Hello there! Let me just start by saying that it’s wonderful to have you here and I’m honored to have anyone reading this at all. For the purposes of this blog, my name is J. Michael Beza, and it’s nice to meet you. But, for those of you who must know what the “J” stands for lest I risk losing you as a reader due to a cold sense of exclusion, it’s Jonathan.
I love eating. Admittedly, it’s probably my greatest vice. Some people spend their money on fashion, or on drugs, or on scummy “free” mobile games that don’t let you do anything without spending a small fortune first, but I have tended to spend mine in pursuit of dining experiences. When you do something enough times, inevitably, you start to form opinions about it, which is what brings me here to you, and you to me. Food has evolved into a global conversation, but I don’t always feel like the right conversations are being had.
For example, you’re in the mood for something in particular, so you figure you’ll whip out the old smartphone and fire up a certain app to find something with a good rating. You’re only human, so naturally the top 3 rated options are the only ones you deem worth your time. You and your friend(s) jump in the car and make the drive to the one that’s just a little bit outside of your comfortable driving range, but still close enough to make the trip, because it has a lot of stars and reviews so surely it’s worth it. You get there, wait through the long line, and finally take your seat, ready to order the most popular item on the menu. At last, it arrives at your table! You and your friend(s) eat the food, and it’s fine, but not exactly living up to the expectation you had for it. But, hey, the ambiance of the place is pretty cool, the service was just decent enough, and you’re out with your friend(s) who seem to like it, so all is forgiven, right? NO.
Firstly, why did you think it was not that good? If you can answer that, then proceed to the even more pressing question: why does everyone else think it’s so good? Are you stumped? Don’t be. Start the dialogue. Put yourself in the minds of other diners. Put yourself into the minds of the people who designed the food you’re eating. Challenge yourself to carefully brush away all the subjectivity that comes with eating and don’t be afraid to nail down some objective criteria. Set reasonable standards for the food that you’re paying for and don’t be hesitant to weed out the underachievers. If your piers judge you, fine, send them here.
The thesis of this blog is simple: I wish to change people’s minds. I hope to be a harbinger of a new kind of dining mentality and liberate people from the stagnating marsh that is the modern-day “foodie” milieu. I want to drop-kick the yelp mentality that is holding stomachs hostage deep into a sarlacc pit in the middle of Tatooine where it can die a slow and painful death like Boba Fett was supposed to before he escaped, apparently (???). I want to strip away the bullshit and enjoy a genuinely good meal with you—not a half-assed plate of the lowest common denominator disguised as a good meal. We’re all dying a bit more every day and there’s too much food we’re never going to be able to try, or even worse convince ourselves that we shouldn’t.
Wow, that got heavy there for second! In all seriousness, I’m just someone who wants to put his thought-vomit out there into the ether. As I said before, I love food and food culture, and I love having genuine conversations about it deeper than just surface level observations like “delicious or not delicious.” At the same time, I also relish giving molten-hot takes based on nothing but compulsive, emotional overreaction as much as I do hearing them. But, if there’s a singular, all encapsulating gravity that holds everything in my head together on this matter, it’s the necessity of having the same amount of deep, elemental thought for food, as customers, as have its greatest creators.
If you have already gotten the sense that I’m some kind of food elitist, then I’m sorry, but I’m not sure, yet, if you’re wrong or not. I don’t have a grand plan for where I want to take this thing, nor do I know if I have enough salient opinions worthy of discussion. Think of this blog as a ship setting out without a heading, or a compass for that matter. We may end up discovering the golden city of El Dorado, or washed up on a desert island “Castaway” style, but at least we can try to have as much fun together as Tom Hanks discovering fire. Just remember, like Mr. Hanks with his desert island bonfire, to enjoy something when it’s hot. Seize that energy in your life, in your love, and in your food. Cheers.