Hype…is it really all that? Is hype a product of a great PR team? Are “people in the know” really that knowledgeable? Who decides what is great, “on trend” and a “must have”? I have never claimed to be an expert on ANYTHING. I know a little bit about a lot of stuff and I know what I like and I will share that info with you. I try to keep this a positive space, because we have all been told, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. But every now and then I just have to dish on stuff that isn’t great.
Was I Disappointed BECAUSE of the Hype?
Recently I went to a few places that were chattered about, recommended to me repeatedly or just had so much hype and press that I had to go and check them out to see if they lived up to the hype. Some did and some were disappointing. I have to wonder if I was disappointed BECAUSE of the hype. If these dishes hadn’t been SO talked about and swooned over, had there not been so much hype over them, would I have felt differently? Or am I right and they just aren’t that great?
Friend, and fellow food lover, Zack and I did some “food crawling” and day drinking while he was here last month and we checked out some places that I hadn’t been to yet and a few tried and true places that I knew he would love. When we got to the Cosmopolitan there was miraculously no line for Egg Slut. Moment of Truth – they have been open here in Vegas for quite a while and because I do not like to wait in line for anything, let alone food, I hadn’t been yet. So we bellied up and ordered the “iconic” Egg Slut. It is whipped potatoes with a coddled egg. You mix it all together and chow down. Yeah…I don’t need to eat that ever again. I found it bland, boring and tasteless. If you want a tastier version, go to Carnevino (Scroll to the bottom of the menu for the dinner side dishes) and get the Mascarpone & Guanciale Mashed Potatoes there. You’ll thank me later. Did I dislike it because I had Carnevino’s version first? Who knows?! All I know is that I am glad I never waited in line to eat it. I might go back and try their version of the egg sandWISH* if there is no line though.
In San Diego last weekend, three people in one night told me I HAD to go to Slater’s 50/50 and try the self-named burger. They all told me it was amazing and that there was nothing else like it. So I went to see if it would live up to the hype. Um…I can skip that in the future. It’s a burger that’s half beef and half ground bacon and topped with all the stuff I love – a runny egg, avocado and pepper jack cheese. It sounded like something I would dream up on my own; almost like they plucked it out of my id. My egg was only partially runny and the burger was really salty. If you know me at ALL, if I say it is salty…it’s fucking salty! What I did love about this place was the amazing draft beer menu that was chock full of fab local beers. I also loved the fried bacon mac & cheese balls. This was the best version of fried mac & cheese I have ever had. I felt guilty for wanting them and even guiltier for eating and loving them.
And Now for the Good Stuff!
With Zack, I went to Momofuku and not having heard anything other than “everything is awesome there” we tried the chilled spicy noodle dish on the lunch menu. YES! The noodles were cold; the sausage was hot, both in temp and spiciness. In fact, it is one of the best dishes I have eaten so far this year! I need to get back there and try more stuff!
While eating our way through the Venetian, Zack and I went to Chica to visit with pal Chef Mike Minor. New resto openings always get a lot of hype and this one was no exception. I’d have gone anyway just to visit with Mike, but now I need to go back. Nearly everything he sent our way was fantastic. Of particular note were the corn dishes. Their street corn was dirty, sexy, and over the top. And their twist on mac & cheese was inventive and toothsome and downright delish! And don’t even get me started on the chicken and avocado arepa. Sloppy and so packed with flavor that I need to eat it again.
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*I always write sandWISH.