Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT May 2009

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wanderingjew
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 14:04:49 (permalink)
Freddies Mommy

WJ - Genos is better then pats in a Side by side blind taste test.    But Tony Luke's kicks them both in the Bummie.  Anyhow the point is there are alot of Jewish Delis but in a place like NYC alot of them are like Dominos is to Pizza (not good).  You are not going to find them peppered throughout the are either because they really are neighborhood establishments.  I can tell you for sure that you will find a good deli or two or three in a Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn.




FM,
 
If the Cheesesteaks at Tony Lukes are even just half as good as their Italian Roast Porks , then those have to be outstanding cheese steaks!
 
I lived in Brooklyn (the Midwood Section) from 1988-1990, there was one Kosher Deli on Avenue J, but it was take out only. There might have been more around Kings Hwy but I'm not sure. I then moved to Kew Garden Hills- I only lived there for 6 months, and there was one decent Jewish Deli I went to a couple of times on Kissena Blvd. I don't remember the name of it, however when I returned to my old neighborhood a year and a half ago, to my dismay, the deli had become "The Dominican Diner".
 
I then moved to Lido Beach before leaving NY altogether- I lived there for 2 years and my favorite deli in Long Beach (if not all of Long Island) is still there - The Lido Deli
 http://lidokosherdeli.com/
 
 
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Freddies Mommy
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 14:20:06 (permalink)
My In laws are in Midwood.  That is such a mixture of cultures there.  Most of the Italian places are now Asian and since I have been with my husband lots of places have turned over a few times.  Have you checked out Flatbush?  There are decent Jewish delis but like I said you need to find a Jewish neighborhood.  I have been told in Deal and Manalapan you can find a good private local Jewish deli.  However I never have been to either town to eat before (Even though I grew up on the NJ shore).

Lido Beach I have only been a few times when I was in College on LI.
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 14:52:29 (permalink)
Freddies Mommy

  I have been told in Deal and Manalapan you can find a good private local Jewish deli. 

The Jewish style delis in Manalapan are just okay, IMO.... (only good for certain items)   Fred & Murray's , and Jesse & David's are the 2 major delis there...
But they are just "SLICER" joints on the pastrami and corned beef....
(meaning they use Hebrew National,  not HOMEMADE, house cured & smoked..)
 
Unfortunately, those places that make HOMEMADE pastrami (like Harold's Deli in Edison, NJ) are very hard to find nowadays'')
We'll call Carnegie homemade, (close enough)as they do make it homemade at their plant in NJ, and ship it across the river in NYC... 
 
It seems like even if the neighborhood still has enough Jewishness to it, those 3rd generation children do NOT usually want to carry on the hard work of owning a deli....
 
The delis in Deal are those GLATT Kosher ones...


 
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 14:59:00 (permalink)
Good to know Ellen...  I would hate to go and be disappointed and HN sliced Pastrami is just not as good as Katz's.  I have been to Harolds a few times (the one off 287).
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 17:10:22 (permalink)
Are there still Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn?
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wanderingjew
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 17:15:22 (permalink)
Bruce Bilmes and Sue Boyle

Are there still Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn?


Believe it or not- yes!
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ellen4641
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 17:19:48 (permalink)
Bruce Bilmes and Sue Boyle

Are there still Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn?

Williamsburg, Midwood... it's mostly the ultra religious   Hasidic Jews..
(for those not in the know, they're the ones wearing the long black coats, and they have real long beards)
 
Hey, FREDDIE'S MOM,
Welcome to Roadfood, btw!  And you've been to Harold's already!!
I consider you a certified Roadfooder ! You come with good credentials..
 
.....yes, unfortunately most Jewish style delis, (even those in Jewish neighborhoods) don't want to take all the time involved in smoking and curing that pastrami and corned beef; it's a sad reality of the times...
 
Have you checked out IRVING'S DELI in Livingston?
Real good homemade pastrami, on Route 10, next to Toys R Us..
if you have a break away from mothering Freddie, you should check out my trip Report on it....(it's in the sandwich thread)
 
Well, MIAMI DON, all of us are WANDERING around on your hot dog thread!
It's nice to see your thread getting some action, anyway!
 
 

 
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ken8038
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/26 17:55:38 (permalink)
<<BTW, there used to be hundreds of Jewish Deli's in Manhattan alone, why are there only 5 left?.>.

One could write a thesis on that question. But for one thing, people don't eat that way as frequently as they used to. Certainly not enough to sustain more than a few Jewish Deli's. As I said in my earlier post, I've been to Katz's maybe 10 times in 15 years.

