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http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/18/din...

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  1. You almost feel the writer had read this board for some of he ideas here.

    But one question, has DrT got a new job as a waiter,,,?

    2 Replies
    1. re: PhilD

      Could be but she has lived in Paris since at least 2002.

      1. re: PhilD

        "has DrT got a new job as a waiter,,,?"
        No beret, bigger waist and much nicer - not me.

      2. Interesting article. I hope that every upcoming visitor to Paris follows her trail of crumbs.

        1. ,<Drinks and conversation at Le Bistrot Paul Bert. This is a bistro that feels truly French. >

          not for long. Thanks, NYT!

          4 Replies
          1. re: ChefJune

            But wow--(re Bistro Paul Bert): "He has tried screening reservations to avoid taking too many from Americans. “I may just stop taking reservations on the Internet,” he said. “If you have to call and speak in French, maybe it will be a deterrent.”

            That's almost enough to make me cross it off my list. I was just about to phone for a reservation in a few weeks--now having 2nd thoughts, if he really doesn't want my business as an American!

            Also, as far as I know he doesn't take reservations on the Internet, so the whole thing is a bit confusing--

            1. re: jinx

              It's a quandary for lots of authentic neighbourhood restaurants... too many tourists and the locals stop coming... too many customers requiring a lot of attention (i.e. explaining the menu to non-French customers) and the service becomes harried and rushed.

              It's a shame that not-loud not-demanding sophisticated American tourists should be penalized by the stereotyping but restauranteurs are not clairvoyants.

              1. re: Parnassien

                My parents had dinner this week at Quincy, Bistro Montsouris and Au Trouble Gascon (they like "old world") and each resto was practically empty at prime time.

            2. re: ChefJune

              Hasn't felt French for years.

            3. I clicked through to read this article and was pretty astonished. To wit, this must be the worst food story that the New York Times has ever published on Paris. Do serious food-lovers need to be told about Le Paul Bert?
              And Bistrot Valois is a high-concept makeover of a local cafe with an overdone decor (and a very good PR woman….) and just okay food. Utterly incoherent and nothing to do with 'Old fashioned bistros' at all. If I had to give this article a grade it would be a solid 'D.'

              27 Replies
              1. re: andaba

                Different strokes, different folks. I'm a big fan of Bistrot Valois. Certainly a recent recreation of the old bistro style but, as a Parisien, I don't get any sense of Disneyland French or hollow clichés. And the food, while not mindblowing (which trad bistro fare rarely is), is much better than "just okay". And the mood, especially at lunch when it is filled with folks from the nearby Ministère de la Culture, is surprisingly French despite its location in the tourist zone.

                1. re: Parnassien

                  "just okay".

                  I remember when okay meant "great". Now anything that is halfway decent is described as "amazing" or "awesome", and "okay" has been relegated to "mediocre" or less. Oy!

                2. re: andaba

                  "To wit, this must be the worst food story that the New York Times has ever published on Paris." Hmmm, I think it's a quite good and perceptive article in many ways, actually, and very useful for first or second-time visitors -- that's its purpose, I assume. And, as mangeur suggests, at least it didn't highlight other places. -- Jake

                  1. re: andaba

                    "To wit, this must be the worst food story that the New York Times has ever published on Paris."
                    Read Pamela Druckerman lately?

                    1. re: John Talbott

                      Yes. But your point?

                      1. re: mangeur

                        Sorry for the use of sarcasm.
                        My point is that Druckerman's articles are every bit as bad as Sciolino's.

                        1. re: John Talbott

                          We're discussing arachnean nuances here.

                          However I'm not sure I agree that this is the worst food story published in the NYT. I've definitely seen worse, although this one is already pretty bad.

                          It seems that the entire food section should be converted to gardening, or salt-dough kneading, or whatever; it could not be worse. And the Paris bistro scene would be all the better for it.

                          1. re: Ptipois

                            I was able to give her a walk on style because of the bent of her recommendations. It is a relief on many levels to read a list that doesn't compound the pressures on new and tiny dining rooms.

