Our Backstage Take On Chowderfest / FTC Disclosure

Last night, exhausted from judging soup and hanging with the kiddies all day on LBI, all we managed to do was post the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce’s press release on Sunday’s Chowderfest- and already we have controversy over ‘who REALLY should have won’! To refresh your memory, here’s the final results:People’s Choice

Red
Grand Champions: Stefanos
First Place: Black Whale Bar and Fish House
Second Place:Bistro 14
Third Place: Sea Oaks Country Club

White
Grand Champions: California Grill
First Place: Howard’s
Second Place: Greenhouse Cafe
Third Place: Chicken Or The Egg

Critic’s ChoiceRed
Champs: Dock Road Crabhouse
First Runner Up: Almost Famous Team
Second Runner Up: 217 East Main Street

White
Champs: Greenhouse Cafe
First Runner Up: Howard’s
Second Runner Up: Mud City Crabhouse

Part of the fun of these events is the widely differing personal preferences and people’s passion for food. We have to admit that last year we were wondering along with many of you, as to why the “Critic’s Choice” didn’t jibe exactly with the public’s verdicts. Well, I think we have the answer. Unlike the public that just cast a vote for their favorite, us “critics” are given a score sheet that has us rate on a scale of 1-10 different components of a chowder: i.e, spice, clams, flavor,etc. I found that while I was rating my preferences, I wasn’t even sure which one was going to come out on top until I added up the scores (which I found kind of fun, actually). For example, I thought the California Grill had the freshest, most pristine clams, but not the best flavor. John and I even had a friendly argument as to which we liked best. My take on the results? I thought Panzone’s should have won for

White: the broth had an equal balance of clam and cream flavors, and had nice chunks of clam throughout. For Red, I have to admit that 217 East Main’s was the most interesting, with a nice balance of chorizo for smokiness and spice, but plenty of clam flavor. Howard’s was decent, but I didn’t think it was as good as last year. One thing John and I both agreed on-how did Black Whale Bar and Fish House even place in the People’s Choice, let alone win First? We didn’t finish ours, as it tasted fishy-the clams were far from fresh. Ick. At any rate, we had a blast, and didn’t take it seriously (well, not too seriously…). Many thanks to Ed Hitzel for inviting us to be judges this year!

Here come the judges (from left to right): Mike McDonald of Delicious Orchards; John and I; Natalie Bailey, home economist, culinary teacher and writer; Geoff Johnson, chef-owner of Copper Fish in Cape May; Lorraine Ranalli, author of the book Gravy Wars; Ed Hitzel, Grand Poohbah Judge, publisher of Hitzels’ Restaurant Magazine, host of the Table for One radio show, and Hitzel A La Carte TV show; Ed Blake, board member of the Epicurian Society and Atlantic county Chamber of Commerce.

And in other news….the Federal Trade Commission has just passed a law requiring that all bloggers reveal any freebies or payment for any products and services that they may review. While we agree that this is long overdue, the penalty is rather harsh (11 thousand smackeroos!)especially considering that most bloggers make next to nothing on their sites (us included). So, even though we’re not required to do this until December 1st, we’re disclosing all of our “dirty little secrets” now:
  • We once got comped by Atlantic City’s Borgata for a room for one night and dinner at Itzakaya (we never could have afforded to review it otherwise). If you recall, we told the truth: we loved the dinner, but the dessert was terrible. We never did feel comfortable about getting paid to review anything and didn’t think going in that direction would be ethical, so we decided that that was going to be the first and last time.
  • Funkychunks sent me the tomato soap I reviewed (but I mentioned that in my post).
  • Chef Joe at Sweet Jenny’s offered us dinner on the house one of these nights (we haven’t taken him up on it yet), to thank us for thinking about him for our weekly chef interviews. Being that we’ve been regular customers there for over five years (predating the blog by four years), we’re not thinking there’s much of a conflict of interest here.

Well, that’s it. John and I are full aware of how blogs can choose to operate, and we have chosen to be guided by what we feel is ethical-we’d like to think that you can read our opinions and trust that we really do feel that way. As always, let us know what you think!

-Lisa

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2 thoughts on “Our Backstage Take On Chowderfest / FTC Disclosure

  1. For some reason I had a feeling that this was coming, so I have refused to take payment or put companies on my site…I do however get free samples, and if I do not like them, they never go up…We missed the chowda fest again! Darn, seems like it would be fun to be a judge, and not the cook for once!

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