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Sifton Replacement

mrsdebdav Oct 21, 2011 05:13 AM

Read that Brett Anderson at the Times-Picayune might be Sifton's replacement. If so, Anderson is Sifton redux. This review and the first few comments sum it up:


  1. a
    aguy239 Nov 20, 2011 05:07 PM

    Wow, what a lot of curmudgeons we have! I cook every day with my now four-year-old. It's a challenge, it's never easy, it is often fun and it ensures that she will grow up understanding that food is prepared with love in a home, not in haste out of a soggy cardboard box.

    So, for me, Cooking with Dexter was one of my favorite columns of recent years in the Times. I didn't like Sifton particularly. I thought his prose was not just purple, it was papal.

    Pete Wells has to be a great choice, and I for one can't wait.


    ps I don't know Pete Wells, and for those who have followed his blog on the subject, in which he called out restaurant shills, I think he showed his hand admirably.

    1 Reply
    1. re: aguy239
      Simon Nov 20, 2011 07:42 PM

      Ironic then that so many Sifton reviews (i.e. The Dutch, Leopard des Artistes, etc) read like shill reports and PR-dictated Page Six items, and Wells signed off on these as Dining editor

    2. g
      gloriousfood Nov 19, 2011 08:53 AM

      Agreed with what's already been said here: 1) Why didn't Asimov get the appointment and 2) "Dining with Dexter" was JUST. SO. BAD.

      Hard to say which was worse: "DDD" or Amanda Hesser's old "sex-and-the-cityish" column about her boyfriend. Oy.

      2 Replies
      1. re: gloriousfood
        Simon Nov 19, 2011 01:48 PM

        Yeah, i read a couple of the Dexter columns just to see what we might be in for...not good...your child ate some quinoa??? Wow, i'm so impressed. Nice use of newsprint.

        1. re: gloriousfood
          Caitlin McGrath Nov 19, 2011 08:54 PM

          Asimov has filled in during enough of these transitions that I have to assume he's not been campaigning for the job. I felt his loss when he moved from $25 and Under to wine after Frank Prial retired, at which time I still lived in NYC and not on the opposite coast, because he's always been a good restaurant critic. I have a feeling he's happy where he is (and he does a good job there, too).

        2. buttertart Nov 17, 2011 02:48 PM

          Poor old Asimov, always the best man, never the groom. I thought he'd acquitted himself quite nicely since Sifton's departure.

          1 Reply
          1. re: buttertart
            Simon Nov 17, 2011 03:55 PM

            Agreed, Asimov is good

          2. goodhealthgourmet Nov 16, 2011 06:21 AM

            it's current Dining editor Pete Wells. the announcement was practically buried in today's Dining section:


            12 Replies
            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
              Simon Nov 16, 2011 09:58 AM

              i have no knowledge of Pete Wells' taste in restaurants nor his wriiting ability: but the fact that he was Dining editor during the two awful years that Sifton churned out so many poorly written (and seemingly uneditted) reviews does not bode well...

              1. re: Simon
                goodhealthgourmet Nov 16, 2011 10:57 AM

                no idea about his restaurant taste either, but here's plenty of fodder for an assessment of his general writing ability/style:

                but you're right - the fact that he edited & signed off on Sifty's reviews, many of which were painful to read, does not bode well.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                  SmallGoodThings Nov 16, 2011 12:05 PM

                  Yay! I love Pete Wells -- I think he's a terrific writer. This is great news.

                2. re: Simon
                  sibeats Nov 17, 2011 12:12 PM

                  Ugh...couldn't take his "Cooking with Dexter" pieces in the NYT magazine section. Hopefully he won't be "Dining with Dexter" for his reviews...

                  1. re: sibeats
                    small h Nov 17, 2011 12:58 PM

                    I hate you for reminding me of that - I'd blessedly forgotten all about it.

                    1. re: small h
                      buttertart Nov 17, 2011 02:45 PM

                      Oh god yes. AAAGH!

                      1. re: buttertart
                        EricMM Nov 19, 2011 09:18 AM

                        I HATED cooking with Dexter! Hated! Hated! Hatred!!!!!!!!!! I'm sure he's a cute little kid, but I truly do not care about his food interests. I haven't been as annoyed by a dining column since Amanda Hesser forced us all to read about that godforsaken "Mr. Latte". I really miss Molly O'Neil........

                        1. re: EricMM
                          mcf Nov 19, 2011 02:54 PM

                          I hated the Dexter columns and I hate Bittman on food, especially his recipes. I've never missed Molly O'Neill more than I do now.

                          1. re: EricMM
                            buttertart Nov 20, 2011 07:25 AM

                            I miss Craig Claiborne. Wrote like a demon, was very adventurous, promoted international cuisines. Everybody these days wants to reduce things to formulae (Bittman) or family fluff (Wells, Hesser - although she redeemed herself in the ENYT cookbook). Oh goodie, perhaps Dexter will dine along?

                            1. re: buttertart
                              goodhealthgourmet Nov 20, 2011 07:52 AM

                              I miss Craig Claiborne.

                              i miss Will Grimes too.

                              1. re: buttertart
                                mcf Nov 20, 2011 08:01 AM

                                Yes, Claiborne was wonderful, I never missed his columns.

                        2. re: sibeats
                          mcf Nov 19, 2011 02:54 PM

                          I hated those, too. First Bittman, now this- yech. I miss Molly O'Neill.

                    2. penthouse pup Oct 21, 2011 07:15 AM

                      His reviews from NOLA are excellent and he has consistently understood what makes a restaurant work in that city. By comparison, Tom Fitzmorris, another well-known NO reviewer, is a blow-hard. The Times would be wise to hire Anderson...maybe he would strip down the phony Manhattan buzz restaurants that Eater shills...

                      1. LulusMom Oct 21, 2011 05:56 AM

                        Years ago he wrote for the DC City Paper and was actually pretty good.

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