Same can be said of the old German Restaurants, of which I think there are 4 remaining in all of NY City. And old time ice cream parlors, and local bakeries, and corner taverns...And on and on. The only type of restuarant that seems as ubiquitous as ever in NY City are pizzerias.

Yep, things change, at least we have those that are left.
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/28 17:56:07 (permalink)
wanderingjew

Bruce, I can assure you that with the exception of the folks over 70, Katz's (and all of the other NYC Jewish Delis) the majority of patrons are touristas



I may be coming to this thread late, but this is utter nonsense.  I am a regular at Katz's, and have been since about 1970.  I live about 15 blocks from there and I eat there (or take out) at least once a month- so I think I have a fairly good feel for the place.  Let me tell you, while there are a lot of tourists there, the place is a mecca for locals.  It is a LOCAL restaurant frequented by tourists, NOT the other way around.  I will concede that the crowd has certainly changed over the years.  There's lot more Hispanic and African American patrons than before, and certainly a lot less Jews, but I think that's just a reflection of the changing neighborhoods and eating habits of Manhattanites in general.  I think a lot of New York Jews (like myself) who's parents and grandparents took them to delis their whole lives have become far healthier in this generation (mostly from seeing the whole previous generation dropping dead of coronary heart disease).  The Jews are still here, but we're eating a lot more sushi than chopped liver. 

At Katz's, the tourists may take over on the weekends, but during the week, the place is jammed with local regulars.  To say that the "MAJORITY OF PATRONS" are tourists is simply false.  
 
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/29 08:33:27 (permalink)
Mr. Creosote

wanderingjew

Bruce, I can assure you that with the exception of the folks over 70, Katz's (and all of the other NYC Jewish Delis) the majority of patrons are touristas



I may be coming to this thread late, but this is utter nonsense.  I am a regular at Katz's, and have been since about 1970.  I live about 15 blocks from there and I eat there (or take out) at least once a month- so I think I have a fairly good feel for the place.  Let me tell you, while there are a lot of tourists there, the place is a mecca for locals.  It is a LOCAL restaurant frequented by tourists, NOT the other way around.  I will concede that the crowd has certainly changed over the years.  There's lot more Hispanic and African American patrons than before, and certainly a lot less Jews, but I think that's just a reflection of the changing neighborhoods and eating habits of Manhattanites in general.  I think a lot of New York Jews (like myself) who's parents and grandparents took them to delis their whole lives have become far healthier in this generation (mostly from seeing the whole previous generation dropping dead of coronary heart disease).  The Jews are still here, but we're eating a lot more sushi than chopped liver. 

At Katz's, the tourists may take over on the weekends, but during the week, the place is jammed with local regulars.  To say that the "MAJORITY OF PATRONS" are tourists is simply false.

You're truly fooling yourself. It's called fools paradise.
 
The out of state yelp reviews speak for themselves
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The Travelin Man
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/29 09:19:48 (permalink)
wanderingjew
The out of state yelp reviews speak for themselves


You have used this criteria as the basis for argument a few times now.  I am curious - what makes you think that the number of reviews reflect the percentage of locals who eat at any given establishment?

I don't post reviews on Yelp for my hometown.  I don't know that you do, either.  And, just as an example, I looked up Allie's Donuts, which I know you love, and didn't see a review from you.  There were three reviews; two that I assume to be local and one from someone from Revere, MA.  So should we assume that one-third of patrons of Allie's are tourists from Boston?

I have always thought that this argument was specious, at best, in that you are limiting your sample size to only those who choose to post reviews to Yelp.
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/29 09:31:30 (permalink)
The Travelin Man

wanderingjew
The out of state yelp reviews speak for themselves


You have used this criteria as the basis for argument a few times now.  I am curious - what makes you think that the number of reviews reflect the percentage of locals who eat at any given establishment?

I don't post reviews on Yelp for my hometown.  I don't know that you do, either.  And, just as an example, I looked up Allie's Donuts, which I know you love, and didn't see a review from you.  There were three reviews; two that I assume to be local and one from someone from Revere, MA.  So should we assume that one-third of patrons of Allie's are tourists from Boston?

I have always thought that this argument was specious, at best, in that you are limiting your sample size to only those who choose to post reviews to Yelp.


