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Jan 29, 2009 02:40 PM

Favorite Boston food writer

Until a year ago I lived in Los Angeles and was lucky enough to have a world-class food critic who loved to cover small, inexpensive, ethnic restaurants to guide my meanderings about town. Incidentally, if you've never read anything by Jonathan Gold, you owe it to yourself to check out his column in the L.A. Weekly - he's a terrific, entertaining writer and an adventurous eater. Anyway, I have found some Boston food blogs I like but feel like I'm probably missing some good writers and resources. Does anyone have favorite local writers to recommend, particularly with respect to local low-end cuisine?

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  1. My favourite local writers, not just Boston, but anywhere, are chowhounds.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. Am very much in agreement with limster's observation. I especially like what I've read of Chowhound regular MC Slim JB's print entries in the Weekly Dig and The Phoenix, a really good mix of engaging, no-nonsense writing and opinions I trust. Too bad he doesn't have a regular senior restaurant review gig here locally. But I've found plenty to like from the reliable regular posters here as well, and the lack of journalism-ese on this site is refreshing.

        Of the (I assume) purely print folks, I find the writing style of both the Globe's Devra First and the Phoenix's Robert Nadeau to be different from each other but well worth reading. First still occasionally gets a little too tricky or strained in her wording for her own good, but much of the time she's clever in a refreshing, fanciful, even occasionally smart-assed way -- and I think she's getting better as she goes along, plus I appreciate her willingness to take word and structure risks at times. Nadeau's less flashy and more straightforward, but I've never found him boring or repetitive. And I really appreciate getting lots of detail to back up observations from them both. As for whose opinion I value from these two, I've found both at odds with what I think about some places, but am inclined to value First's opinion more, in part because she seems sympathetic to us Chowhounds but also because I've found I seem to agree with her a little more often.

        I'm guessing others may or may not agree.

        1. MC Slim JB writes for every local publication, but is a chowhound through and through and my favorite critic not just in Boston but most cities.

          Devra has a lot to learn. Nadaeu from the Phoenix is pretty good.

          1. When Devra First started writing for the Globe, she spent more time describing her surroundings than the food. I think she has improved vastly since then. Robert Nadeau, whoever he may be, writes concisely and covers a wider range of restaurants from the humble to the haute. I also trust his star rating a bit more.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ghostcat

              Nadeau's an old-timer, he's been reviewing food in Boston since the '70s and was a guru to me in my nascent foodie days. To this day I recall his assessment, written about 1978, of the long-defunct El Phoenix Room: "Yes, some of the food comes out of cans, but they're the RIGHT cans!"

              1. re: BobB

                Agreed, and no one has better range than Nadeau, writing about the high to the low with gusto. He loves his real Chinese food, too.