About pet peeves, because all have them.
Some time ago, months actually, I was part of a conversation between someone who knew and loved Eat It and Like It and two other people who had just moved to the area and wanted to learn more about the food scene. “This is Jesse Blanco, he is the host of the restaurant review show we watch every Sunday.” one said. I smiled, told them about the show and the website and moved along.
At the time, the use of ‘restaurant review show’ didn’t bother me in the least. I mean, I don’t know how to describe Eat It and Like It sometimes. “Are you a blogger?” I’m asked. “I suppose I am.” Although, writing a weekly column for the Savannah Morning News, I think earns me a title just the other side of blogger. Ultimately, I don’t care. Titles shmitles. No one here is trippin’ on that nonsense.
What I have take a bit of exception to since that first time I heard “restaurant review show’ is the fact that I have now heard it 2-3 more times since. Unfortunately it has become like the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard to me. When I hear it I secretly wince and float away. Yuck.
When the idea behind Eat It and Like It was developed, sitting outside at B. Matthew’s Eatery on Haberham and Bay Streets in summer of 2010, the idea was to do more than write reviews. My partner Senea Crystal and I sat there scribbling on napkins and discussing what this would look like. The three biggest take aways from that chat set us on a course to where we are today.
The first was my opinion would never be up for sale. As a journalist of 20 years at that point, integrity mattered. It always matters. There was no way I was going to wax poetic about a piece of chicken that I thought was awful in exchange for a paycheck. I’d rather not do any of it. I’m very proud to say that. Not too many others in this area can say the same.
Second was we would have to include the area outside of Savannah in our travels. We knew making this brand about food all over the South would take longer to build, but that was OK by us. Savannah/Hilton Head is home and it is where we draw most of our material from, but we refused to be limited by that. Why can’t I tell you about a great meal I had in Charleston? Or how much fun the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival is? Of course we can, and we do.
Finally, we agreed on the spot that we wouldn’t write traditional ‘reviews.’ Frankly we thought, back in 2010 with the growth of websites like Urban Spoon, Trip Advisor and Yelp, that the last thing the world needed was another opinion. We knew we wanted to do something different. I wanted to tell stories about people. The people that make your dishes so good. Yes, along the way I will tell you about go-to dishes at restaurant “X” but we have always been motivated by great stories BEFORE great food.
All of that said, if you have a great story, but your food is terrible, well, then it’s unlikely we will be spending any time together. Just how it goes. You’ve never seen me go on TV and say “great guy, but his chili is just awful!” Who wants to watch that? Well, maybe someone does, but that’s not how we operate.
The “Savannah Treasures” episode of Eat It and Like with Jesse Blanco was created in the spirit of not being a restaurant review show. The people behind the scenes deserve some love too. There are only 3 in our show, but you know there are hundreds just like that who’s only goal when they come to work every day is to make sure you Eat It and Like It.
At the end of the day, it’s just a pet peeve. We all have them. Who am I to complain about someone who follows the TV show and our website but mis-labels what we think we are?
Call me what you want, but just don’t call me late for dinner, right?
See you on TV,
# # #