Amateur Critic in the Middle of Another 100-Restaurant Marathon

Orange County Register reporter Lori Basheda does a nice job today of catching up with the region’s unlikeliest restaurant critic. Bobby Navarro (pictured), a Culinary Art Institute dropout and waiter at two high-end South Coast Plaza restaurants, has been using tip money to finance a pair of “100 Restaurants in 100 Days” marathons.

The first calorie caravan was completed in the fall of 2010, while Navarro is currently in the midst of his second such expensive excursion. He keeps his fans posted via Facebook and Twitter, telling Basheda he has no interest in being another “snarky” voice:

“This is about getting other people excited about eating,” he says. “To discourage anybody from trying something different and new is hurtful to the restaurant industry in general.”

Navarro may not be on the same level as the LA Times‘ S. Irene Virbila, whom he thinks should have no problem being photographed, but following her positive review last year of Hatfield’s, he separately pays them the highest compliment. He raves that the Melrose restaurant’s potato soup with butternut squash flan and crisp veal sweetbread is “the only thing I remember eating all of and thinking, ‘I need more.'”

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.