Southern cuisine

Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.

My first gig for this paper, starting way back in the halcyon days of 2002, when I was a fresh-faced, rosy-cheeked fifth-year senior at the University of Nevada, Reno, was writing restaurant reviews.

I knew nothing about food, but was more than happy to gleefully criticize any and every aspect of small businesses, and crack jokes at the expense of local families who poured their hearts and souls into their restaurants. I was entitled, drunk on power, and generally disrespectful. I made some enemies in those days that I'll never forget. It was a wonderful time.

Still, I got better at it over the course of the years, and actually ended up learning a lot about food in the process. I also slowly learned how to write a negative review without being totally rude. I wrote some things I'm still proud of, and it always brings a smile to my face when I notice restaurants, like Michael's Deli, India Kabab and Mi Ranchito, which still have framed copies of articles I wrote a decade ago up on their walls.

I gave up writing restaurant reviews when I took over the Arts & Culture Editor desk in 2008, but I still miss it sometimes—especially when I'm having a bad meal somewhere and want to take vengeance on some poor, unsuspecting server who just accidentally slighted me in some way I'd like to blow way out of proportion. I can be petty like that.

Anyway, all of that is to build up to me giving a shout-out to our current reviewer, Todd South, who's been doing a great job. He's been writing reviews for us for a couple of years, but he's been really hitting his stride lately. His negative reviews are nuanced and respectful, and his positive reviews can be downright mouth-watering. Go back and take a look at his recent reviews of M&M's Southern Cafe or Shawarmageddon, and just try to resist the temptation to run out to either of those restaurants and immediately commence face-stuffing.