About My Ratings

As you can see, I've divided my reviews into a few categories, and I rank each dish on a scale of 1-5 in each individual category before providing an overall rating.  Below are the criteria I use in evaluating each meal.

Flavor:  Though this may seem like a simple category, it is actually quite nuanced and complicated.  Obviously, a strong cheese flavor is crucial.  However, the type of cheese used is essential.  If it's a single Cheddar, for example, as many are, you want to ensure that the cheese tastes appropriately sharp in order to give the pasta a delicious flavor.  If the dish contains multiple cheeses, you want them to work together, instead of competing for attention.  Furthermore, when you're dealing with powdered cheese (as I often am), it's obvious that you're not going to get the same taste as you would with the real deal.  Therefore, this processed deliciousness has to be flavored in a manner that seems cheesy enough, but doesn't have a salty or metallic aftertaste.

Consistency:  Pretty simple, actually.  Thin sauces generally don't stick to the noodles enough, but overly thick sauces can be hard to swallow (that's what she said).

Pasta Shape:  Certain pasta shapes are more fun to eat than others.  Additionally, though, the shape needs to hold the sauce in an appropriate manner; thicker sauces work better with certain shapes, while other shapes are better with thinner sauce.

Overall:  Not an average of the previous three categories.  Rather, the general sense that I got from the dish as a whole.  Was it delicious, and did I enjoy eating it, or did I spend the time thinking about what could be better?