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Posts Tagged ‘Tom Sietsema’

WaPo in a Pickle: Restaurant Review Ruined

Stop the presses?

WaPo‘s famed restaurant reviewer Tom Sietsema is in a predicament this morning after learning that a restaurant he has reviewed is closing its doors. Though he asked the owner why they were shutting down, the answer is quite cryptic.

At this point it remains unclear whether the review will run, as WaPo Magazine prints in advance. While Sietsema cannot reveal what is in the upcoming piece, whether it was favorable or otherwise, it’s still uncertain how higher ups will handle the obviously tricky matter.

UPDATE: Joe Heim, WaPo Articles Editor, checked in with FishbowlDC to say: “I’m Tom’s editor and just wanted to let you know that his review will still run. Unfortunately, that issue of the magazine is already being printed. We’ll run an editor’s note in the paper that day to explain.”



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Fish Food

(A Sprinkling of Things we Think you Ought to Know…)

The Essence of Eric Holder – While the Fast and Furious scandal swirls around Attorney General Eric Holder, he ducked the heat to sit down with Essence magazine with his wife, Dr. Sharon Malone. The article, titled “Holding Fast”, takes a look at the humble upbringings of the couple. Holder even addresses the recent battles that he’s gone through saying, ““It’s not going to stop me from doing the work I am dedicated to doing.  In fact, it’s going to intensify my efforts.” Take that Matthew Boyle! (Daily Caller scribe intent on bringing him down.)

Hope and Chains - Politico’s Jonathan Martin gives a behind-the-scenes look at how Joe Biden is treated by his handlers in today’s political climate. Martin writes, “In an era of Twitter and saturation news coverage — when one stray remark can upend a day’s news cycle and campaigns struggle to shape their preferred message — politicians and their aides are increasingly intent on restricting the media’s interaction with candidates.” Biden has struggled with this new media reality and has stepped in it with numerous gaffes in recent days. JMart, who recently handled pool duty for VPOTUS, says that Biden’s handlers went so far as to try to edit his pool reports. Martin documents how the protective handlers tried to shoo Biden away from press while he was at a memorial for the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting while “reporters asked him about his feelings upon seeing the site.” The question led Biden to become emotional and talk about tragedies in his life. What Martin DOESN’T say in his piece is that he’s the one who asked VPOTUS the emotional question. His pool report from the events says, “Your pooler asked what the memorial meant to him, prompting Biden to recall his own life’s tragedy. VP paused repeatedly as he answered in an emotional, solemn fashion.” He notes that emotional questions from other scribes on the topic weren’t even answered. How big of him. We’re getting misty just thinking about it.

Political Plates - WaPo’s Tom Sietsema recently traveled South to visit the host cities for the Democratic and Republican conventions to see what kind of food traveling journos can expect. Sadly, it ain’t pretty. On the mediocre meals, he says, “Having spent a dozen mealtimes in Charlotte and Tampa this summer, I can tell you that neither market was selected by convention organizers for its dining scene. In the spirit of bipartisanship, this traveling stomach can report that both are equally … middle of the road. Sietsema goes through a few options in each city and manages to squeak out a few suitable eateries, but it’s clear these cities weren’t picked for their culinary chops.


Your pooler asked what the memorial meant to him, prompting Biden to recall his own life's tragedy.  VP paused repeatedly as he answered in an emotional, solemn fashion.


Good Morning FishbowlDC Readers


INSIDE D. SHUSTER’s GARDEN: “As I stop to smell the flowers in my garden, I wish everybody a happy, healthy, + peaceful spring.” — Former MSNBCer David Shuster in a Monday tweet accompanied by the above picture of his Georgetown abode. We had no idea D. was so good at tending to tulips.

All aboard!

Fox News Contributor Dana Perino on the train this morning from Washington to New York. She writes, “My biggest temptation at the train station is petting the dogs on security duty. Long live dogs!” Also on the train was ABC News’s Political Director Amy Walter.

The Name Dropper

“At pal’s fascinating Sunday dinner party, a toss-up on what was better: the superb rack of lamb or tablemates Anthony Fauci & Zeke Emanuel.” — WaPo‘s Food Critic Tom Sietsema in a weekend tweet. Emanuel is a bioethicist at NIH and brother to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Fauci is an immunologist and head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAD). He has made significant contributions in research area of AIDS.

