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Apr 9, 2002 02:38 PM

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

  • j

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?


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  1. 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

      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

        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

          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

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

      3. m
        Michael Robertson Moore

        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

          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

            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

              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

                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

                  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
            Vanessa On The Town

            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
              Michael Robertson Moore

              De gustibus non disputandum est.

              Then again...what's Chowhound for?

              1. re: Vanessa On The Town
                Michael Robertson Moore

                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.

            2. 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.

              1. 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?

                1 Reply
                1. re: lee lee

                  I'd love to get drunk with her sometime.

                2. 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.