To give you a short synopsis, the El Vee is my foray into the Lehigh Valley and beyond to document what I do, the different events, drinks, and eats throughout the area.
A little bit more in depth: I’m 24, and I’ve been eager to get out and go to the places I couldn’t go and drink the drinks I couldn’t drink before. I’ve got good taste in gourmet food, and an affinity for wine, bourbon, scotch, craft beer, and well-made cocktails. All of this blog is just a hobby. I figured I’d answer some questions I’ve been asked in the past below:
What the hell is “El Vee”?
It’s LV (Lehigh Valley) phonetically…with some Spanish flair. Caliente!
You must go out to eat a lot. Where do you get the money?
Well, I’m not rich, even though people may think that with all of the places I go to. Everyone has their hobbies, whether it be golfing, model airplanes, or whatever. Some people drop $300 on a golf club, I’ll drop $60 on a good meal. Same thing.
Do you get paid to do this?
Nope, I actually pay out of my pocket to keep the site running.
What kind of camera gear do you use?
I use a Canon Rebel XTi, Sigma 10-20mm lens, Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 lens, Sigma 28-70 f/2.8 lens as my main setup. I never use a flash and all of my shots are handheld. When I go to restaurants I try to be as discreet as can be when taking photos so I don’t use an external flash or anything of the sort.
Do you tell the restaurant people you’re writing about them?
Only if they directly ask. If they ask why I’m taking pictures I just tell them I’m a photographer and it’s my hobby. So far I’ve only ever been asked outright if I write for a website, which I did disclose.
Do you get anything free from these places?
Not usually. I’ve become friends with some of the owners after talking to them and doing things on here, but my first time visiting a place they never know me. If I do get anything free and I write about it, it’s now FCC law that I must disclose that I was comped. I don’t review places that I know the owner of beforehand.
Who are you?
Just some random guy. I don’t reveal my identity on here to preserve the quality of my reviews. If someone from a restaurant would happen upon my site and I go in their place and they treat me differently, the review won’t be true to the restaurant’s normal practices, not that I’m big enough to be influential on anything (yet).
Why haven’t you reviewed “x” restaurant?
I’ve got a big list of places to hit. My paycheck only goes so far! Also, some places I won’t review, like places I know the owners of or chain restaurants. Chains are all over the country or region…people can find them anywhere. I stick to doing reviews of places that are unique to the valley. For example, Shula’s has hands-down the best steak in the valley, but I won’t write a review about my experiences there because you can find a Shula’s all over the place.
How do you do the “grading” portion of your reviews? What’s the criteria?
Drinks – Rating of their beer selection, liquor selection, and cocktails. A good beer selection will have more than just Budweiser, Miller, and Coors products. A good liquor selection also means more than Jack Daniels, Jim Bean, and Johnny Walker in terms of whiskey. Cocktails should be either old favorites, like a Manhattan, crafted properly, or if they’re original cocktails, they should be well thought out, use fresh ingredients, and not be things like an Appletini. Despite what I just said up there, that’s what I’m basing a fine establishment on. Obviously a dive bar will be judged on a lower standard than a fine dining restauratnt. That means the premiere place to eat in the valley can get just as good of a rating as the diviest of dive bars if they’re doing something right.
Menu – This rating depends on the variety of the menu and range of products the restaurant is offering based on what approach the restaurant is aiming for. An interesting selection of different meats at a burger restaurant, a wide variety of choices at an ice cream parlor, etc.
Food – The actual taste, presentation, and preparation of the food. Color, texture, how well something is cooked, flavor, seasonings, etc all come into play here.
Service – How well the staff is treating you. Attentiveness, friendliness, etc. all play into the service rating.
Atmosphere – Atmosphere takes into place the decor, the type of patrons the establishment attracts, the music that’s playing, and anything else that goes into making the establishment what it is.
Overall – The overall rating of the establishment based on what type of place it is, what angle they’re going for, and the price that they’re charging.
If there’s any questions, comments, concerns, etc. feel free to email me at TheElVee at Gmail.com. Thanks!