[Greater Boston, MA] a plea for civility

… or at the very least, disagreeing without being disagreeable.

We have had an outbreak of incivility recently here on this board. Please can we all agree that we can be better than that? Folks can disagree without name-calling or making ad hominem attacks. Or even internally disagree and simply move on without any comment at all. (There is a certain columnist in a local paper whose column rarely fails to infuriate me so I simply never click on it – who needs the aggravation?) Please let’s keep the contributions here food-focused and civil and I believe we will all enjoy it more. (Disclaimer: this is me as a person speaking, not me as a member of the HO Collective.)


What did I miss?

Well I’ll own my part. And while I stand by what I said, I could have been more tactful and said it in a more constructive manner. So my apologies for that.

Long story short, someone said something that I thought crossed a line and so I said so.

That is - if the drama is mine - otherwise I did nothing, I’m innocent, wasn’t me, never mind.


As someone who dearly loves this board, I must say I read the James Beard thread with much sadness. Because I felt hatred throughout that thread. Seriously? On a food-centric board? C’mon guys, we’re better than that.

It’s easy to use the anonymity that internet life affords us to say things you wouldn’t normally say to each other.

So damn. Maybe it’s time to have an in-person HOdown one of these days. It’s tough to say the same things we might say to each other online when we’re face-to-face. And if we don’t like each other in person, at least we’ll eat and drink well.


I just read the header about the death of Chowhound, and feel like this plea for civility is doubly important now.


I was a Chowhound Boston regular in its early days, really loved it and the community of food geeks it attracted. I got so many great tips and had so many great conversations there. It greatly saddens me to see its demise, though I stopped posting there a few years ago when corporate ownership redid the interface and drained away its usenet-clunky charm and utility.

I have only lurked and posted here a little bit since HO came into being. I’ve instead devoted my energy to my paid work as a restaurant critic for various local publications (most recently boston.com, which hasn’t run professional reviews since the first covid lockdown). But the pending death of Chowhound made me very nostalgic for those days. I would dearly love for this board to approach Chowhound’s once-amazing level of food nerdiness and passion and comity.

Here’s hoping HO can stay civil. It sucks when a few loud, ill-mannered voices ruin the party.


Amen to this, says this fan of your work. Thank you for chiming in.


Hi MC-Slim-JB!

I read the impending demise of Chowhound with great sadness, which brought me here too. Nice to see your handle again!


MC Slim JB: I’ve been a big fan of your work for years,and I’ve really missed you. I hope you will join here as often as it works for you.

I agree with you about the civility. There is no need for personal attacks and pissing contests. We all learn from each other. Disagreement encourages discussion. Dissing other people does not.

Thank you for chiming in, and please come back, often!
A long time fan


Hi, I used to read your posts on the Boston board, and I really liked them. Hope to see more of you here!


Hear hear! Nice to see you here.


So great to see you here!
I’m reasonably confident that HO has sufficient momentum that the food-first culture can survive the odd fluctuation and return to equilibrium. But then I’m MaxEntropy, so I always count on fluctuations dissipating. The familiar (and fantastic) responders on this thread bolster my faith.


Nice to see you again too, lipoff, MaxEntroy, madrid, GretchenS, Parsnipity, and the rest of the gang from the good ol’ days of Chowhound!

In case you missed it (and I know there’s a thread on it on the Food Media / News board), Devra First did a nice elegy for Chowhound this week in the Globe and interviewed me (among many other CH old-timers) for it: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/03/22/lifestyle/we-are-all-chowhounds-now/


Loved her piece and what you had to say in it. It is nice to see well-remembered 'hounds!


Devra’s was a generous piece, very much in the spirit of CH and HO. Then again, how could she not appreciate CH? :wink:


I loved that Globe article! Did Devra ever post on CH? What was her user name?


She refers to herself as a CH lurker. If she ever posted, I never learned her handle.

