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NOpinions, Integrity and the Process

This is an attempt to list and describe most of the criteria I employ and how I arrive at the results. This should give people a clear idea of my methods and if they would view the findings of the process useful to them. I strongly suggest this section is read. It will also contain biases, dislikes and blanket statements that, while true or 98%+ so, might offend people who think that allowing everything to do and speak of everything they so chose is beneficial to the population.

First off, I do not believe in the opinions of everyone counting. Most people know little or nothing and/or have no taste and/or are biased in some manner. Would you listen to someone’s opinion on great eating if they told you that Applebee’s was the best restaurant, in their opinion? Would you say they are correct? I hope not and if so, do not read any of my material. So, if they are not correct that makes them wrong. Outright! Are they entitled to their opinion, sure, but there is a difference between having one and being right. That is an extreme example but the logic applies to many other establishments that, while possibly better than the example given, are still poor enough that nobody should patronize them. They might be successful or convenient or have many other characteristics that someone might deem positive but the food is terrible. This leads to what I term,


My writing is closer to a statement of fact than of some random opinion. Not to say there is no gray area in these matters or that I am infallible but I know that most of the gibberish that is written has no thought and is mindless and oftentimes, factually, or as close as can be for a fluid subject, wrong. Again, Applebee’s is not the best restaurant in the world. I consider that a fact for the purposes of this site.

If the statement is qualified, Applebee’s is the best restaurant in this podunk town or Applebee’s or something to that effect, perhaps it is true. Any number of qualifiers exist and might give the speaker credit to their name. However, if they do not realize the absurdity of their unadorned statement this is due to the fact that they are not precise in their thoughts or that they believe what they said. Either one of those qualities is enough to discard that person’s thoughts.

Much of what I write, at least when I convey it as such, is thus a NOPINION. More akin to a fact and not an opinion and without much room for argument. It is usually stated with logical, simple reasoning behind it. I do not need to hear the arguments of most people and you should try to filter through it as I have. There are a few people who are knowledgeable, reasonable and write well enough to take what they say into consideration. Unfortunately, that percentage is very low.

Finally, if opinions are taken by everyone from everyone because everyone is entitled to have them and express them and by extension everything is fine and good and one is just as good as another then why is there so much crap out there? If you do not think there is, well, you should read elsewhere.

Nopinion: A statement that while not proven by scientific method is taken as close to a fact. This is in contrast to an opinion which is merely what someone states without much regard to any reality, standard or much of anything. Read it, learn it, prove it false if you can. The goal is to know more and better.


Rampant throughout the food world. Whether it be for convenience, hip factor or whatever, bias abounds. I believe that I have very few biases and more importantly will admit and state it if I do. This is a huge point. If someone tells you beforehand that perhaps they are biased on an issue, they are admitting that this judgement might be off the mark from the true center. I feel that if they are honest enough to admit this, they might be trustworthy on other issues. At least the possibility remains, as opposed to someone who is just biased and states their cases as pure.

Bias must be held to a minimum and accounted for when present by the writer, otherwise the likes or dislikes cannot be trusted. Let us go through some biases that prevail and some of my own.

Geographical Bias: This can be at different levels, country, neighborhood, etc. I find neighborhood bias to be the worst. People eat in a certain ‘hood for convenience to home or work or because that ‘hood is so chic or for whatever reason. Some neighborhoods in NYC have zero or literally maybe one or two places that are worth eating in. Some cities have none. Seriously, that is the case with most of this country, the food is terrible. Get over it. Where I live, the food blows, period. I understand if you have no time or whatever the reason might be for ordering from such and such or dining here or there but that does not mean it is any good. In Manhattan, unless it is for work related reasons, convenience is not an excuse for anyone who claims to “love great food”. If you are too lazy to go and get it, then your laziness exceeds your love. That doesn’t sound like love to me.

Name Dropping Bias: This is like the Hip Neighborhood Bias. Oh, I was here or I saw so and so, they were at the table next to us. So? If you are about food, how cool the ‘hood is, how “in” a place is or who is there is irrelevant. If you care about seeing some famous person who doesn’t know you or care about you, if you care about the celebrity of the people who eat somewhere, please do not speak or write about the wonderful food you had. The latter is obviously not your main focus and you cannot be trusted on the matter.

These are some examples of biases that render people’s opinions useless. There are others. If you care to find the best choices and are listening to someone else, they must have a focus on food, exclusively. Sure, even I will note decor, service and other characteristics of the experience but nothing can overcome poor food.

3. Critical and Selection Processes and Integrity

At this point in my life, I have eaten pretty much everywhere that interests me in NYC and many places in other cities, though by no means everywhere. In other cities, I have sampled from the top end to judge the peak of that city’s efforts and then I fill in.

How I choose a restaurant in a city where I am not knowledgeable of all things, I cross-reference the appropriate guides with some random internet postings on the topic and make my selections.

The process in NYC is a bit different. I have been everywhere and am not easily swayed to try a new place or even an older one that did not seem worth it since they are usually a disappointment. The number one criterion is a good review from someone in the small crew that I believe have acceptable standards. I also read the big critics’ reviews to further wittle down the pool though most of those are suspect for many reasons. (More on that some other time.) It leaves me with very little to choose from and even still, most of the time I do go outside the comfort zone, it just reinforces my preconceptions that I have had almost all the good stuff. Of course, there are exceptions.

NTG will remain anonymous to the restaurants, even those I might frequent, and to the public. This is a requirement for a realistic assessment. Celebrity, fame and the good graces of a restauranteur could be ulterior motives.

Alcohol is consumed in very reasonable quantities, and most times not at all. If one is trashed, I cannot trust you to recount everything properly.

Food is consumed in a slow, thoughtful manner and most of the time without extreme hunger before the meal for this guide. A voracious, hungry diner, shoveling food into the mouth and swallowing as quickly as possible will not make a very good critic. Even in the most social of situations, if I am dining somewhere I have taken care to be, I am taking careful note of the food.

All of the above should provide an ample window to see the mechanisms from which the conclusions on this site are made.


One Response to “NOpinions, Integrity and the Process”

  1. Bobby said

    You are a true beacon of objectivity. May I be so bold as to ask if you ever do speaking engagements? I, admittedly, come from a lowly people in a disgraceful North American village (which I will not mention at this point). We are feeble of mind and bone. Yet we do have a Kiwanis Club and a Ground Round. We would be honored if you could come to said Kiwanis Club and transform (through the power of words, of course) our yespinions into nopinions. After which point, we would retire to the Ground Round, where you would receive an honorarium consisting of french fries, gravy and cheese. We refer to these fries as “disco.”

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