Former Dallas Observer Dining Critic Hanna Raskin is Off Her Rocker

Earlier this morning, I received a link to a Seattle Weekly blog post written by former Dallas Observer “critic” Hanna “Sudafed” Raskin  and planned to write a rebuttal. Eater “Up at Dawn” Dallas beat me to the punch. However, I would like to throw a few more. Her post– “Professional Food Critics Not Needed in Portland”– is embarrassingly amateur. Read it, I’ll wait.

This quick assessment from a professional food critic who reviewed Dallas restaurants while taking copious amounts of sinus medication? After my ENT doctor read about Raskin’s sinus problems,  he called me and said: “She had no business reviewing restaurants. Her palate was dead.” If I were a restaurateur who was reviewed during her reign, I’d be demanding a redo. No wonder she called Dallas a “dining nowhereville.” She wasn’t able to taste anything. She blathers on:

I shouldn’t be surprised that the imagined relationship between rigorous professional criticism and good food doesn’t hold up. I moved here from Dallas, a city that’s covered ruthlessly by established food critics, including the Dallas Morning News‘ Leslie Brenner, D Magazine‘s Nancy Nichols, and Texas Monthly‘s Pat Sharpe. The food there isn’t any better for it.

Hanna, you take one trip to Portland and declare “Portland appears to have entered the post-professional critic era, and the food scene hasn’t suffered.” Oh my. I need a Xanax. Writers in Portland were sadly laid off by print publications. Raskin should be next.


  • JD

    I generally despise the manufacturing of drama, but Nancy does it so well and so overtly it makes me smile time.

  • Reader

    Why do talentless people with dead palates get cool jobs? She should be a restautant critic in Bakersfield? Better for sinus problems and it’s the armpit of California, exactly where she belongs.

  • Vicious — but lovely.
    And, Dallas does have a lot of lousy food.
    It’s — oddly — a matter of taste.
    But you do have to be able to taste it.

  • bluebird

    it seems like some of the impressions she formed about dallas were inaccurate, but that’s not a surprise since she lived here such a short time. i think it’s hard to understand the food culture of any city unless you’ve lived there at least a year.

  • ChuckE

    I have chronic sinusitus and my palate works just fine. Don’t hate us.

  • Bobby Ewing

    Hmmmm…I have a different take: she seems to be attempting, in a hamfisted manner, to riff on the role of food journalists in cities with thriving and quickly changing restaurant scenes. Do these critics matter, she seems to wonder, in the age of social networking, crowd sourced reviewing, and very quick rises and falls of chefs and restaurants. Whither the critic? In a different era, critics existed to help guide the palates of an eager reading public. Is that still valid? But perhaps I am reading too much into her phyllo-thin self analysis?

  • Robie

    This has got to be the slowest website I visit on a regular basis.

  • Kessler Porker

    I love Mark Tedesco’s comment “You are just as moronic here as you were in Dallas. To say you are from Dallas makes Dallas’ penis shrink. As I recall, you were run out of town in a fit of embarrassment.”

    Fa-ight fa-ight.

    When are we going to have a DFW food-critic jello-wrestling show-down? My money’s on Nasty Nancy!

  • Borborygmus

    Hannah, Hannah, Hannah, you do not cure your sinus problems by sticking your fingers up someone else’s nose.

  • John Tyler

    I’ve been in Dallas for over 20 years…
    What the hell is an “OBSERVER?”
    Never heard of it.

  • Grudge Match

    Just can’t let it go can you? It’s past time to move on NN.

  • Foodie

    John Tyler, You need to get out more. It’s a free local paper. Former mayor Laura Miller used to even write for them.

  • boo-boo

    John Tyler, excellent

  • Cat fight!

    Someone’s got an ax to grind.

    At least she never engaged in pack journalism, three stories in less than 24 hours to promote a chain pizza place in North Dallas as the next “new thing”.

  • you talked to your doc about hanna? lol. catty. will have to check the prior D Best ENT docs to figure out who you are referring to.

  • Grumpy, jeez you’re pulling that out again. I already explained it was a scheduling faux pas and my fault. (Does two locations make it a chain?) Lord. Matt, my ENT and his wife are avid diners and have traveled all over the world discovering unique foods. He and his wife have gone on dining reviews with me a couple of times. When he read about Hanna’s problems he called me. An axe? I don’t feel like I am grinding an axe. I have lived in Dallas for 47 years (11 in LA) and been covering the food world here for 15. Hell yes I will stand up and speak my mind when somebody cruises into town and, after less than 10 months, dismisses our food as “nowhereville.” Then she continues to beat the dumb-Dallas drum from Seattle. I’m proud to be a critic in Dallas. I’m proud Dallas has evolved. Is it the best eating city in America? No. But we certainly have had some extremely creative and talented people turning out some lovely food. During the summer months, we are blessed with a bounty of local crops to cook with. We’re in a recession and our farmers and chefs are making gourmet chicken salad out of chicken shit. Do you want Yelp or interesting dialog about food? The professional food critic is swimming upstream in a river of anonymous i-know-it-all-amateur-chef-groupie bullshit. Next.

  • NN Lover

    Great point, NN, and not self-serving at all! Of course you’re indispensable to the Dallas restaurant scene! And such prose: “Attendants surround the car and, with a flourish, simultaneously fling open all four doors. Expensive perfume scents the hot summer breeze.”

    Awesome! (And by ‘awesome,’ I mean overblown and embarrassing.) Forty-seven years in the big D, you say? A bit of friendly advice: Perhaps it’s time to admit you’re writing is is getting saggy, and hang up the cleats?

  • Bigjondaniel

    @NN Lover- she can’t do that until she has her restaurant PR business up and running, and she can’t have her restaurant PR business up and running until she ingratiates herself to as many of the chain restaurants, proto-chains, restaurant money guys and former executives of crappy chain restaurants (and their kids) as possible.
    @Nancy – If you just keep telling people in your readership how great the places they love are (even if they aren’t), why do they need you?

  • M/

    You might be crazy…….

  • I’m sorry you all feel that way. Why are you here? Restaurant PR business? I’d rather wash cars. Yes, I have a long record of ingratiating myself with chain restaurants. That one made me laugh! Wow, i can’t even make fun of Highland Park without a snarky review. interesting.

  • whoa, nelly

    is anyone concerned with this quote

    “We’re in a recession and our farmers and chefs are making gourmet chicken salad out of chicken ****.”

    Dallas chefs have a real high standard to live up…