Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Nancy Leson

Putting a new face on food: Unveiling a blog — and a critic

Seattle Times food writer

Nancy Leson on KPLU

THE SEATTLE TIMES writer's commentaries on food and restaurants can be heard on KPLU-FM (88.5) at 5:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m. and 4:44 p.m. Wednesdays, and 8:30 a.m. Saturdays.

This week: Leson embraces the wide world of food with her new blog, All You Can Eat.

See that photo of the blonde with the oysters? That's me at one of my favorite restaurants, Le Pichet, doing what I do best: eating.

Bet you thought I was a brunette, didn't you? Fooled ya!

Those oysters were incredibly delicious, by the way. I ate them unadorned but for their briny nectar, slurped from their shells, as oysters should always be eaten — in the world according to me.

So, what's with the coming-out party after nearly a decade as the Seattle Times' visually anonymous restaurant critic and Taste of the Town columnist?

It's like this: After many years spent star-rating my dining experiences for The Times, I've passed that job on to my talented and trusted friend, Providence Cicero, who, as I did, will attempt to remain anonymous so that her dining experience mirrors that of yours. As for my Wednesday Taste of the Town column, whose name I've always disliked (snooty, yes?), I'm done with that, too.

Welcome to All You Can Eat, a column name taken from a blog I start today. All You Can Eat will embrace the way I think and write about food.

With a daily online presence at, I'll have the luxury of immediacy — bringing you restaurant news as I learn about it. As ever, I'll be a presence in the Wednesday Food&Wine pages and in Friday's NWTicket, where you'll find me writing a monthly roundup of restaurants well worth your time and money.

Here at All You Can Eat, I'll focus on dining out as well as dining in, stepping beyond the restaurant realm to write about people who love to cook — myself included. I'll show-and-tell you why I think Greater Seattle is such a great place to food-shop, and share my thoughts about food culture with discussions sparked by the many food-focused books, magazines, blogs and Web sites that keep me juiced about the wide world of eating.

But here's the absolutely coolest thing about All You Can Eat: the "you" part.

For years, I've voiced my opinion about restaurants, chatted about the local dining scene and offered advice to hungry readers. Now, via my blog, you can talk back, sharing your thoughts and experiences with the All You Can Eat community — the very readers and eaters I've been conversing with for 10 years.

What am I hoping you'll share online? For one thing, I want to know why you hate the restaurant I said I love, and vice versa — and I hope you'll explain exactly why you disagree. Sometimes I'll have a story idea I need help with, and I may put out a call for input before getting down to work. I'll be all ears (eyes?) when you use my blog as an opportunity to give a shout-out to a fabulous waiter; complain about a brash bartender; or crow about the terrific new restaurant, bakery or specialty food shop in your neighborhood.

For years, I've answered e-mails and phone calls regarding the "best" place for this (a 40th birthday bash) and the "right" place for that (seafood with a view). And it's always irked me that the expertise I shared with one reader wasn't disseminated to a broader audience. With All You Can Eat, I hope to change that. What's more, I'd like the folks who work in our food community to consider All You Can Eat their blog, too, sharing their news and views with us.

Will I miss being the Seattle Times restaurant critic? Nah. I'm looking forward to dining out more frequently at restaurants I love, rather than those on my "have to go" list. I'm excited about doing in-person interviews with chefs and restaurateurs and getting out to the food and wine events I've long shied away from (lest some digital camera-toting busybody blast my photo over the Internet). And I'm truly jazzed about getting to know you all better as the now-recognizable face of food and restaurants for The Seattle Times.

Nancy Leson: 206-464-8838 or

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company


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