Actually Providence and the surrounding suburbs is considered a part of metro Boston. And Revere being only 5 miles north of Boston is not even really a suburb but a part of the Urban Core of Boston so by all means a review from Revere is considered local. A review from Buffalo NY or Albany NY for Katz's would not, as they are entirely different metro areas, but me that as it may, most of the reviews were from other states hundreds, if not thousands of miles away. Any sociologist would tell you that a sample of 3 people is not enough to create a valid sampling. However the larger the sampling, the more credible the assessment. I believe Katz's has approximately 400 reviews. I didn't count every single review but I'm sure the ratio wouldn't be too far off if I did.
 
For example, Steven Rushmore believes Durgin Park is a tourist trap. I believe that couldn't be further from the truth. Every time I've been to Durgin Park the meals I've had were flat out excellent. Although half of the reviews are not local, I know many Bostonians and Rhode Islanders that love the place. Yes, they do take out of town friends and family there, which is most likely the reason that others may consider it touristy, however the reason they do is because they consider the place "a classic" and  "definitive" Boston. So, more than likely if there's are tables of tourists, each table is going to have at least one or two locals who took them there.
 
BTW, all the tourists that I know who do go to Boston on their own, always want to go to the North End and Legal Seafood.
post edited by wanderingjew - 2009/05/29 09:38:32
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/29 09:47:31 (permalink)
Forget the fact that you didn't address my concern at all - but, Google maps shows Revere, MA to North Kingstown, RI as being nearly 80 miles - and a drive time of over an hour-and-a-half.  While the census may have outlined Providence as part of metro Boston, I cannot see too many people making a three-plus hour round-trip drive to pick up a box of donuts.

I agree that 3 people is too small a sample size.  My point, nonetheless, is that locals tend not to post reviews of local places.  Heck, I looked up a number of places here in good ol' Hooterville.  A number of places show that 30% of the reviews are done by out-of-staters.  I can assure you - no place where I would eat here derives 30% of its business from tourists.

Understand, I don't completely disagree with you about Katz's - I just think that the source of your argument is off-base.  Plus, the last times you have been to Katz's have been on weekends (I was with you).  Since you have not been during the week, the fact that you can argue with someone who has seems a little further off-base.
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/29 09:51:55 (permalink)
One of the most popular pastimes on Roadfood.com is to corner wanderingjew and poke him with a stick, and then watch him try to defend an indefensible position.  I find it as entertaining as the next guy, but I think nobody enjoys it as much as wanderingjew.

Yes, Mr.Creosote, you are right - wanderingjew's assertions about Katz's ARE wacky, but no wackier than his claims about Durgin-Park NOT being a tourist joint.  Yelp as evidence?  That's part of the fun! 
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/29 10:04:57 (permalink)
The Travelin Man

Forget the fact that you didn't address my concern at all - but, Google maps shows Revere, MA to North Kingstown, RI as being nearly 80 miles - and a drive time of over an hour-and-a-half.  While the census may have outlined Providence as part of metro Boston, I cannot see too many people making a three-plus hour round-trip drive to pick up a box of donuts.

I agree that 3 people is too small a sample size.  My point, nonetheless, is that locals tend not to post reviews of local places.  Heck, I looked up a number of places here in good ol' Hooterville.  A number of places show that 30% of the reviews are done by out-of-staters.  I can assure you - no place where I would eat here derives 30% of its business from tourists.

Understand, I don't completely disagree with you about Katz's - I just think that the source of your argument is off-base.  Plus, the last times you have been to Katz's have been on weekends (I was with you).  Since you have not been during the week, the fact that you can argue with someone who has seems a little further off-base.



Three Things
1- Yes, Revere to North Kingstown is an hour and a half away. However you go down to the Rhode Island Beaches in Summer, its likely you will find more Massachusetts and Connecticut license plates than Rhode Island license plates- It's a local joke around here. And Allies is on the way to the beach. In fact its known as THE PLACE that everyone stops at before heading down to the beach.
 
2- I'm not surprised that most of the YELP reviews in Florida are out of state and the reason why is because, it's Florida!! That should speak for itself. If I'm correct, I think you can look at each "yelpers" reviews and see the different places that they've reviewed. I haven't had the time to do it, but for example, if the reviewer is from Phoenix for example, and they've posted 20 reviews, 3 are in NYC and include Katz's 3 are in California and the rest are in Arizona then I guess you may have a more proper assessment, again, this is just a "for instance"
 
3- I've been to Katz's once during the week, it was back in 1992 and it was virtually empty, but you're right I can't assess who is local and who isn't during the week, but I've been  trying to play devil's advocate and tie this all in with other other inconsistent arguments that have been presented in the past regarding other regions of the county where local cuisine which I've found out to be alive and well  has been written off by other forum members. I found out there's a very good reason for this too after talking to one of my pop culture friends but it's just too much to get into.
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/29 10:12:39 (permalink)
Bruce Bilmes and Sue Boyle

One of the most popular pastimes on Roadfood.com is to corner wanderingjew and poke him with a stick, and then watch him try to defend an indefensible position.  I find it as entertaining as the next guy, but I think nobody enjoys it as much as wanderingjew.

