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For Those Who Live to Eat
April 21, 2009 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Communities of and for foodies. Foodbuzz is about dining out, cooking at home, discovering a new flavor, drooling over a food blog, or swapping recipes. Check out Today's Top 9, a daily feature. Chowhound is the community for Chow.com. Dozens of boards enable you to drill down to local favorites, like this request for live crawfish in Virginia. Both communities have very active memberships.
posted by netbros (32 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
I also really like The Kitchn, one of the Apartment Therapy sites.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:04 AM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Chowhound is great. I've found so many restaurants in my city that I never would have thought to go to without them.
posted by HumanComplex at 8:07 AM on April 21, 2009


Proud chowhounder since 2002 here.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 8:08 AM on April 21, 2009


These are great, but don't forget Tastespotting if we're listing the big ones here.
posted by thatbrunette at 8:13 AM on April 21, 2009


I like Group Recipes too
posted by kbrower3 at 8:14 AM on April 21, 2009


Yelp is a great resource for restaurants too, esp. when in an unfamiliar place.
posted by SNACKeR at 8:33 AM on April 21, 2009


What, no mention of eGullet yet? I love that place.
posted by shiu mai baby at 8:44 AM on April 21, 2009


I concur with the props for Chowhound. They helped me picked out caterers for my wedding.
posted by jonp72 at 8:49 AM on April 21, 2009


I hate food.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:49 AM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I weep for the Chowhound that was. It used to be a really ugly, nested BBS sort of structure with terrible UI and formatting. And fantastic, erudite content. When chow.com took it over the UI became a lot better but somehow the posts got worse. In particular you see many fewer long, learned essays about food and more one sentence posts. It really felt like a case where web design actually changed a community. But I'm only an occasional visitor; is it better than I say?

Yelp is an enigma. Nowhere else does a $300 seven course meal rate the same 4 stars as a $5 burrito. And the way merchants live in fear of a single bad review on Yelp is bad for everyone.
posted by Nelson at 8:52 AM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Chowhound Begat
eGullet which begat
Opinionated About Food
Mouthfulsfood
NIAC

and they all generally dislike one another (yes of course there are people active on 3 or 4 of the 5, but their creators all seem to really dislike one another.) Egullet especially has a rep as being a bit of Soviet Politboro approach to the world with various members being disappeared, whereas Chowhound and OA seem to be a bit cult of personalityish
Mouthfulsfood is a bunch of NYers and Pac NWers kvetching about everything but food
NIAC is the cool kids and I haven't been invited.

IMO
Chowhound is best for cheap eats
eGullet is the best for cooking
The other three are probably a bit more fine dining focused.
posted by JPD at 8:52 AM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


In particular you see many fewer long, learned essays about food and more one sentence posts. It really felt like a case where web design actually changed a community. But I'm only an occasional visitor; is it better than I say?
I think many of the more educated diners (especially fine diners - there are still some truly great members who write about hunting out food in various ethnic enclaves) have moved on either to their own blogs (like eatingintranslation) or are members elsewhere. Jim Leff can be a bit of a devisive figure and his approach to moderation consisted of deleting w/o comment.

Nowadays the average question on Chowhound NYC is "Where can 7 20 something girls go out for a SaTC night" The average comment on the outerboroughs is "I found this amazing Tuvan restaurant in the sub basement of a decrepit building in Brighton Beach. The food usually sucks unless the woman wearing the yellow polkadot bandanna is working and the carrots are yellow not orange in the plov" And average "the best" thread is "Which is the greatest burger ever Shake Shack UWS or Shake Shack MSP"
posted by JPD at 9:01 AM on April 21, 2009


Meant to add - one of the issues with the chowhound redesign was that it required usernames to post - so its not as easy to keep on posting under an alias if you got into a fight w/ mgmt.
posted by JPD at 9:03 AM on April 21, 2009


I've never heard of foodbuzz until now, but their frame hijacker (example) is pretty annoying.
posted by boo_radley at 9:12 AM on April 21, 2009


The thoughts on how Chowhoud has changed are interesting. I was a member years ago, but left because of the over-erudition. I mean, I was looking for a good, cheap taco wagon, not a dissertation on Jaliscan organic cilantro cultivation; too many posters seemed more interested in impressing other posters than in conveying useful information. I may be back.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:20 AM on April 21, 2009


Yeah but its the weirdo obsessed with Jaliscan cilantro is also the weirdo obsessed w/ tacos
posted by JPD at 9:30 AM on April 21, 2009


Chowhound really needs a spatial search feature.

I agree with MrMoonPie, Chowhound's posters were awe-inspiring and scary at the same time. "This weekend, I decided to visit every Portuguese bakery in the Bay Area..."

And Jaliscan organic cilantro? Doesn't hold a candle to Chiapas cilantro, as long as you make sure it's harvested in the rainy season.
posted by benzenedream at 9:35 AM on April 21, 2009


You can't mention foodie sites without mentioning LTHForum. Sure, it's Chicago focused, but the Beyond Chicagoland board has great threads too. And everything from Alinea to street vendors is extensively covered.
posted by kmz at 9:48 AM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I met MeFi's Own Jacquilynne at the first-ever Toronto Chowhound meetup.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:52 AM on April 21, 2009


Nuh uh! I didn't go to the first ever Toronto hound meetup. The first one I ever went to was at Senior Antonio's and only Jinks and Peppermint Pate were there.

But that's okay, I still love you anyway.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:00 AM on April 21, 2009


Egullet especially has a rep as being a bit of Soviet Politboro approach to the world with various members being disappeared

Huh. I've been an EG-er for years, and I haven't picked up on that phenomenon at all. I mean, it very well could exist in various pockets of the site, but I haven't personally bore witness to any such "disappearing."

