After going six-plus months without a food critic in-house, New Times has hired a gem: Melissa McCart, who will be leaving Washington, DC to join us.
Her resume is nothing shabby. She began her career as a high school English teacher working in New York, Virginia, and even Berlin. Eventually she abandoned that gig to become a not-quite-starving artist, writing freelance articles about food for the Washington Post, Washington City Paper, NBC's The Feast, Gourmet.com, and Martha Stewart Living. She also wrote a blog, cleverly titled Counter Intelligence, and worked on a book about chefs.
Her favorite foods are oysters, artichokes, crostada, crab, mussels, and
pate: things that can be broken open, split apart, slurped, and spread.
"I am so excited to be in a real city," she said via phone, confusing us because we typically think of Washington as a major city, especially compared to the humble burg of Fort Liquordale (not to dis its status as "The Venice of America"). She explained, "Washington is a collection of wonky people from all over the country," contrasting its population of power-suited zombies with the fascinating variety of characters who have collected in South Florida naturally, like so many specks of sand at the edge of an outdoor shower drain.
"I'm also looking forward to the weather, after a couple years of brutal snowstorms here," McCart said. And food-wise? She'll be devouring seafood. "My father's retirement job is fishing, I grew up fishing, and just being by the shore will be so wonderful." She's also looking forward to discovering our vast array of ethnic eateries -- even if they are tucked in suburban shopping plazas and not fancy downtown skyscrapers. "Florida seems to have much more interesting -- especially lowbrow and mid-range -- options. DC does well with fine dining but there are many gaps. It's hard to get a good taco in DC."
Look for her to begin in early August. She'll be writing our weekly
long-form restaurant reviews and blogging frequently here on
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