Buh-Bye Bill Addison

Over on Eatsblog, Dallas Morning News dining critic Bill Addison bids farewell to Dallas with his last blog post and restaurant review of Tei-An. No official word on his replacement.

It seems the whole media world is struggling; we’re adjusting budgets and our time devoted to print products. “The Internet is the future” is the mantra being tossed about in media circles, but not many people have figured out what that actually means or, more important, how to make money in cyberspace.

I shared several delightful meals with Bill Addison. The first was a week or so after he hit town. We met at Escondido Mexican Restaurant on Butler. He ate enough for two, a trait I always liked about him. Of course he spent countless hours in the gym—at least I assume as much, because he was buff and handsome.

Another evening we lingered over French food (and wine and wine) at Watel’s. I enjoyed his energy and zeal when it came to eating and writing. I told him it took more than a few Rocky Mountain oysters to leave a city like San Francisco to write dining reviews in Dallas, a city he’d visited only a few times. I couldn’t do it, because you start out without any sense of history or who’s who. I felt bad for him when he boldly started his campaign to realign the DMN star system by taking one away from Avner Samuel’s Aurora. (My right ear is still burning from the call I got that day from Avner. I’m sure Bill’s is as well.)

When Bill and I were downing cheese enchiladas at Escondido, I told him about SideDish. I told him I would probably make fun of him. I did. I called him Freckle Face, because I wanted you to picture him as a blond, freckle-faced boy when, in fact, he looks quite the opposite. I made him sound old. He is young. Bill didn’t like being called Freckle Face. He didn’t like being criticized. I don’t either. It hurts. But I told him—and I thought he understood—that we are critics, and we have to be prepared for people to be critical of us.

Bill quit communicating with me a while back. I’m not sure why, but he e-mailed me and asked me to never to mention his name in print again. He intimated in the message that I wouldn’t be able to hold back from writing about him again. He’s correct. Today I can’t.

So, Bill, believe it or not, I am sorry to see you go. I wish you could stay and play. Atlanta is a great food town, and you’ll be happy in the magazine business. And I hate to see such a swarthy cloud hanging over our friendship.


  • Hi-Minded

    This thread is a perfect example of what makes Nancy Nichols a class act on the Dallas stage. In or out of the food business. I’m late learning that feline food coverage was the inspiration for Ted Nugent’s ‘Cat Scratch Fever’. Like the pundent puma she is, Nichols is capable of great ‘meows’ but unlike other kings of the jungle never kills for sport.

  • Nancy Nichols

    Thanks, Mom!

  • harper

    Yes, what a class act to prioritize gossip over a private, off the record communication.

    Now you can go back to whining about what the big meanies are saying about you over at dallasfood.org.

    Some can dish it out…

  • CBS

    I prefer to think of her as our Carnivorous Cougar, at least a lad can dream.

    Adios Billy, we hardly knew thee. I did enjoy your reviews (for all 300 3star spots in town). I will, however, kindly take back my half star thank you very much.

  • Harper’s Bizarre

    Give it a rest, Harper. Nancy didn’t give away any big secrets about her relationship with Bill. In fact, I thought it was a fascinating look at the relationship between critics. And shouldn’t the media be a little more transparent these days anyway.

    Nancy makes reading about restaurants and dining fun and entertaining. And she also sure does seem to have a pretty firm grasp on just how difficult personal relationships can be in this mad blogosphere where everybody has an opinion and loves to share it so long as they can hide behind a fake name (like mine). I’m sorry Bill and Nancy didn’t get along that well, but I chalk that up to competition more than anything else. They are both good. They both know it. And that leads to tension. But it makes winners of all us food lovers out there.

  • Publicnewsense

    Anybody think that maybe he’s leaving because of something distasteful he encountered — like, maybe, the recipe at his workplace?

  • harper

    I sincerely doubt Bill meant that communication to be for public consumption. If he did indeed preface it with “off the record,” it is a professional no-no to go public with it anyway.

    To quote someone familiar in these pages, I’m sorry that this blog sees the world of Dallas dining through such a dark and mean-spirited eye.

  • Sarah Eveans

    @ Harper: This blog doesn’t see the world in a “dark and mean-spirited” way. (And yes, I know the blog post you’re referring to.) I’m sorry that you haven’t read us enough to know that. You’re making an assumption based on a conversation you weren’t privy to (unless you’re Bill Addison…want to fess up?), and then using that assumption to make a generalization about our entire blog. THAT is mean-spirited, and incorrect.

