This blog is a multiple imaginary award winner

Pax Arcana

There’s a new take-out sandwich and pasta joint opening up in the Davis Square storefront where at least four other food spots have withered and died in the past four years. There was the health food place, the other health food place, the panini place, and finally, the consistently disappointing burritos but at least they have free Wi-Fi place.

The new restaurant, called The Green Tomato, had barely put its name on the door when the luminescent and feline Mrs. Pax Arcana and I noticed something else on the window. Apparently this restaurant has been repeatedly voted Top Restaurant by something called the Marketing Association of America (or some equally onerously-named group — I really can’t remember). Top restaurant of what? Where? Voted by who? The marketing what?


Don’t even get me started on this shit

Which brings us to Osteria L’Intrepido, an entirely fake restaurant “established” by wine writer Robin Goldstein for the purposes of applying for a Wine Spectator magazine Award of Excellence. Goldstein faked a menu and a wine list that included many of the worst-rated Italian wines as determined by Wine Spectator, and sent in the application and $250 entry fee.

Guess what happened next:

Osteria L’Intrepido won the Award of Excellence, as published in print in the August 2008 issue of Wine Spectator. (Not surprisingly, the Osteria’s listing has been removed from Wine Spectator’s website since I posted this.) I presented this result at the meeting of the American Association of Wine Economists in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, August 15.

It’s troubling, of course, that a restaurant that doesn’t exist could win an Award of Excellence. But it’s also troubling that the award doesn’t seem to be particularly tied to the quality of the supposed restaurant’s “reserve wine list,” even by Wine Spectator’s own standards.

And so it is with great pleasure that I confer upon Robin Goldstein the 2008 Pax Arcana Award for Hilarious Awesomeness on the Internet (Food Category). May it stand proudly on his resume like a beacon of hope in a silly, silly world.

Fake Restaurant Wins Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence [Menu Pages]
What does it take to get a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence? [Osteria L’Intrepido]



Filed under journalism

13 responses to “This blog is a multiple imaginary award winner

  1. You forgot to include your entry fee.

  2. What’s the complaint about Boston magazine/Best of Boston? Don’t be coy with us.

  3. It’s ridiculous. That’s the complaint. It appears as if they simply comb through their advertisers for most of the “awards” and fill in the rest with dumb picks in incredibly narrow categories. They hand out enough of those goddamn things to wallpaper the fucking Green Monster — and the point of all of it is to goad restaurateurs and boutiques in the Back Bay to advertise Boston Magazine by hanging those stupid “Best of Boston” signs in their windows.

  4. Plus I hate Boston Magazine with the rage of a thousand grizzly bears. So there’s that, too.

  5. I happen to know how Boston Magazine determines the Best of Boston.

    1. Categories are selected.
    2. Categories are distributed to all staff members.
    3. Staff members receive a budget for each category.
    4. An individual staff member determines where they will visit based on their budget and personal convenience.
    5. Said individual staff member picks their favorite.

    I would place more MUCH more weight on the Pax Arcana Awards.

  6. Theres a Best of Austin Poll going on with the Chronicle here, same b.s. situation. I’ve been thinking about sabotaging it with a bizarre write in, but doubt I can bring in enough people to make it work. They have a “Critics Poll”(Staff) and “Audience Poll”

  7. Having helped compile the 2003 edition of The Improper Bostonian‘s (“For trust-fund kids, by trust-fund kids”) “Best of Boston” issue, I can say that their method is similar to Boston Magazine‘s as explained by Mr. Katz, except that staffers aren’t given any kind of budget at all, might not even have visited any of the annointed establishments and it’s totally a sop to their advertisers. Therefore it’s utterly meaningless and full of inane nincompoopery. I hate that rag with the rage of a million New Jerseyites told that their pizza ands tomatos suck.

  8. WTF with the emoticons and WordPress? I hate that crap with the rage of a billion Massholes told they must hew to the speed limit and not drive in the breakdown lane.

  9. Wow, who knew this inspired such hatred. Keep it going Pax: Why do you hate Boston magazine with the fire of whatever it was.

  10. I know, working for a small newspaper, we include stuff like that only for advertisers. Once, my boss wanted to publish a “Best of” section with nothing but our advertisers, a section they would pay for.

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