drawing of a person on a therapist couch with a seated therapist next to the couch

"Tell me about the lunch rush."

Do you in fact notice an anecdotal trend toward restaurants that are intellectually stimulating while being emotionally distant? As important, do you think it is correct to think of a restaurant’s food as art and of its dining room as the gallery showing that work, as Brian suggests? Or is the culture of restaurants really one in which the diner’s whole experience is the art? (That’s what your Uncle Sam believes.)

What the hell is he even talking about? Does Sam Sifton know that restaurants don’t have feelings?

Sam "Bright Eyes" Sifton and Food Writer Bingo

For years, Sam Sifton, now the New York Times restaurant critic, has had a passionate over-attachment to the word “bright.” He’s rhapsodized about a “bright and lemony vinaigrette,” a small pool of olive oil “bright with garlic,”  “bright and intense tomato sauce,” and “bright and flavorful farro salad.”  Just yesterday he had “bright and lemony aioli” and a ragu in which “brightness and fire combine again in the presence of acidity.” My husband and I have followed Sam’s brightness-obsession over the course of our marriage, turning it into a drinking game. Of course, if you drank whenever you heard or read any food-writing cliché, you’d be too drunk to enjoy your blindingly bright food. So in the tradition of Michelle Kerns’s delightful Book Review Bingo, here is your Food Writer Bingo card. First person to complete one gets, well, something. Bonus points if you find some mention of Proust and madeleines.


—Artisanal Bitters (art by Snacktime)