Yes, Mr.Creosote, you are right - wanderingjew's assertions about Katz's ARE wacky, but no wackier than his claims about Durgin-Park NOT being a tourist joint.  Yelp as evidence?  That's part of the fun! 


Bruce you know how much I love playing devils advocate.
 
Here's my overall  "real" opinion
I doubt Katz's is any more local or touristy than Durgin Park. I'm just trying to point out that Katz's is not a unique  "only locals" restaurant and Durgin Park is far from a flat out tourist trap. I love them both, and tourist trap or locals only, frankly I really don't care. I love the food at both places!
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/29 10:19:21 (permalink)
Bruce Bilmes and Sue Boyle

One of the most popular pastimes on Roadfood.com is to corner wanderingjew and poke him with a stick, and then watch him try to defend an indefensible position.  I find it as entertaining as the next guy, but I think nobody enjoys it as much as wanderingjew.
If we had a best post of the week/month award, this would get my vote.  This made me laugh out loud.  Is it true WJ is most dangerous when he is wounded? 
 
WJ, you make this place so much more fun and interesting! 


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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/29 10:22:33 (permalink)
wanderingjew

Three Things
1- Yes, Revere to North Kingstown is an hour and a half away. However you go down to the Rhode Island Beaches in Summer, its likely you will find more Massachusetts and Connecticut license plates than Rhode Island license plates- It's a local joke around here. And Allies is on the way to the beach. In fact its known as THE PLACE that everyone stops at before heading down to the beach.


Again, my point is that "locals" aren't the people writing reviews on Yelp.  If the bulk of the people from Boston who are eating at Allie's are weekenders (and isn't that just really another word for tourist?), then there should still be a HUGE number of people eating at Allie's - both during the week - and when those darn weekenders come rolling through town.  These are the people who are NOT writing reviews on Yelp - as evidenced by the THREE reviews on Yelp for Allie's.
 
wanderingjew2- I'm not surprised that most of the YELP reviews in Florida are out of state and the reason why is because, it's Florida!! That should speak for itself.


Oh, Open-Minded One...not all of Florida is Orlando and Disney.  I do not live in a touristy area - with the lone exception being KSC on launch day.  Our local airport did just start marketing flights as being to "Orlando/Hooterville" - but, I would no more consider myself a "local" of the "metro" Orlando area than a Revere resident would consider himself to be a "local" to North Kingstown, RI.
 
wanderingjew 3- I've been to Katz's once during the week, it was back in 1992 and it was virtually empty, but you're right I can't assess who is local and who isn't during the week, but I've been  trying to play devil's advocate and...


Trust me.  I know exactly what you're trying to do.  You are trying to tell the residents of some place how their place REALLY is - from your outsider's eyes.  I don't even have a problem with that.  I just wish you would bring a stronger argument than the percentage of Yelp reviewers who are non-residents.
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/29 10:28:31 (permalink)
The Travelin Man

wanderingjew

Three Things
1- Yes, Revere to North Kingstown is an hour and a half away. However you go down to the Rhode Island Beaches in Summer, its likely you will find more Massachusetts and Connecticut license plates than Rhode Island license plates- It's a local joke around here. And Allies is on the way to the beach. In fact its known as THE PLACE that everyone stops at before heading down to the beach.


Again, my point is that "locals" aren't the people writing reviews on Yelp.  If the bulk of the people from Boston who are eating at Allie's are weekenders (and isn't that just really another word for tourist?), then there should still be a HUGE number of people eating at Allie's - both during the week - and when those darn weekenders come rolling through town.  These are the people who are NOT writing reviews on Yelp - as evidenced by the THREE reviews on Yelp for Allie's.

wanderingjew2- I'm not surprised that most of the YELP reviews in Florida are out of state and the reason why is because, it's Florida!! That should speak for itself.