                            If the NYT insists on sketchy articles written by people with 48 hours' experience on the ground, it is refreshing to see them visit a few less expected rooms, and, thank God, remind people that there is more to Paris or name-that-town than the sizzling hot restaurants at the top of the international check-lists.

                            1. re: mangeur

                              And she managed to secure some interesting and provocative quotes, for example from Bertrand Auboyneau. For this and other reasons, I really don't get the harsh criticism by some upthread of an article that, frankly, is probably not intended for the uber-sophisticated Paris diner in the first place.

                              1. re: mangeur

                                Although I've "been here" on CH and reading this board for a few years, oddly enough this is the post causing me to delurk. (I didn't realize it was so easy to sign up, as I'd never bothered to check the process.)

                                I didn't care for this particular article, but as someone related to a journalist, I dislike assumption-making even more.

                                As mentioned *****in the second post here**** but seemingly ignored, Sciolino was the Paris bureau chief of the NY Times from 2002 until a couple of years ago. She's lived in Paris since 2002 and continues to report from Paris, often on food. She didn't fly in for 48 hours, and it speaks to the sometimes insulated nature of this board that one poster wondered if she cribbed her info from Chowhound, and another assumes she's a fly-by.

                                It's a big world out there full of information, folks. Chowhound is not the only place to get it.

                                1. re: GetLucky

                                  "As mentioned *****in the second post here**** but seemingly ignored, Sciolino was the Paris bureau chief of the NY Times from 2002 until a couple of years ago. She's lived in Paris since 2002 and continues to report from Paris, often on food. She didn't fly in for 48 hours (etc)."

                                  It was not ignored but I suppose it wasn't considered pertinent information. I sometimes come across blogs or even books written by Americans who have lived in France for decades, and visibly they haven't even begun to understand what the country is about. Sometimes they are so mistaken that it hurts.

                                  I also know some Americans who come here only once in a while but they "got it" and got it well.

                                  It's not a matter of where you live or where you visit, it's a matter of what world you live in.

                                  I don't even remember when (or if) I ever read anything pertinent on the subject of France/French food in the NYT...

                                  1. re: Ptipois

                                    I'm sorry, but I find that to be a very strong statement, Ptipois, and I disagree. You're doubtful that you've ever read anything pertinent on French food in the Times? Not one thing? That's just not a credible statement to me, and speaks to closed mindset more than anything else.

                                    I don't think everything they do is wonderful, as there is too much emphasis on the "of the moment", but there's been some good stuff. Sorry. We'll have to differ on that.

                                    And if you're the Ptipois who did some of the translation work on the English version of Pudlo Paris 2007-2008 (I've always wondered if you were), I just want to let you know I love that book and still find it useful, as many of the places referenced within are still open. It bums me out that there were no more English editions after that.

                                    1. re: GetLucky

                                      Yes, let's (agree to differ on that).
                                      I'm not doubtful, I'm certain. It's not just the information - it's the approach that's important. The NYT approach (to Paris and French food in general) is perfectly neocolonial (as well as very badly fact-checked), and I never agree with it.

                                      Just the apalling quality of the fact-checking would be enough to disqualify it.

                                      And thanks for your appreciation of the Pudlo, on which I did very little indeed. I agree that they should have been more English editions. But I do not know what happened after that one.

                                      One thing:

                                      "That's just not a credible statement to me, and speaks to closed mindset more than anything else."

                                      I am not taking this personally at all, but for the sake of fairness I will point out that describing me with the words "closed mindset" is not exactly putting the finger right on it.
                                      I was about to back that by referring to my experience, but I will refrain. It would be somewhat obscene.

                                      What is the most interesting in this exchange, and the most amusing, is your reasons for defending the NYT with such passion that you found it a reason to "delurk".

                                      "I didn't care for this particular article, but as someone related to a journalist, I dislike assumption-making even more."

                                      So, de deux choses l'une, as we say here: either you know a lot about writing in the NYT and thus are incommodated by our assumptions (which I would understand), or you don't, and then you're making no less assumptions than we are here. Perhaps more.