  1. It’s great to see you here, and I’ll hope you stay.
  2. About achieving Chowhound levels of participation: I think the world has somewhat moved on from foodboards. Back then, CH was the only outlet. Now there are many. Realistically, I don’t think any community board can recreate that level of past glory, but (clearly, since I post here) I thinks it’s still worth making an effort to keep thoughtful, informed group discussions going.*
  3. “Comity” is a tough one, because there were vigorous, and sometimes angry disagreements over at CH, and I didn’t think they detracted from the discussion. Others may disagree (but, given their preferences, they may only do so nicely). I do agree, however, that we should be able to, in the paraphrased words of @GretchenS at the top of this thread, disagree without being disagreeable.
  • Why does the golden age of foodboards seem to be over? Here are my thoughts towards thoughts:
  1. Many who were early participants have moved on – family obligations, simple aging, etc.
  2. The next generation takes for granted what we so painstakingly discovered – therefore, what’s the point in posting? I offer my daughter and me as examples. Every new cuisine, indeed every new dish I encountered in my twenties and thirties was a thrill and a joy and worthy of celebration. Before my daughter had turned 20, she’d eaten Italian, French, German, Indian, Chinese food, among many others and had eaten them in Venice/Padova/Florence/Naples, Paris, Potsdam/Berlin, Bombay/Pune/Delhi/Agra, Beijing among many others. What further surprises does the world have for her that would compel her to post? She takes for granted that the world offers these culinary pleasures, as she does that we have residences in Cambridge, within walking distance of Harvard Square, and Manhattan, within walking distance of MoMA (whose layout she knew, before renovation, essentially perfectly), all the Broadway theaters (where she’s chatted with Al Pacino) and off-off-off Broadway theaters where she’s watched an actor portraying Isaac Newton simulate poking a pencil in his eye. I say this not to flaunt – we merely put our middle-class money not into a new car every few years and suchlike – our present one is from 2004 – but into other things. My point is that we’ve all raised our children/nieces/nephews into a world where they take for granted what what was exceptional to us. That they don’t feel the need to exclaim and comment is part of the natural order.

(Yes, there are always subtleties and details that the first generation of explorers will have missed, but since we’ve gobbled all the low-hanging mangoes, so to speak, it will take more effort, so fewer people, to examine the mangosteen.)

As I indicated above, I can’t dignify what I’ve said as “thoughts”, but perhaps these random statements will inspire some.


Sampson (HO founder) and I had a call yesterday. He patiently listened to my concerns and explained how the system works. Unfortunately you cannot block someone from seeing your stuff, you can only not see theirs which is counterintuitive. Sampson said he’d look into it for me. Like a lot of us, the future looks unclear. I have some ideas how to keep HO afloat financially and technically but like Sampson says this is a hobby for most of us.

So I am thinking about coming back from retirement I am not sure.

Just some brief updates since I last posted.

Ana Sortun worked at Aigo Bistro in Concord, I think some of you were trying to figure that out. I actually met her in the 1990’s. She happened to be catering a work party and was good friends with a couple of co-workers. They told me she had been in professional kitchens since age 16 or earlier. I was very impressed and although I never tried Aigo, years later I had a memorable meal at Casablanca. I told the waiter to say hi and she gifted us a very nice dish although she didn’t have time to come out. My friend dining with me was David Dellinger, a good friend and somewhat infamous for being part of the Chicago Eight. I’ve been to Oleana of course, Sarma which she inspired, Sofra, and back to 80 Thoreau I think one of the chefs was a Sortun alum but I’m not sure, maybe she worked for Jody Adams I can’t recall. Anyway it’s an honor to have known one of Boston’s greatest chefs for so many years and she will always have my respect. (As an aside everyone thinks I’m some zoomer foodie but no I’ve been at this game longer than most.)

A Lee 88 announced on WeChat that they will close their doors at the end of this month. You have one more week to get your Mongolian Shumai fix in. The plan is to move to Belmont Center in May. I kinda was telling you without telling you but it’s official now. I will let you know how plans progress, I have become friends with Tao Li, the master chef, and his lovely new wife, they literally got married on Tuesday of this week, Szu Wang. I will let you know, if I come back for real, and if ppl are nice to me and search deep within themselves for a sense of…humor. Send me bitcoin? (That’s a joke.)

Now that Wang’s is gone, the best place to get frozen dumplings is Golden Garden most likely. They were quite comparable to begin with back in the 2000’s but I always thought Amy and her hubsband’s “PSL” or Pork, Leek with Shrimp Dumplings, officially, were the trump card. That combo is just killer and Wang’s didn’t have that. The original GG was in Belmont and I arranged a chowdown there. Amy might be persuaded to assemble a bag of 50 or something if you bring that up, the old days. She was grateful for all the attention we gave her. Golden Garden moved to Malden and it’s on my list of places to revisit.

I’ve been eating all kinds of interesting stuff, including the best sushi omakase in NYC that didn’t get mentioned on Eater’s latest best sushi in NYC listicle (kinda like 3 times in a month lol), Korean Black Goat suyuk style in ssams, amazing old school Canto with beer snob craft brews (Robert Sietsema wrote about it but ordered wrong and didn’t get any beer, he’s still the greatest, but he missed on this one.) and other stuff I guess some of it is on instagram.

Alright, all you haters behave!


I’ve seen a photo of the small interior of Food Shines, in Lowell, but had delivery for all the times I had their food. The special items are momos, with a choice of fillings, that come in sauces including tikka masala and saag. Not traditional for either Nepalese or Indian cuisine, but SO delish!

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