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 27th, 2012
The “award” for unfriendliest website I’ve stumbled across in the last week goes to one of my FAVORITE restaurants in town, so this is a double shame.
Japanese Kitchen, I call you out!
Fix your strange snippet from your tracking company that shows up on the Google preview. Fix the obnoxious slideshows and unuseable menus. Give me succinct information about how to get there, when you’re open, and what kind of food you have.
Cranky Diner with an audience
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.
January 23rd, 2011
If asked to name the restaurant I would eat at for ever and ever and ever, I might actually choose one that I’ve yet to visit. It’s tiny, it’s cramped, the owner is a jerk (sometimes), and if you don’t play by the rules you’ll find yourself wondering if you stumbled into the Seinfeld Soup Nazi episode.
Yes, my choice is Shopsins.
How can you argue – especially if you are the indecisive sort like myself – with a menu that offers hundreds of options though no substitutions are allowed; this ensures that no matter what you order at a meal you have plenty of other choices to pick from as the rest of your life transpires and you realize that choosing the absolute BEST restaurant you’ve ever enjoyed really would have been too limiting. (And if it truly is the REST of your life, I expect sushi to be gone as a viable foodstuff in the next 10-20 years so that definitely leaves out all the great sushi joints.)
Now, a fabulous Japanese place, on the other hand… that could be pretty good.
Oh yeah, remember that talk we had about crappy restaurant websites? Shopsins.com breaks the rules in that they are so unbelievably well-known that their website is free to be just a weird as it is. But that’s in addition to the fact that they HAVE their address and phone number and hours in plain text right on the main page. Thank you, Kenny Shopsin.
January 21st, 2011
I Love Sushi has been on the “short list” of favorite Albuquerque sushi joints for years. They are friendly, easy to find, and the sushi is both decent-to-good and inexpensive.
Even the Alibi has been showering the love on them recently, which made me think I need to get back there for some house-cured saba. Yum.
Visiting their website I noticed it was vastly different than before, and upon first look it is pretty. Clean and brightly colored with menu navigation peppered throughout the flowering branches.
BUT. It is flash. Complete with things that spin and optional sound effects. Ick. Truly pretty on the surface with all the depth of a mirage, unfortunately.
What does that mean? It means there is virtually no TEXT on the website. This is death for anyone needing to pull up the site on a smartphone or computer with slow internet. It also means searching for the site online could be dicey, as the search engines tend to utilize text content when building their pool of information. This could be bad for SEO and people just being able to find the restaurant at all.
I recommend, for their sake, at least one of these changes:
1. Put the address and phone number in plain text on every single page.
2. Keep the same pretty scheme, but lose the flash in favor of a text-based navigation system, including the contents of the menu.