“Good is good. It doesn’t matter where or when”. Those were the words of Anthony Bourdain on an episode of No Reservations a few years back. I find myself needing to heed the meaning behind such a simple phrase in order to stay sane while writing on this blog. Sometime in the next few months—possibly by summer—I will hit my 100th restaurant review for Eating New Jersey. Already now at 80-something, and longer ago than I could remember, I found myself at a loss for adjectives. You see, when you’re on video or recording a podcast (both I have experience with), that’s one thing. It’s easier to let the camera do the talking. To let raw emotions show the viewer if you’re enjoying something. But even someone like Bourdain finds difficulty in description. Several times we have heard him remark how he could come up with some long, overly-dramatic descriptor for the food he is eating but instead would rather just say it’s great and let his facial expression do the rest. I can’t do that on this blog.
How many times can I say that steak or chicken was “grilled to perfection”, the potatoes were “ultra crispy”, and the service was “friendly and attentive”? I feel repetitive any time I note how a dish was fresh, flavorful, or well-seasoned. But couldn’t I turn to someone like Guy Fieri and just create my own annoying, over-the-top catchphrases to describe how that burger I just had put me on the bus to Flavortown? Absolutely, but I choose not to. With trying to create your own image, your own identifiers, comes ego. And with ego comes a pretentiousness that makes what you are doing more about you and less about the food. That’s where I have a problem. Perhaps me saying food is good, great, or awesome isn’t as eye-catching as on point, out-of-bounds, or off the hook. But I feel that gives my writing a bit more authenticity.
This blog is about the food, not me. I’m just the lucky guy who gets to eat it at that particular time and write about it for my wonderful followers. This situation reminds me of the saying, “If everyone is special, then nobody is”. If every other restaurant has something “off the hook!” then what does that actually say about the food? How “off the hook” does something have to be to be “off the hook”? Meanwhile, good will always be good, great always great, and awesome always awesome. You don’t need to tell me anything else.