There are “issues” that I am having to grapple with now I have been blogging a bit (and it is not just the pain of reading your own prose on the screen). One is that you have to develop your rationale for blogging. I’ve done this grudgingly and by experimentation as I’ve gone along and what it has boiled down to is that I have two rules:
1. I only review what I pay for; and
2. I go to places I review anonymously (not that hard).
So far so boring.
The reason for these rules is that I started blogging as I had read too many reviews by big name critics such as Fay Maschler or Jay Raynor which are of no reference or relevance to anyone but them. They are spotted a mile off. Let’s put it like this, if Fay Maschler or Jay Raynor say the service (and especially the service) or food are good a “domestic” eater could go along and be put in the loo, spat on and fed raw chicken. For me a proper restaurant critic has to be anonymous in order for their review to be truly valid rather than an interesting story (bravo NYT and Time Out).
I’ve also read too many reviews which are extended puff pieces or where it has obviously not been paid for. This person knows that person or doesn’t want to offend someone else. So you go to a restaurant and expect one thing, pay money you have earnt (rather than a newspaper’s or a PR agency’s) and you get a meal which can be completely at odds with what you have been led to expect.
Still, I believe it is valid to review on the basis of one experience as it is not as though restaurants don’t charge you for that first (bad) visit.
The way this links into McDonald’s is there is also another thing you realise when you start blogging. Often you have to fight with your memory and struggle to review something without accumulated experience. With McDonald’s this is especially so as you have to fight those childhood parties that baked a love of McDonald’s into your soul. You also have to rage against the apparent effect that high fat foods have on you in stimulating opioids or “pleasure chemicals”.
So McDonald’s – chips great, double cheese burger trash genius, quarter pounder like rank cardboard and chicken McNuggets like tastless reconstituted chunks of death.
Price – £4 a head
PS it is worth having a look at Kristain’s post on Londonelicious where some serious comment was had on the more basic question of freebies. Post is here.