Oh, Open-Minded One...not all of Florida is Orlando and Disney.  I do not live in a touristy area - with the lone exception being KSC on launch day.  Our local airport did just start marketing flights as being to "Orlando/Hooterville" - but, I would no more consider myself a "local" of the "metro" Orlando area than a Revere resident would consider himself to be a "local" to North Kingstown, RI.

wanderingjew 3- I've been to Katz's once during the week, it was back in 1992 and it was virtually empty, but you're right I can't assess who is local and who isn't during the week, but I've been  trying to play devil's advocate and...


Trust me.  I know exactly what you're trying to do.  You are trying to tell the residents of some place how their place REALLY is - from your outsider's eyes.  I don't even have a problem with that.  I just wish you would bring a stronger argument than the percentage of Yelp reviewers who are non-residents.

Later I have too much work to do
I'll sum up # 3  this way and explain later
 
1960's- Green Acres, Bevery Hillbillys,
 
1970's- All in the Family, Sanford and Son, Barretta, Starsky and Hutch
 
1980's- Pace Picante Sauce Commercial
----------------------------------------------
When things started to change...
1990's and later- Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Seinfeld, Sex and The City...
----------------------------------------------
again it's all about pop culture my friend.
post edited by wanderingjew - 2009/05/29 10:33:54
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Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/29 10:34:45 (permalink)
wanderingjew, on that point I totally agree.  There are restaurants that get a lot of tourist traffic, and yet the food is good.  Places like Katz's and Durgin-Park.  Just because someplace gets a lot of tourists doesn't mean it's not any good.

There was a thread about this recently, wasn't there?  I'm trying to think of a restaurant that is filled with tourists only, and where the food is bad.  A current one doesn't come to mind but the classic example was Mamma Leone's in NYC.  Another one was Sign of the Dove, also in NY.  Now we never dined in either establishment, but both places were famous laughingstocks among locals.  Yet back in the day every last out-of-towner I knew, once I moved out of NY, wanted to go to Mamma Leone's, if they had an opinion at all.  The pretentious ones went to Sign of the Dove.

I think you see a lot less of that than you used to.  People in general are a lot more food savvy than they used to be.
post edited by Bruce Bilmes and Sue Boyle - 2009/05/29 10:38:11
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/05/29 18:23:37 (permalink)
The Travelin Man
Again, my point is that "locals" aren't the people writing reviews on Yelp.  If the bulk of the people from Boston who are eating at Allie's are weekenders (and isn't that just really another word for tourist?), then there should still be a HUGE number of people eating at Allie's - both during the week - and when those darn weekenders come rolling through town.  These are the people who are NOT writing reviews on Yelp - as evidenced by the THREE reviews on Yelp for Allie's.


Whose to say that locals aren't the people that are writing reviews on Yelp. I'm not sure what evidence you have to support your opinion. I checked a less touristy choice in Philly- Lorenzo's Pizza, it's actually in a heavily touristy area, the Italian Market- only 12 reviews- 10 out of 12 reviews were local.

Using your argument about weekend tourists, I guess you can say that someone from Boca going down for a meal in Miami's Little Havana is "a tourist". Someone from Laguna Beach CA going out for a night on the town in LA's Sunset Strip, is a tourist. Even someone from Sayville or Patchogue NY wanting to head into NYC for a day is a tourist. I can assure you the driving time to head out these destinations are
90 minutes or longer. I guess if these are tourists in these specific instances I mentioned then I'll agree with your assessment. 


The Travelin Man
Oh, Open-Minded One...not all of Florida is Orlando and Disney.  I do not live in a touristy area - with the lone exception being KSC on launch day.


The whole florida coast line is flooded with snowbirds and tourists, mind you some areas moreso than others. You don't think your area has gone through a mini population explosion over the last decade or two? Who do you think has moved there- out of staters- including you! Yes, but I'll agree not all of Florida is touristy- Ocala and even Jacksonville for example (but that's open to opinion), however St Augustine a half hour away is.

The Travelin Man
 Our local airport did just start marketing flights as being to "Orlando/Hooterville" - but, I would no more consider myself a "local" of the "metro" Orlando area than a Revere resident would consider himself to be a "local" to North Kingstown, RI.


Listen I'm not going to argue with Rand McNally regarding what area is considered a metro area or not That's why they make the $ putting out the atlases. I don't think there are specific parameters defining who may or may not consider themselves a local to a specific region.

The Travelin Man
Trust me.  I know exactly what you're trying to do.  You are trying to tell the residents of some place how their place REALLY is - from your outsider's eyes.  I don't even have a problem with that.  I just wish you would bring a stronger argument than the percentage of Yelp reviewers who are non-residents.


