Man Enjoys Food

From David Ramsay’s Leader-Post column on Luiggi’s Pasta House:

When I asked a friend to join me for supper recently, I suggested he pick his favourite restaurant.

Without hesitation, he chose Luiggi’s Pasta House. And just as quickly as he singled out the north Regina Italian restaurant as his favourite place to eat in Regina, he also told me the name of the dish he would be ordering, which he has every time he visits Luiggi’s – veal parmigiana.

There’s more here at the link, including the reaction of the Luiggi’s owner when Ramsay drops that journalistic bomb on him. I wonder what else David Ramsay’s friend really likes? Shoelaces? Smooth leather bucket seats? NCIS marathons? I hope this turns into a regular column.

Author: Aidan Morgan

Aidan is a very serious man who's saving up for a nice dignified pipe. Then we'll see who's laughing.

32 thoughts on “Man Enjoys Food”

  1. Luiggi’s is a great place to eat, and the news that it’s going to revamp its interior is good indeed.
    Luiggi’s also regularly carries the prairie dog, which makes them very good sports, considering the rather condescending snark in your comment above!

  2. No condescending snark here, and nothing specifically criticizing the restaurant. It’s a trenchant observation of the L-P presenting what amounts to a promotional item as “news”.

  3. So there should be a sarc tag on the last sentence? As to “news”, is the Arts and Life section not a venue for feature articles?

  4. I have mixed feelings on this kind of thing.
    On one hand, I am against the idea of advertorials which are presented as news. On the other hand, if somebody writes a review for a place, and that review is favourable, doesn’t that sort of serve the same purpose? Plus it’s Luiggi’s, a local place, not East Side Mario’s or something.
    I guess the main difference is that advertorials are (we assume) paid for.

  5. Oh, come now, Aidan: you’re too good a writer not to be aware that the remarks after “I wonder what else David Ramsay’s friend really likes?” imply unaccountable tastes and therefore trivialize/denigrate his choice of restaurant.

  6. If memory serves, was there not a feature article in the LP some time ago about the Fainting Goat? That was OK, though.

  7. Not that I wish to write a dissertation on Aidan’s article, but to me, “I wonder what else David Ramsay’s friend really likes?” is a rejoinder to Mr. Ramsay’s employing of the shopworn trope of the writer asking his or her “friend” about where to go, what to do, what people think, etc. This generic, unidentified “friend” – typically employed to represent the writer’s perception of status quo – and his possible non-existence, is what Aidan appears to be addressing by citing a litany of other things that said “friend” may possibly (and in some instances, absurdly) like.

    This is why humour should never, ever be taught as a class. The explanations are far longer than the joke itself.

  8. Barb – Thanks for the compliment on my writing! But in all seriousness, I really wasn’t criticizing anyone’s choice of restaurant. I just thought it was an exceptionally weak lead-in for a piece of restaurant writing.

    As for the Fainting Goat piece, I didn’t read it. But if it had that kind of intro, it wouldn’t have made a shred of difference.

  9. What you don’t seem to grasp, Aidan, is that even if you and not directly critical of the establishment, your sarcasm, at the very least, smears them by association. I certianly wouldn’t be happy about it were I the owner of said restaurant, and would perhaps think twice about continuing to be a distribution point for the Prairie Dog. Just my two cents as a business owner who cares about how my business is percieved. Disrespect businesses that respect you at your own peril.

  10. And just in case anyone is still curious, I picked innocuous items – shoelaces, etc. – to avoid the kind of reaction that Barb experienced. Why am I still talking about this?

  11. “Arts and Life” sections in other newspapers typically run feature articles that do not have a primary air of P.R. copy. (And yes, I acknowledge the slippery slope of this argument when it comes to media or celebrity promotion.)

  12. Barb. The Leader-Post’s dining column is advertiorial writing posing as editorial content and as such it’s despicable. It is a sales tool, not an article. It is fundamentally dishonest. And you are either unable to comprehend this which is maddening to me because I know you’re not stupid, or, you are deliberately being a troll, in which case…

    …uh, well actually, in that case I salute your noble efforts to stir shit up. Mission accomplished, well done, I salute you.

    Anyway, Aidan clearly committed no snark at Luigi’s, who should be commended for carrying prairie dog, a magazine their customers like reading.

  13. “What you don’t seem to grasp, Aidan, is that even if you and not directly critical of the establishment, your sarcasm, at the very least, smears them by association. I certianly wouldn’t be happy about it were I the owner of said restaurant, and would perhaps think twice about continuing to be a distribution point for the Prairie Dog.”

    Anonymous @11: Yikes. Comments like yours make Regina’s business community look like suckers who will fall for any cheap, badly-written praise that’s clearly calculated to curry favour and advertising dollars. I’d like to think the city’s businesses are smarter than that.

    In any case, Luiggi’s might well be embarrassed that the L-P printed a bad, dishonest article sucking up to them. I don’t know. Or maybe they have a sense of humour about it. But that article is just not very good. It’s contemptuous of Luiggi’s and L-P readers.

