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Nov 19, 2008 03:01 PM

MSP: City Pages food column

Is it just me or has City Pages food writing gone to hell in a handbasket since Dara left? I used to look forward to the food column, I'd find restaurants I had not tried and when I tried them I liked them. Not so lately. Too bad.

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  1. It's not just you. The reviews by Rachael Hutton put me to sleep. The focus on big-name, highly-marketed restaurants really bores me. And her writing seems muddled and uninspired - even when she's reviewing the kind of place I might like.

    I miss Dara's wonderful articles on obscure (or not so obscure) holes-in-the-wall with fabulous food.

    I kinda like James whats-his-name, when I stumble across his stuff - I can't seem to find it online. At least, I like his predilection for small, independently-owned, neighborhood or ethnic places. But CP doesn't seem to want to publish his pieces very often. Or if they do, they bury them - so much so that I can't even find his name in CP's restaurants section...

    So where do we go, media-wise, for our Dara substitute?


    1 Reply
    1. re: AnneInMpls

      Norton's column is easy to find in the print edition, but I had a similarly difficult time finding Norton's column online. Now, I just scroll down City Pages home page until I find it. I like his writing and his beat (if that's what it's called). The jury's still out for me on whether his chowsense is in alignment with mine, but it takes me awhile with anyone, whether that's someone here on Chowhound or one of the pro critics.

      As far as finding Norton's past columns, HuaGung's tip in the thread I linked works well.


    2. 2nd'ed, I noticed the same thing in Milwaukee when Dennis Getto Died, I knew the replacement wasn't going to be... of the same caliber, esp. when they reviewed three national chains in a row and gave them higher marks than some of the (much better) local places. Lucky for me, i'm in MSP now and I have a huge cache of restaurants I still need to try, still... I'd like some suggestions as well.

      1. Yes! City Pages is no longer worth picking up since Dara left. Her writing entertained, informed and excited me about restaurants around town. Sigh.

        1. Granted it's monthly, but I'm assuming you are all reading Dara in Minnesota Monthly magazine. ??

          James Norton's bit is easily found every week both in the paper and on-line. In the paper, it's generally 2nd or 3rd page of the restaurant section towards the bottom of the page.

          Online, go to, click on restaurants, and then A La Carte towards the bottom. You'll be able to read every one of his submissions.

          2 Replies
          1. re: MSPD

            Dara has a terrific blog on MnMonthly that she updates randomly (as far as I can tell), every week or so. The other place to find her is in the Lund's Byerly's "complimentary" Real Food magazine. She's the editor. I picked up the current edition recently (haven't read it yet), but this edition's piece seems to be an interview with Eric Ripert. I like her new voice.


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Thanks TDQ. I forgot about both of those as I was typing last night.

          2. Food writing is increasingly more a hobby than a profession. Chowhound is a perfect example. Here you'll find unpaid zealots who are more or less like yourself. Occasionally you'll run into a schill or an ignoramus, but there are some truly talented writers in our community. What perturbs me about food writing generally is the lack of journalistic chutzpah. Seldom do you find someone who has the energy and zeal to dig for the real facts. Through the "interweb" you now have the power to read, write, and ignore at will.