Is it Okay to Question the Top 100 Bay Area Restaurant Guide? (Short Piece 29)


The Top 100 Bay Area Restaurant guide was released yesterday. That is a great money-making day for San Francisco Chronicle by selling the Sunday issue and not releasing any of the data online until Tuesday. This practice honestly has merit to save the print media by not releasing the worthy news and information online until the paper issue value has been exhausted. I am not sure if it works in the case of worthless news or what papers such as San Francisco Chronicle print. The Top 100 Restaurant Guide is an issue by itself. What is a top 100 list supposed to accomplish? Who is to decide what goes in the top 100 list and what are the criteria? Can anyone issue a list of their own? Can anybody be qualified to make such a list? What about the changing time? What about controversies? What changes in the credibility of the authority? I am too many questions go unanswered or what is done is not poorly done. That is often the issue with lists such as this one that are great for marketing. Shouldn’t this list be titled Michael Bauer’s Top 100 restaurant list? And does it really serve as big a purpose as claimed to be? Shouldn’t there be other lists designed based on more credible criteria? I am sure many other lists are compiled regularly but are low on credibility though high in marketing value. Top 100 Restaurant Guide is now authored by a beleagured ex-journalist who is on a rampage of revenge and the sterile list has no way of showing the biases of the author. Shouldn’t other credible lists exist so once great changes (such as the author of a list going from great to crap in credibility) take place, we can ignore some lists and target the others? I think the bottom line answer is nobody cares. Reviewing restaurants and promoting some versus bashing the rest is more of a game than a serious avocation. And those who claim to be the serious professionals are forced to by being on someone’s payroll. Restaurant reviewing can be serious business and offer value if a solid system for the process has been put in place. A weak system will result in many things going wrong. The Top 100 Bay Area Restaurant List is an example of a reviewing system that can go any direction the Bauer guy wishes. I think though time and money are issues other publications ought to put good lists of their own out and strive to develop solid systems for doing the reviews and making lists. And why is it we don’t have national systems designed for such purposes? Don’t we have enough smart and well-paid journalists who can put their brains together and come up with guidelines for making such promotional materials (that is what reviews and lists are in reality!)? I think any effort to make the system better will face resistance from the realm of advertisers and special interest. I seriously doubt if everyone involved is interested in the welfare of this system and similar ones. That is not the American way of doing things. In America, we do things they way we (only those in power) want and that is the American Way of doing them which does not mean is compared to anybody else’s system but is automatically protected from criticism. Michael Bauer’s Top 100 Bay Area Restaurant List is an example of doing it the American Way. This Bauer guy who works for a paper called Chronicle writes reviews any which way he wants and makes this list of the 100 restaurants every year. Does it matter that Bauer is one of the worst people in the industry to judge anyone or any business? Does it matter that San Francisco Chronicle is one of the worst papers in a major US city by abuse of the special interests controlling its content? Does it matter that restaurant reviews can do enormous harm? Does it matter than a Top list of anything serves one and one purpose (more than anything) and that is to provide free but very strong one-liner marketing (which cannot be argued with)? I don’t think so. I don’t think as long as this whole thing takes place in America, it would matter at all. That is what the American Way of doing it is as we are brought up. Who is to argue with the big boys? What they say goes and more than anything else nobody may criticize or question any of it. That is the soul of American Way. Don’t anybody dare question what the establishment (or what functions as the big establishment) does. They are always right and if wrong, then they are right. What a screwed up state of doing things. Shouldn’t there be more credible authorities in operation? Shouldn’t there be universal but applicable guidelines for what these authorities do? I guess in a perfect world, one could argue these points but in our present universe what we need to know is Bauer published his list in SFC and that is that.

*This post belongs to this week’s edition of Wine by Cush Magazine blog and published early in World of Cush also.

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