Five years ago I asked to step away from reviewing restaurants. At that time, I wanted to learn more about journalistic endeavors that didn’t involve stuffing my face. I also needed — after so many years of constant dining out — to spend more time at home, cooking for my family.
But starting today, I am back on the dining beat in a big way.
I will be exploring Atlanta’s food scene with a reinvigorated appetite — checking out interesting newcomers, revisiting forgotten oldies and alerting you to the intriguing ethnic dining options that make Atlanta such a unique food town. I’ll also have a stronger Digital presence with my Food and More blog, where you’ll be able to find daily restaurant news and food buzz. Meridith Ford Goldman, to whom I passed the baton in 2004, will continue writing the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s formal restaurant reviews every Friday in the AJC’s weekend Go Guide.
Let me quickly tell you where I am coming from. I began this career almost 20 years ago as a dining critic for Westword, Denver’s alternative newsweekly, soon after I graduated from culinary school. But I had one little secret I hadn’t shared with my editors: I didn’t eat red meat.
Yet before long I found myself in a prominent new steakhouse, staring with some consternation at a sizzling, USDA Prime ribeye steak. Hi, Bessie. I sawed off a bloody bite, chewed thoughtfully and found the flavor equally delicious and distressing. I was overwhelmed. Later that evening I made a certain Bernese Mountain Dog very, very happy.
It did not take me long to develop a taste for steak. In fact, I’d eat just about anything on my plate as long as it wasn’t imploring me not to.
“All good things in moderation” turned into “all good things in excess” as I experienced more tasting menus that took me on their merry, fat-choked way through pork belly, foie gras, triple-cream cheeses and chocolate ganache. Indulgence — overindulgence, even — it seemed to me, had become the reigning hallmark of too many restaurants.
When I stopped reviewing restaurants for the AJC, I returned to a more balanced diet and (I’m not gonna lie) began enjoying my meals a whole lot more. Being the primary cook in my household has made me a lot more purposeful when I consider what foods to prepare for my kids. Now that I’m out visiting restaurants again, I want to bring to bring some of this perspective to the beat.
I’m hitting the restaurant scene beginning with a soufflé-deflating bang. I will visit a new restaurant every day throughout November and detail the good and the bad, the skippable and the snarftastic, on this blog. You can also count on several blog posts a day on topics ranging from restaurant news and market finds to home cooking and dining trends.
My Sunday column will continue in this space but becomes a bit broader in its discussion of dining, cooking and eating.
I’m excited by this prospect because, frankly, I have a lot of catching up to do. There are a lot of good restaurants in this town I have never visited and many more I haven’t set foot in for, well, five years. When we do dine out, my wife and I stick to a few favorites near our house. We like to explore inexpensive international restaurants on Buford Highway, and for a blowout meal, we get sushi.
It’s about time for a fat steak.