Tuesday, October 10, 2006

San Francisco & Bay Area Michelin Guide 2006

When You Piss Upon a Star: First Opinions Roundup: What do you think?

To say I didn't much care about the arrival of the new Michelin Guide in the Bay Area would be an understatement. I am not much into book-form guides unless I am travelling without web access and I am not really into fine dining either. I've only eaten at seven of the awarded restuarants and six of those were one-stars. More fun than the guide itself, were the reactions to it online. Who had something to say about the whole palaver, and who whipped up the largest responses. Check it out here. Your ultimate guide to opinions about the new Michelin Guide:

Winner of the most comments on the subject goes, of course, to my unbeloved Chowhound. You can either get stuck on this link for 113 opinions or move straight on to The Restaurant Whore and all the other level-headed writers I'm pimpin' for you today.
"I just about puked on my keyboard reading that shit"

She has eaten at no less than 23 of the newly minted Michelin favourites. Everbody's favourite Restaurant Whore summises Oy Vey, Michelin! "I just about puked on my keyboard reading that shit" and illicits no less than 17 heated responses. Yes, she's hot, that one, watch for her!

Poor old Michael Bauer, food critic at the San Francisco Chronicle. Now he's got some competition, and although I am sure he is the one who doesn't like it the most, he leaves staff writer Carol Ness to first break the news and then, a few days later, tear it shreds. Bauer himself trashes the results on his blog, only just scraping in as many responses as the Restaurant Whore.

Perhaps it's because he is an American living in Paris and an ex-San Franciscan, someone who might be able to understand the two cultures at loggerheads here, that my betrothed, the darling David Lebovitz manages to attract no less than 16 comments on his piece, Messing With The Michelin Man.

It's no secret that foodblogger Chez Pim dates a (way too cute imho) Chef. But that's not all - now the lucky lass is dating a cute Chef with TWO MICHELIN STARS to his name. It's not fair. And what? Only 14 people left their congratulations? C'mon peeps, go show the fabulous couple some more love...

I am lucky enough to have dined with none other than Alder of Vinography at new ONE STAR restaurant, Range. See what Alder and 14 of his readers have to say about the new ratings in his post entitled Announcing The Michelin Guide Ratings to San Francisco.

I'm Mad and I Eat encouraged us with Don't Feel Bad, San Francisco and managed to attract 11 snarks.
"To complain about it is like picking up a hooker in the Tenderloin and being surprised when you wake up with V.D."

Gastronomique Ced of SFist attracts my favourite comment of the lot in his piece entitled Thomas Keller Kicks Alice Waters's Michelin Ass!*: "To complain about it is like picking up a hooker in the Tenderloin and being surprised when you wake up with V.D."

The angle of my dear friend Amy, of Cooking with Amy Overheard at the Michelin Preview Reception concludes "the star list raised more questions than it answered".

NS at San Francisco Gourmet is the kind of guy who feels passionately about these things. He analysed it before the results were announced and then finds the whole thing inexplicable after the fact.

The Stars Come Out, as they rightly should for one of my favourite people, Catherine at Food Musings. What, about the results, do you think surprised her?

Just like me, Kristen at Give me some Food was quite apathetic about seeing stars, even though she admitted to having eaten at no less than 16 of the newly graded dining spots.

Restaurant Girl Speaks and says of the Michelin Stars Showered "With food, service, and wine, Boulevard has consistently been one of San Francisco's finest restaurants for thirteen years. Congratulations!"

The Passionate Eater declared "Ouch, That Hurts" and was thereafter left speechless... Until she answered a comment.

Do you agree with the SF Bay area Michelin ratings? Tell Slashfood.

Chez Christine knows a thing or two about the French and has something to say about Michelin in SF. Her solo commentor thinks "bloggers give better reviews and have fairer judgement on the non-star restos". Do you agree or not? Head over to Christine and let her know.

The Stars are Blind
says Curgle Cod. An outsiders perspective.

Thanks to a comment on this post, we have a late contender to the Michelin list. Kevin, on his blog Dive, has written part one of Mice and Michelin. Kevin pulls no punches in describing Michael Bauer and The Chronicle's response, pointing out that his [Michael's] panties are twisted by that little French tire company. This amused me since I almost called this post "Michael's got his Knickers in a Twist" myself.

