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The Food is Great, But You Suck

The next time you dine out in Manhattan or Brooklyn, beware. A New Yorker writer may be surreptitiously jotting down your mannerisms and bloviations in preparation for passing judgment on you in the front pages of his rag. That's because the magazine's relatively brief food reviews often devote as much space to eavesdropping on whoever happens to be in a restaurant the same night as the critic, as to the food itself. Here are a few examples from some recent Tables for Two reviews.


The Lost Boys Speak Out

Ishmael Beah's book A Long Way Gone is enjoying its sixth week near the top of the New York Times bestsellers list and is receiving lots of sparkling reviews. The book is an autobiographical account of Beah's life in war-torn Sierra Leone, where he was given an AK-47 and strong drugs at age 12 and sent off to kill. (The Oscar-nominated film Blood Diamond is also, in part, about the trials of another child soldier in the same war.) But Beah's isn't the only story of children in an African nation struggling with violence, starvation, and civil war. Recently, books and films inspired, narrated, or written by young survivors of these conflicts have increased tremendously in number and popularity.


One Lucky Neighborhood

People toss the term "neighborhood restaurant" around lightly, but the folks at Frankies 457 in Brooklyn's Carroll Gardens take it seriously. Luckily for everyone, they know what they're doing.


What part of budget don't they understand? (1)

We're tempted to embrace the triumphant notion that America is the richest country in the world. When major newspapers can, without hint of irony, routinely run articles on budget travelling that include lines like: "The massages run us $120 each," (Big Sur, Small Budget) either Something is Wrong with Travel Writing, or else everyone else is just a lot richer than we thought.

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