  • Daniel

    This blog post confirms beyond any doubt: Nancy Nichols is the new Adolf Hitler. This hate-filled screed left me gasping and, eventually, sort of almost choking like, until I regained my composure by banging both fists against my desk’n’things.

    Never before have I seen personal vileness, moral depravity and bottomless evil so concisely personified. Today, adieu to an esteemed colleague, tomorrow adieu to the way of life you and I cherish so bitterly!

  • Sarah Eveans

    @ Daniel: Are you kidding? I sure hope so…

  • Harper’s Bizarre

    Even if you are kidding, Daniel, that’s just completely distasteful.

  • BirdBrain

    Good heavens, what a bunch of blue meanies. I thought Nancy’s goodbye to Bill was nice. And I agree about it being interesting how food critics get along with each other.

  • Daniel

    Um, yes. For the love of God, yes. I thought the tip-offs came at least once per sentence. To wit:

    1) A local restaurant critic is like Adolf Hitler.
    Hitler was a vegetarian. His career as a restaurant critic would be self-limiting even in an “up” economy. Best he should stick with his day job.

    2) There are statements in Nancy’s blog post that caused me to bang my desk in paroxysms of outrage.
    It wasn’t Nancy’s benign, rather sweet post that done it. It’s a medical condition (which also accounts for my bitter, bitter scabies); I don’t expect the cruelfolk of this blog to care. Believe me, it cut short my own career as a restaurant critic (though once my anonymity became compromised, waitstaff’s officiousness at such moments could be truly touching and I hold those memories near and dear to my spleen.)

    3) Bottomless evil.
    I happen to have met Nancy Nichols, and let me tell you, the gal got a bottom on her. Hello?

    4)Goodbye to the way of life we cherish.
    Yeah, sure — like that’s going to happen on Nancy Nichols’ watch!

    Hoping this clarification avoids any future misunderstanding,

  • Nancy Nichols

    I guess I can cancel the body guard.

  • Hi-Minded

    Trust me. The day that Daniel is gratuitously mean will be the day Paris Hilton is revealed (by Perez Hilton?) to be a PHD in micro-physics; (ugh) unlikely. Take that to the (memory) bank.

  • CBS

    @Daniel: that darn Hitler schtick will get you in trouble everytime. That said, I say to you sir, bravo for your courage.

  • Brandon

    Some of you should ask for sarcasm detectors for next Christmas, your birthday or whenever the next time you are in a position to ask for a present…

  • I guess my question is… why make fun of a fellow critic? I mean, if you knew ahead of time that was what you were going to do and told him so, too… there must be some reason why. It doesn’t matter much now, I suppose. I’m just curious, since you brought it up.

  • Sid Nancy

    I’m a vegetarian, so I guess that makes me a Hitler.
    That is my feeble attempt at a joke.
    U Rock

  • J.R.

    I feel Bill Addison’s departure somehow got lost after reading all the above crapola. Bitter — party of one — your table is now ready. Shame on you.

    How about a simple Bill — you’re great, sorry to see you go and good luck.

  • Daniel

    Being vegetarian doesn’t make you Hitler, but by a commodious vicus of recirculation, it does make you Attila the Hun.

    That is my feeble attempt at a highbrow literary allusion.

  • T.G.

    I read SideDish because it consistently gives interesting diverse opinions about food and wine activities around Dallas and beyond. Now its starting to get just plain silly. Does anyone else agree?

    Daniel, I know in your mind that you think you’re being clever and witty. The unfortunate reality is that you’re not — in fact you’re becoming more tired, dumb, and boring with each passing blog.

    Can we get back on topic please?

  • Brad

    That vegetarian-Hitler schtick gets so old.

    I liked this post. It’s always nice when the faceless critics are brought back to a human level. It didn’t make me think less or more of Nancy or Mr. Addison, just gave me insight into a topic that interests me.

  • Gastronome

    Sure, and thanks TG, the topic is the departure of the swarthy, thin skinned, three star critic of the DMN. Adios, good luck, good by and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Come on DMN, rumor has it that you’re letting old freckle face have a hand in picking his successor. Are you for real – who’s driving the boat down there? This is your opportunity to find a critic who will help your readers distinguish between a fine restaurant and a pizza joint. Three hundred three star restaurants tells us nothing. Please find someone whose writing is about the restaurants and not simply an exercise in showing off their flowery writing style.

  • Nancy Nichols

    Hello, Gastronome. Ease up, dude/dudette. No critic can “win” with the star system.

