I've warmed up to Sam Sifton's sparkling prose, especially when he spanks. The New Orleans Time-Picayune's Brent Anderson is another critic who's a lot of fun to read. And S. Irene Virbila really knows her stuff, covering Los Angeles's impossibly vast culinary landscape.
But my favorite food critic right now leads an intriguing double life. Kevin Cremin is the longtime radio broadcast producer for the Seattle Mariners. In addition to feeding announcers a steady diet of stats and player trivia, this Oklahoma native does a regular show called Road Eats every Sunday the team's out of town on 710 ESPN.
Let me tell you, this guy really gets around. So far this season he's hit hot spots in Chicago, supped sushi in L.A., and soaked up the nostalgic atmosphere at the classic Tadich Grill in San Francisco. He slams the Butter Burger at Solly's in Milwaukee, but gets his bliss on later at Karl Ratzsch's, a landmark German restaurant, eating a pork dish that' he calls one of the best things he's ever eaten. When he talks about his experiences on the pre-game Mariners magazine show, he paints a vivid picture for listeners.
I think what's so refreshing is that Cremin's reports hit a bunch of places that are under the radar. These bull sessions also never smack of any obsession with food. Here's a well-traveled guy sharing information. He's got the palate of a regular Joe and that sounds pretty darned good to me.
Don't you love it when worlds collide? I've been listening to the M's on the radio for many years, mostly because my husband is a baseball fanatic. I love the food and sports crossover. I don't often miss eating out nearly every night of the week, but listening to Road Eats inspires me to get back on the dining out horse again real soon.
About the author: Former Seattle Post-Intelligencer restaurant critic Leslie Kelly has been apprenticing in professional kitchens since the newspaper folded in March 2009 and chronicling her culinary journey from pen to pan for Serious Eats. Inspired by Michael Ruhlman, she recently started a new project on her personal blog, exploring "An Egg A Day".