    I have a lot of passion for the institution of the daily newspaper and a lot of respect and fondness for hard-working L-P writers. But this writing is a shameful nightmare.

  14. The irony here is that thanks to this comment thread, I can’t stop thinking about Luiggi’s Pasta House.

  15. Regina has an Italian restaurant? BTW, I saw one opening up on Hamilton, where that Japanese place was. By the park, in that house. My memory totally fails me but I know it was there. Like, 15th and Hammy’ish. By the park.

  16. OK, I’m going to ask this question:
    If Luiggi’s didn’t pay to place the ad/article, then how is it different from a favourable restaurant review?

  17. Oh! Oh! I got this one!

    As prairie dog’s restaurant reviewer, I can tell you the difference between a puff piece and a favourable review. A favourable review is based on visiting the restaurant anonymously, more than once, and making a considered judgment on the quality of food, service, presentation, decor, and so on. A puff piece just presents a few basic facts and dresses it up with PR-style language. The difference – and this should be obvious – is that favourable reviews only happen in the context of a restaurant that does its business properly.

    Ramsay’s piece isn’t a review – nor, should I clarify, does it pretend to be. I don’t know if it’s a way of currying favour and advertising dollars with the restaurant community, as Stephen Whitworth says, but I do know this:

    A restaurant review serves the readership. A puff piece serves the restaurant.

  18. Anonymous #18 makes a good point: where indeed is the line? Anonymous #11 also makes a good point: is it fair to deal out collateral damage when your actual target is the medium? That said, (s)he fails to note what I said above about how Luiggi’s rises above PD’s neglect/whatever the post was supposed to be, and continues to offer the PD for its customers’ convenience. And what about that neglect, anyway? Presciutti’s is long gone, you know.
    I would guess that Luiggi’s would view the LP piece the same way that the Fainting Goat would have viewed the feature article on them.
    Thanks, Stephen: we shall agree to disagree.
    Eating at Luiggi’s very soon, which was already planned but will now be even more enjoyable!

  19. Chappy’s Restaraunt, 200m south of Luigi’s Has great pizza, and Prairie Dog too.

    now that’s an advertorial.

  20. The clear line between a favourable restaurant review versus an advertorial is that a review explicitly or implicitly states that it is an opinion, with the inherent possibilities shaped and narrowed by the writer’s reaction and unveiled through the course of the article.

    An advertorial is not shaped by reaction and opinion. It is shaped by information, in the same manner as an advertisement is first and foremost shaped by information. The difference between an advertisement and an advertorial is that an advertisement also will make an emotive pitch to be able to bring attention to the information. An advertorial relies on news-style formatting to imbue it with a sense of authority and expertise, that being, the presentation of a critical review format without an ideally honed opinion.

    As to Ms. Saylor’s response to Anonymous 11: this is valid if one can find any actual criticism of the restaurant in Aidan’s comments (or even sarcasm, which by definition, conveys contempt for something; I see a tongue-in-cheek critique of the L-P’s article, but nothing contemptuous directed at the writer nor the restaurant).

  21. Also, I volunteer to write smooth leather bucket seat reviews if Barb wants to take on shoelace reviews.

  22. Brett: to clarify: this isn’t an advertorial. Advertorials are clearly-marked, article-style advertisements. They are also a legitimate, if often annoying and ineffective, product publications sell to advertisers.

    The problem is that The Epicure’s Fork READS like an advertorial but it isn’t one. There are ways one can write a business profile that aren’t terrible. Maybe I should assign a few to show the L-P how it’s done.

    It’s also okay for an article to be positive if that’s what’s warranted. But Ramsey’s stuff reads phony and trite. I believe this is a deliberate choice by the editor and possibly the writer (depending on how aware he is that his columns are odious fluff) to curry favour with businesses*.

    A lot of people would believe that. That’s a problem for the column.

    Bottom line: if the Leader-Post publishes a better restaurant column that doesn’t come across to our trained eyes like a sales pitch to restaurant owners, we’ll shut up.

    *Not sure how well this is working for them since I could only find one restaurant ad in today’s L-P.

  23. Fair enough, and I apologize if my interpretation has muddied the waters. I think my explanation still stands, but you’re absolutely right: an advertorial often will have something like a black box separating it on the page, and a tiny comment either at the top or bottom explaining that it’s paid content. You’re absolutely right to point out that the L-P’s restaurant column reads like an advertorial: my slightly muddled advertorial explanation came within hours after reading the L-P’s Luiggi’s piece, so that was clearly in the front of my mind.

  24. Thanks for the definitions and clarifications; we general readers are much better armed, now, to interpret what we read. Seriously.
    Agreed, Ron, re: Chappy’s pizzas, but when did they start offering PD? Must investigate…
    Shoelace reviews it is, while I’m still young enough to avoid Velcro.

  25. Update: supper (Chicken Sicilian, veal parmesan) was delicious, but the PD rack was nowhere in sight.

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