                                      And you've been a lurker for a long time? I mean, like a journalist?
                                      Therefore I'm curious to know what magazine, or even daily, you write for...

                                      1. re: Ptipois

                                        Really too bad about Pudlo. Perhaps not enough recognition of the name as a guide in the US. And my book was $20, so it might have been too expensive for some people to take a chance on it.

                                        Sorry, Ptipois, you're fishing and not going to come up with anything. When I was talking about assumptions, I was specifically referring to a poster wondering whether Sciolino lifted material from CH and another poster assuming that she had flown in and out to do her story. Those were assumptions, and in my mind they are not accurate ones.

                                        I'm a (voracious) reader of anything and everything. The New York Times is my homepage, but as I stated, I'm not a journalist (nor do I have a blog or any online writing outlet). I think it's a great newspaper, though it has its flaws, as any institution does. And I already wrote that my journalist relative has never been associated with the Times. That is the truth. You can believe it or not believe it.

                                        There have been many, many times I wanted to delurk to respond to a specific topic on Chowhound. I simply prefer being a lurker and, as I said, I thought signing up would be more complicated than email and password.

                                        (When I say "lurker", I only mean a person - any person - who regularly reads a message forum but never posts. To "delurk" is to finally post.)

                                        Why would a lurker by personality have to be a journalist? Usually it takes me years to sign up for any forum, on any topic, that I'm been following. It's also just laziness. Sometimes I don't look at some forums for weeks or months, so I don't always want to be counted on to contribute regularly. If you find it amusing/interesting, that's fine.

                                        I actually thought about going back today and finding and responding to the threads which *almost* made me delurk. Perhaps I'll do that.

                                      2. re: GetLucky

                                        GL, did you know when you got up this morning that you would have stirred up such a hornets' nest?

                                        So..."You're doubtful that you've ever read anything pertinent on French food in the Times? Not one thing?"

                                        I can identify with Pti's statement. Times' food articles are informative to many people. For Pti and others who closely follow the French food scene, past and present, these articles are not pertinent or relevant, but rather pot boiler repetition of known facts or quantities.. Worse, they often convey the wrong thing to people who are not savvy enough to parse their opportunities competently.

                                        As I wrote earlier, I read them with a grain of salt. And as I also suggested, there is something abrasive about the tenor of many Times' articles, the suggestion of the sacrosanct that is hard for the non-believer to swallow. (You had it right with "insular".)

                                        1. re: mangeur

                                          No, I didn't know I would be stirring up a hornets' nest, mangeur. I guess I just got lucky. (Rimshot!)

                                          And I while I noted above that the Times is my homepage, I do understand bucking against the traditional view that "It doesn't matter until it's in the Times", which some people still hold to - to their peril. I would guess some writers or editors there still believe it, too.

                                          And I admit, the way some of you apparently feel about the food articles, I feel the same way about the Style section...so I guess I need to think about this. :)

                                          1. re: mangeur

                                            "pot boiler"? I think you mean "boilerplate".

                                            In any case, as a daily reader of the Times, I find that it is not only articles about France or French food that can be lacking in fact-checking. Many articles are riddled with erroneous statements and only someone really knowledgeable about the subject will notice the errors, leaving other readers to wrongly assume that what they are reading is in fact, fact. I take the Times with a grain of salt.

                                            1. re: rrems

                                              "pot boiler"? I think you mean "boilerplate".

                                              No, I meant pot boiler, a fast and artless writing that can be sold to keep food on the table, ergo, something to throw in the pot on the back of the stove.

                                              pot·boil·er
                                              noun
                                              informal

                                              "a book, painting, or recording produced merely to make the writer or artist a living by catering to popular taste."

                                              LOL, finding errors in the Times shows your age.

                                              1. re: mangeur

                                                Sorry if I'm being pedantic, but "repetition of known facts or quantities" is pretty much the definition of boilerplate, hence my reaction, though I do see how you could interpret the type of writing we are discussing to fit the definition of pot-boiler.

                                                "finding errors in the Times shows your age". How true!

