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Arsalun Tafazoli in his downtown loft with a self-portrait; photography by Ryan Allen

Arsalun Tafazoli’s Media Diet

by Gillian Flynn | Riviera San Diego magazine | November 21, 2012

San Diego’s ambitious restaurateur debuts his latest food and drink concepts, Polite Provisions and Soda & Swine. The adjacent North Park venues will boast cocktails and housemade sodas on tap, plus meatballs and apple pie. So what inspires the innovator? We find out.

Morning reads
The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, including the Dining section on Wednesdays, although it frustrates me that it’s called Dining & Wine. I read print editions of both, so I hope they aren’t headed the way of Newsweek.

Magazines
The Economist; AdBuster to maintain my über-liberal cred; Monocle; New Republic; Wired for design; an awesome Dutch publication called Frame and Architectural Record; Wallpaper; Class; Lucky Peach; Beer Advocate; and although I shouldn’t admit it, I’m a real sucker for Vanity Fair.

Blogs
Continuous Lean, Eater, and HypeBeast—they do great look book snapshots.

YouTube
A Brief History of John Baldessari, narrated by Tom Waits (both from San Diego), is simple genius.

Yelp: yay or nay?
The online review format is only getting stronger, since credible publications with unbiased criticisms are diminishing. At Craft & Commerce we recorded our worst reviews and play them in the restrooms. It’s pretty entertaining to hear assaults on our business on speaker.

Food coverage then and now
When food went “mainstream,” shows like Top Chef or the likes of Gordon Ramsay were yelling at a bunch of schmucks. It was never something that really resonated with me. Now, food media is penetrating places it otherwise wouldn’t. The New Yorker is doing seven-page spreads on chefs and restaurateurs, which I think is an amazing commentary on our industry considering it’s one of the last true great literary periodicals left. This never would have happened six years ago. Generally, going into our industry was looked down upon, and was somewhere near the bottom in the societal hierarchy.