Sunday, March 4, 2012

March Odds and Ends

March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.  Beware the ides of March.  The switch to Daylight Savings Time from Standard time happens in March.  We experience the Vernal Equinox in March.  The weather is turbulent and College Students go crazy during March/Spring Break.  And let's not forget March Madness in College Basketball and the run up to the Playoffs in the National Hockey League.  Foodies also have their own forms of March Madness as well.  MUUUUHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!

MAINpg.jpg 1.  Eating our Words in The Houston Press is doing a Burger Bracket to Coincide with March Madness, but it will be run on Monday, April 2nd.  Unfortunately, I missed Katharine Shilcutt's call for judges.  And that's too bad for me.  Truth to tell, I didn't see Ms. Shilcutt's call for judges due to being very busy in my day job teaching Economics at three different institutions of higher learning.  And that's okay.  This is actually the 2nd Annual Burger Bracket the Houston Press is doing.  The first one was done on April 4, 2011--about a month before this blog started.  Maybe this Foodie Professor is a bit absent minded after all.  Given how much I love a good burger and how often I rate them and review them in this here blog, I will make plans to be a spectator at this year's burger bracket.  Or maybe I will just hit any of the places in the bracket I haven't tried yet. For me that would be Mockingbird Bistro, Down House, Plonk, Block 7,  J-Town Streats, El Realand Bernie's Burger Bus.Yeah... THAT'S THE TICKET!!!  More to come on this.

Hubcap Grill Owner Ricky Craig
2.  Speaking of Burgers... As an online Food Blogger, I may not be a professional journalist, but I do have my own code of ethics.  For me that includes not posting a review of a restaurant that would not pass as a place I would recommend to everyone as above average.  Although restaurants have invited me to grand opening events and I've written about such events, I will only blog about them if the food is really good and the place is one I'd go to again and again.  So I can completely understand why Hubcap Grill owner Ricky Craig is pissed off at many of Yelp's business practices and will be hosting a #YuckFelp party TODAY (March 4th) 12 Noon SHARP at their 19th Street Location.  Due to limited parking, any overflow will be routed to the liquor store across the street.

Hubcap Grill Bacon Cheeseburger
 I used Yelp only for a little while back in 2010.  However, when I heard from a Vancouver area restaurant that they contacted them and said they would "suppress negative reviews" if the restaurant would pay $300.00 to buy advertising on Yelp, I was angry.  I have already said that I am no food critic and I write about what I LIKE, not about what I think sucks. (FYI--see my list on the right hand side of the page to know how I feel about Hubcap Grill)  I do not like it when Food Bloggers act like they're Anthony Bourdain or some high end New York Times food critics as it is.  But now you have a company that is doing what I consider to be EXTORTION of money from hardworking entrepreneurs for the sake of squelching message board troll posts  that could do real damage to local businesses, I find that reprehensible.  I quit using Yelp and have since told everyone I know not to rely on any so-called reviews that come from them.  If you value my opinion, that is fine, but if not, there are plenty of other food bloggers and legitimate food critics whose opinions are well thought out and worth considering, rather than just some troll ranting in order to get a free order of cheese fries.  UGH!!!

For more on why Yelp is bad for restaurants and foodbloggers alike, and why it should be held accountable for its actions, please read this post from @GunsAndTacos of The Houston Freepress.

My official take:
  • I urge all my readers and fellow Houston Foodbloggers to go to the #YuckFelp party at Hubcap Grill on 19th Street at Noon Today (March 4, 2012) to support Ricky Craig and other local restaurateurs.
  • I urge all my fellow foodbloggers anywhere to boycott Yelp, not post reviews on them and not give them any promotion or support.
  • I urge all local restaurateurs and chains to boycott yelp, take down any promotional stickers they have given you and not sanction them.  
I'll do a follow up blog on the event provided I make it today.  

3. After those two items, it's hard to follow up on much else.  However, I would like to add that I have a top burgers in Houston List working on the right sidebar of the blog now, and also a top blogs I read related to food on the right hand side as well.  For those who've sent me emails or tweets asking "Why isn't ________ in your list?", it comes down to one of two reasons:  either I tried them and didn't like them well enough to consider them worth reviewing (I don't do negative reviews) or I have not been able to try them yet due to time/scheduling issues, but they are in the queue, I promise.

4.  As someone who has connections in Louisville, Kentucky and Southern Indiana, I urge all of you not directly affected by the recent Tornadoes to please donate blood to the Red Cross and donate gently used clothes or other sundry items to the Salvation Army, Goodwill or other charitable organizations that are rendering aid in the areas affected by these crazy storms that hit this past Friday. Here is how to help.

Well that's it for my odds and ends now.  I hope March is wonderful for all of you readers.

And Remember:
Eat Happy!!!
Zao an, Y'all!!!

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