January 31st, 2013
Howdy, everyone. I often find myself in a place wondering, “what in the heck is going on with new restaurants around town?”
At that point I need to use my Google-Fu and start digging for information. You know that often gossip is inaccurate, so how can we find good information? I have a few tips on how to find what you want. Here we go:
1. Urbanspoon’s “new restaurants” list. This is a hidden search on Urbanspoon’s page, but handy if you only want to see what has been added to their database lately. Here’s how to find it: in urbanspoon.com, you’ll be on the main page where it shows you the hip/hot/featured restaurants for your city. This is the address of that page: http://www.urbanspoon.com/c/60/Albuquerque-restaurants.html
Scroll down until you see the stuff in the left-most column come to an end. You’ll see a tiny link that looks like this:
…and it’s URL is this: http://www.urbanspoon.com/lb/60/best-restaurants-Albuquerque?sort=date
To make sure you can always get back to this page, just bookmark it! Done.
2. foodloversnm.com – this is a tumblr site with lots of drool-worthy photos of New Mexico food. However, there are also links to a list of recent restaurant closures, as well as a way to buy the book called “Food Lovers’ Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Taos” – a brand-new compendium of over 300 food spots all over from restaurants to stores to breweries. Yes, I’m biased. But YES it is an amazing resource and you should have one in your glove box.
3. Email me! Need a tip? Just get in contact using my easy-peasy email address. It’s my name AT andrea <dash> lin <dot> com. Translate that into an email and you’re all set. Or send an email to that chick over at item #2. We have strikingly similar knowledge sets.
February 5th, 2012
There’s a problem on Urbanspoon that is growing worse – it used to affect Yelp even more so but the ascendance of Urbanspoon has brought it back: any and all reviews that are posted by someone AS THEIR FIRST REVIEW should be suspect, even disregarded completely.
Consider a new Urbanspoon user. Why are they there? Often it is because they have signed up for an account in the heat of the moment – ANGER or ELATION about a restaurant. Many signup from mobile devices, even while they are at the restaurant, lobbing comments about the overall experience without the details that lead to their conclusion.
Based on observation rather than rigorous data collection, most wildly negative or wildly positive reviews are left by users that will never review again. But what builds credibility as a reviewer? EXPERIENCE. And not just general eating experience, but experience sharing one’s opinions with the world in appropriate detail. A review that simply says, “this is great” or “this sucks” is useless. In that case the “reviewer” should just mark the place as “I like” or “I don’t like” and be done with it.
Keep that in mind when you see things like this (one negative, one positive):
Then, do everyone a service and mark their review as “not helpful”. We all appreciate it and the quality and reliability of websites like Urbanspoon and Yelp can get better.
October 21st, 2011
Just recently found this roundup of diner’s annoyances on a midwestern food blog. Not a bad site, actually. It almost makes me want to fly Northwestern/Delta *and* have a hideous layover so I can investigate the Minneapolis food scene. (Not.) (I mean “not” on the layover/Delta part, not the Minneapolis part.)
There is even a nice little website gem in there, applicable to every goddam restaurant website on the planet. Hear, hear:
“The whole point of having a website is to disseminate your address, hours, contact information, and reservations policy. List ‘em. List ‘em prominently. Keep them current. Do not bury them behind a 30-second Flash introduction with music.”
Many of the grievances are about information and the lack thereof:
- disclose prices, from “extra sauce” to the daily special
- if hot food is ow-ow-ow-omigod-hot!, warn diners but don’t “protect” them from spicy food
- warn about portion sizes – if they are huge and a table of 4 is about to receive 12 pounds of food, it is really courteous for the waiter to notice this when orders are taken and to give the table a heads up
Some of the listed items are just preference (beer without a head?), but mostly I’m on the More. Information. Please. bandwagon.