The Gleeful Gourmand: Richmond's On the Map!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Richmond's On the Map!

I would like to say that the following is just my opinion. I don't expect many people, if any, to agree with me:

I was sent a great link today to GQ online that featured the chef and owner of Richmond's own Comfort, Jason Alley, wherein he listed his favorite Richmond restaurants, and talked about how Richmond is evolving into a "food town." I was so excited to see this because finally people not only in the South and Mid-Atlantic are starting to acknowledge Richmond as a great city for food (something we Richmonders have known for a while), but it opens it up for the rest of America as well.

Some of the places I have been to and enjoyed, and some places I've heard of but never been to (but want to!), and some I'd never heard of before but am excited to try.

But. There were a couple of things about this article that rubbed me the wrong way. Let it be known that I am a HUGE fan of Comfort. Every meal I've ever eaten there has been amazing. Alley is a master of creating simple, delicious, satisfyingly true Southern comfort food in a space that is both unpretentious and fun. However, I was really turned off by how much he cursed in this article. But maybe that's just me. I've read countless articles in men's magazines (I actually really enjoy reading Men's Journal) given by actors, singers, authors, artists, etc., and more often that not the copy is barraged with their quotes containing line after line of profanity. What I don't understand is why these guys seem to think it's necessary to curse this much. Is it because they think no other man will understand their speech unless they drop the "f" bomb repeatedly?

It makes me look at these men differently. It's so unnecessary, and let's face it, terribly childish. It's the way high school boys talk when they're not around their parents (or maybe even around their parents, who knows?). And the copy suffers for it. Take the first quote from Alley: "Even Secco, a straight-up Mediterranean spot, is using all local shit." I did a double take, honestly. Because the way it reads, when you read it quickly, is that this restaurant is serving up feces. When you're talking about food, the least appetizing way to describe that food is profanity.

I understand that most kitchen restaurants are testosterone-fueled, curse-filled, trash-talking places. When the heat is on maybe it has to be. I know I wouldn't last a minute in that type of place, and frankly I wouldn't want to. But when you're representing my city to the rest of America as a place where people should come and eat and respect the food, and the city, don't you think you could refrain from cursing for just a second? Maybe? Is it really that much of a struggle to have decorum these days?

Secondly, Alley says some things about The Jefferson Hotel which are categorically untrue. 1) Gone With the Wind was not filmed there. It is rumored that the staircase in The Jefferson was the inspiration and replicated for their sets. 2) There were no random alligators in the lobby because of a flood. There were pet alligators kept in the marble pools in the lobby for show during the hotel's heyday. I know, sounds nit-picky, right? But I'm a history buff, and I think it would have been way cooler to accurately talk about how F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Elvis, and countless other famous people stayed there.

Anyway, read the article here. It's good, despite what I mention above. If you're a Richmonder, hopefully you'll have some new places to try. If you're not from these parts, come to Richmond! It really is becoming a great city for food. And go eat at Comfort if you've never been - pronto!


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