Monday, June 20, 2011

The Power of Information: Part I

Rene has already made an announcement to the Twitterati, but those who live in more than 140 characters are probably not aware that Blackened Out has planned a dual wave invasion of Spain. Last week The Folk Singer and I pulled the trigger on a fire sale on flights to Madrid in early spring, and the next day Rene decided that an autumn jaunt to Barcelona was too good of a deal to pass up.

I hope that you like funny references to jamón, because you are bound to be reading quite a few of them in the coming months.

Even though my second Iberian adventure is far off from the horizon, I have already started researching hotels, train schedules, and of course places to eat. This exercise has spurred me to finally write a blog post that has been in the hopper for quite a while now. The basic premise is:

Where does your foodie information come from?

It's truly remarkable how many resources we have at our fingertips. Mainstream print media, food television, blogs, internet forums, and social media offer a wide range of information from a myriad of individual perspectives. Simply log into your Facebook account, brag on your wall about you are leaving for Morocco in 15 days, and you're bound to get replies from a friend who knows someone whose sister lived in Tangier for a semester and can give you the scoop on where to find the best roasted goat in town.

Information wasn't so easy to come by a decade or so ago. Before Al Gore invented the internet, our resources were limited to close friends and travel agents. Venturing into the unknown back then required more reliance on good luck and a sense of direction. There's something to be said for flying blind though, and I'll touch more on that in Part II next week.

Back to the question at hand. What sources do you trust when it comes to food and travel? I am partial to professional critics and writers - Sam Sifton at the NY Times, Ruth Reichl, David Lebovitz when it comes to all things Parisian, and even our own Brett Anderson and Ian McNulty. I trust those people who have been in the game for a while but also still keep a fresh perspective and an open mind.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, I find amateur perspectives to be of great value. Chowhound used to be a daily stop on my stroll through the world wide web, and even though I am an infrequent user now, I still check out the forums before leaving on a trip. The same goes for individual blogs. It's amazing where Google can take you by simply typing in "Madrid food blogs".

But the internet is a great big place, and I'm sure that there are many more untapped resources out there. In today's comments, let us know where you go for your food information, both local and abroad. Next week, we'll take a look at how trustworthy that information truly is and the potential perils of information overload.


Walker said...

El Bulli??

Rene said...

While that would bulli awesome, el bulli closes for good at the end of July.

Chicken Fried Gourmet said...

When I am able to make it down to NOLA from the North (i.e. Shreveport) I rely on you guys, anything and everything the illustrious Mr. Peyton writes and my friend Blake of Blake Makes. As far as everywhere else, Eater is a good source as well as Grub Street and just the thousand or so food blogs I have saved in my favorites :)

Awren said...

You dudes, those McNulty and Anderson dudes, the Twitters, and those Yankee NYT cats.

No but really, I started getting into food literature/blogs/information/slash via you guys following your coverage of FQF two-odd years ago!

willifred said...

I just got back from Barcelona yesterday....I've been multiple times and I can tell you that eating food cooked in nitrogen for insane amounts of money is not what it's cracked up to be. Real food of the highest quality that is available there does not need much manipulation. In Barcelona this trip my best meal was at a little place in El Born called El Atril. It was my last meal before leaving. House made Foie, phylo wrapped shrimp, house made chorizo, patatas bravas, and wild mussels washed down with a beautiful cava. 2 people for 50 euros. I've spent 5 times that on a meal there that couldn't touch it.
Check out a site for Barcelona called Metropolitan. I got lots of great info from them.

thomas cook said...

I think this article was a waste of my time. My 10 minute study break has been ruined.

Peter said...

Chicken Fried & Awren,

Thanks for the props.


I don't have any experience with molecular gastronomy, but from an outside perspective, the movement does not interest me much. I'm with you on the fact that great ingredients don't require manipulation. I'm sure that Rene appreciates your tip on El Atril.


Your entire life is a study break.


He Said-She Said Nola said...

Cal Pep in Barcelona for lunch. No menu. Plant yourself at the bar and they'll keep sending you dishes until you cry no mas. Absolutely a can't miss