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Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

A true delight for a food lover to read

This book is less autobiographical than Reichl's other two books, 'Tender at the Bone' and 'Comfort me with apples.' Nonetheless, this book is a great read and hilarious. Reichl talks about moving from being the restaraunt critic for the LA Times to the NY Times. It ...
This book is less autobiographical than Reichl's other two books, 'Tender at the Bone' and 'Comfort me with apples.' Nonetheless, this book is a great read and hilarious. Reichl talks about moving from being the restaraunt critic for the LA Times to the NY Times. It is great to read about how she dresses up and goes undercover t o see how regular, non-rich people get treated at restaraunts. Great stories and pleasant to read beacuse Reichl has the gift of sounding like your friend and that she is right there telling you what happened to her today.

posted by Anonymous on April 15, 2005

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Fun Food Insight

This brought a little gourmet into my not so gourmet existence with some added insight into human character. Fun and fast read.

posted by DHCLP on January 10, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2005

    A true delight for a food lover to read

    This book is less autobiographical than Reichl's other two books, 'Tender at the Bone' and 'Comfort me with apples.' Nonetheless, this book is a great read and hilarious. Reichl talks about moving from being the restaraunt critic for the LA Times to the NY Times. It is great to read about how she dresses up and goes undercover t o see how regular, non-rich people get treated at restaraunts. Great stories and pleasant to read beacuse Reichl has the gift of sounding like your friend and that she is right there telling you what happened to her today.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2013

    This is a delightful read---funny and enlightening and mouthwate

    This is a delightful read---funny and enlightening and mouthwatering. Reichl's tenure at the NYT as restaurant critic certainly gave her plenty of fodder for this book. I could have read on and on. Lots of good stuff on how restaurants treat their customers, how they cater to certain customers and especially critics, how the food and service varies by types of customers, etc. And just lots of great writing about food and flavors, some great recipes. Lots of humor and great fun about her disguises and the personalities she took on to be someone else. It's a fast, fun read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2011

    A Must Read for all Food Lovers

    Ruth Reichl takes us through her days as a New York Times Food Critic and the huge task before her -- reviewing restaurants fairly and for the masses, not just the uber rich. Through her reviews she gives everyone a unique and highly descriptive view of the restaurant as a whole from ambiance down to each morsel of food. She makes you feel as if you are right there with her experiencing everything.

    I especially loved how she created all of her aliases to be able to slip into each restaurant covertly. It was also very enlightening and touching to read how each alias brought out hidden depths of her personality. It allowed her to dig deeper than ever, and understand herself better and realize that really wanted to be. It's an experience that I think so may people wish they could have.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Sad when it was over

    I've thoroughly enjoyed all the Ruth Reichl books I've read. She is honest and forthcoming about her experiences, sometimes not at all pleasant, as a restaurant critic. She's also refreshingly honest about herself, and the things she sometimes sees about herself that she is not so proud of, or happy about.
    As a mom, I can appreciate the balance between her job as a critic and her job as a mother.
    As a wannabe foodie, I especially enjoyed her detailed descriptions of the meals she ate and the experiences she had at the different restaurants.
    I think her writing is very engaging and it just draws you into her life. She seems like she would be a delightful friend to have, and I was sad to reach the end. As a matter of fact, it's been hard to start another book since then.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2010

    Fun Food Insight

    This brought a little gourmet into my not so gourmet existence with some added insight into human character. Fun and fast read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2013

    I LOVE this book. I think I've read it four or five times now an

    I LOVE this book. I think I've read it four or five times now and I just *love* it. It's marvellous food porn and the fun of experiencing the dinners with her, along with trying to create her characters to remain anonymous, it's all fun.

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  • Posted May 12, 2010

    I have read everything Ruth Reichl has written and this is the best!

    I talk about this book to others and give copies as gifts. I will bring it to work and have people read certain parts that I loved. I could never express my love of food like Ruth so it is very fun to read her expressions, she is a great wrtier and the reading flows.

