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post Alibi’s Restaurant Critic Chooses to Focus Locally

June 6th, 2011

Filed under: announcement,food trends,local media — Andrea Lin @ 1:14 pm

Ari LeVeaux, the restaurant critic for Weekly Alibi, is taking the food section on a detour thru parts known.  In rechristening the Alibi’s food corner with the name Locavore, he’d like to have less alka-seltzer in his pocket and more local beans or goat on his tongue:

“The first rule of Locovore is that I will no longer be opening my mouth to mystery meat. By “mystery meat,” I mean meat that has no story attached, no way to evaluate the meat’s ethical and ecological baggage—things like its carbon footprint or the animal’s living conditions. I’m not demanding to see the animal’s birth certificate, but the more I know about the meat, the more likely I’ll be to order it. And I’ll beat a path to the door of any restaurants I hear about that’s using local ingredients.”

Hear, hear, Ari.  Thank you for stepping up and I hope this is a minor domino effect in local food chatter, from the Alibi to Local IQ and maybe – just maybe – on over to the Albuquerque Journal.

I appreciate locally grown ingredients.  I adore meat raised outside of the depression of a feedlot.  I also endorse eating not only better meat that had a story and possibly a face and a name, but also eating LESS of it.  But there are so many other ingredients that encompass the amazing spectrum of omnivorousness, just waiting for your hungry lips and pointy forks. I can’t tell you how many folks who don’t know me well have asked me, “but aren’t you a vegetarian?” after I’ve ordered a steak when they’ve seen me eat gargantuan salads or wax poetic about some bean dish. Simply put, I adore nearly all foods when prepared well.

While this topic deserves more conversation and detail, especially as it pertains to sustainability, I will leave you with this: if only the dining public knew that the varieties of flavors, textures, and cooking techniques that apply to “meat” also applies to one of my own favorite foods, BEANS.  For more beany goodness, start here:  Rancho Gordo.

2 Comments »

  1. Sigh. I really thought this whole locavore-food-snob thing had run its course when the economy crashed, and it should have become obvious that guess what? not everyone is going to be able to afford locally-grown, ethically-sourced, very expensive food, even if there was enough supply. Guess not.

    I would care about this more if I actually read the Alibi – I quit about 10 years ago when I, you know, got a real job, and had a kid and grew up, and stuff. I don’t think most people are reading the Alibi for the food criticism – I would imagine the sex ads and the concert listings trump the restaurant reviews any day of the week – and if this is what this Ari person wants to do – only review the food that interests him and that he considers morally acceptable, then, I guess, more power to him. It’s a free country.

    Personally, though, I don’t think a good way to serve the public and your readers is by narrowly focusing your coverage on what you think is good. It would be like a movie reviewer only wanting to review art-house movies because the latest Hollywood schlock offends their aesthetic sensibility. Um, OK, but A. the schlock is out there and B. obviously some people are interested in it. I hope Ari doesn’t think that by focusing the food column on “local only” he is going to change the world. I believe what Ari will end up doing is called, in popular parlance, preaching to the converted. The people most likely to follow his column are the fixie-riding, hemp-wearing folks who already care about local food. The unanointed are unlikely to be as impressed with Ari’s efforts to ferret out the morally correct food of Albuquerque as he seems to be.

    As for me, I will continue going to our local burger joints, Mexican restaurants, and sandwich places and love my food and love the local folks who serve it to us. Whether or not the meat I’m eating “has a story” behind it. (FYI, Ari, I can tell you what the “story” of meat is – the animal was born, it grew up, it got slaughtered and butchered for its meat. That’s the story. You’re welcome.) I don’t share Ari’s refined and rarefied sensibilities when it comes to our fine local restaurateurs, although I do care (to a degree) about sustainable agriculture and eating less meat. I doubt Ari will find many readers DO share his rarefied idea of what makes food “okay” to review. But I imagine the real question here is, how will local restaurateurs feel about the Alibi eschewing them in favor of Ari writing about the same ten restaurants over and over, and how will Ari’s publishers feel about that? That, my friends, is where the rubber will really meet the road.

    And when the Alibi comes to its senses and hires a restaurant reviewer that is interested in actually REVIEWING RESTAURANTS and not preaching the locavore foodie gospel to the Great Unwashed, hey! Maybe I’ll actually start reading the paper again.

    Comment by Crosley — June 8, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

  2. First, a correction: the column’s name is Locovore, not Locavore.
    Second, thank you for the great comments. It will be interesting to see where he takes the column – will it be really exclusionary, or will Ari find room to nudge for better practices while still praising and acknowledging local owners who are busting their butts each and every day to make those Huevos? I hope the latter is true. I try to do that myself, and hope that it comes through in my reviews and in my blog posts.

    Comment by Andrea Lin — June 9, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

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