• Phil Vettel, why aren’t you writing reviews anymore? This is the second week in a row that he’s denied us the pleasure of his opinion, instead running down a list of seven restaurants that offer brunch. And they’re not even mini-reviews, just menu rehashes. We mean, yes, brunch at Hearty Boys is newsworthy, but tell us what to think about it.
• At least Joe Gray is holding high the flag of opinionism. He goes to bat for Cheap Eats with a visit to Cafe Orchid, where the baba ghanoush is “assertively smoky,” and he falls for some lemony chicken kebabs.
• In the Food & Whine column (hint: it involves whining), Janet Franz gets articulately cranky about the rise of communal dining (here’s where we stand on the issue). Plenty of chefs and other resto folks weigh in with the idea that communal tables are here to stay, and that they’re not so bad as long as the restaurant can provide other seating options for diners who are less-than-eager to have their serviceware commingle with strangers’. Franz also hates it when servers ask for a drink order too soon.
[Photo: The communal table at The Publican, Bob Briskey Photography]