“Oh! You’re a restaurant critic!?” people typically crow when they find out how I make my living. Then always:“What’s your favorite restaurant?”

I’ve got them…it’s just that I never get to go to them. The other night was my wedding anniversary and we went to…the place I’m currently reviewing.

(No I’m not going to tell you what it was. Read our July issue to find out.)

It’s always like that for restaurant critics, compelled to heed the call of duty over the rumble of the stomach.

But if it were up to me? Oh…what a delectable fantasy. Cascina Spinasse for a plate of tajarin ragu, some chicory salad, and a Piedmontese red. A bottle of it. Maybe two.

If it were our anniversary, I’d drive the fella to the sexy new Monsoon East for a carmelly claypot somethin’-somethin’. Beautiful food in a beautiful setting…mmmm.

Something about the unstudied elegance of Volunteer Park Cafe, its seriously sensational comfort food—is a particularly charming draw for me. I know I would go here in my off-hours because…I do.

Then there’s Panos Kleftiko Taverna, whose richly oiled lamb dishes I love so much I think I might have been Greek in a former life; and “Dinette,”: where I adore spreading luscious things onto great bread; and Crow whose perfect urban-party energy conspires with the careful food to create the best place in town to bring out-of-towners; and Crush, for when you want your dinner to knock your socks right off.

There are more, but a critic can only do so much dreaming in one post. Stay tuned.

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