Back in the old days of restaurant reviewing -- you know, three or four years ago -- we had to work hard at finding new and interesting places to write about. I used to keep a digital recorder handy in my car, and whenever I would spot something of interest -- signs of a just-closed eatery, a new restaurant opening -- I would make a quick audio note to myself. Then, back at my desk, I would make some calls to track down more info. A restaurant critic has to do more sleuthing than tv, movie, theater or book critics. Writers on those beats would receive press releases about scheduled openings or premieres. Restaurants rarely hire pr firms -- and they frequently didn’t want the restaurant critic to know about their place right away.
I still have the digital notetaker, now built into my iPhone, but I haven’t used it in the same way in ages. Now, I find out about new restaurants the way most everyone else does: I spot notices on Facebook and Urbanspoon and Yelp. And every now and then you see an unlikely candidate start to “trend,” with lots of extra buzz and attention.
That was the case with Junior Colombian Burger. It showed up in the top ten “Talk of the Town” list on Urbanspoon, and at least one other critic had written about it. It’s the sort of place I probably wouldn’t have noticed even if I drove past it and never would have found if it hadn’t been for the online attention.
I don’t feel I would have missed anything.