PHOOD
                  BTW we also Had t-Shirts with the tag line of If it's Phucars it has to be good (Similar to Smuckers) A lot of Fun at the time for sure

          2. re: Michael Robertson Moore
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            Vanessa On The Town RE: Michael Robertson Moore Apr 9, 2002 04:47 PM

            I think her column is informative and interesting. As far as writing style, I think that's a matter of opinion. Whether her life is exciting or not? Compared to who? She has food, friends and seems to enjoy many aspects of our city, so she's not doing so bad. I'm sure she has other non-food experiences that she doesn't share with her readers. I enjoy that she gives her impression, but writes with objectivity. I think her adding the asides of her life and experiences in L.A. give her column an identity. I'm glad that she doesn't get caught up in the kind of egocentric writing that's laden with language flourishes. I enjoy her column with it's straight forward writing every week, and I hope that she gets a new car soon.

            1. re: Vanessa On The Town
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              Michael Robertson Moore RE: Vanessa On The Town Apr 9, 2002 05:17 PM

              De gustibus non disputandum est.

              Then again...what's Chowhound for?

              1. re: Vanessa On The Town
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                Michael Robertson Moore RE: Vanessa On The Town Apr 9, 2002 05:36 PM

                I'd also take exception to the idea that writing free of "language flourishes" is writing free of egotism. Meredith Brody's stubborn belief that her social life is of interest to anyone not part of it strikes me as purest vanity.

                But, as I hinted at below, most of us who post on Chowhound are more or less guilty of the same thing.

                And just so I don't get caught up in endless Brody-bashing, I should note that I find her writing on food thoughtful and worth reading. When I can find it.

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              Bob Brooks RE: Jon Leventhal Apr 9, 2002 03:12 PM

              I like her just fine. She's one heck of a lot more fun to read than S.I. Virbilla, whose writing style is boring and who keeps reviewing the same restaurants.

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                lee lee RE: Jon Leventhal Apr 9, 2002 05:17 PM

                M.F.K. Fisher she's not, but I do like her style and the way she leads up to the matter at hand by giving a little forestory. Now - who wants to talk about Ms. Bite Me?

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                1. re: lee lee
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                  Bob Brooks RE: lee lee Apr 9, 2002 05:28 PM

                  I'd love to get drunk with her sometime.

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                  Megan RE: Jon Leventhal Apr 9, 2002 05:54 PM

                  Though sometimes she is off the mark (she may have been the reason I tried Temple once), I read her column from time to time, and find it informative. I do agree there is too much extraneous info. Because L.A. seems to be hurting for good food critics, I rely on her to a certain extent.

                  I will say that her review on Alex was right on the money with respect to food.

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                    ciaolette RE: Jon Leventhal Apr 9, 2002 05:58 PM

                    I find her critique of food and service very good, though I wish she would at least stick to mostly food and less personal conversation, a little is ok but sometimes the personal verbiage takes up 90% of the review. That said I also wonder ...how can she eat so much and not be about 300 lbs.??? I mean, she puts C. Trillin in the dust for sheer volume, snacks on the way to snacks on the way to meals, double orders for later, etc... we should thank her for selfless disregard of her health in service to her readers!!!

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                      patty RE: Jon Leventhal Apr 9, 2002 06:37 PM

                      I love her column. I guess I just happen to be interested in the same things she is. It's hard for me to even argue with the stuff about her friends, since many of them seem to be mine too, even though I'm not directly friends with her. I'm happy to have someone writing about film, architecture and books,even if it is a food column. For the record, I think the other food columns in the New Times are absurd, I like Michelle Huneven and Jonathan Gold, and I think Irene Virbila is pretty uniformly boring. But Meredith is my favorite of them all, so sue me.

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                        Just Larry RE: Jon Leventhal Apr 10, 2002 09:16 AM

                        I do the same thing with her column that I do with a video movie that drags in parts, I fast forward to the good parts. They are very good indeed. Bite Me on the other hand is like a wreck on the freeway, you have to look at it but after you do you regret it.

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                          Dena RE: Jon Leventhal Apr 10, 2002 01:59 PM

                          I am new to the area. Where does one get the New Times? I am seeking good sources of reviews to help find the decent restaurants. (I found Virbila in the LA Times). A friend sent me this website.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Dena
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                            mc michael RE: Dena Apr 10, 2002 02:09 PM

                            It's a freebie available in racks and at 7-11 and liquor stores, record stores and so on more on the Westside where it's based but distribution is moving eastward. Presumably you've seen the bigger, more readily available LA Weekly which frequently has food columns by Michele Huneven and Jonathan Gold. Also free.

                            1. re: mc michael
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                              Alison B RE: mc michael Apr 10, 2002 04:59 PM

                              Also available online, with searchable archive (see below).

                              Link: http://www.newtimesla.com/issues/curr...

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                            Key Lime Guy RE: Jon Leventhal Apr 10, 2002 04:56 PM

                            [Confession mode: ON]

                            I actually find her stories charming. Always look forward to her column. She could take me to a movie and dinner anytime.

                            [Normal mode]

                            Plus her food writing is always sincere and fair.

                            Some of the writers that other hounds seem to love are a bit over-the-top for me. I can only take so many "breathtaking"s, "stunning"s, "intensely"s, "glorious"es, and such.

                            1. Chowpatty RE: Jon Leventhal May 28, 2009 01:09 PM

                              Fascinating pre-food blog thread. I had completely forgotten that finding out about restaurants was actually a difficult task as recently as 7 years ago. And yes, that was me posting under the name Patty.
                              To update this post, after the death of New Times, Meredith moved to S.F. to write for SF Weekly, where she seems to put in a bit less personal detail. What do the SF hounds think of her now that there are zillions of other places to read about Bay Area restaurants?
                              Here's her latest:
                              http://www.sfweekly.com/2009-05-27/re...

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