Washingtonian Dining Editor Todd Kliman, responding to a question on this week’s “chog” allegedly sent by someone from Dupont Circle, had this to say about our recent Pannie Awards:

I thought it was disingenuous. Purpose wasn’t to ‘improve food writing’—purpose was to draw attention for stirring the pot. And my sin was … not buying into the bottom-line of a publicist?

The fact that Joe Yonan, the Post‘s food editor (who was also dumped on), and I were both included in this year’s edition of Best Food Writing — I guess that must have been one of those little inconvenient details, best left out.

I think it’s pretty funny, too, because the same column a couple of weeks earlier made a big deal of discovering a restaurant, Hong Kong Palace, that we touted two editions of Cheap Eats ago, with the writer, Tim Carman, going so far as to draw a comparison between it and the cooking of Szechuan master Peter Chang — cooking which, he admitted, curiously, he had never bothered to try.

Let’s break down this lame smackdown:

Kliman Exhibit A: Purpose wasn’t to ‘improve food writing’—-purpose was to draw attention for stirring the pot.

The Fact: The Pannies was a pointed, but decidedly tongue-in-cheek column. How could you tell? Hmmm, maybe the fact I wrote that Young & Hungry was “above criticism.” Anyone who thought the piece was literally trying to improve food writing has a reading comprehension problem. (Okay, the last sentence is an opinion, not fact. Sue me.)

Kliman Exhibit B: And my sin was…not buying into the bottom-line of a publicist?

The Fact: Kliman’s Pannie was awarded for purple prose that defined Bebo Trattoria three different ways—-none of which jibed with what a publicist told me, which was that Crystal City wouldn’t support a pricey and upscale restaurant. Yes, publicists can play fast and loose with facts, but they do have insights and information that you can check against reality. Like the fact that there is, according to the Washingtonian’s own restaurant database, only one “very expensive” restaurant in Crystal City. And it’s a huge chain steakhouse with lots of marketing clout.

Kliman Exhibit C: The fact that Joe Yonan, the Post‘s food editor (who was also dumped on), and I were both included in this year’s edition of Best Food Writing — I guess that must have been one of those little inconvenient details, best left out.

The Facts: I went to several bookstores looking for the new edition of Best Food Writing. It hadn’t come out yet. I tried calling the publisher and looking online for the contributors to this year’s edition. No go. Bottom line: I couldn’t list who was in the collection because, well, I didn’t know. But I did say this right in the lead of the column: “These compilations have included a number of local writers over the years, including Tom Sietsema from the Washington Post and Todd Kliman from the Washingtonian…”

Kliman Exhibit D: [T]he same column a couple of weeks earlier made a big deal of discovering a restaurant, Hong Kong Palace, that we touted two editions of Cheap Eats ago, with the writer, Tim Carman, going so far as to draw a comparison between it and the cooking of Szechuan master Peter Chang — cooking which, he admitted, curiously, he had never bothered to try.

The Facts: First off, my column on Hong Kong Palace made no mention—-let alone a “big deal”—-of “discovering” it. Judge for yourself. Second, the Cheap Eats edition that Kliman references talks about old Hong Kong Palace, which had different owners, different cooks, and even a different cuisine. The new establishment, run by GM Melanie Qing and her husband/chef Liu Chaosheng, has been in operation for about a year now. Third, it’s not that I couldn’t be bothered to sample Peter Chang’s cooking. The chef skipped town about three months after I started this job. I merely didn’t get a chance to eat his food before then.