Email Us!

Have a question?  Have an idea to share?  We want to know!

We'll get back to you at the email address you provide.

Thank you!


Name *

86 Walnut Street
Montclair, NJ, 07042
United States


Adventures in food for curious cooks.

Fake News from The Daily Punctilio: Cafe Salmonella Out

Unfortunate Cooking

Come for the delicious recipes. Stay for the terrible story.

Fake News from The Daily Punctilio: Cafe Salmonella Out

Lynley Jones

This week, we suffer the consequences of a fallacious restaurant review.

Return to A Series of Unfortunate Recipes: The Messy Middle homepage.

As a member of the general public, it is possible that you have recently eaten a meal. And if you are not currently evading capture by the local authorities, you may have chosen to eat that meal in a restaurant.

This image of fake news from The Daily Punctilio was pilfered from the files of the Netflix corporation. The image of Lemony-Garlic Salmon with Asparagus was not pilfered from anywhere. 

A restaurant, as I'm sure you know, is a place where talented people work very long hours to create amazing dishes that will tantalize your tastebuds and look good on Instagram. And a newspaper, as I'm sure you know, is a place where writers decide whether to give restaurants a certain number of stars in order to encourage other people to read their newspaper. These writers are called restaurant reviewers, and like piano players, plumbers and children who play video games, their work is very mysterious, and they often wear disguises. 

The restaurant reviewer at The Daily Punctilio has never revealed his or her identity to the general public. She or he always insists on dining incognito, a word which here means wearing a disguise which will enable you to steal a menu. And although he or she has dined at every restaurant in the city, she or he had never heard of Herring Houdini before the fateful evening of May 6, when he or she received an urgent telephone call from her or his editor while he or she was enjoying her or his dinner with his or her associates at an undisclosed location.

Good writers know how to handle ambiguity. But there was nothing ambiguous about that treacherous telephone call, and the reviewer wrote the review the editor asked for. Of course, as you know, Cafe Salmonella had always been a Verifiably Fine Dining establishment, but that didn't matter. Many lunches were ruined that day. And Cafe Salmonella was no longer Vending Food Daily.

To my kind Webmaster,

The next time you are hungry for a sandwich, please go to Sliced Bread, the bakery on 9th Street in the city, for a loaf of pumpernickel, sliced. Once you have your bread, leave through the front door, walk around to the back, and step through the kitchen door, which will be propped open with a wheel of gouda. Once inside, lift the lid on the fourth tub of quinoa flour from the left. There you will find the last remaining copy of Cafe Salmonella's recipe for Lemony-Garlic Salmon with Asparagus. Please post it here, so that good food can again be enjoyed by the general public.  

With all due respect,

Lynley Jones, Proprietress



Eating In with Esme Squalor

Return to A Series of Unfortunate Recipes: The Messy Middle homepage.

If you enjoy reading ersatz restaurant reviews, that's a good thing, because it might keep you so busy you won't have time to read this book: