I’ve gotten used to the Washington Post stereotyping Takoma Park with the same old sorry phrases article after article: “hippie,” “aging hippies,” “granola,” “Birkenstock,” “vegetarian,” “nuclear free”…blah, blah, blah. I expected more from Washington City Paper until I read Brett Anderson’s review of Mark’s Kitchen (Young and Hungry, 5/3). The article is so snide, so smug, so self-absorbed (OK, I’m a hypocrite: I’ll stereotype), so twentysomething in its prose and woefully inaccurate in its general sense of the city that damn, it could have been written for the Post. The writer spends much space in this food review writing about his feelings about food, his previous diet, and his girlfriend, who laughs at the cute way he uses chopsticks. I don’t even care if he pans the food; I just want him out of the bloody article for a few minutes. Who’s his editor?
But let’s look at his take on the food. He says the soup and egg rolls taste store-bought. I find that hard to believe, since the whole city knows Mark is a fanatic for fresh foods. He spent months perfecting his tomato sauce before he added spaghetti to the menu. But anyway, say I’m gullible. If it tasted like Safeway, did Anderson ask? I think he’d tell us if he did.
So should Anderson be reviewing restaurants at all? He brags that he used to live on “fried rice, frozen pizza, and baked potatoes.” What if all Anderson’s palate recognizes is Safeway? I expect food critics to know more about food than I do; otherwise, who cares what they find appetizing? To be fair, in one description of Mark’s, Anderson is accurate, clever, and funny. He worries that his waitress will “spank him” for breaking a restaurant rule, so he asks for his ice cream “to go.” It’s true that one waitress in particular, Tricia, keeps a tight rein on the behavior/eating habits of her customers, but it’s never obnoxious. (I once had breakfast with a T.P. city councilmember who had to make sure Tricia was off before he ordered bacon with his eggs.)
Finally, Anderson ends with this stupid thing about taking ice cream into Taliano’s and getting hassled while he tries to drink a beer in peace. Now, why should I trust the judgment of anyone who eats ice cream with beer? His parting words to Takoma Park, “I’m sick of this new age shit,” should leave me grateful that he didn’t mention aging hippies with gray ponytails slurping up the mandoo. But what exactly is “new age” about Mark’s Kitchen? The Holstein cows and Andy Warhol painting of Liz Taylor on the walls? The elderly residents of Takoma Towers or the African-Americans store-owners who eat there every day? The flyers announcing the city’s first Jazz Festival on May 11?
So somebody help me out here with a few new-age stereotypes so I can find a more pithy closing to this note about a pissy City Paper article.
Takoma Park, Md.
via the Internet