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Five Annoying Things About Today's Herald Story On Miami Spice

When I first saw The Miami Herald front page headline this morning -- "It's Time To Add The 'Spice'", I thought reporter Elaine Walker was copying Short Order's tallying of which restaurants were worth going to for Spice and which weren't. But there was no critical commentary involved -- probably because Ms. Walker doesn't have much in the way of food background. So the first annoying thing about the article:

1. The paper didn't use its food writer -- you know, the person who actually knows about the restaurants being covered. Apparently the Herald is keeping Victoria Pesce Elliott busy writing about the war in Afghanistan.

2. A photo of seared salmon on the paper's front page is labled "hanger steak". A photo of hanger steak is labeled "poached salmon". Meaning the editor who laid out the photos knows even less about food than the writer.

3. The Herald's "Top Five" recommended restaurants (from Miami.com),

are places where the writer claims "Miami Spice price is truly a deep

discount". This short list includes two establishments with the least

impressive deals (Michy's, Mr. Chow) and another two that haven't yet

released menus to the public. So did they just pick 5 well known

restaurants off the top of their heads and decide to steer potential

diners there on a whim? Seems that way, which goes the opposite

direction from what an article such as this is supposed to do: Help

sort things out for the readers and help them make the best choices

possible when taking advantage of Miami Spice. At least that's what

newspapers used to do before the bean-counters took over.

4. The article includes, without mockery, predictable statistical whining from the

National Restaurant Association -- the group that works tirelessly to

keep restaurant worker salaries and the minimum wage as low as possible

so restaurant profits can be as high as possible. The NRA claims that

total restaurant sales growth, adjusted for inflation, declined 2.9% in

2009. This translates to only $27 billion in sales for Florida

restaurants, a number that is expected to increase a mere pittance to

$27.6 billion this year. You kinda have to feel sorry for this industry, right?

5. The Herald piece reinforces the effete, elitist,

could-care-less-about-locals nature of many of these restauranteurs.

Walker writes that Shareef Malnik of The Forge "has tried to dispel the

image of The Forge as a special occasion or expense account meal,

lowering the average check about 25 percent to $85 per person." All I

can say about this is I wish I was making as much money as Walker and

Malnik -- meaning enough that I could take my wife out for a $170 meal

and consider it just another regular weeknight meal. Nicola Siervo,

partner KNR Restaurant Group, which runs Quattro Gastronomia and Solea,

says "This is the perfect program for this kind of economy because

people can still afford a nice dinner." That's a kind sentiment, but

doesn't it imply that once the Spice program ends, residents won't be able

to afford dinner at those restaurants? Why not just say "We're a

restaurant that welcomes the locals in our community with open arms --

for two months a year."

All in all, this Herald Spice article is a lazy, thoughtless piece of

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cheap cheerleading -- just the sort of writing that has folks

cancelling their subscriptions in droves and heading towards Internet

sites that at least attempt to get to the truth.

Or maybe I'm just upset because the Herald cancelled Get Fuzzy. I mean just what sort of nitwits are running that newspaper?

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