Yes, many times an outsider can bring some objectivity that a local may deliberately or unintentionally fail to see. In a way the Sterns have done the same thing in their books. I remember bringing in a copy of the Stern's 2002 edition of Roadfood to my old office, and one my coworkers, Cheryl a born and bred Rhode Islander who has barely ever left the state couldn't believe the restaurants that were included and the ones that the Sterns's didnt. I asked her which restaurants should they have submitted, she responded "Wes' Rib House" and "Mr Taco"....Well she's a local so she MUST BE RIGHT the Stern's put the wrong restaurants in the roadfood book.
I can say that there are many tourists who go to the Rhode Island clam shacks. I'm sure someone is going to dispute this and and say that according to their sister in law's friend's cousin, who lives in Rhode Island this is wrong. But I'm a local, therefore I must be right.

There are many, many many many topics on the forum I steer clear from. Why?- because I don't know enough or anything about them. I don't know if a 22 caliber is better than a 42 caliber. I don't know if oak wood is better for smoking meat than hickory. I don't know if one German Restaurant in Milwaukee is better than the other one. But if I'm knowlegable about something and I know I'm right about something, at least give me credit where credit is due because I'm gonna write about it and express my opinion.

You're right theres much more to this than a local or non local yelp review, although I still think thats a fairly good measurement if there's lots of reviews.

I rattled off some TV shows for a reason- these shows mean alot regarding pop culture, the media and how they have effected roadfood. I had a long talk with my buddy Mike about this- he's the Cliff Clavin of pop culture,  and a teacher and although he's not exactly a roadfood enthusiast he made an excellent point.
I'm going to start a separate thread.

http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/Pop-Culture-The-Media-and-the-profound-effect-it-has-on-Roadfood-trends-m515463.aspx

new thread

post edited by wanderingjew - 2009/05/29 19:27:00
#81
tacchino
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Re:Wandering Around NY, NJ & CT 2009/07/12 09:08:43 (permalink)
Bruce Bilmes and Sue Boyle

wanderingjew, on that point I totally agree.  There are restaurants that get a lot of tourist traffic, and yet the food is good.  Places like Katz's and Durgin-Park.  Just because someplace gets a lot of tourists doesn't mean it's not any good.

There was a thread about this recently, wasn't there?  I'm trying to think of a restaurant that is filled with tourists only, and where the food is bad.  A current one doesn't come to mind but the classic example was Mamma Leone's in NYC.  Another one was Sign of the Dove, also in NY.  Now we never dined in either establishment, but both places were famous laughingstocks among locals.  Yet back in the day every last out-of-towner I knew, once I moved out of NY, wanted to go to Mamma Leone's, if they had an opinion at all.  The pretentious ones went to Sign of the Dove.

I think you see a lot less of that than you used to.  People in general are a lot more food savvy than they used to be.





This is where I ultimately feel that there is a great deal of subjectivity with restaurant likes and dislikes, and what determines a place to be "touristy" or with "lousy" food.

Bruce and Sue, when I lived near that neighborhood I would go to the Sign of the Dove from time to time, and generally enjoyed both the food and the service...guess that made me a "pretentious tourist" who happened to live in Manhattan, along with the numerous other people dining there that lived in the neighborhood, worked for the nearby hospitals, etc.  Was the food the very best you could find in Manhattan?  Perhaps not...but IMHO the cuisine was very good....and those locals who dined there regularly would not have stayed for as long as they did if the restaurant did not prepare it as such.  Was the decor to everyone's liking?  Maybe not, but I liked it...it also tended to be a special place for Valentine's Day, wedding proposals, etc...even for locals...yet many dined there regularly, too.

About Mama Leone's, I can't say much as I never dined there....but given its location (on the other side of Manhattan, by the Theater District, where there are a lot of tourists), and the "hard sell" it used to give in TV commercials, it makes sense that it had a lot of tourists.   

Not sure why tourists would have even made the trek over to the specific part of the East Side where the Sign of the Dove was...nothing really touristy in that mostly residential area (with again, a number of hospitals). 

Perhaps locals you knew believed it to be a "laughingstock," but I never heard it referred to as such by locals...neither did the local dining guides I used to peruse.

As I said, I think there is a great deal of subjectivity in dining reviews....it is good to review them, to get ideas, but as with movie reviews, your own mileage may vary...as individual tastes will vary.
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