HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >

Dine.TO new food writers and changes?

virtualvelma Aug 14, 2008 07:37 AM

I read on an earlier post that some of you don't trust Dine.TO's reviews because it's a site where restaurants pay to be apart of it. I don't know if I altogether trust that, they have writers like Sara Waxman who have written for them - who is iconic in her own right.

I hear that her son, Adam now writes for them as well as this other new up and coming food writer, Marie Nicola. It looks like they write segments for a section that doesn't get archived and focuses on new restaurants. I just read Nicola's review on Steak (a new steak restaurant on richmond) and I really liked it, I read one other of hers on Spice Route, which was a little tongue in cheek, she mentioned something about young urban professionals on a thursday night and it made me laugh/feel her pain. But I can't find it now...

It looks to me that Dine.TO is trying to branch out and to find a niche in non-critical reviews and chef profiles and it looks like they are without stepping over the line.

I think Stephanie Dickison's posts on Dine.TO are some of her worst work and I don't even bother visiting the restaurants that she reviews.

Does anyone else have any experience with the Prince of Kensington's writing or Nicola's work?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. t
    trinityvan RE: virtualvelma Aug 14, 2008 07:43 AM

    Never mind Dine.TO, how about Toronto Life? Obviously Chatto is for real but if you were a visitor to Toronto and picked up a copy of their dine out magazine, you would assume that their 'best of' was a true reflection of the scope of choices we have in Toronto...NOT...The reviews are a reflection of which venues have paid for advertising with Toronto Life...period...

    1 Reply
    1. re: trinityvan
      virtualvelma RE: trinityvan Aug 14, 2008 08:01 AM

      I used to love reading Toronto Life. But, since they started publishing articles and reviews on restaurants that have closed, I've written them off. They aren't reliable.

      Nicola wrote a cute article on She Does the City on finding honey in the city - http://www.shedoesthecity.com/honey

      Looks like they just started a food section too.


      There's her review on steak - I like it because it's real. She's a real person, she loves food and she's honest about it.

    2. pinstripeprincess RE: virtualvelma Aug 14, 2008 08:01 AM

      nicola's writing doesn't seem particularly compelling and that review on steak is just a gush fest. is the food and the restaurant itself that perfect?

      i'm critical only because it was revealed on torontoist that their "review" of steak for their "eat me" column was actually paid for by the restaurant and it was even a journalist gathering at their expense! the torontoist review reads like a tear sheet from their marketing pages and isn't all that far off from what nicola is saying.

      besides, i have very little respect for marty galin. if you pay him, he'll eat anything and write about it.

      1. Herb RE: virtualvelma Aug 14, 2008 08:32 AM

        Sara Waxman iconic? LOL Hack of the highest degree, more like. It's been said La Waxman never met a free meal she didn't like.

        1. Herb RE: virtualvelma Aug 14, 2008 08:35 AM

          Is Galin that clown who wears pyjamas all the time? God, he's an embarrassment.

          1. v
            virtualvelma RE: virtualvelma Aug 14, 2008 10:00 AM

            LOL I love reading the replies, they are awesome!

            Galin I don't think writes for Dine anymore...

            Waxman I respect, she's travelled the world, wrote books and has had a really great career over a long time. I think she's really classy.

            I don't think to have a good review you must be critical. I think there's a way to present information in a balanced way. What I like about Nicola is that there's something that I get from her writing that makes me believe in the experience.

            Where do you go get your reviews online? What's so good about them?

            3 Replies
            1. re: virtualvelma
              Withnail42 RE: virtualvelma Aug 14, 2008 11:36 AM

              This post sounds like an infomercial. for Dine.

              1. re: Withnail42
                virtualvelma RE: Withnail42 Aug 14, 2008 12:05 PM

                Then tell me about good reviews in the city, I want to check them out. But, all I'm hearing is about the how one isn't good because she's too positive, another is no good because he's a sell out, another isn't good because of whatever.

                Seriously. Why should I feel like I have poor taste because I dig this one girl's writing and I get something out of it.

                Give me perspective, so far, I'm reading the opinions of a lot of haters, which isn't very helpful. Well, I'm getting that in order to be taken seriously you have to not be positive...


                Educate me.

                1. re: virtualvelma
                  pinstripeprincess RE: virtualvelma Aug 14, 2008 01:16 PM

                  my full take on nicola after a second read of the steak review specifically is that she is earnest, but her writing style shows a jeuvenile love for food. her analogies and euphemisms are silly, overdone and not very descriptive in the end. she misses a lot of details that she should be offering up like how she ordered her steak and what the kitchen actually produced based on this request. there's no clear description of any dish as to the flavours and their combinations but just a basic "it was good to me in my opinion" statements. instead i get a lot of gushing that makes me think of the torontoist article.

                  your taste is your taste. if this is the kind of writing you like and you get something out of it then that's great for you. but when you put out an opinion and basically ask for another one back, don't expect positive responses only. people disagree with me constantly, doesn't mean i don't respect that they have their own tastes, but i do mentally note that mine doesn't jive with theirs.

                  you really want to know who i read? no one. save for the few posters on chowhound that i really feel jive with my tastes, i only read reviews/posts to find out cost, portion size, surprises in dishes that aren't described on the menu, major faux pas in service or food (over salting), and to learn of a few other places that might have what i'm looking for. i have learned that i will only know how good a restaurant is based on my tastes and my experiences. if i want to read some good food writing, i get a non-fiction book from bourdain, kurlansky, herve, etc.

            2. m
              missmarieann RE: virtualvelma Aug 14, 2008 03:30 PM

              Oh sweet jesus... I had to contribute. I couldn't log in sooner, because apparently my existing username and pass don't work anymore – go figure!
              I've been a long time lurker on the chowhound forums... the last thing I expected was to find me mentioned in a thread here.
              First of all, virtualvelma - I appreciate your support... albeit a little too fervent for my comfort. You post on Twenty Something and you are always so passionate, you definitely can get riled up. Whatever, that's your thing, that's cool.
              Yes, Steak was a media preview. It was delicious, I loved it, I went back and I’m going to go back again. I like steak - literally! PinstripePrincess, it was rare bordering on blue.
              Anyway, I like reading Bourdain, I always had a love for Julia Child’s anecdotes in her cook books, vintage/antique cook books, The Guardian (UK newspaper) for their food writers, The Nieman Narrative Digest, Spacing, Torontoist, Giles Coren of the London Times – I don’t read a lot of Toronto writers… unless they post on Chowhound… I dig a little Chatto on the odd occasion, and Julie Reitsma on She Does the City…
              I like reading everyone’s comments in the thread – this is incredible.

              2 Replies
              1. re: missmarieann
                pinstripeprincess RE: missmarieann Aug 18, 2008 12:27 PM

                if it was a media preview, why was this not disclosed? it wasn't disclosed in your article, the torontoist article nor julie reitsma's article either. your "media" experience allowed you preferential treatment and if you want people to trust your opinion, then it should be said so. i doubt you lied about a single thing that happened, but i now also can't discount that you won't mention something that i consider rather important (ie. a failed dish in its entirety perhaps) and i'm also sure that you were treated much better than everyone else not at your table that evening.

                1. re: pinstripeprincess
                  tjr RE: pinstripeprincess Jan 3, 2009 05:18 PM

                  The scary part is that the media preview may have sent more people to STEAK... Yikes.

              Show Hidden Posts