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Triangle Food Bloggers

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I don't read many local bloggers but when I do it seems that what I read is either a summary of news I've already read in the mainstream media or, more annoying, free PR for local restaurants and food businesses. I don't know that I've ever read a local blogger who's had anything less than the BEST dinner/ice cream/sausage/etc. EVER at whichever restaurant they've just patronized.

So, are there any Triangle food bloggers who give honest opinions about what they've eaten or are they all just unpaid PR people? Please clue me in to who I should be reading.

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  1. The unfortunately named "Food Snob Durham" blog isn't opposed to calling them as they see 'em:

    http://www.foodsnobdurham.com/

    But why, for the love of dog, would a person refer to themselves as a food snob?

    1 Reply
    1. re: ToothTooth

      Truth in advertising?

    2. There are quite a few worth reading, I think, including:

      Foodalicious Follies
      http://trianglenc-restaurants.com/

      Eat Raleigh
      http://eatraleigh.blogspot.com/

      Masala Wala
      http://masalawala.wordpress.com/

      The Gourmez
      http://blog.thegourmez.com/

      The Straight Beef
      http://thestraightbeef.com/

      Food Snob Durham (already mentioned

      )

      And, dare I say, perhaps the one mentioned in my Chowhound profile.

      12 Replies
      1. re: brsmith2

        Thanks, I read the Gournex's review of Fire in the Triangle and found it more honest then what I have been seeing reported by the "official" blogger. After attending one of the nights and reading that blog I was wondering if we were served the same meal.

        I was also happy to see that see did report that the meal was comped and the value, something else missing from the other bloggers.

        1. re: brsmith2

          I'm new to the area and wanted to read your blog, brsmith2 - but your profile doesn't show it, or at least, I can't find it there. Mind sharing it please?

          1. re: jkgourmet

            I thought it was on there. Anyway, it's at

            benrsmith.com

          2. re: brsmith2

            Ben, thanks for the mention of my Foodalicious Follies blog!

            On a side-note, I rarely every get anything for free when I eat out, I would prefer to not feel like I owe the restaurant anything. I've turned down several invites including the Washington Duke Inn and some other places. But from time to time they find out and send something nice over. Pretty rare overall.

            I tend to write on restaurants I like because I prefer to not slam a crappy restaurant. I figure nature will take its course anyhow. I did write one piece picking on Five Star and Irregardless and did get a bit of flak for it, oh well. So if I seem a bit easy on my reviews, it's more like I'm a bit picky and tend to know what's going to fit my taste buds.

            That being said, yes, there's sometimes a fine line between being an independent blogger and someone who's partially in the business. As for me, I've written over 500 reviews and done 80 or so posts online and don't think I've made ANY money from the work. I just do it because it's fun and I hope the food scene in the Triangle improves...

            :gets off soapbox:

            1. re: RonboNC

              I've met Ron at one or two dining outs and can attest to his statement. I don't blog, though I've been told I should, because I don't feel like I have anything to add to what is already being said in the community and also I don't feel that I have any place to say this good or this isn't. I mean who am I to go into an Indian place, for example, and say this how X should be made or taste. Maybe in that regards I'm not so opinionated. If I did blog, I'd do for the same reason he mentions, but also to expand my knowledge of whats available and to recommend to friends or people that move into the area that get to know me some reliable or not so reliable places. Some folks blog for personal enjoyment and others blog for the community at large. A lot of times the blogger probably can lose focus of who their audience (if any) is.... rambling ending.

              1. re: RonboNC

                I'm someone who would actually like to read the ugly along with the good. I'm so happy when someone tells me that a place has gone downhill, or isn't worth all the hype. Was it RockyCat (sorry if I'm naming the wrong person here! - my apologies) who warned us off Piedmont a couple of months ago? I consider her information having saved me the time it gets to Durham and back and a fancy dinner's worth of cash. I know from her posts what her tastes are, and I think she performed a very valuable deed by telling us it hadn't been a good meal, and why.

                As for getting free stuff, I don't think you have to be a blogger for that to happen - just a regular customer. Someone who goes to a place regularly, tips well and is polite is likely to be well treated by the staff. But I agree that if this is happening to a blogger, he or she should mention it.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  Well Piedmont has now hired the chef that was at Frazier's by NCSU before they finally through in the towel.

                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                    Yes, and I have high hopes for the place with him there. Who wants to be the guinea pig?

                  2. re: LulusMom

                    Usually I'm all for more thoughtful criticism in any endeavor, but with food I just begin with the assumption that most everything is crap. Only talking about the positive is a timesaver. There's too much crap out to catalog it all.

                    1. re: Naco

                      I guess I'm an optimist. And reading the local press you'd think everything was absolutely wonderful. I would like more honesty, even if it means saying the place isn't so great.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        I tend to do an aggregation of sites and feedback when making my choice outside of places that I go to often.

                        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                          Negative reviews would help with that too. Especially from someone you trust.

              2. Green Eats Blog
                www.greeneatsblog.com/

                I mean BLOGS are and in and of themselves OP/ED pieces for a person to voice their own thoughts about whatever. Even if it is honest opinions.. it is still unpaid PR.

                1. This link from Chef Bill Smith's own blog (outdated) has links to local food writers who have blogs as well.

                  http://www.seasonedinthesouth.com/links/

                  1. Thanks for the suggestions. I am not familiar with many of these blogs and I'm looking forward to some interesting reading.

