If you enjoy this site, please check out mamster's new weblog, Roots and Grubs.

Hey, isn't this FAQ extremely out of date?

Sure is! Now I like all kinds of fish and room temperature food, but Greek food still sucks.

Who is this "mamster" and what's the point of this site?

I'm Matthew Amster-Burton of Seattle, Washington. The Grub Shack is dedicated to exploring great food through essays and restaurant reviews. I don't pretend to be authoritative or comprehensive, but who needs another anyway? (No one needed even one, apparently: Sidewalk has been absorbed by Instead, look to the Grub Shack for in-depth essays on home cooking as well as opinionated info on cookbooks, travel, and restaurants.

Some of my inspirations for the site and for food writing in general are:

What qualifies you to write about food?

Nothing other than the fact that I love to eat it and I think about it all the time. As for writing experience, I've been an occasional journalist, contributing pieces to (among others) the San Francisco Chronicle, Addicted to Noise, and Extra! As of April 2001, I'm also an occasional restaurant critic and recipe columnist for the Seattle Times.

Do you harbor any food-related fantasies?

Of the kind I'm willing to share, one: in my fantasy, some media conglomerate with bulging coffers takes pity on me and sends me on an eating tour of Emilia-Romagna, in Italy.

Why do your articles keep mentioning New York if you live in Seattle?

Laurie and I lived in New York from August 1998 to August 1999. As far as I know, New York is the best place in the world to eat, although I might tell you different after I get the aforementioned trip to Emilia-Romagna. The Grub Shack will do its best to cover food the world over, but if my examples seem centered around Seattle and New York, please understand.

Do you accept contributions?

Absolutely. Cash is preferred. Oh, you meant writing? By all means. I'm especially interested in pieces about food areas that I'm not particularly interested in, including room-temperature food, fish, and Greek food. Feel free to email me queries or just send whole articles. If I like it, I'll print it.

What? You don't like room-temperature food?

Well, I like cheese and crackers. Snickers bars are fine at room temp. But tuna sandwiches? Gazpacho? Sorry, but no.

So what do you like?

See the essays and restaurant reviews for my favorites, but two things that never fail to make me happy are a big plate of phad thai at Siam on Broadway in Seattle and a chicken sandwich at Island Burgers and Shakes in Manhattan. I've only once managed to have them both in the same week, though.

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