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A Poem About Leslie Brenner

Over on our other blog, I made reference this morning to Leslie Brenner’s story about how she lost 30 pounds. A commenter offered up a poem that felt deserved a wider audience. It contains a vulgar word, but since the writer was going for a rhyme scheme, I found it unoffensive and left it in. Enjoy:

It’s not hard to lose weight when you’re busy feeding your ego.


“How lucky for me, the big time’s been made,
Avner has recognized my powerful blade
Of a pen which decides “Av” and “Av-not”
Bonus stars for you, I now like what you’ve got.”
(The rest of the industry, slaps foreheads, with groan
Another Avner restaurant? C’mon. They all moan.)
A few nights of noshing, results are recognized
Leslie’s opinion of great dining, unparallelized.

Yet a Dean, or a Chris, or a Jeff, she’s disdainful
As not up to snuff, her judgement just painful,
Writing of Dallas’ favored food made for pleasure.
Except for a steak or two we question her measure
Of what is a two, or a three, or a four,
Maybe your point is really to re-score.
King-maker, Queen-bee, there’s really no difference
In her efforts to exert her growing influence.

But the problem lies further, as I’m sure we’ve all known
To the top of the News, where her hiring was sown
By editors searching for solutions. They’re bidding
To bring back former readers, c’mon are you kidding?
I’d consider this, except for ill-written skinny bitch
Whose effort to change us seems to have hitten a hitch.
So listen to the “Boo’s”, readers comments resound,
Diet-time, DMN, a suggestion, please lose a LB?

31 comments on “A Poem About Leslie Brenner

  1. I think more often than not, she is doing a good job & generally portrays the restaurants as they are…as long as Dallas remains a see & be seen wanna be town, nothing is gonna change

  2. I enjoy #’s reviews, but lately they have struck me as somewhat formulaic. Maybe it’s just that, now that she’s settled in, we’re getting to know her proclivities a little better. Generally, to write a # review, one must have the following:

    1. A complaint about the wine list not having anything of interest to a *serious* wine lover because it’s dominated by Napa and lacks old world wines, or it has old world wines but is: too extensive, too truncated, incoherent, too narrowly focused, too expensive, too cheap, odd, [insert adjective of your choice here], etc.

    1b. An insulting insinuation that those who prefer California wines over Old World cannot be true or serious wine drinkers/lovers/fighters.

    2. Use of at least one foreign term/phrase that 98% of #’s readership doesn’t understand without the internets and the googleizer. Note: foreign language means this review is legit, you plebians!

    3. A comment re how sleek/shiny/svelte/tanned/sparkly/really, really ridiculously good-looking/brooding we Dallasites are. Suck on that, LA!

    4. Speaking of… at least one reference to LA.

    At the end of the day, I get a kick out of #’s reviews, and I really, really look forward to reading them every Wednesday afternoon. However, a substantial part of that enjoyment derives from the extreme reactions she seems to provoke and from # herself, particularly when she makes comments that read as so over-the-top, I almost wonder if she’s doing it on purpose. Overall, I hope the DMN keeps her around.

  3. generally believe her reviews are dead on (although her scoring system is extremely inconsistent). However, the Avner (Av/Av-not) thing was unforgivable.

  4. @downtowner – My hat’s off to you with that comment.

    Just had one of my best meals in recent memory (which includes a week in Napa) at one of LB’s two star restaurants, One Two One. I’m just not sure I agree with her definition of Good.

  5. Nancy has it in for her (and any DMN critic, really). Her anonymous poem above is a new low.

  6. Um. Tim, there’s a reason newspapers have almost never published poetry sent in by readers: It’s usually bad poetry. Meter matters. As does actual rhyme, if you’re doing a poem that reaches for those things. (And I’m an expert on doggerel, having managed to get some published in the DMN way back when.) Mayhap your critic’s critic should have tried prose. (As did, for instance @downtowner here in making some interesting points…)

  7. what’s with all the mean attacks on nancy? and since she has a forum on SideDish and isn’t afraid to speak her mind, why the hell would she write an anonymous poem?

    all these comments sure make it seem like someone’s pretty thin-skinned

  8. @Jeffrey Weiss: I wouldn’t publish that poem in a newspaper either. You and I agree on that.