                          2. re: andaba

                            "Do serious food-lovers need to be told about Le Paul Bert?"

                            You raise an interesting point. I never thought of the NYT's being a source of info for serious food-lovers. For arm-chair travelers, certainly. And, yes, even for the trip planner who looks for cut and paste itineraries. But don't visitors who are truly serious about their food experiences seek more solid information than the food section in a daily?

                            1. re: mangeur

                              "I never thought of the NYT's being a source of info for serious food-lovers. For arm-chair travelers, certainly."

                              Wow. You think the people who read the New York Times but - for example, don't always post on or read Chowhound - don't educate themselves about food, or never manage to get on a plane to Paris? You've never seen the discussion on this very board about people visiting particular restaurants merely because they are "Times-approved"?

                              and:

                              "But don't visitors who are truly serious about their food experiences seek more solid information than the food section in a daily?"

                              You think the New York Times Dining & Wine section (and the Travel section, and T magazine, and Sunday magazine, which feature international food and profiles of restaurants all the time) is just "a food section in a daily?"

                              Wow.

                              (By the way, my journalist relative does NOT work for and has never worked for the Times, but I simply had to give my opinion here.)

                              1. re: GetLucky

                                First let me say how delighted I am to have been a factor in your delurking. I have no doubt that Chowhound will be a better place with your thoughtful input.

                                I am sorry if I was dismissive of the Times and its various sections. And, yes, I have read posts by people who are visiting a particular restaurant merely because it was "Times approved". But that flies directly in the face of my mantra to read multiple sources, depend on no single one and correlate one's taste to both a reviewer and a kitchen.

                                I am a salt addict when it comes to the NYT as well as any other single source of information regardless of how long their boots have been on the ground.

                                1. re: mangeur

                                  It's highly unlikely Sciolino only had one source of information when writing her article.

                                  And your sarcasm is duly noted. Again, insular....

                                  1. re: GetLucky

                                    I am not being the least bit sarcastic. Chow is already enriched by your input and thought provoking comments.

                                    If you will reread my post, I was actually supporting Sciolino, praising her for writing about less publicized restaurants. She is certainly not their only or even most exposed food writer. Others do fly in for short dining forays and do not have what you have explained to us to be her long experience. Most write about the same hot restaurants, resulting in a demand that exceeds the capacity of these places, ergo my positive comment about her piece.

                                    Regarding the NYT vs Chowhound, since you have been a long time reader of Chow, you must be aware that we are lucky to have a handful of very erudite local and visiting posters. Although they may have professions in food writing, they aren't paid a cent nor comped a drink for their input on Chowhound. I do trust them more than the NYT. And I get it earlier here.

                                    But you are right. I am insular, having been brought up with a strong West Coast bias against "You read it in the Tiimes" acceptance of facts and opinions. I prefer to think of it as healthily skeptical.

                                    1. re: mangeur

                                      Fair enough, mangeur. I apologize for thinking you were being sarcastic. It just got my hackles up that you included Sciolino in the 48 hours on the ground group (and from my reading, you did include her). Again, I didn't care for this article, but she's detailed food in Paris and the environs in better articles than this one. I don't care for her occasionally more-hipster-than-thou asides, but she can be informative.

                                      However, I realize that group of in-and-out writers you reference is common and can be tremendously annoying, since they - as you point out - often follow the herd and all write about the same restaurants, creating a never-ending cycle of sheep following their trail.

                                      But there are some exceptions. I have seen some pieces in the NYT about places never mentioned here before being featured there (and I've done a search to check). Chowhound is usually earlier, especially in the past couple of years, but not always.

                                      I do agree that there are a number of informative and thoughtful posters on this board - including you.

                                      1. re: GetLucky

                                        Well, (blush), thank you, but redemption wasn't my goal.
                                        However, I do want you to notice that you have been on Chow only a couple of hours and have already made some excellent points. I will take credit for making you mad enough to join! :)

                                        1. re: mangeur

                                          Thank you, mangeur.

                                          And yes, you can take that credit. :)