                    BF - The type of PR I'm referring to would something like this:
                    The moo shoo pork was tasty and good value but the egg drop soup resembled tepid dish water.
                    vs.
                    That is the very best Chinese take out I've ever had. Everything was amazingly awesome and I have a new favorite place for dinner. *and every review would be worded about the same*

                    <Deliberate exageration to make a point and I had no particular restaurant in mind when I wrote that. I just liked using the phrase, "tepid dish water.">

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: rockycat

                      All the above, plus @lisasorg, @dfmexaminer (hadassah peterson), @trilocalista, @greeneatsblog. Oh, and Rachael Oehring, @gaggingtowards, just because she's funny as hell and makes me laugh.

                      1. re: kathleen purvis

                        Already listed Green Eats Blog. Most of the (good) local food bloggers are fanatic about the local people behind the food which may carry over into their food descriptions. Some of them are also writers for things like The Independent.

                        I'll add Victoria Bouloubasis (blog is This Feeds Me) and Emily Wallace http://emilyewallace.tumblr.com/

                      2. re: rockycat

                        Of course there's Carpe Durham
                        http://carpedurham.com/

                        And, for restaurant news (openings, closings, and other tidbits), Triangle Food Guy is great
                        http://trianglefoodguy.blogspot.com/

                        1. re: brsmith2

                          Here's a another thumbs up for carpe durham! Love them!

                      3. Don't forget the BBQ Jew
                        http://bbqjew.com/
                        He's local and funny.

                        1. Yeah, if you're looking for someone who isn't afraid to criticize, Food Snob is your lady! In fact, she introduces her blog with a statement that largely mirrors your feelings:

                          "No doubt about it: Durhamites love their food. But sometimes they love it just a bit too indiscriminately. The food snob is here to provide a little critical judgment, a little sarcasm, a little mockery, and hopefully a fresh perspective on food life in Durham."

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: johnforamerica

                            It's well written, indeed.

                            1. re: johnforamerica

                              I feel like that first line sums up the Triangle in general not just durham.

                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                The following is a general statement.: Anyone can slam a restaurant and call it a review. That's not what I read blogs or Chowhound for. I'm looking for tips. I try to point out restaurants that are doing things well.

                                On Fathers Day, we ate at The Standard in Carrboro. In particular, the Greek fries were outstanding. I didn't think the dish would work but it really did with lemo juice & feta. Also, they make the cheese that goes in their mozzerella sticks.

                                1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                                  I don't think it is a matter of slamming restaurant's, but of being truthful. True tips should highlight both the good and bad. When you read a review in a newspaper or legitimate magazine you have a degree of comfit that the reporter paid for their own meal and was not influenced to alter the review for favors or other rewards from the restaurant.

                                  With many Blogs it is hard to tell. Many of these bloggers are being provided with free meals, invited to special events, or just plain being treated different. They are making no effort to conceal their identity's and in many cases seeking out the freebies with promises of good reviews.

                                  Recently a Raleigh restaurant started a Sunday buffet, the owner invited a number of yelp posters and others to the grand opening for a free meal, how much should I trust the reviews posted by those bloggers?

                                  1. re: chazzer

                                    I seriously doubt that many of the local bloggers are getting free meals as I know a few of them personally. Yelp is another story. It is not a blog no more so than this is. It is a social event aggregate and if the company invites a group of yelpers to a free event then you are right to take it with a grain of salt. I personally take most of Yelps stuff with a grain of salt as it is rare that you see anything less than 3 stars out of 5. Alas, there are lots of bloggers and food writers in their enthusiasm to support local purveyors and ingredients who blindly turn an eye to whether those people are putting out good quality food.

                                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                      I would be very surprised if they were not getting freebies, I just think it is not something that is talked about or disclosed in their blogs.

                                      1. re: chazzer

                                        What blogs are you guys reading? Most of the ones I read (I mentioned a few above) seem to be in the writer's true (uninfluenced) voice. I get occasional emails about special events or something. I think I've received one or two offers for free food, but I haven't accepted, and would mention it if I did.

                                        1. re: brsmith2

                                          Brsmith, I appreciate your honesty in not accepting the free offers, and understanding that even if you did you would mention it in your blog. My concern started with Fire in the Triangle, after reading the blogs from some of the bloggers introduced during that event. I felt that they were at a different event than I was in their descriptions.

                                          1. re: chazzer

                                            Well yeah, Chazzer. Agreed that when the blogger gets a bit too close to the owners and such, the line gets fuzzy. There are a lot of professional relationships where the line blurs, unfortunately.

                                            I did make it to the Sono vs. Flights competition and had a great time. Was it perfect? No but still a great evening of food. My posting is below. I actually had Chef Wendell (Flights) comment on my post and he was a bit stung. Again, if you're not effusive with your praise as a blogger, you do encur some risk.

                                            http://trianglenc-restaurants.com/201...

                                    2. re: chazzer

                                      I was talking less about blogs and more about the threads I see here occasionally and what I read on Yelp where a diner chooses to slam a restaurant as revenge for a bad meal. If I have a bad meal or a bad experience, I try not to write about it.

                              2. Not sure if this has been mentioned or not but some of the bloggers have also so ingrained themselves in the surrounding culture that they make time to acquaint themselves with the owners or chefs at a restaurant. This may lead to bias but often times I haven't found it to be that way. If you fancy yourself wanting to get to know some of the bloggers, I invite you to attend some of the SFA events that occur in our area and the most cost efficient is the Stir The Pot Potluck. Also look into attending at ChopNC (Cultural Historians of the Piedmont) meeting in Chapel Hill though right now it is in the lull of its season and still growing.