Connie on Muffin Top asks Sick of Hearing ABout it Yet? Connie's point is this: "I got the impression that new blood on the critic’s circuit fuels the restaurant scene. Bauer has been with the Chronicle for almost twenty years. I know there’s plenty of other good critics in town, but Bauer is by far the most influential. So just imagine - twenty years of accomodating the tastes of one person. What kind of impact will that have on the dining scene? "

Chow's The Grinder was Seeing Red in their opinion of the French spectacle coming to town.

The publication of the Bay Area Michelin Guide brings the total number of starred restaurants that The Ulterior Epicure has eaten in up to 60!

Chef Carlos Middione of Vivande Porta Via has something to say about the Michelin Guide Ratings on his Carlo's Kitchen blog. Well? Do you agree with him or not?

When, oh when, will I meet Marcia? Marcia is an opinionated, sassy chick, aka The Tablehopper who I haven't yet had the pleasure of meeting. I wonder if she'll be at THE party tonight? She's everywhere else - and all over The Michelin Guide. She doesn't take comments. She's strong like that.

Emily Fleischaker
actually talks to Michelin Guides director Jean-Luc Naret in her Bon Appetit blog piece, Bibendum Rolls Into San Francisco. See what he has to say for himself.

What about this piece, Star search by Jodie Chase. Jodie is "pleased to see the standardizing of the review process". Are you pleased too?

Anh-minh in a Taste of The Suburbs ran the low down on what the whole Bay Area Michelin Guide thing is about when it was announced back in April. A great summary for background reading.

Here is an interesting take: Snack blog explains how in hotsnack: michelin – media psa, news is transmitted to the media.

And last but not least, don't forget to listen to NPR's Forum with Michael Krasny on the subject.

PS - If I missed your Michelin-themed blog post out, please let me know and I will try update the article.

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San Francisco & Bay Area Michelin Guide 2006


  • At 10/10/06 01:19, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Reading it all is like having an ice cream headache! :-O

    ps: I give Mr. Lebovitz the award for most guffaws on the best ever food snorting quote.

  • At 10/10/06 06:10, Blogger wheresmymind said…

    So, you liked the guide??? hehe

  • At 10/10/06 06:52, Blogger Amy Sherman said…

    New and somewhat contrarian post on Michelin up over Dive, I highly recommend it!


  • At 10/10/06 08:58, Blogger xtinehlee said…

    Hiya Sam--Connie, one of our bloggers on Muffin Top, posted her two cents on the Michelin Guide a few days ago.

  • At 10/10/06 11:15, Blogger Rachael Narins said…

    Excellent round up. Fun to read what everyone thinks.

    And me, I"m just feeling so cool...I've eaten at eight of them and worked at one (one that ranked 2 stars at that!) and I haven't set food in SF in over four years. Crazy!


  • At 10/10/06 11:38, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Sam~

    I can't comment on your local food scene there [having never even been to SF] but just wanted you to know I pimped your watch me make a dinner slide show this week.


  • At 11/10/06 07:44, Blogger Ulterior Epicure said…

    Oooo, sorry to disappoint and deflate - but actually, the addition of the SF Michelin brings my total STAR COUNT to 60, not total Michelin-starred RESTAURANT COUNT. That being said, the 60 stars represent just over 30 restaurants that I've visited. If you were to add in repeat visits, my star-count would be higher, as I've been to a couple of Michelin-starred restaurants more than once.

  • At 11/10/06 23:20, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Not living in San Francisco, or a country where Michelin guides are used, I can't say it makes that much difference to me. But just wanted to say I love a blog that has an opinion. So many food bloggers are constantly spewing out content that would be better resigned to a late night infomercial. Great to hear some creative criticism for once.

    I think the issue is that the guide has so much weight across Europe... and when it's suddenly prowling through your own backyard, it makes you wander just how good some of those 3 starred places in Frog land really are...

  • At 27/10/06 12:32, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Howdy Sam

    Just a sweet nothing to let you know that I've included this post on a posting on the ThisNext blog -- check it out!




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