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Jul 30, 2008 04:53 AM

Finding James Norton's City Pages (Twin Cities)Column?

Argh! I can never find it! It's Wednesday morning, which means I like to read the City Pages food columns while having my coffee. But I can't find James Norton's this morning and, in fact, I often have a hard time finding it without hunting and pecking.

I know I'm a total goofball, and I know I'm even goofier before my coffee has kicked in, especially after a bout of insomnia like I had last night, but where, exactly, do I find it on the City Pages site? Rachel Hutton's is easy to find, you just click on restaurants, then restaurants home.

Is his under blogs, then Twin Cities Eater? If so, then I can't find his column for today. I do find a column of his on Windows of Minnesota that has been up for a day or so. Is that his column for the week? I know he makes random posts during the week, so I'm just never sure if that's the main one or not.

I've tried clicking on his name underneath/in the byline (or the blog version of a byline) for the "Windows of MN" column, but that just takes me to all blog posts, not just Norton's.

Is there anyone out there less goofy than me who has figured this out?


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  1. I feel your pain. It's nearly impossible to find, but there IS a way.

    1. Choose Advanced Archive Search under the search tab on the menu bar.
    2. On the resulting page, find the column on the right called Search by Author.
    3. Click on Norton, James.

    The resulting page will list everything he's written in chronological order, including today's post "East Meets Midwest"



    9 Replies
    1. re: HuaGung

      a-ha! brilliant! i've been trying not to pick up the paper copy of CP because it's such a waste of paper for a couple of columns that often end up disappointing me. i'm afraid i'll miss something with the food reviews though, when i skip weeks at a time. the reviews either are *very* interesting or not much, lately. okay now i can skim to my little black heart's content. . .

      1. re: HuaGung

        Thanks for that. I'd found it using a similar technique.

        The site redesign is so AWFUL my paranoid brain made me think they were trying to sabotage CityPages in order to sell it off. But then I visited the parent paper Village Voice and it seems the hack redesign is across the board. Nobody with any usability experience was part of that redesign. Pity.

        1. re: MplsM ary

          Ah-ha That's too hard. But I will try it. They also have an email thing that comes out every Friday that one could sign up for.

          1. re: mnitchals

            About a year to 2 years ago, City Pages had a fantastic search engine. I even remember remarking on it on Chowhound. I think I jinxed it because perhaps the very next week after I made that remark, the search engine became impossible and I couldn't find anything on City Pages, even if I knew the exact name of the piece I was looking for. It got so bad that I would just use Google to search City Pages for Dara's old columns.

            I think they've gone through at least one more redesign since then. I think they really do intend to make it better, not worse, as they've been developing all kinds of online only content. In fact, I think Norton's supposed to be their online content food guy and he does add all kinds of content during the week to that Twin Cities Eater blog, so, it's worth checking in on.

            RE: the email--yeah, I suppose I could sign up for that but I really don't want content delivered to me. I want them to be in charge of keeping track of their content in an orderly fashion so I can find it when I need it. Anything that gets emailed to me gets lost amid all of those fake ebay notices and urgent correspondence from Nigeria.


          2. re: MplsM ary

            You are so right, MplsM ary. It's like they DELIBERATELY tried to make the City Pages site impossible to use. Why oh why oh why? Back in the 90's people were a lot more forgiving, but now... Only a die-hard reader like TDQ will go to the extra effort to hunt out an impossible-to-find column. Not me. Even though I kinda like Mr. Norton's pieces, it's just not worth the time and effort.

            There is such a need for real usability experts, but no-one I know is getting hired. Even for high-buck restaurants. (Don't get me started on restaurant web sites that don't list basic information like hours, phone numbers, or the address.)


          3. re: HuaGung

            Yes, that's the trick, thank you! Here's a link to that author search thing for Norton:

            But, now it's clear to me that, yes indeed, my worst fear was true and I'd missed a couple of his columns, including the ones on Merlin's Rest, Ricky Shaw's (or maybe I just ignored that because it's in Maple Grove, which, honestly, I'm not even sure where it is. Is it by Monticello or some crazy such place?), and Citizen's Cafe. I only knew about the 98 Pounds Buffet one because we happen to have a paper copy of City Pages hanging around our house and I went, "Hey, I didn't see THAT piece online..."

            [Hey, P.S. Merlin's Rest has breakfast? How intriguing. But beans? So bizarre].

            I, like soupkitten, try to avoid taking a paper copy because I have a mortal fear of newsprint. Seriously, I know it's "free" and all, but try telling that to the tree who gave its leafy life so I could read 3 columns (yeah, I read Dan Savage, too, although, last week, I would have stabbed him --that's Savage, not Norton--to death with my fork had he been in the room, but, anyway).

            Anyway, thank you!


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              no! NO! i gave merlin's rest a couple of chances for breakfast, based on recs from a chowish friend who enjoys the place's vegetarian pub food-- which they don't *serve* for breakfast/brunch, no matter how you sweet-talk. . . i'd still like to try their vegetarian pub food, but i must say the breakfast was terrible, mis-executed food in just the worst, sad way. i'll go more into it back on the home board if you like, i know i'm getting ot for FMN.

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                To make up for the shortcomings of the CityPages design, I've put together RSS feeds for James Norton's content (articles and blog posts)


                Hope this helps.

            2. P.S. Why can't they just make his A La Carte column an selection from the restaurants drop down menu?


              1. Bummer news of the day: City Pages has laid off James Norton. And just when I learned how to find his reviews, too!

                James, you'll be missed - especially because of pieces like these:



                Good luck on your next venture.