Garlic and Sapphires

by Ruth Reichl

Gail Reid: Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise is Ruth Reichl's memoir of her days as the New York Times restaurant critic during the 1990\'s. New to the stodgy New York Times from the more relaxed dining atmosphere of California, Reichl is determined to provide her readers with an honest, fresh perspective on the restaurant scene. To that end, she creates characters, disguises, and personalities so that she can eat happily undetected by waiters and maitre d's in New York's vast array of dining establishments. What makes this read so engaging is Reichl's successful charade as well as being among the first to expose to the public N.Y's excellent ethnic cuisine. Interspersed among her adventures are her published restaurant reviews, some recipes, her musings about the importance of food in our lives, and her career as a wry observer of the culture of food. I had never before read anything relating to restaurant critiques except the occasional local restaurant review. I found this book to be a really delightful read, an interesting exposure to a a big city restaurant scene and a chance to glimpse behind the scenes at the workings of the New York Times.
Rating: ****

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