Steve's Gastronomic Home Page


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LINKS AND ADDITIONAL SOURCES


Restaurant Reviews and Food Sites


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I cannot visit every restaurant personally, even in the cities for which I do reviews, so I'm providing a list of sources which I believe have particularly useful information and/or credible reviews. Many of these links provide recommendations that I think would be close to my own, but I think all of are interest and make a serious attempt to provide good information.

New Mexico

    Gil's Thrilling Web Site is the authoritative guide to Albuquerque, Santa Fe, northern New Mexico, and even Cuba (New Mexico, that is). The Americana Dining links also include some very good information for some other American cities such as Chicago, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. Gil has a particular passion for barbecue, hot dogs, and good burgers, and some great finds are listed throughout the Midwest and other parts of the country.

    Duke City Food. Andrea Lin provides news and comments about Albuquerque restaurants and the food scene in general, and I think this is a must read for those interested in the Duke City. Many of the articles, though, will be of interest to people in general whether or not they live in the Land of Enchantment.

    Joni's Home Page. Local knowledge is usually the best source, and this page gives some pretty good tips for the Las Cruces area. Be sure to follow the link to the "Restaurant Guide" at the bottom of the page, leading to a more complete list of recommendations.

    Frommer's Guide to Las Cruces seems to be the best of the national guides that cover southern New Mexico, with Lesley King, the writer for New Mexico, giving good insights into the area's top restaurants.

    John Shipman's Home Page is the authoritative guide to Socorro, New Mexico and vicinity (including the famous Owl Bar & Grill in the nearby town of San Antonio), but it also includes a number of suggestions for Albuquerque, other New Mexico cities, and a few other areas such as the Bay Area in California. I was happy to see Hunan Restaurant in Roswell recommended, giving me confidence that this web site is a good guide to southeastern New Mexico.

    Urbanspoon seems to be the best source for finding the best (or at least the most popular) restaurants in New Mexico, particularly in the smaller cities. This web site is my primary source for information about restaurants in Las Cruces, although predictably it rates La Posta higher than other Mexican restaurants that I think are much better. Still, the reviews and readers' comments on the web site are quite helpful.

Oklahoma

There are several good blogs and sources of good information for Oklahoma City, and I think restaurants here are well covered by the Internet. Similar information probably exists for other cities in Oklahoma, and I will add them as soon as I discover them and confirm that they are good sources of information.

    Urbanspoon OKC has a very active forum for Oklahoma City, and I think the ratings given to restaurants (based on a "like" or "don't like" poll of readers) is a fairly good indicator of a restaurant's quality. The thing that I think is probably least useful about Urbanspoon is its list of "Best Fine Dining," "Best Casual Dining," and "Best Cheap Eats," because the restaurants listed tend to be the trendy and popular places. The individual reviews of restaurants, though, are some of the most informative I have seen.

    Oklahoma Gazette is a weekly newspaper that can be picked up free in many restaurants around town, and it is a valuable source of information (especially for new restaurants and to keep track of closings and other restaurant news). I have always found the reviews to be helpful, but with the addition of Greg Elwell to the staff I am now finding the kind of uncovering of hidden food treasures that are very valuable to me in my own food explorations.

    Many local newspapers present the "Chamber of Commerce" view of restaurants, not wishing to make any negative comments about restaurants who could be potential advertisers. The Oklahoman, though, stands apart from many newspapers in presenting what I think is an honest analysis of different restaurants in Oklahoma City while at the same time not being unfairly critical and emphasizing the positive features of each establishment (the same goals I strive to accomplish on my own web site). Much of the success in accomplishing these goals is due to the newspaper's "Food Dude," aka food editor David Cathey. Dave Cathey's Columns include many of the restaurant reviews, while his Food Dude blog has a lot of interesting information about food and events around the city.

    The OKC Talk web site includes a Food & Restaurants forum with interesting topics and good information, especially about new and lesser known restaurants. The forum mainly talks about Oklahoma City restaurants, but I have seen very good information on places throughout the state (and the discussion sometimes focuses on Tulsa).

