Art critique

When Readers Criticize the Critic, 2021 Edition – Orange County Register

I just spent two weeks trying to clean my inbox. I receive a lot of mail. Some are fun to read. Some, not so much. All this very opinionated. Apparently I rub people the wrong way every now and then, and they don’t hesitate to let me know. In the spirit of the holidays, I share your feedback.

Some people write to me telling me that I suck at writing and should be embarrassed. Take Tom, for example, when he wrote, “As a professional writer, words are your tools of the trade. While we can ignore amateur mistakes, it is important that you use them correctly. The past tense of “lead”, (pronounced leed) which means to guide or lead, is “led”. Lead (pronounced led) is a metal. You were wrong today, if I had written the article I would have been embarrassed, you should be too.

Oh, Tom. It takes more to embarrass me. But while you’re here, can we talk about your commas?

Tonkotsu ramen with chashu at Gyutan Ramen in Irvine (Photo by Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register / SCNG)

A reader named Susan took offense at my sexism in a review of Gyutan Ramen when I noted that the pork in one of the soups was “outrageously fatty, which might not be the best choice for lunch if you want to. are on your way to the beach in a bikini.

“Maybe you should change that sentence to read ‘speedo or bikini’,” she wrote.

Point well taken.

Sometimes readers write to me to let me know how much they appreciate something that I have written.

“I really enjoyed your article [about Sushi Ii] today. The writing was as good as you ever have. I could taste it. Well done! ”-Chef Mike.

Iced gin and tonic with juniper berries, lime and rose petals (Photo by Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register / SCNG)

“You’re a genius! That’s all I can say,” wrote Jeff, who has attached some photos of the frozen gin and tonic he made using the article I posted on the hack of the recipe for the famous cocktail at Vaca in Costa Mesa.

Sometimes people write to me thanking me for helping them discover a new restaurant or new food.

“I’ve always wondered about this place,” Brion wrote, referring to my article on Sofra Urbana. “Well… Thanks to your advice, I ventured out and took a chevapi. It was a delight and this bread thing was like a pillow puffed up from carb heaven! You Da Man !!

The original Ruben Sandwich from the Crescent Moon Pub at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska, via Goldbelly (Photo by Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register / SCNG)

“I read your rave review of The Original Blackstone Reuben from Crescent Moon with great interest and a dash of skepticism,” Hilarie wrote, referring to a story I posted about food delivered from across the country for the pandemic. “I tried my luck and ordered this sandwich kit. I prepared them EXACTLY as the recipe indicated. It was an alien method, of course, but I wanted to give it a shot. And you were so right! He was a most excellent Ruben.

“Thanks for your article on the best donuts in Orange County,” wrote Lisa, who has led her 11-year-old son to the 10 donut shops I recommended. “We had to judge for ourselves. Yes, it was a lot of sugar but also a lot of time in the car for both of us to talk. We had a great time.”

I’ve heard of people doing this before, but all in one day? Wow.

Assortment of donuts from Good Town Donuts in Costa Mesa (Photo by Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register / SCNG)

“I’m a newcomer to OC from New York, and your reviews are my bible,” Rae wrote. “Good food in New York City isn’t usually found in the malls. And finding the wonderful ethnic restaurants in OC, which is 1/3 the size of Connecticut, is difficult. You are doing a fantastic job! Do you have an option to have the document provide a printable format for your summary of best reviews? “

Welcome to Orange County, Rae. Thank you. And yes, we are already doing something like that. Watch for my annual 75 Best Places to Eat, which comes out again in the spring. For 2021, I made a special taco version. Everything is available online. (Note to self: never, ever read online reviews.)

Mesquite Charcoal Grilled Chicken Taco at Lola Gaspar in Santa Ana (Photo by Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register / SCNG)

Sometimes I strike a chord, like when I wrote very sincerely, “The world needs more beer gardens, especially at times like this.

This line sparked a reader named Steve, who wrote angrily, “The world needs more beer gardens. Truly! Please tell me why, Brad? Seriously… exactly why does the world (or even OC) need more beer gardens? I’m generally an admirer of your writings, but the sheer absurdity of such an opening statement in your column today almost made me choke on my morning oatmeal. You lose it, mate. Sorry.”

Could someone please check Steve? I hope he wasn’t eating oatmeal this morning.

Meanwhile, other people get angry whenever I give a less than favorable opinion on something, like when I recently suggested that Kraft Singles might not be the best cheese. It shocked a reader named Jayville, who wrote, “It’s shameful to deal a low blow to Kraft! People own stocks in the company… who made you the popular palette? “

I think Jayville wanted to write “palace” or maybe he meant to call me a mattress. I’ve been called worse, but I usually forward these emails to the police. Either way, I find it funny that he thinks I could actually blow the stock market up by offering my take on the world’s most popular cheese. Hey man, whatever you do, don’t watch twitter.

Keep the letters coming.