A Great White Pelican just swooped past the office and whispered: “Alberto Lombardi is opening a Taverna Pizzeria & Risotteria in the Las Colinas Village Center.” Birds make the best sources. (And I saw a lovely flock of white pelicans near Kaufman on Sunday.)2 Comments »
From a co-worker:
Last night at the Kent Rathbun party for the upcoming March of Dimes “gala”–where he’s offering one of the chef-package auction gifts–Rathbun told the crowd:
“Two weeks ago, I was at the Paws Up resort in Wyoming, [He said Wyoming, but Google says Paws Up is in Montana] where I met a woman from the Napa Valley wine commission. [I discovered a Napa Valley Vintners group via Google, but no 'wine commission.'] We discussed how the Super Bowl was coming to Dallas in 2011, and how we’re gonna have a big year next year in Dallas because of it. She said that she’s got 100 Napa Valley wineries coming to Dallas for a conference next year, and so she wants to do a big March of Dimes event here around the Super Bowl. It’s not a done deal by any means yet, but we have our foot in the door. It’s something that would take us right past Austin, Texas! I’m gonna work on this. Say a prayer.”
How about “March of Wines?”
A couple of days ago I posted this video that encourages you to dine out and save the economy. Today, Mark (Maguire’s, Maximo) Maguire, president of the Texas Restaurant Association sends you this video.6 Comments »
Here is another event that happens from time-to-time around these hallowed halls—a company will deliver cupcakes, food, or products and get a negative mention on SideDish. Then they get all pissy. The same thing has happened with media dinners. I remember sending a writer to a media dinner at We Oui, or however you spell it. Months later when I published a negative review, owner Phil Romano called me and screamed, “But you told me you loved the place when you were at the media dinner.” I wasn’t at the media dinner but because someone from D was there and was polite or actually did like the meal that evening, Mr. Romano thought he’d “bought” a good review. (Romano called my boss and tried to have me fired.)
The same goes for restaurants that call and request a restaurant review or “listing.” I ask them to send a copy of the menu and tell them they will be considered for a review but there are never any guarantees. If I do decide to write about it and the review isn’t glowing, I usually get a phone call, e-mail, or letter complaining that I was unfair. Okay, carry on, just a thought.7 Comments »
The Federal Trade Commission recently updated its “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” If you are a blogger, freelance writer, advertising copy writer, or professional writer you need to read the document, especially if you accept complimentary products such as food, wine, or free dinners. The revised rules require you to disclose how you received the products you review or endorse. Scott, over at Dallasfood.org has a brilliant analysis of the document.
Let me give you an example what happens here at D headquarters on a regular basis. Let’s say a box of cupcakes, a package of chocolate, or bag of food samples arrives with a note from the store owner or publicist. Everyone in the office goes bonkers and whatever is delivered disappears in about 2 seconds. If we don’t post anything on SideDish, I generally receive a “follow-up” note like this:
Hi Nancy, I just wanted to follow up on the “Insert Name” “Insert Item” that we sent last week from “Insert Company” and get your thoughts/feedback on the new flavors. We think it would make an interesting post on SideDish or an article for your magazine. We’d love to hear what you thought of them and see if they might be a fit for an upcoming story or mention. “Insert Company” will be expanding and owner “Insert Name” is hoping to open more locations soon. We appreciate any comments you have!
If someone on the SideDish staff decides to write about the product, they now have to mention the fact that the food was not paid for by D Magazine. If we don’t, we violate the Federal Trade Commission Act and could receive a fine.
At the risk of calling in the food police, I will say that we have always run a tight ship around here. We’ve always paid for food we review and I do not attend media dinners or accept complimentary dinners. We have sent a copy of the FTC guidelines to our attorney to make sure we comply with all of the rules.
But here is one rub—I’ve already heard that some bloggers and indie food writers are finding ways to get around the rules by posting one small disclaimer somewhere on their webpage and not in the copy of the item. So readers beware. Ask questions. It’s a jungle out there.19 Comments »