    EatAroundOKC.com is fairly comprehensive site with reviews and reader comments about Oklahoma City restaurants. EatAroundOKC rates restaurants from highest to lowest (using a five-star rating), and ratings are based on reader input. The EatAround team of reviewers cover many of my favorite restaurants, but it is also their ability to find small and lesser known gems that makes the web site a must read.

    Yelp Oklahoma City is another good source of information for OKC, with restaurant ratings being driven by diners' reviews.

Oregon

    Normally I try to avoid MSG at all costs except when it is the Extra MSG web site for Portland and vicinity (including Vancouver, Washington). Particularly useful is the Portland Tip Sheet, and I have attempted to compile a similar list for El Paso.

Texas

    Urbanspoon Amarillo has helped me find good restaurants in Amarillo, but I have to dig deep to find the several excellent authentic Thai and Lao restaurants on the northeast side of the city. The good reviews of El Tejavan give me confidence that the ratings of Mexican restaurants are fairly reliable.

    Dining Out with Rob Balon. I think what sold me on this site is the fact that Chinatown was in the "Top Twenty" list of restaurants in Austin on an early version of the web site. However, his picks tend to be upscale restaurants, and I would probably want to consult Urbanspoon for lower priced options.

    Urbanspoon El Paso has become one of the best sites for El Paso restaurants, and while the information is not 100% accurate, it is a good source for finding out which restaurants are still in business and attracting customers who feel passionate enough about them to write reviews. My biggest problem with it is that the "best" lists (fine dining, casual, and cheap eats) include few if any Mexican restaurants, and of course El Paso is well known for its Mexican food.

    Yelp El Paso does what Urbanspoon does not seem to do-- provide a credible list of good Mexican restaurants in El Paso. I also find it useful to look at some of the user reviews such as Scott P.'s El Paso favorites.

    El Paso Times is usually the first to alert the public to new restaurants, and provides a fairly extensive list of all restaurants in the city. The "cheap eats" section is one of my favorites. I also suggest the Bite Me blog for informative articles and commentary.

    Urbanspoon Lubbock is a good source of information for Lubbock, but in my opinion the "Lubbock's most popular" lists are only of limited value for finding the best dining options.

Washington

    Chowhound was the first web site that helped me find really good restaurants in Seattle, and now has a separate board exclusively for the Seattle area. I also like to refer to the Pacific Northwest board. Chowhound and Urbanspoon both have their strengths, but the best point about Chowhound is that readers can ask general questions about the best place to find a certain type of food (and usually get good answers).

    Urbanspoon is probably the best place to find information and reviews about specific restaurants. However, with so many restaurants in the Seattle area it is sometimes hard to know where to begin. I usually rely on Chowhound to give me the big picture, while Urbanspoon either gives me specific information about a certain restaurant or it can give detailed information about a certain neighborhood. Urbanspoon is very good about finding restaurants for a specific cuisine (such as Indian, German, or Thai), but it is less useful in looking at broader categories (such as seafood or American where there may be hundreds of restaurants in the category).

    Nancy Leson's List of Top Ten Restaurants and Other Favorites. I have seldom seen a restaurant critic who makes choices that agree so much with my own tastes, but Nancy Leson, the food critic for the Seattle Times, does so. This list seems to be lacking in the hole-in-the-wall Asian restaurants that I frequent so much, but many of them are covered elsewhere on the Seattle Times Restaurants section.

    The Yelp web site for Washington is an excellent source for reliable reviews listed by city.

    The Tao of Chow writes about Seattle restaurants with a Southwest perspective, with an emphasis on restaurants in Kitsap County and other areas on the west side of Puget Sound.


OTHER SITES

Food Related

    Barry Popik's Web Site explores the origins of foods and food terms, and is an interesting web site both in terms of serious research and the fun facts it presents. Barry is an editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (2004), and lives in New York City.

    Eating Chinese by Gary Soup provides good information about "real" Chinese food.

    Czech & Slovak Restaurants lists restaurants throughout the U.S. that I am likely to put on my "want to visit" list if I am in the vicinity of any of them.

    Chef Paul's Culinary & Cultural Adventures provides interesting information about food and restaurants in London, but some older posts from the archives also provide good information about Oklahoma City, including Charm Thai restaurant where Chef Paul worked.

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