    @Francis: I know who wrote the poem. It ain’t Nancy.

  9. I don’t believe it. And I don’t know why Nancy is always attacking DMN food critics. She seems especially nasty toward LB.

  10. It’s cowardly for anyone to attack a person and not use your real name. Step from behind pseudonyms and own up to your comments.

  11. I live North of 635 and I doubt LB ever comes in her self due to the drive factor. I just heard of an opening at the New Braunfels Chronicle…

  12. @Francis, if Nancy had written it she would have signed it. Furthermore, the superior quality of her writing would have been self evident. You have also called Tim a liar, and while he may be many scurrilous things, a liar he isn’t.

  13. Nancy, I apologize. If I’d thought readers would confuse your great writing (loved the Australian men email) with my bad poetry, I would have posted it on City of Ate instead.

    Am I the only one who thought the review of Nosh was really, really, really strange? Like gas in the intestines, a week later the above farted itself out. It just happened to coincide with Ms. B’s exclamation of dietary success, published all over the front page of the Guide section.

    I don’t claim to be good, but I do claim to give a great deal of thought to what I want to say before I write it – thus the poetry. Too bad more people don’t try it, there might be fewer one-liner-snarky comments. But wait – I do those too, so maybe not.

    And I do it anonymously because I don’t want you to know who I am, no, not you, I mean YOU, over there, the one with no sense of humor.

  14. I am officially salivating over the anticipated comment mayhem over at DMN re the 3-star review # gave the French Room. People are going to lose. their. MINDS.

  15. @downtowner: Considering it now has officially the same amount of stars as Pecan Lodge Catering, I concur.

  16. I enjoy reading the work of all Dallas food writers. I wish SideDish would keep the focus on the food, not the competition. This ongoing snarkiness is really pretty pathetic.

  17. @ John – Knock yourself out and add this to the collection.


    Oh Leslie B., I simply must once again disagree
    With your standards of star ratings, Abacus a three?
    Worse yet, Kuby’s two stars, a judgment quite gutsy
    Do ya’ realize this rating’s below the (closed) Zinski?

    Your standard’s inconsistent to what Dallas expects
    For an informative discussion where to dine as directs.
    Perhaps skewed a bit from your west coast perspective
    In a writing style where stars don’t align with invective.

    While Hannah, freshman rater, is rarely critiqued
    Your comments, my dear, indicates readers quite piqued.
    At reviews seeming positive yet sparing few stars.
    Then flip-flopping those standards for tacos and burgers.

    My dear, just a tip, a review t’isn’t at all about “me”,
    The Mercury paid a steep price for your edible vanity.
    Arguing about cheese in the dining room is sooo declasse’
    Sad backstory, I’m afraid, is people believe what you say.

    Big city, so small, some say about Dallas,
    But like most of the South it’s hospitality magnanimous.
    Social dictates have a saying that typifies what we are
    “You catch more bees with honey than you will with vinegar.”

  18. I disagree with many of her reviews (Ferraris 1 *, Abacus 3, Mercury 2) but there is 1 line that is absolutely unforgivable. Last weeks review of Mextopia – “..if truth be told I still don’t quite get queso”.

    Not getting queso is not un-Texan, its un-American. I recommend posting up at Escondido’s, Rafa’s, Mattito’s, and Mi Cocina until you “get it”. Chances are that’ll get your weight back up and you can squeeze back into those size 22′s for the winter months. Oprah has made millions going up and down the scales. IJS.

  19. @snootyfoodie: I actually cringed when I read the “I don’t get queso” comment. I thought, “Oh no, #. Oh *no*. That is a faux paux of the highest order. Even if you don’t *get* queso, you don’t *SAY* you get queso, not in *Texas*.” It also made me love her, though. It makes me chuckle that she’s obviously very knowledgeable, has written several food-related books, has worked in LA and traveled the world, and now, finding herself in Dallas, is perplexed by this whole queso thing.

  20. I like Leslie’s reviews. Nice to have someone who hasn’t lived hear for years and isn’t biased by the dooshbaggery that is accepted in this area’s food scene.

  21. Agreed. I also like Leslie’s outsider perspective. Readers appreciate reviewers who are not (or have been) in bed with their favorite restaurateurs. Also, I want my reviewer to critique restaurants, not other reviewers. That’s my job.