It was just Week 2 for Soleil Ho at the Chronicle — in print at least — and we now have the second edition of her Bite Curious newsletter, as well as her latest Sunday review.
In the newsletter, Ho says it's been "fascinating" getting a whole range of feedback on her takedown of Chez Panisse from the other week. And among the non-fan mail she received was a note from James Beard Award-winning food writer Mimi Sheraton.
One highlight: I was told off by legendary New York Times food critic Mimi Sheraton, which made me feel like a toddler winning a lifetime achievement award.
Apparently Sheraton, who also wrote for Time and currently pens occasional columns for The Daily Beast, was among those who were none too pleased that a young upstart critic decided to show no respect for a sacred cow. Some people, Ho writes, have told her that "because of its cultural impact, it deserves to be treated differently," and that a standard critical review of Chez Panisse wasn't appropriate.
But hey, it got people talking!
In other important news as we get to know Ho and her tastes, she mentions offhandedly that In-N-Out's fries are not good, in her opinion. "That’s not to say that I won’t let restaurants get their sea legs when they’re fresh and new," she writes, "or that I won’t consider restaurants’ contexts and missions when thinking about what value they add to our culture: I know what In-N-Out Burger is for, and it’s not about pushing any conversation forward (or making good fries)."
Lots of people, including our former sister site LAist and this recent LA Times ranking, complain about In-N-Out's fries being pale and soggy, but maybe they vary from location to location based on the fry cook's skills? And LAist recommends ordering them "well done," in any case, and they'll be perfect. I would say order them well done and Animal Style, and you're welcome.
And for her Sunday review, the first to follow that collection of reviews that were published at once ten days ago, she reviews Filipino pop-up turned restaurant FOB Kitchen in Oakland. The restaurant took over the space vacated last year by Juhu Beach Club, and Ho writes that it's the kind of place where she "wanted to be a local so badly." She says that spouses Brandi and Janice Dulce have created a cool and inviting space, and that Janice Dulce's food "is true to the flavors that young Pinoy people like Janice Dulce grew up eating, with just little tweaks." Also, as for the potentially offensive name, she says that FOB Kitchen "inverts that dynamic by being a space where everyone can feel welcome."
Previously: New Chronicle Critic Soleil Ho Drops a Doozy of a Review of Chez Panisse, Calls It 'Stale'