Reader: Laura Shunk is a 2011 Julie & Julia

Categories: Cafe Society

Mark Manger
Sachi Sushi turns out authentic Japanese food from its home in the Niwot Market.i
Laura Shunk's discovery of authentic ramen at Sachi Sushi in Niwot didn't thrill everyone. Tired of Drivel posted this:

My new year's resolution is to give up reading the Westword every week in hopes that Ms. Shunk has either learned to write a review or left the paper.

If we wanted to read her blog, we'd read her blog. But the review section of a newspaper is meant to be a review. It can be snappy, it can be interesting, it can include a very short amount of personal information, but mostly it should be a person who loves and knows food talking about the food.

If I wanted to read the self-absorbed nonsense of a neurotic, spoiled, shallow girl who uses food as nothing more than an excuse to sound her unfocused opinions and pointless thoughts I'd go read Julie & Julia again. I care about the food Ms. Shunk, I don't really care about the reviewer. And when the reviewer is this annoying it doesn't even make the food worth reading about.

I really tried Westword, but I'm done.

You can read Laura Shunk's review of Sachi Sushi here. And yes, food is definitely mentioned in it.

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It's hard to be Jason Sheehan.

Probably not as hard as it is to be a trauma surgeon, or maybe Iron Man or something, but regardless it's still hard to be like somebody else.

So you guys lost a good reviewer and yeah, it took a while to get back up on the proverbial horse or in the saddle or whatever analogy works well here by finding a new reviewer and in the meantime you held what felt like high school swim team tryouts to replace him. All the meanwhile everybody was pissin' and moanin' about how the world would end because Sheehan was gone to the great Pac Northwest. It sucked. We know. We read along with it and your growing pains were evident. We're ALL sorry it had to happen, (probably more so the Seattle folks, what with their recent revolt over Chipotle.. Bunch of uncultured cads, if you ask me) but we see that you're still here, still trying and maybe you shouldn't be looking to replace your former columnist with a columnist desperately trying to wear the suit that the last guy wore. Maybe your new food reviewer would be just as well recieved if they were diffrent and original in their own way.

It's hard to TRY to be Jason Sheehan.

There's what looks to be some sort of strange gladiatorial snark-fest and push to involve extra-personal, perhaps even somewhat over the top reviews that have that Sheehan smell and feel, (like `new car', but different) and they're falling short of the mark. Sure, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but there's something to be said for originality. I think that your readers are picking up on this.

Don't get me wrong here, Laura's a great reviewer. She's reads like she's got some good style. She's got humor. Kyle has some humor too, but it's more Eddie Haskel than Eddie Izzard. Izzard with a big spiky stick. And a cocaine hangover. On the set of "Clerks".

Is it that hard to avoid trying to write like Jason Sheehan?

It's not that hard to do. Some constructive feedback to get the ball rolling; forgo the etheral contrast and comparisons to Brooklyn and Los Angeles. Denver's a cowtown, guys. We know it, and we love it. We're sensitive and neurotic about it. Mos Def never wrote a song about Arvada as far as I know, and we wouldn't want him to. Accordingly, while we may not have Jane's Addiction, we're the home of 16 Horsepower and Devotchka, so take that, Redondo Beach. And with more than a small nod to Matt Smith, we live in Denver now, because Denver is cool.

Location-dropping the two major coasts in your reviews will do nothing more than ruffle people's feathers and make us think you're pretentious. You get ten cool points for casually mentioning that you lived in major `mover and shaker' metropolitan areas, but you get minus fifteen for doing it in a city that deserves your full attention. Embrace your western shirts, my friends but in a non-hipster, Sheplers kind of way.

Laura; I think he had a point about the bloggy-type style. Maybe try less flowery overarching descriptions of things that peripherally deal with the food and focus more on the subject at hand, like the food, the owner, the back story, what makes it what it is.

Kyle; Brother, dial it DOWN a little bit. If nothing else, leave the poor tea geeks alone. You've got `teh funny' going on, you really do, now just sharpen it with some finely honed wit. Less Randal! More... Something that's not Randal!

All in all, you guys are doing a great job. You're out there, writing things. Writing them down, even. And in a paper that hasn't folded yet! And you're good at it, and you're funny. Just.. Try a little more to be like yourselves, instead of `that guy who was here before but left and is pissing off Seattle'.


I honestly thought this was one of Laura's best reviews, and this coming from someone who normally hates to see reviews of restaurants outside the main Denver metro area. I really liked the pacing and build up and the description of the food itself really made me want to get in my car and drive to Niwot. If Niwot is where Laura has to go for a good bowl of Ramen because nobody in the big city can compete, then I thank her for the effort and the information.

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