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  • Posted September 5, 2009

    a read for all those that love food.

    this is the 3rd of a series of 4 books. I read this 1st. It was a good way to proceed with the other books. Reading should make you smile. Reading gives you pleasure. The facts of the book are true and facts of life here are ture as we all know it. I enjoyed this more that the 1st two, howevet I own book 1, 2, and 3 and it's a keeper....waiting for #4 to come out in paper back.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2009

    Fun read!

    I had just finished some intense books and wanted to read a more light hearted book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book on many levels as it was original, funny, insightful and especially delicious!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Interesting and Funny

    Ruth Reichl's writing of her experiences as the New York Times food critic are hilariously funny and depict New York as the difficult place to live, work and survive that it truly is. The book's descriptions make you hungry both for the food at the restaurants she visits and for more reviews/experiences from the author.

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  • Posted March 9, 2009

    Great for any foodie

    Garlic and Sapphires was a very entertaining book. I found my mouth watering sometimes at the descriptions of some of the dishes she reviewed. I loved that she included recipes in this book as well. I recommend this book to anyone who loves food.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2008

    Worth buying

    Garlic and Sapphires is a lovely read. And funny too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2008

    A reviewer

    What a fun book to read. You're immediately pulled into the world of Ruth, the food critic and Ruth the person. It was a fun place to be. Fast reading. Ruth also share some recipes as a bonus! Loved this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2007

    A delicious romp through NYC's finest (and not so finest) restaurants

    For anyone who loves food, or just a fun read, this book gives insight to the life of what one would think is the world's greatest job - the food critic for the NY Times. Reichl lets us glimpse into the world as she experiences the best and the worse of NY dining, sometimes at the same restaurant! In addition to exploring the great food, the readers also gets to know Ruth, her family & friends and her various sercret personas - all good characters. The great irony is that I read this book on a plane... It was torture to read about the brasied short ribs, perfect has browns, juicy steaks and then look up at my airplane food. Other than that, a great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2005

    Eating for a Living

    Who doesn't dream of being someone different every now and then? In Garlic and Sapphires, Ruth Reichl shares her forays into the world of alter egos as she strives for anonymity while preparing restaurant reviews for The New York Times. She uses a diverse array of disguises, and creates stories and personalities for each one. Her alter egos allowed her to get an 'everyman' experience at a restaurant instead of the red-carpet treatment, and she wrote her reviews accordingly. Also refreshing was her introduction of a wider variety of ethnic restaurants into the vaunted Times reviews. Each section packages up a restaurant and a persona along with some personal insights. I thought this book would probably be interesting, but I had no idea I would have such a hard time putting it down. Reichl's writing is humorous and flows well. Her food descriptions are vivid and truly mouth-watering. She really captures not just the food, but also the essence of the dining experience. Meals are not just fuel for the body they also feed the soul. An entertaining and easy read, Reichl leaves you hungry for seconds.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2005

    Delightfully Enjoyable!

    Loved Tender At The Bone, thought Comfort Me With Apples was alright, but this newest book has left me speachless in parts. If it is being herself or one of her many personae, it is like I am sharing the adventure of her going to the restaurants and enjoying the pleasures or unpleasures she experiences. Wonderful addition of the columns and recipes, plus the people she shares the experiences and the people she meets are extroidinary. Gotta love the melting pot that is New York. With the most memorable restaurants, I would give my eye teeth to taste some of those delifghtful dishes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2005

    Loved this book

    A must for anyone who works in the restaurant business. I'm going to buy it for my daughter who is graduating from college. My husband and I ate at Sparks and it was wonderful but it appears we went AFTER her review - I'm so glad her view moved them to Spark it up a bit I laughed, I laughed out loud - on the bus no less and you will too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2005

    Disappointing

    I've read Tender at the Bone and should have learned from it, but I bought the hype and picked up this book. All I can say is 'ho hum'. The facts behind the book would seem to promise an entertaining read, however other than the restaurant reviews that accompany the narrative, the book is boring on the whole. For true fans of Ruth R. only.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2005

    Behind-the-Scenes Delight

    Reichl gives us a peek behind the scenes of both the upper-crust New York restaurant world and the New York Times, and it's truly fascinating. This book was addictive.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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