Sunday, June 17, 2012



[suh-pur-luh-tiv, soo-]


1. of the highest kind, quality, or order; surpassing all else or others; supreme; extreme: superlative wisdom.

When I woke up this morning, I had two different Facebook posts from two different, very good ice cream places in my news feed - both asking me to vote for them in a "Best of Cleveland" sort of competition. The truth is, both places are the best at what they do. The only similarity that they have, really - is that they both make and serve ice cream that tastes amazing.

There are at least three different places I'd tell you to go for the best Mexican food, my specific answer would be dependent on what kind of Mexican food you wanted to eat. There are just as many, if not more places that have the best sushi. Three places have the best burger in Cleveland. I live in Little Italy where there are many Italian restaurants who obviously serve Italian food. To me there is no "best Italian" because they all do something (Italian), very well.

I believe that in some ways, this is where these sorts of contests can fail us, and where blogging and word-of-mouth can be beneficial. If you just go to the one place that a publication tells you has the "best" of a certain cuisine or sub-genre, you are potentially missing out on something else in that same little niche of food that is equally grand. Then again, I have friends that will tell you that Chili's has the best damn fajitas you've ever had, and I just *know* that's not true. If the best fajitas you have ever had came in a plastic bag, you need to begin thinking outside the box.

It's not to say it's impossible to have a "best" of anything, but that to break it down to really, truly know the absolute best that the restaurants of a city have to offer to break it down by cuisine, genres and sub-genres, you'd be looking at a book - not a newspaper article or magazine. They are great guides, and it's interesting to me to see what the voters choose as the definitive taco of Cleveland, or who has the most transcendent bowl of pasta.

I know they're all in good fun, and hope this doesn't portray me as supreme repudiator of the printed page because I'm not - as a blogger I can't help but be a little biased about the fun of becoming more intimate with experiencing food, wherever you happen to be. Read the suggestions, but ask your friends and even your bartenders/servers once in a while. Some of the most delicious food I've found in Cleveland has never made its way to the pages of a magazine.