  • Kitchen Confidential

    You’re absolutely right Nancy about the star system — it’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t. And thanks largely to a fellow by the name of Craig Claiborne who started the star system at the N.Y. Times many moons ago — looks like we’re stuck with it for good.

    That being said — when Mr. Addison decided to change the star system already in place in Dallas it caused some pretty major fallout that I’m afraid the new DMN critic will have no choice but to inherit and deal with at some point and I say may God help them with that mess.

    On a lighter note — the only person in Dallas who benefits from the “star system” is Lisa Garza and she lives in a constellation far away on Vulcan. Ha!

  • Nancy Nichols

    @Gastronome–I deleted your comment. Out of bounds. @Kitchen Confidential, yours as well only because it referenced Gastronome’s accusation. Let’s be a tad more grown up. I know, it hurts.

  • Darlene

    NN, read both of their comments and saw nothing offensive at all that would warrant deleting and censoring them. Was MUCH more surprised that the above Hitler references made the cut (people of my faith don’t really appreciate that kind of thing although we still have to read it and listen to it.

    Gastropub or whatever he goes by thinks that guy Bill wasn’t fair with the stupid star issue and KC likes Streisand, we do too.
    So What!

  • Gastronome

    Thanks Darlene, I’ll be your gastrobub and meet you at the gastropub any time.

  • Is there some critic/critic confidentiality agreement we were unaware of? Everyone knows with wine and emails, don’t say or write anything you don’t want shared. Was it on the edge of foodie morality? Oh, maybe, but hey that’s how we like NN!!

    Best of luck Bill. Checked out your new employer’s website and they definitely need some help. So, wow them with your disdain for 1/2 stars and truffle oil and you’ll be fine.

  • Nancy Nichols

    Foodie morality? WTF? There was no “off the record” conversation. He was not happy that I poked fun at him and he asked me to stop. I did. He asked me not to print his name again. I did only to say goodbye to him. Darlene–I think you know why I cut the comments and if you don’t e-mail me.

  • Scagnetti

    You mean some of you people ACTUALLY used the DMN rating system before Addison changed it? BWHAHAHA! Next you’ll be telling me you really use the recipes in Saveur Magazine!

  • Daniel

    Jesus, what a sanctimonious crew (NN excepted). Pardon my interruption of your Very Serious Pretensions.

    Now back to the regularly scheduled, all anxiously-nouveau-riche, all the time. Here’s hoping you figure out what wine will make you sound cultured.

  • Gastronome

    Come on Daniel, “Jesus”? “Hitler”? you’re obviously far more intellegent than one who has to resort to those names to express your thoughts. And NN, are you going to let Addison’s hissy fit prevent you from attempting to have a relationship with the two new food critics in town (Observer and DMN). Go for it! We like it when you and TG cybercommunicate (please copyright that word along with cyberjabber for me). Sure, you’ve stepped on her toes once in a while, but she’s proven to be thick skinned enough to shrug it off (kudos to TG). If one of the new relationships proves to be a lovefest, so much the better, but if one or both of them ends up in a food fight you can count on us all joining in the mele.

  • Nancy Nichols

    That is because Teresa and I are both members of a secret female cult. We light candles and wear silver bracelets with a logo of a bunch of wheat shafts etched into it. We have picnics and pot lucks. You can not drive a hissy fit into a bond like that. Ever.

  • Nancy Nichols

    Oh, and Dave Fairies. Well, why would I have ANY respect for a guy who left Dallas to live in Prague and returned only to write reviews for the Observer. I mean, seriously. (Damaged goods.)

  • Gastronome

    Ooooooo…. Sounds like someone just lobbed the first rotten tomatoe. Come on in Dave, the water’s just right.

  • Hitler

    Please leave me out of this discussion.

  • Kitchen Confidential

    Hey — easy on Dave guys — he’s a riot to read and there is nothing “damaged” about him (with the possible exception of his liver).

    Rumor has it that he didn’t just leave Prague — heard he was actually thrown out for drinking up all their good vodka. Then to add insult to injury, he snuck back in and ate up all the good caviar and then had the gall to complain that the toast points were stale.

  • Gastronome

    Hey K.C., we love Dave, just trying to stirr the pot and make things a little more interesting.

  • Kitchen Confidential

    Gastroman — I know, all in good fun — but pound for pound don’t think you can get too much more interesting than the Fairie-haired one for my money.

    Ever hear about the time he actually held a maitre d’ hotel up at pen-point and demanded more brine for his freshly opened Belon oysters or the time he wrote a review that speculated whether the overly large calf fries he was served may have simply been a result of elephantitis.

    I mean take my word for it — the guy’s too much.