"The defendant is charged with multiple counts of impersonation of a food critic. How does he plead?"
"Innocent your Honor. While the defendant does utilize the food review as a vehicle for social commentary and callow humor, he adequately evaluates the restaurants as well."
"Objection your Honor! In his review of Baci, he spends most of the article alluding to Invasion of the Body Snatchers."
"After visiting Ketchum, my client became convinced that all humans in Idaho were being turned into real estate agents, much like the alien takeover in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He felt a responsibility to sound a warning, even if it meant talking less about the food."
"Your Honor, Baci is an upscale Italian restaurant with a discerning clientele, and deserves a more serious critique. While their wine selection is surprisingly thin, the food outstanding. Oblique references to aliens and real estate agents are an insult to such a fine restaurant."
"My client enjoyed Baci, your Honor. He notes that he liked the risotto with scallops, and he lauded the grilled artichoke, but he doesn't think it's superior to other Ketchum eateries like Chandler's, Felix, Vintage, or even the Ketchum Grill. So he digressed a bit."
"A bit? At one point he refers to Sun Valley residents as having emerged from a cage that had been left open too long. He derisively describes those that say 'namaste,' or hang Tibetan prayer flags, as spiritual dilettantes."
"True, but he goes on to admirably describe the steak alla Fiorentina as a must-try dish because of the 'luscious' melted Gorgonzola cheese and 'refreshingly tart' bok choy. He also detailed his appreciation of the roasted garlic appetizer and mixed green salad. But my client finds the environment of Sun Valley to be contextually relevant to the dining experience, so he did not shy away from making certain observations."
"Certain observations your Honor, that have absolutely nothing to do with food! The defendant was clearly out of line when he referred to Wagon Days as a commerce-driven reminiscence of a history that never existed. And how dare he say that the gallery walk is simply one more opportunity for Sun Valley residents to spend money on their bad taste?"
"My client was joking, your Honor."
"What does the defendant have to say in his defense?"
"Counsel advises him not to testify for fear of self-incrimination, but he wishes to remind the bench that the Niman ranch lamb meatballs are also really yummy. "
--Waj Nasser was found innocent on charges of being a food critic but guilty of assault with a food review.
Baci Italian Cafe and Wine Bar, 240 S. Main St., Ketchum, 208-726-8384. Mon.-Sun.: 5:30-10 p.m.