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Calgary - Gilchrist's Book?

can_i_try_some Apr 28, 2008 03:01 PM

Have any of you picked up Gilchrist's new book on Cheap Eats in Calgary? If you have, would you recommend it?

I'm still fairly new to Calgary and haven't had the opportunity to read many of his reviews, so I don't know how our tastes match up. What's the concensus among Calgary Chowhounds?

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    irishgirl RE: can_i_try_some Apr 28, 2008 08:56 PM

    I would recommend it - it has a lot of places I've tried and really enjoyed in the past year, and lots more that sound really interesting that I'll be checking out in the future.

    1. John Manzo RE: can_i_try_some Apr 29, 2008 08:26 AM

      It's useful, a good investment.

      1. toutefrite RE: can_i_try_some Apr 29, 2008 03:16 PM

        I prefer to defer to the people on this board. MHO: Gilchrist is a sad, sad, shlepping gastronome clown whose insights are as unique and independent as starbucks baristas.

        2 Replies
        1. re: toutefrite
          sarah galvin RE: toutefrite Apr 29, 2008 05:24 PM

          lol

          1. re: toutefrite
            y
            yen RE: toutefrite Apr 29, 2008 11:47 PM

            Thank you TF. I agree 100% and then some. His attitude, his approach to reviewing, his lack of integrity, and his ego all irritate the heck out of me.

            It actually wouldnt surprise me if he uses this board as the basis for some reviews. I've always wondered, and I've seen some surprising similarities. I also have heard enough scary first hand accounts of his dealings with restaurants he reviews that i question his entire approach to restaurant reviews. Demanding he get comped on his meal (this has been validated by several different sources at different restaurants) is just plain wrong.

            JG, if you read this, develop some self-respect and start taking your job seriously. That means with some integrity, and commitment to the truth, as well as educating yourself from something other than wikipedia. People deserve no less.

          2. h
            hsk RE: can_i_try_some Apr 29, 2008 06:40 PM

            I wouldn't go quite so far at toutefrite but I'd surf boards like this one before I spend a dime on his recommendations. As I've said before, I'm not sure that the opinions of a well recognized food critic are that useful.

            A while back (I think in Avenue or City Palate) he wrote about an $8.95 plate (at an inexpensive restaurant) and said that if you're a cheap tipper it's a $10 meal. That was when GST was 7%. I thought it was absolutely clueless to write that it's just "cheap tipper" to leave $10 for a $9.58 tab in a restaurant.

            5 Replies
            1. re: hsk
              John Manzo RE: hsk Apr 29, 2008 07:04 PM

              I've spoken to JG a few times and have never had the nerve to ask about the recognition issue- I've never known a restaurant reviewer who puts his picture everywhere. I like the guy and like his writing but I just cannot understand this.

              1. re: John Manzo
                sarah galvin RE: John Manzo Apr 29, 2008 07:30 PM

                So, whadyathink?

                1. re: John Manzo
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                  Satiated RE: John Manzo Apr 29, 2008 08:50 PM

                  John, Ruth Reichl answered the perennial restaurant critic recognition issue in her seminal Le Cirque review, where in disguise she was treated like a commoner, and on another visit when recognized as the NYT critic without disguise, was feted like a queen. It is a great read.

                  I think toutefrite defined Gilchrist perfectly, and more. I wonder how many of those meals glowingly "reported" were comped?

                  1. re: Satiated
                    alau2 RE: Satiated Apr 29, 2008 09:50 PM

                    Ruth Reichl's book about her working in disguises is a great read! Sapphires and Diamonds, I think it's called, and it includes that Le Cirque review.

                    I totally agree about the recognition thing. Not sure what the point of an unbiased review is when everyone in the restaurant knows who you are and what you're doing.

                    1. re: alau2
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                      tom arto RE: alau2 Apr 29, 2008 10:07 PM

                      I have zero respect for JC's restaurant reviews - I am sure he is a decent fellow - but it's a bit like Kitchen Nightmares, the Gordon Ramsey show where he helps to relaunch crappy restaurants & about a million people turn up to the first night because word is out that Ransey is there. It's not reality & neither are JC's reviews.

              2. s
                Shazam RE: can_i_try_some Apr 29, 2008 11:27 PM

                What's with all the JC hate?

                His favourite restaurants mesh well with the lists provided here. And there's many restaurants that he's given poor reviews to.

                He's just another opinion, nothing more. His real crime is that his reviews are in Real Audio format.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Shazam
                  toutefrite RE: Shazam Apr 29, 2008 11:36 PM

                  well, that's the point is it not? "his favourite restaurants mesh well with the lists provided here"... you can get useful, helpful feedback here without enduring and propagating his pandering shtick. Watching him flog his book at the market with his wobbly smile just did me what with the incident hsk mentioned.

                  1. re: toutefrite
                    John Manzo RE: toutefrite Apr 30, 2008 07:00 PM

                    Hey, a wobbly smile is still a smile :)

                    1. re: John Manzo
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                      irishgirl RE: John Manzo Apr 30, 2008 08:51 PM

                      It's not particularly relevant to whether the book is useful or not, more in relation to the comments on his personality, but I am aware that a chunk of the profits from this book are going to a local non-profit organisation, without a big deal being made of the fact.

                      I did get the feeling when reading the book that he checks out this board, so if you have the time to search through past posts etc it's probably not worth the $$, but if not then it's a good resource to have on hand. I would also agree that a review from a very recognizable critic is pretty pointless, especially for upscale places.

                2. m
                  mcmuffin RE: can_i_try_some Apr 30, 2008 10:05 PM

                  Where else to you guys get info for local treats in Calgary? Are there any other boards/sources you would recommend?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mcmuffin
                    sarah galvin RE: mcmuffin Apr 30, 2008 10:18 PM

                    I pick up City Palate magazine regularly. It's free at better places.

                  2. l
                    Lotti RE: can_i_try_some May 2, 2008 11:29 AM

                    A few years ago I saw him on the Channel 2/7 morning news talking about that years book. He recommended a Chinese noodle place in the NE (a few doors down from The Clay Oven) as one of the best places for Chinese food in Calgary. We had eaten there about a year earlier when they first opened and I thought it was about the worst Chinese food I had ever eaten, but I decided to try it again based on his recommendation, thinking maybe they had changed ownership or something. It was still the worst Chinese food I have eaten. Ever since then I have held the opinion that there is something decidedly "fishy" about his reviews. How he still has that job is a wonder.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Lotti
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                      yen RE: Lotti May 12, 2008 07:50 AM

                      Fat Kee Noodle. Cheap, and not very good. Very busy all the time though.

                    2. sharonanne RE: can_i_try_some May 13, 2008 07:17 AM

                      Many years ago I used to listen to his reviews on CBC radio and one time he mentioned a dish with "balsamic vinegar, whatever that is." His comment lost him all credibility with me. I can understand not knowing (at the time it was a strange, exotic ingredient) but can never forgive his failure to research.

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