Grub Street Bites More Than Just Food. Compare & Contrast Reviews of Brain Food. Get Your Grubby Hands Off My Work!

Picture 5
(from Grub Street)

It's not everyday when I'm alerted to plagiarism of one of my blog posts by an unlikely ally in the form of a PR rep of the very website that bit my shit. Yesterday morning the aforementioned PR rep for Grub Street emailed me about a story on Grub Street's Los Angeles site (albeit, she didn't realize the piece was jacked). It was a short write up about "sesos" or brain tacos. What instantly struck me was the title of the piece "The Brains are Back in Town". My brain taco piece posted almost exactly two months prior to the Grub Street posting was called "Brains Are Back". And that was only the beginning of the uncomfortably plagiaristic similarities. However, I withheld judgment until I finished the story. Who knows, I thought, maybe I'd be linked or mentioned somewhere. Not likely it turned out.

My sesos story unfolded with the recollection of the dark and bleak times when brains were banished. Grub Street's opened like a cliché with "After a few dark and gloomy years..." The remainder of this blogjack parallels my piece in structure and mimics it in content, even down to the incubation period of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease, which is estimated to be between 5 and 50 years depending on your source. (Obviously, my entire article was this "author's" source.) And although the piece listed other sesos purveyors, Grub Street got their grubby grub on at the same restaurant where I enjoyed my brains, Reseda's Carnitas Michoacan.

To be fair, Grub Street's editors may be clueless to this blogjacking (although most editors come up with a story's title). This post is really dedicated directly to one Hadley Tomicki, the piece's poser, er, poster.

I'd like to point out in particular another area of suspicion Tomicki's description of consuming a cow's brain. He claims to have eaten this cerebral snack before and yet he describes it as "flavorful" and "a slightly complex taste". Anyone who has ever eaten beef brain and paid detailed attention to doing so (like a standard writer of food would) can tell you that this delicacy is delicate in flavor, in fact, bordering on bland. Further, Tomicki explains the texture of beef brain as "a soft, smoosh-in-the-mouth feel that one might expect from a purple potato, but not from a rubbery brain." Again, any brain dead zombie who's ever wolfed down a beef brain will tell you that it has more of a dense tofu consistency. Unless, you're trying to eat a brain from the ACME magic and gags shop, then it's not ever going to be "rubbery", not even when raw, Hackley, I mean, Hadley.

Finally, and this has nothing to do with the blogjacking of brain tacos, Tomicki prefers using Menupages as his special source for the truly unique food finds in and around LA. In his words (or are they?): "Using MenuPages' "Find-A-Food" feature as our immediate J. Gold substitute..." Hadley, puhleeze, what non-stealing food writer substitutes MenuPages over the Gold Standard? Maybe a sell-out food writer. Just maybe? Yes, dear reader, MenuPages is in bed with GrubStreet and apparently so is Mr. Tomicki.

So, my question to Tomicki: Is there anything about your writing that is authentic? Anything at all? Oh right, apparently you're a real expert on the ladies.

What do you expect from a hamburger "expert" who likes his burgers medium? Have it your way, Hadley.

*Grub Street recently (as of around 2PM 07/21/09) added a link to Deep End Dining at the bottom of Tomicki's piece and calls it "related".

Also, check out acclaimed author Gustavo Arellano's take on all of this over at the OC Weekly.


barbara said…
This is disgusting. There will always be thieves ready to poach on those who know their stuff. A guy in California put out a Mexican cookbook based almost entirely on the one I wrote. And a leading food company lifted recipes verbatim out of my book. We must list these hacker/slackers so we can keep track of what they do and fight back.
H. C. said…
Appalled by the plagarism, but more amused by the writer's utter lack of knowledge of how brains taste like. It's been a long time since I've had any but even I remember it was just soft and bland and kinda soaks up whatever sauce it's served in/with.
Food GPS said…

Sure looks like a blogjacking to me. Glad to see you're taking a stand. It will be interesting to see how Tomicki's editor responds, and how Tomicki responds.

After eating brains over the weekend, Tomicki's description seems way out of whack. Also, there are definitely other L.A. spots that serve brains. Why go with your choice?
Juliet said…
Do copyright laws apply to blogs? Seriously. There has to be some kind of law protecting blog content.
Anonymous said…
It's kind of funny though that of all the food posts he could mimic, he chooses the one on brains. BRAAINNNNNSSSSSS

I've never had brains and even I know they wouldn't be rubbery. He needs to watch some Hannibal.
samkimsamkim said…
Reading a lot of his posts you can tell he's not really knowledgeable about most of the food stuffs going on. And that he hasn't been to half of those restaurants.
Pamplemousse said…
That really does bite, Eddie!!! I hate plagiarism. The one investigating it always ends up doing more research exposing it than the one who did the plagiarizing in the first place. It makes me blow my top as a Teaching Assistant.

Here's a tribute post to you I did on my food blog last month to cheer you up and let you know that there are a lot of people out there who appreciate your work as YOUR WORK. Keep doing what you're doing:

(I was too shy to send it before, the blog was a little bare at the time, but it sounds like you could do with a little pickmeup and flattery. :)

Anonymous said…
i´m apalled!! two people writing similiar things about the same taco. but wait, in one post, one person says something and in the other the other person describes it differently. so the second post is at once EXACTLY the same and yet, paradoxically, DIFFERENT. Can this be? Um don´t you think you take this taco reviewing biz a little too seriously? also, do you know that accusing another person of plagiarism in a public forum, depending on the consequences of that action, can have legal consequences for you as well. just fyi
gourmetpigs said…
I had a good first impression of Grub Street as the Eater-LA replacement candidate ... no more!

I wish there's an easier way to track these things. I haven't seen anything plagiarizing my content but who knows? The circumstance of you finding this out was a rare incident. I'm glad you did and hopefully we can hold Grub Street responsible!!
Paiwei Wei said…
I think you got hijacked for sure. Seriously...this is a travesty.
glutster said…
want me to slash his tires for you bro?
Anonymous said…
The correct thing to do would be reference your post openly and honestly, that is what builds respect and trust in the blog-o-sphere. It would have been fine to quote your article and then say "I went to try out the suggestion of xxx restaurant".

A lot of these corporations start blogs but then don't understand the ethos of the blog world.

As for menupages, it's owned by NY Mag which also owns Grub Street (I think).
Stupidest line:

...or the much more palatable "sesos," as they are called in most restaurants...

Um, because THAT'S WHAT ANIMAL BRAINS ARE CALLED IN SPANISH WHEN YOU EAT THEM, PENDEJO! The technical word for brain is "cerebro," but when you eat them, it's sesos. Kind of like gallina when it's clucking, pollo when it's drumsticks waiting for gnawing. I've never seen sesos called cerebro in any Mexi restaurant.

Eddie: Don't stop until you get an apology. You got my back, because NO ONE messes with my chinito grub hermano!!!
elmomonster said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
elmomonster said…
Egregious! And after all that, all they give you is a "related" link. B.S.

From the sound of it, this plagiarist probably hasn't had brains to eat. At least he's consistent: He hasn't got any in his head either.