A perfect metaphor for Senator’s voice

“Sherrod Brown, taking a break from massaging his vocal chords with a cheese grater, gets cozy and talks swipe fees with the National Association of Realtors at a fundraiser hosted by the trade group.” — An apt description of Sen. Sherrod Brown‘s (D-Ohio) voice in Monday evening’s “HuffPost Hill” about a fundraiser held for him this morning.

Asparagus, pee and Wemple

“Why can’t half of Brits smell asparagus in their pee?” — TBD Editor Erik Wemple in a recent tweet promoting an in-depth story about asparagus, a vegetable that peaks in spring. April is a particularly fantastic month for the green spears. Sure enough, the story by Jenny Rogers entails a lovely analysis of why asparagus can make your pee stink. The following words appear in the story this number of times: bathroom: 1; pee/urine: 6; stink or any variation of smell, scent, etc: 5

The question heard around the world

“”Who is Ben Smith?” Your worst fucking nightmare, Donald, that’s who.” — FakeJimVandeHei in a Monday tweet. Smith turned up in a VF Daily post edited by Sharpie maniac Donald Trump. In the edit, Trump scrawled, “Who is Ben Smith?” If you missed it, read here.

An indirect proposal

“So, can I marry Dana Loesch?” — An anonymous FishbowlDC reader in an email Monday morning after we published a Separated at Birth item on the Editor and Winona Ryder.

Good Morning FishbowlDC Readers


Reporter channels inner Mary Poppins

“Didn’t have an umbrella so nice hotel doorman gave me one. Thing is, it’s like 4 ft long…I feel like Mary Poppins.” — TWT White House reporter Kara Rowland in a Wednesday tweet from Manhattan

Angry journo

“Seriously, Pepco. you suck! how are we w/o power again!!! Worst. Energy. Company. Ever.” — NBC political reporter Domenico Montanaro in a Wednesday tweet.

Hazard of writing job: weird guy singing

“You had to be there: Guy whips out iPod at top restaurant last night and, along with his companions, starts SINGING in otherwise quiet room.” — WaPo‘s restaurant reviewer Tom Sietsema in a Wednesday tweet.

Rahm not naked

“Repeat after me, the King has clothes on and they’re lovely.”  — WSJ‘s Jonathan Weisman in a Wednesday tweet, writing in code and referring to a story he wrote on White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel running for Chicago Mayor.

Touched by the White House

“Some things never get old, like marine 1 lifting off from wh south lawn. Seen here this afternoon.” – NBC News political correspondent Mike Viqueira in a Wednesday tweet. (Please note: We typically reserve these sorts of pictures for CNN’s Ed Henry, who is prone to taking White House sunrise shots. We are not betraying you with Viqueira, Ed, we promise.) See Viqueira’s picture after the jump…

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Good Morning FishbowlDC Readers

Quotes of the Day


Pop Rocks – it’s all coming back

“OMG. Has anyone tried Pop Rocks as an adult? This stuff is freaky. Why did we put this in our mouths as kids? #pleasemakeitstop”
- ABC News’s Amy Walters in a Monday tweet.

White House reporter down on this fast food steak

“YUCK. Chipotle’s steak is medium rare.”
- TWT‘s Kara Rowland in a Monday tweet.

Trump skewers media

“The press. They love it. They created this monster.”
- Donald Trump on the story of the potential Quran-burning pastor in Florida on CNN’s “Larry King Live” Monday night. Sidenote: Trump. after kicking the media that covers him profusely, a–kissed Dr. Phil, who was also on the show, saying he watches his talk show, and that the two men are really close friends.

It wasn’t the cockroach that did in the meal

“It’s not the cockroach I found in my water glass that eliminated a former favorite from inclusion in my fall dining guide. It’s the cooking.” – WaPo‘s restaurant reviewer Tom Sietsema in a Monday tweet.

TV journo gets name-called for standing
up to skimpily dressed dolls

“Not really a surprise that a Bratz backer would have a gutter mouth.” – ABC’s Jake Tapper after the pro-Bratz doll reader, @brtazheaven, wrote in to call Tapper a “jacka–” after Tapper questioned the dolls appropriateness on Nickelodeon during SpongeBob. @bratzheaven has the prostitution ring (er, doll collection) pasted all over his or her twitter site.


