Nancy Luna, the Fast Food Maven for the Orange County Register, has breaking news for us. The Zagat guide, the culinary equivalent of the myriad of Who's Who books who get people to submit content and then convince them to pay to read what they've submitted, apparently just updated their Los Angeles-area guide for 2013! Hooray! This is exciting news to absolutely no one except Luna and the people who make money from the sale of the Zagat guide to people who don't know any better.
Luna's food timeline is once again apparently stuck in Y2K mode, as evidenced
by her complete ignorance of the irrelevance of the Zagat guide. It's not just that they give Orange County short shrift–they're not a useful tool even in their hometown of New York.
“…old-school foodies still rely on the decades-old Zagat guide to glean tips on top-tier restaurants.”
assume that by “old-school foodies” Luna is talking about Herb and
Doris, the two remaining people who read the Zagat guide and then make
4:30 p.m. reservations for the restaurants it recommends. No actual
foodie has used the print Zagat guide since Bill Clinton left office,
because most people under the age of 70 know that a once-a-year printed
snapshot of restaurants is not a good indicator of changing restaurant
trends. There's a reason the print edition is on sale at the counter of
Barnes & Noble–it's only through impulse buys that they sell very
Also, as Luna points out, it used to cost $25 a year
to look things up using Zagat online when Yelp, Chowhound, eGullet,
Voice Places, the Register's own Events pages, and ten thousand
food blogs were all free–and at least those sites tell you what's best
to order and what's best to avoid, unlike the Zagat blurbs, which are
“completely overshot” with “unnecessary quotation marks” that “don't
even attempt” to provide attribution. (For the best parody of this style, check out Rotten.com's entry for Pol Pot–yes, you read that right)
“Considered the bible of restaurant-rating guides, the Google-owned
survey provides restaurant scores based on food, service and décor.”
the bible of printed restaurant rating guides is the Guide Michelin,
which I have scorned at length on this blog for many of the same reasons
that the Zagat print guide is completely irrelevant to the dining
scene. As for ratings based on food, service and décor, that's what you have a full-time food critic for, and I'd much rather read his opinion on things than some crowd-sourced spack that tells me nothing about a place.
“Even more mind-boggling is that chains like Wienerschnitzel and The Cheesecake Factory get print space.”
Shocked! Nancy Luna is SHOCKED at this. This from a
woman who has made her living for years by insisting loudly upon exclusive domain over
stories about restaurants openings and closures; by covering such
breaking news as new biscuits and exciting new toppings for mediocre
hamburgers at Carl's Jr.; by writing breathless paeans to seemingly every single
frozen yogurt and cupcake shop ever to open its doors in OC; and by
faithfully parroting the most unimaginative, content-free press releases
ever to be penned by a recent college grad. (We get those press releases too, Nancy.) I assume she's happy at the
Zagats' validation of her recent journalistic career, because otherwise
that quote above just doesn't make any sense.
Nancy, it's almost 2013. Join us in the present, would you please? The food's better in the here and now, and so is the food writing.