Chow Down With -- Offline

Columbus Alive | April 28, 2005
For nearly a decade, has been helping feed the imaginations, bellies and burning desires to share out-of-the-way food finds amongst a burgeoning group of eager-eating obsessives. In fact, the somewhat rusty website—it likely hasn’t been redesigned since its 1997 inception—draws about half a million zealots per month. Witness a recent 20-reply Manhattan thread entitled “super-indulgent ice cream” (non-unanimous verdict: gelato at Mario Batali’s Otto) or any number of passionate yet combative who’s-got-the-best-pastrami discussions. Above all, these seriously intrepid diners-cum-cyber-typers highly prize the esoteric, the unusual and the formerly unwritten about.

This week, with The Chowhound’s Guide to the New York Tristate Area (Penguin Books), along with their related San Francisco and Los Angeles publications, Chowhound’s tirelessly researched virtual collective wisdom materializes into the real world in handy paperback form. From pizza and frites to Puerto Rican roast pig, from Brooklyn soul food to un-touristy downtown sushi (with some categories so specific there’s only one entry, e.g. “Weird Jellies,” “Monkfish liver,” “Church Cafeteria lunch”), the New York guidebook is more than 400 fun pages of mouthwatering and intriguing ideas. Wanna know about Pakistani cabbie haunts? Where to get winning soondooboo (a crushed tofu stew)? Look no further.

So forget about Zagat’s overly fawning “everyman” reviews of mediocre mall cuisine, because Chowhound’s guides appeal to the more seasoned and adventurous eaters—like you, right? As bonuses, the books also feature profiles of a few eccentric contributors along with helpful indexes that are cross-referenced alphabetically and by cuisine and neighborhood. These Chowhound guides are top-notch foodie browsers whether you’re coastally bound or just getting hungry in Columbus.

Columbus Alive

Founded in 1983, Alive is the Capital City's oldest and only independent alternative and is known for providing a forum for the area's free thinkers. The paper's spirited and original perspective on music, arts and culture distinguish it from the...
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