In an April 2006 post ( http://www.chowhound.com/topics/301841 ), Jim Leff made an interesting distinction between the denizens of this site and true Chowhounds. Who, then, are the denizens of this site? Chowdies? Let's call us foodogs.
Heaven help us; we're more arrogant than medical doctors, more opinionated than political analysts, and more often just plain wrong than economists. Most of what we write is mere whistling in the dark. If you have your antennae up, you may be able to discern the signal amidst all that noise. But don't count on it. We're a crafty bunch. We won't tell you we like a place for its obsequious service despite the appalling food. We'll heartily endorse without giving specifics, but we won't mention we're the owner's mom. Our favorite adjective is "yummy", because we're only 9 years old. We'll rave about bland, overcooked mush, because we lost our teeth 90 years ago. We'll recommend a place we tried 15 years ago, that served its last decent meal 10 years ago, and that closed 5 years ago. We'll give absurdly vague advice, like "try the pasta" at an Italian joint. ("It's yummy!") If you ask for hamburger recs, we'll steer you to the prime rib at Cafe Boeuf, because hamburger is so bourgeois. If you ask for recs within walking distance of a particular neighborhood, we'll insist you get in a cab and drive 25 minutes. When you request cheap eats, we'll tell you about a place that costs $100 for dinner for two. We'll recommend the only restaurant we've ever eaten in, regardless of what you ask for. We'll stick up our noses (snouts?) at a diner whose wine list we deem inexhaustive. We'll judge a Chinese restaurant awful because we don't like their pizza. We'll judge a restaurant by the aroma as we walk by. We'll write an entire review that begins "I haven't eaten there, but . . . " If you disagree with our opinion, we'll bully you until you give in. Then, we'll criticize your spelling.
In short, don't trust a foodog for advice. Get out there and find those gems yourself!
For those foodogs who would like to become more like Chowhounds, what advice would you offer?