The Cured Ham is filing a missing persons report for the Central San Joaquin Valley…several Fresno food bloggers have gone missing in recent months.
Be on the lookout for 30-40 year old males and females with active camera phones, arthritic thumbs, gout ridden limps, and an overly eager sense of “localism” when asking about a restaurant menu. Some reports indicate that missing food bloggers can be found on Instagram, Twitter, and Yelp rather than publishing critical thoughts over 150 characters in length.
Food blogging takes time. Eating at restaurants takes time and money. Taking decent pictures takes practice. Writing critical articles about another boring sandwich, pizza, or taco takes inspiration. It’s a hell of a lot easier to Instagram or Tweet a quick photo and blurb about the meal you just ate without any critical regard for the food or the service.
And yes, I’m guilty, I haven't written much of anything critical recently.
I was reading through Yelp reviews recently, wondering if the food bloggers went there, all I found was ratings inflation and unhelpful nonsense. A one line comment and a 5 star rating is useless. Even worse, a 5 star rating with a negative comment about service; if there is a problem with service how can your experience be 5 stars? Useless.
Fresno Bites, a prolific food blogger, friend, and BBQ junkie hasn’t posted much of anything recently…EXCEPT on Twitter and Instagram, where he posts frequently. I trust Bites opinion. I certainly trust his Jedi instincts regarding BBQ. I’ve eaten his hand-crafted BBQ ribs and they are delicious. I also understand Bites has other interests, a family, a job, and home to deal with. He can’t take 2 hours to write an article or food review once a week. He tweeted something recently about Fresno’s newest restaurant, Westwood’s BBQ, so I know he’s keeping up on popular trends.
Maybe Bites is bored.
Maybe he’s ‘been there, done that’ when it comes to Fresno food blogging.
Perhaps Fresno Food Bloggers aren’t to blame. Perhaps the lack of new Fresno restaurants worthy of reviewing is to blame.
Fresnans…what’s changed in the Fresno dining scene in the last year or two? What has made an IMPACT?
Yes, yes, there have been some restaurant openings ranging from BBQ to Fine Dining, but how many of those restaurants or food trucks are going to make a difference in town? A dozen? Probably less than that.
So what’s a Fresno Food Blogger to do?
Review Elbow Room again? Why? For those that don’t know…The Elbow Room isn’t going anywhere. The Bow will be there as long as it wants to be there. It has a proven formula and a dedicated following from age 21 to 91. End of blogging discussion.
I love Me N’Ed’s pizza! I have said so since I was probably 4 years old. I know Me N’Ed’s pizza commentary by The Cured Ham can incite violence. Guess what Fresno Food Bloggers? Me N’Ed’s isn’t going anywhere either. I don’t care if you think their pizza sucks and that there is no good pizza for 200 miles around Fresno. In the words of WWE Wrestler The Rock…"It doesn’t matter what you think!" Me N’Ed’s will probably outlive most people in Fresno. Once again…end of blogging discussion.
- Cracked Pepper’s bread pudding? Yes, it’s good. End of discussion.
- Trelio, best wine list in town. End of discussion.
- Parma, yep, fresh pasta. End of discussion.
The days of writing about cutting edge food trucks in Fresno is over.
A couple years ago, Fresno food bloggers were writing regularly about food trucks. Food trucks in Fresno are somewhere near 14 minutes and 58 seconds of fame, quickly being regarded as simply part of the Fresno landscape rather than avant garde. Where’s the outrage against parking in the street anymore? Oh, that’s right, there isn’t any outrage anymore and as a result, no headlines. What truck is pushing the envelope of food? Where are the reports of hour-long lines for a sandwich on a Tuesday?
Food Trucks are in North Fresno / Clovis every week and at Tailgates (Thanks Ricchiuti Family)!…What better indication that they have reached mainstream acceptance!
Food Trucks in Fresno are quickly becoming the snowboard culture on the slopes; different ski, hipster outfit, younger crowd and the IDEA of being different or counter culture. But here’s the rub…snowboarders pay the same lift fee as everyone else, cruise the same slope as everyone else, stand in the same lift line as everyone else and get off the slope the same time as everyone else…Guess what? Snowboarders are just like everyone else with a different ski at mainstream big-time resorts like Vail, Aspen and Telluride.
Fresno gourmet food trucks are simply restaurants that serve food out of a truck for lunch. In the eyes of Fresnans, food trucks are quickly becoming a mobile Sam’s Deli, Deli Delicious, or Fresno Bagel.
Congratulations Fresno Food Trucks! You’ve made it! The bad news? You’ve made it. Now you’ve got to slug it out with the brick and mortars and they have air conditioning in summer and you don’t.
So what’s a Fresno food blogger to do?
Open an Instagram account, use those cool, preset filters to make average photography look hip in one touch. Keep the conversation light, use plenty of superlatives when talking about a sandwich, love your neighbor, and don’t review things with a critical eye or palate because then you’re a hater. In other words…be boring, average, regular, typical, and most of all…quiet.
But it’s totally fine to talk about the worst meal you ever had in your entire life on a recent trip OUTSIDE of Fresno. Because that’s ok.
Happy New Year Fresnans! Now let’s all go out and eat fried calamari, sweet potato fries with ranch, tri-tip sandwiches and hope our favorite menu doesn’t change from 2013!