I'm a fan of EG primarily because the Philly-centric boards are pretty great -- while the site overall does have a bent towards cooking, there are tons and tons and tons of fantastic, region-specific restaurant recommendations to be had, regardless of budget. Also, it's not just US-centric, either, as they have boards for pretty much any country in the world. During my past trips to France and Italy, a number of the more obscure restaurant discoveries we made a direct result of reading about them on those country's boards.

Hell, it was an EG post that prompted me to suggest Zhi Wei Guan for the last February Philadelphia meetup, and that place is a far cry from high-fallutin'.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:02 AM on April 21, 2009


shiu mai - you are not paying attention then. Ask around about why one of the founders left. Go look at who was posting back in the 02-04 timeframe and why they all have "Emeritus Member" next to their description. Or figure out why they used to have such amazing chat guests (Paula Wolfert, Jeffrey Steingarten, Bourdain, Ruhlman, etc, etc) and now they have nothing remotely approaching that.

Or best of all start asking question about the "Charitable Organization"

And I regret not including LTH amongst my begats. A great forum for Chicago food.
posted by JPD at 10:29 AM on April 21, 2009


I'd say that Chowhound has certainly lost some of its zest. Part of the problem is that it's horrible to search in, so many of the same questions get asked over and over again. The increase in users has led to that horrible Yelp or Citysearch syndrome in which the most popular places are too often labeled the best.

For Los Angeles, I prefer finding single-food blogs and running through them. However, when you find the right thread, the results are magic.

(Also, Jonathon Gold ... it's time to update the book)
posted by Bookhouse at 10:53 AM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not a community, really, but Tyler Cowen's Ethnic Dining Guide is everything you need to know about eating out in the greater DC area.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:17 AM on April 21, 2009


JPD -- first of all, no need to be rude. Second of all, I think it's kind of silly to point to the way a board was five years ago; it is what it is today, and that's really all that matters, at least to me.

Clearly, I'm not as schooled as you are in whatever malevolent machinations happened behind the scenes at EG back at the early part of this decade. Fine. My point is simply that today I find it -- and the Philadelphia board in particular -- to be populated with interesting people representing a broad range of cultures and tastes.
posted by shiu mai baby at 11:49 AM on April 21, 2009


Chowhound used to have some monster threads. You'd load up the Chicago board and it would take about 20 minutes to load up.

One of the coolest things I learned on Chowhound (the Chicago board): many thai and vietnamese restaurants have "secret menus" filled with stuff that they assume the general public will not want--but will cook for you--if asked. Nifty stuff. There was a professor at the U of C who published a book on how to read/interpret Chinese symbols on restaurant menus too, which I thought was fun.

Thanks for the post.
posted by zerobyproxy at 11:56 AM on April 21, 2009


I really didn't mean to be rude. I'm sorry if you felt I was. I think it should be pretty obvious what goes on at eGullet. It was for a brief period of time THE place for food related discussion in the english language but the insane machinations of Steven Shaw destroyed the whole thing. And it wasn't something that happened five years ago. It still happens.
Jason Perlow left what? 18 months ago? How many other moderators have been disappeared? Actually there was one moderator whom people disliked so intensely that once he was forced to leave eG no other boards would let him sign up. Like Trotsky in Mexico.

On one of the food boards I still read one of the members was kicked off eG last month for something so insanely innocuous it would shock you. Shaw is doing everything he can to turn eG into a venture he can profit from and anything that stands in the way he illiminates. MeMail me if you want more.
posted by JPD at 12:10 PM on April 21, 2009


One of the coolest things I learned on Chowhound (the Chicago board): many thai and vietnamese restaurants have "secret menus" filled with stuff that they assume the general public will not want--but will cook for you--if asked. Nifty stuff. There was a professor at the U of C who published a book on how to read/interpret Chinese symbols on restaurant menus too, which I thought was fun.
You can find many of them at LTH.
posted by kmz at 12:59 PM on April 21, 2009


Ya know, Chowhound has been pretty useful for Paris while I've been here. Mind you, there's a lot of achingly envy-inducing reviews of three-michelin-star restaurants that I will never be able to see the inside of, but there's also been some monster threads on finding odd foods, delicious specialties, cheap eats, etc. I'll admit, though, that things have been getting less and less useful on the board. There's a lot of "Hi! I'm going to Paris for the first time and I want to eat at a three-star restaurant with my boyfriend/girlfriend but we're on a 20€/day budget and we don't like making reservations; what do you recommend?"
posted by LMGM at 1:09 PM on April 21, 2009


I weep for the Chowhound that was.

The "chowhound that was" was a NYC focussed crap factory. It is indescribably better now- and if you want erudition on chowhound, check out the Canadian forums, not the "what do you love most about Trader Joe's" garbage.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 1:48 PM on April 21, 2009


I use chow, but I do find the regular posters on the boards to be incredibly pretentious (yeah, I get that's the nature of the community).

As for some of the advice, well, check this out.

That said, some is also useful.
posted by converge at 4:45 PM on April 21, 2009


The "chowhound that was" was a NYC focussed crap factory. It is indescribably better now- and if you want erudition on chowhound, check out the Canadian forums, not the "what do you love most about Trader Joe's" garbage.

That's interesting - I used to think of eGullet at its peak as the NYC focused crap factory while Chowhound was more SF Bay Area crap factory. Chowhound has been redesigned and attracted thousands of new members around the country who have turned it into a national crap factory. On the other hand eGullet is still run on software released in 2005 and the majority of their staff has gone missing.
posted by foodgeek at 6:35 AM on April 22, 2009


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