Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Yet another thing I don't understand

I honestly didn't want to write about this, but the results are simply too ridiculous to ignore. Travel website Travelandleisure.com and CNN Headline News conducted a survey of 60,000 visitors and residents nationwide of the top 25 urban destinations on a variety of topics, ranging from affordability to the underground arts community.

So where did our fair city rank on dining? 23. 23 out of 25. Take that Phoenix/Scottsdale and Santa Fe!

So back to why I didn't want to write about this - oh yeah, it's complete crap. 23? Look who was ranked ahead of DC - Orlando, Charleston, San Antonio, and twenty other cities.

Now, did we deserve to be number one? No. New York will, at least in the near future, always be number one. Most will argue that Chicago and San Francisco will fight it out for second and third - leaving fourth place (which is a lot better than 23rd) for DC.

But let's look at why we got such a low score in this survey. The category is broken down into several sub-categories, those include: barbecue, big-name restaurants, cheap eats, coffee, ethnic food, farmer's markets, and pizza.

Ok, so let's go down the list:

Barbecue (Ranked 25th): Yes, we don't have a whole lot of great BBQ here, but BBQ is a regional food, which makes this category BS. The top six cities are southern (including Texas) - surprise, surprise.

Big-Name Restaurants (Ranked 11th): Now this is what really gets me more than anything. How many James Beard winners/nominees does a city need to get some props?!? Orlando should be much further down than 10th, Philadelphia has no business sitting in the number seven spot, and Las Vegas shouldn't even count as a city - big chefs go there because the city is a theme park for capitalism and they want to make money (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Cheap Eats (25th): Again, ranked dead last in a category, this is BS. The people that they must have surveyed must not have ever left downtown - it's a big city (metro area) people, and the cheap food is on the periphery.

Coffee (18th): I don't drink coffee, so I can't speak on this - but my friend Marc always found a way to get coffee here. That's good enough for me.

Ethnic Food (9th): Ironically enough, this is one of DC's weaknesses. You have to go into MD or VA for a lot of ethnic food, but if you're looking at the whole area, you can find a lot of what you're looking for.

Farmer's Markets (22nd): Eastern Market (aside from Ben's) is what DC is all about. There are a number of good markets around here, and a lot of great farmers from the surrounding areas - 22nd seems pretty low for what we've got.

Pizza (22nd): Are you kidding me? 2 Amy's! Bebo! Comet! RedRocks! And the list goes on. This is probably one of the best pizza cities in the country right now - better than anything I had in 18 years living in Miami.

So where would I rate DC, if I was a one man survey? Probably between 4th and 7th - not knowing an incredible amount about some of the cities on the list.

So where would you rank DC among our nation's urban centers?


Anonymous said...

this is in no way one of the better places for pizza in the country. yes, a couple of those places you named are good. vace is great, but we need more good slice joints. lots more

Richard Nixon said...

There's certainly good coffee in DC, though I also wouldn't give the city a high ranking. Compared to New York, Boston, and most of the cities on the West Coast (and percentage-wise, even Portland Maine) there aren't as many good coffee shops to hang out in.
That said, Murky is a cut above most coffee-shops I've been to.

The question is one of not just the quality of coffee, but what kind of coffee-serving establishment you want. Within the chains, this is symbolized by Starbucks vs Dunkin Donuts. Dunkins doesn't want you to hang out there. They want you to get your coffee as quickly as possible, and go on with your day somewhere else. Starbucks encourages people to hang around.

Two very different lifestyle choices. In terms of quantity, DC has plenty of places to drink decent coffee and hang out. The problem is that most of them are Starbucks. The ones that aren't starbucks are Caribou, or Borders. Places like Murky are not the norm.

Ramona said...

The farmers markets ranking is utter crap! The DC area is rife with wonderful markets and pioneers in organic and sustainable farms. Sheesh!