Good Morning FishbowlDC Readers

Quote(s) of the Day


Cox loves a good OTR foul-mouthed lawmaker

“Discovering that MoCs [members of Congress] can be deliciously catty and foul-mouthed off the record. Maybe I’ll come to the Hill more often…”–GQ’s D.C. Correspondent Ana Marie Cox in a Tuesday tweet.

Journo prepares for gazpacho and cream suit

“Tempting the fates in a new cream-colored suit, I order gazpacho for lunch. But I carry protection: a Tide Stick (which I dont have to use).” –WaPo‘s food critic Tom Sietsema braved lunch and remarked on it in a Tuesday tweet. Incidentally, gazpacho was the White House soup of the day Tuesday, as alerted by MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.”

green fish.jpg

Good Morning FishbowlDC Readers



A sweet father-son moment

“Showing my son how to shine shoes.”
Slate’s John Dickerson in a weekend tweet.

WaPo weather watcher

“Tornedo watch in/around DC? That blows.” Followed by: “A minute ago, the streets were bone dry around here. Now? Full-on monsoon coming through.”
WaPo‘s J. Freedom Du Lac in Sunday tweets on the strange D.C. weather.

No peanuts, pretzels to go with that fright?

“AA flight attendant deviates from usual boring safety script: If you can’t figure out oxygen masks, lack of air ‘is a euphoric way to go.’”
WaPo food critic Tom Sietsema in a weekend tweet.

Kurtz finds fan in CNN intern

“Sign of times? Just met a CNN intern who was excited: ‘I follow you on Twitter!’”
WaPo writer and CNN host Howard Kurtz in a Sunday tweet.


Fruitcake Doesn’t Have to Imhibit Fair Reporting

cake-4.jpeg Sometimes journalists have to accept gifts for the sake of the craft.

WaPo’s Reliable Source’s Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts did just that for their item this morning on Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-Ore.) fruitcakes. They even went so far as to have WaPo’s food critic Tom Sietsema try the cake.

The verdict from all? “Two thumbs up.”

We believe them, but fruitcake just never looks appetizing (as evidenced by our picture here).

Sietsema: Commissary Responds

We told you yesterday about the hot water that Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema finds himself in. The Post chastised him after he wrote a harsh review of a restaurant where someone he used to have a “personal relationship works.”

Well, now, the restaurant — The Commissary — has responded and the Washington City Paper has the details.

    In last Wednesday’s Washington Post Food Section, under Tom Sietsema’s First Bites column, an article appeared about Commissary, our newest restaurant. Some of you may have read it and been as shocked as we were. It was not an objective, unbiased and informed article as it should have been. Instead it was a biased and vitriolic rampage. We believe Mr. Sietsema used his column as a missile launch for economic assassination against Commissary, as retribution for some perceived wrong against him.

    Mr. Sietsema never disclosed, apparently including to his editors, a previous, very close personal relationship with one of our principals. A relationship that ended abruptly and seemingly left him bitter.

Read the rest here.

WaPo To Sietsema: There Was A Bug In Your Soup


From the Washington Post’s “Editor’s Note“:

    Critic Tom Sietsema should have recused himself from reviewing the Commissary, a restaurant featured in the Oct. 29 Food section. He and one of the restaurant’s owners had earlier had a personal relationship. The Washington Post regrets that he reviewed this restaurant, and will remove the review from its online archive.

Well, lucky for you readers, we’ve got the review after the jump, including such criticisms as…

…”There’s little at Commissary (1443 P St. NW; 202-299-0018) that will remind anyone of Merkado, the Asian-Latin restaurant that preceded it at the same address in Logan Circle.”

…”Commissary, for all its energy and youth, is a swell place to hang but a lackluster place to eat. The menu is packed with more options than a supermarket cereal aisle, but I’d be willing to sacrifice quantity for quality.”

“One of Commissary’s top sellers is pizza, but Domino’s tastes like haute cuisine compared with the flavorless pie I encountered, its cardboard crust slathered with what smacked of canned tomato paste.”

So what’s this Editor’s Note about? Sietsema taking revenge on a personal relationship gone sour? Enquiring minds want to know…

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