I somehow forgot to post this column, and I actually liked it. Enjoy!
Trusting Your Own Gut
Getting my friends to try a restaurant that I have raved about is a lot like a sitting in a pressure cooker. If the meal is great, applause and cheering may ensue. But, if the meal goes sour, I wonder if I may be left with the bill.Today, with the abundance of informational sites like Yelp, Menupages, and billions of food blogs, this pressure is alleviated. We now have a scapegoat. If someone’s burger is served charred instead of medium rare, I have the freedom to just shrug and say, “Thanks for nothing Nymag.com!”
But it also causes me to question, with the abundance of opinions and reviews out there, who’s perception is now the authority? Why am I trusting my palate to anyone with a keyboard?
Enter, a Saturday in last August. With the threat of Hurricane Danny looming in the gray morning skies, the roommates and I decided to stay local and go to brunch, and then, fueled by a few mimosas, make bad decisions in some of the boutiques around town. Dressed, ready to go, and starving, we sat down in our living room to talk shop.
I am a firm follower of breakfast foods, but I must admit that I am a new convert to this weekend ritual. I’ve only experienced brunch in Hoboken less than a handful of times. Since all my concentration was flowing to my growling stomach, my mind went blank, and so I grab my laptop for a quick Google search.
“Brunch + Hoboken” led to pages upon pages of eggs Benedict and unlimited cocktail write-ups among thumbs up icons and photos. For a mile-square town, there were enough personal opinions and reviews recorded in between exclamation points to circle the globe four times.
Needless to say, I was overwhelmed. Within two minutes I had gleaned enough information to convince myself that I had already eaten my way through Hoboken without even lifting a fork. Did I try the stuffed French toast from La Isla and seek out the “Manmosa,” a mix of Blue Moon, Orange Juice and a shot of Mandarin Vodka at The Gaslight, or did I just read about it too many times? Did I even leave my apartment?
Ultimately, I suggested The Elysian, a bistro on 10th Street that I had first experienced the “old fashioned” way—by passing by, and walking inside. That Saturday afternoon, the roommates and I enjoyed croque madames: melted gruyére cheese and a salty slice of ham, paired with the dense and rich texture of a fried egg, all sandwiched between two thin slices of bread, sans crusts. Accompanied with French fries and brunch cocktails, it was bliss.
Though the blogosphere may prove that my discovery of The Elysian was not quite like finding a rare gem, sometimes its more satisfying to be satiated by the weight of your own opinion.