1.14.2014: #Felfie / @AlineaBaby


Critic Adam Platt: Anonymous No More

In the magazine’s year-end issue, New York’s well-respected Adam Platt revealed his identity with a photo and an explanation. It’s just not sustainable to remain anonymous, he says. His reasoning is full of interesting tidbits — thoughts on anonymity in general, and some very well-thought reasoning on why the restaurant-criticism industry has changed. (Spoiler alert: EVERYONE’S A CRITIC.)

He’s not the first critic to unveil himself — European critics have run their images next to their reviews for years, he says. But it is indicative of a new trend in reviewing; these reviews are less about the writer hiding behind a cloud of secrecy and more about the reviewer establishing a trusting relationship with his readership.

As this relates to technology: I’m hoping Platt’s attitude signifies a larger change. Professional reviewers will maintain appropriate clout and respect among diners, and those crowdsourced peer reviews will be put into their appropriate place. A professional opinion should carry more weight. With this move, Adam Platt becomes a more relatable, human presence (much like we consider our Yelp review-writing ilk), but maintains his elevated reputation as a professional critic. Like.

illustration by April V. Walters
illustration by April V. Walters


When a Farmer Takes a Selfie

The “selfie” craze has reached epic proportions, literally spinning off trends in its wake. The latest: the “felfie” — that is, a farmer-selfie. “Pouting at a camera isn’t the preserve of trendy young urbanites. The “felfie” – or selfie snapped on the farm – is taking off, with farmers posting photos of themselves next to their favourite sheep, cow or tractor,” says The Guardian. The trend evolved out of simple farmer-centric Twitter chats, and has since become a whole thing. A whole, spectacular thing that has even netted its own site: farmingselfie.com.



When You Bring a Baby to Alinea

So. Someone brought a baby to Alinea in Chicago. On a Saturday night. The baby cried. Diners complained. And Grant Achatz tweeted a request for opinions.

As you’d imagine, his Tweet garnered a ton of responses, especially since he mentioned he’d consider banning babies from the restaurant. He even went on Good Morning America to talk about what happened. Should Achatz ban babies from the (super-fancy and pricey) fine-dining restaurant? Probably not, but only because he shouldn’t have to. (Unpopular opinion?)

Thankfully, the internet reacted in kind to this one with an amazing parody Twitter account, @AlineaBaby. This, I think, is the appropriate reaction. Obviously, the debate rages on.


Fake, Anonymous Yelp Reviews Aren’t Protected under First Amendment

…at least not in Virginia, where its Court of Appeals is ordering Yelp to out anonymous commenters who left negative reviews of a carpet-cleaning business. What do carpet cleaners and restaurants have in common? They’re both susceptible to false negative online reviews thanks to the cloak of internet anonymity. While this case appears to be isolated (with no major overhaul to how anonymous reviews are handled), it could set an interesting precedent. Yelp argued that these reviews are protected by the first amendment. But the court says that when reviews are falsified, no such protection exists. Makes sense, right?

This is one teeny, tiny, itty-bitty step toward stopping the Yelp review madness, and a win for accountability. Looking forward to watching how this plays out in the weeks and months to come.


Big TV Night Takes Seamless Down

On Sunday, in honor of the GIRLS season premiere, online food ordering service Seamless offered a 15 percent discount off of orders placed with a certain discount code. The deal in itself isn’t all that remarkable, but thanks to an especially epic evening of television (NFL playoffs + Golden Globe Awards + GIRLS) what happened to Seamless is. The site went down for over an hour, stranding hungry patrons (or at least forcing them to pick up the phone, the horror.)

A broken website is also unremarkable on its own, but this sort of cultural data is kind of fascinating. It’s akin to talking about events like Thanksgiving or other celebratory at-home meals. Shows what we, as a society, are doing en masse. And, shows that Sunday TV nights are, in fact, made for the programming and not the kitchen.


This Is What a Months-Long Conversation with an Applebees Looks Like

Excellent engagement, ahoy! A web-savvy consumer engaged a Canadian Applebee’s franchise, and ended up having a months-long relationship with the restaurant on Facebook. The exchanges are witty at best and slightly dad-joke-y at worst, but the point is that this web-savvy guy decided to help beef-up an otherwise barren restaurant Facebook page and ended up filling the space with witty banter.

Aligning a digital-social personality with a restaurant is a savvy and increasingly relevant way to engage current and potential customers. Responding to and interacting with fans and followers is paramount to success. And, when done right, it can be downright comical — no matter what sort of restaurant it comes from.


  • New ways for the wine industry to  fight counterfeiters — Circa
  • 10 NY restaurants where you don’t have to wait for the check — Immaculate Infatuation
  • Awesome video: Hipsters ordering beer — HuffPost Food

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