Q – #1 Welcome @DeRushaEats (Jason)! For those that missed the video – (BELOW) how did you get started as a reviewer?
Jason: In my job as a WCCO-tv reporter I was asked to judge the @MNMOmag first Local Chef Challenge at the Food and Wine show
I judged with @deardara and when the magazine expanded its omnivore section, she asked me to write and blog 2 years ago
Q – #2 I see. When it comes to your palate, what kind of foods do you prefer, sweet or savory?
Jason: I’m more of a savory guy – I find more complexity in those flavors. But I wouldn’t kick sweet stuff off the plate!
Q – #3 Okay. Lets say then you’re in a restaurant doing a review. Do you ask for their “top dish or dishes” or what you want?
Jason: I look at the menu ahead of time and try to have a strategy for a printed review that will go in @MNMOMag.
I do “quick bite” reviews of suburban restaurants. 1 visit. Usually with my wife + another couple, maybe with my kids.
I try to order a broad sample of the menu. 3 apps, 2 salads, 4 entrees. Or 3 small plates/2 entrees
Often I ask the server “What shouldn’t I miss?” They too often tell me “The xxx is popular.” I want the BEST stuff!
But it’s different for places I write up for the #DearDara blog. I’ll order what I want or what a server suggests
Q – #4 Ah. So planned eating. With you being a reviewer then, is going out in general tougher with that “label”?
Jason: No it’s easy to go out with me! I just tell everyone what we’ll be ordering!
Q – #5 I meant by that question, do restaurant staff maybe treat you differently because of being a known restaurant critic?
Jason: In city restos: often I’m recognized + I’m sure the kitchen knows about it. In suburbs: I’m rarely recognized by staff.
Q – #6 A restaurant “saturation” question. What style of restaurant do you feel there are too many of? Which one not enough of?
Jason: Right now everyone’s opening gastropubs/brewpubs. They’re great for neighborhoods, bad for reviewers.
it’s very difficult to write about places that are fine. Not great – but not bad. Our brewpubs fall in that category.
We need more high quality suburban places! Preferably near my Maple Grove house.
Q – #7 Are there certain areas of the Twin Cities that need more variety or options?
Jason: There are – but customers have to support them. It’s tough with a small, local spot in Eden Prairie. High rent
It’s changing – but the best food in this metro will always be in the urban core. People can drive to S. Minny.
Q – #8 What’s one menu item you wish was on the menu more? Fried Chicken? Pasta? Fish?
Jason – I’d like to see more Fried Pickles.
Q – #9 FAVORITES: Appetizer, dessert, wine selection, kid friendly, your comfort food of choice.
Fave comfort food: Foie gras. OK- paella. Or any kind of braised meat.
I eat out too much to pick any one favorite…
Q – #10 What’s one of the best things you feel a restaurant can do to make kids feel welcomed and parents happy?
Jason: Don’t charge me $6 for Kraft Mac + Cheese and then $2 for apple juice.
Coloring books, books are helpful. Places like @TiliaMpls also create thoughtful menus for kids. That helps too.
I find most restaurants are kid friendly- but I don’t bring my kids to nice places after 7pm.
Q – #11 Wow! Adult prices for kid appetites. If you could open your own restaurant, what would it be and why?
Jason: I always wanted to open a place called “What’s for dinner?” One dish. One price. Changes nightly. Like @AdHocYountville
Q – #12 Going beyond the Twin Cities & suburbs, what other towns/cities have good cafe/restaurant options?
Jason: Just got back from NYC -obvi a great food town! I’m from Chicago, the restaurants are amazing. Milwaukee is underrated.
Madison has some good food: Graze + The Old Fashioned are wonderful.
Q – #12 Do you get interested in food trends like cupcakes, pies, moon pies etc.?
Jason: No. I think it’s all silly. Has that “year of the pie” thing really worked out in 2011? Nope.
Q – #13 Something for foodies to chat about right? :) To close, what’s your #GoodQuestion tonight on @wcco?
i’m off fridays -but I’ll have a “DeRushaEats” segment on @moderncafempls on WCCO Saturday AM. That show starts at 8.
@JoelECarlson – That’s right. My mistake. :) Thank you very much Jason for your time and all of the work that you do. Have a great wknd!
Jason – my pleasure!