Britney's Back *itch!

I'd kind of hoped that now that Obama was president stuff like this, UFC (Octogonodds) and tawdry porn (Sodahead) wouldn't happen in the U.S. any more. But that was probably too much to ask. Anyway, Britney debuted her new Circus tour in New Orlean's the other night. After a rough patch (Babble) in her life Britney's got a new hit single (Womanizer) and is trying to reestablish her credibility (Chismetime) as a top-notch pop star. Reviews of the show, which also featured the Pussycat Dolls (Blog), have been moderately positive (Radar). Gee, maybe if the tour catches fire she can jumpstart the U.S. economy! That would be a real stimulus package.

With All Due Respect, Etc...

I find that I am deeply dissatisfied with Dave Margoshes review of Regina’s new vegetarian restaurant, Beet Root, which appeared in last week’s Prairie Dog. (As a far off subscriber, I get my R-town news a week late.) Though the review was up to Dave’s usual standards of good writing and accurate menu description, I cannot trust it to be a useful account of Beet Root’s food. The reasons for this are twofold:

First, I have long suspected Mr. Margoshes of doing a bit of, shall we say, grade inflating when it comes to the Prairie Dog count of his reviews. Thus, a place like that grotty diner at College and Arcola, which reeked foul grease odour all down the block, and who’s staff scratched at open sores while they served, (I bloody well wish I was exaggerating,) received, when reviewed, the apparent bare minimum of three Prairie Dogs. I understand that Regina is a small city, and as the only local food reviewer*, Margoshes has to play nice or be shunned by restauranteurs en mass, but there is such a thing as inedible food. And inedible food should get no, zero, Prairie Dogs out of five. If Beet Root received 3.5 Dogs, I can only read that as meaning no better than that the meals were indeed edible. And that the servers refrained from scratching at themselves. I am sure that the restaurant is better than that; the text of the review makes it sound like a fairly nice joint, with tasty, nourishing food. But, having skewed his system of measurement in the past, Margoshes isn’t convincing me with his numbers.

Secondly, I would have valued the input of at least one actual vegetarian. The closest person present in the review identifies as “lapsed”. And yes, my own pro-veg prejudice pokes through here, but that often means someone who found themselves unable or unwilling to find or learn to make truly tasty meat-free food for themselves, and retreated to old and familiar eating habits. These guys are, I must say, awfully easy to impress with something just a little fancier than a tofu dog and some pasta primavera.

So, a few meat eaters, and one meat eater who gave it up briefly, visit Beet Root and declare it “Not bad, for rabbit food.” (I paraphrase, with snark aforethought, natch.) Are there any P.D. contributors or commenters who are actual herbivores, who have another opinion?

“But why,” asks the Reginian, “Does this Toronto-dweller give a darn about this one veggie restaurant of ours, or our rating review system?”

Dear Reader, I have in-laws. And I visit them. And, much as I adore being taken out for side vegetable medley, vinegary greek salad and Irish coffee at the Lakeview Steak House, sometimes I (And my fella, his brother, his brother’s wife, and all our various kiddos, vegetarians all,) like to dine somewhere where we can order from the whole menu. A really, really good vegetarian restaurant, serving food that we and our omnivorous family could enjoy, would rock our socks. And I care about the ratings because I think that no one, nowhere, should be content with food that is merely edible. We must have some standards of deliciousness, and the reviews should reflect that.

* Possibly the Leader-Post has a guy. Or maybe they just print an AP stringer's review of a restaurant in Vancouver. I'd have to read the thing to know.