because I can

I have to admit that there is often valuable information on Chowhound. Reviews of new places that haven’t triggered a visit, reviews of new places that put them towards the bottom of our must-visit list, recommendations for cities we’ll see on vacation, and sometimes ideas for new recipes (in Home Cooking). If you read enough posts, you get an idea of whose posts are worth ignoring and which posters actually offer constructive advice and criticism. There are posters who rave on and on about a food spot, to a point where you wonder if they have financial ties to these places or if they just can’t bring themselves to give negative feedback. On the other hand, you have posters who have nothing but spite for San Diego dining, nothing is ever good enough, and they are never satisfied, to the point where you wonder if they’re only dining out so they have something to complain about.

The argument has been had, quite often on Chowhound, that while San Diego is not a San Francisco, New York, or Los Angeles, we certainly have our fair share of good restaurants.

It should be noted that it is impossible to call someone out on Chowhound, because you will just end up in some never-ending argument, everyone starts to take sides, and then moderators will delete the whole thing due to being off-topic.

Which is why people have blogs.

So, to “h*nkman”, I say that you must be some grumpy old man who has so much money that you enjoy spending it on food that is clearly not worthy of your praise. I also think your taste buds are completely backwards because you are one of the few that had nothing but the highest praise for The Better Half, a restaurant I visited and found quite lacking, in quantity, quality, and just general taste. Even after other people confirmed my experience, you just all out defended the place. I’m not about to get into an online argument with you over your criticism of Luc’s Bistro, but if you were so unhappy with your meal (bland? Their food may be many things, but it is never bland) I’d rather you didn’t go back for a revisit. I’d rather you just drive around San Diego with our terrible service and undeserving food and be happy with your odd tastes that enjoy bland mushy fish with a side of overcooked noodles coated in bottled chili sauce.

I will be honest and say that I may have a slight bias towards Luc’s. They are new, the owners are friendly and we’ve spent a lot of time talking to them, and I want them to succeed. They have good food and decent prices and they are unique to Poway. We’ve gone there often enough, and from the start, that they recognize us when we walk in (and sometimes tell us when our friends have recently visited, too) and I really like that. But, if I didn’t enjoy the food, if the service was always terrible, or if anything else caused us to have a poor dining experience, you can bet that we wouldn’t be there. I’ve been to The Better Half once and only once and never had a desire to return. When La Fontana was still around, we went once and only once. I dined at The Brig, only to please T’s curiosity, and we have not returned since.

We also have fairly simply tastes. While I like fancy restaurants and pretty presentation, I’m also just as happy with a grilled sausage at home. We’ll splurge on a meal on vacation, at the famous restaurant in the city, and sometimes it feels worth it. Sometimes it just feels like we spent a lot of money on regular food. One day, we’ll pile our money together at dine at El Bizcocho, but I’m not in such a hurry to do so. Not when we can fill our bellies with good food and be happy for much less money.

There are many places around San Diego that we enjoy. The truth is that we just don’t get out to all of them as often as we’d like. For starters, we live in Poway and it takes effort to drive all the way down to North Park or Starlite or sometimes even Convoy. It’s easier if we leave from our offices, but that takes advanced planning and most of our dining out occurs on weekends. After work, we kind of just want to head home and stay there. If Luc’s was anywhere but Poway, as good as it is, the truth is we probably wouldn’t go as often. So, part of its charm is that it’s so close to home and it’s so convenient for us. Which is probably another reason I’d really like to see them stay. I’ve eaten at the restaurants that preceded them and they are, by far, the best to occupy that space.

So, pooh on you, grumpy Chowhound posters.  You may think you know what you’re talking about, but I don’t think you’re rightly justified in walking around my town with your nose up in the air being all condescending and harsh.

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3 responses to “because I can

  1. Just to play devils advocate, maybe honkman lives around the corner from the better half, so he had the same kind of investment in that as you do in Lucs? Its always really disappointing to go way out of your way to try a restaurant and find it lacking.

    I agree that some people just need to move to another town if they are going to be so miserable about san diego, its a fantastic place, and there are some real gems here! I’m sad that I probably wont make it out to Lucs since I’m lucky enough to live closer to so many great places.

    • I guess it’s not so much the raving about The Better Half that bothers me (it’s probably just such a sore spot that we found the food so disappointing after hearing such praise for the place – from a lot of people on Chowhound), but more the outright disdain for any restaurant he didn’t like. If something was wrong, everything was wrong and there was no glimmer of hope for improvement. And then there’s the general comment that always gets thrown out along the lines of, “But, what did I expect from San Diego?” That really bothers me.

  2. Ha! After his essay of complaints, I figured I wasn’t even going to bother trying to counter the issues he had. You hit the nail on the head, though.

    At least we can take some comfort in the fact that the Better Half is gone. We obviously weren’t crazy…

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