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Where local foodies (and food lovers who disdain the term) congregate online

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We recently stumbled on another place to talk online about the local food scene, and that gave us an excuse to remind you that you can also talk about, or talk back to, these reviews on The Riverfront Times Web site, www.riverfronttimes.com .

First, though, we direct your attention to www.chowhound.com, which gleefully distances itself from "foodies" (those who mindlessly go only where Zagat tells them to go) and stakes a claim as a guide for those who eschew hype. Tunnel down a ways and you'll find an interactive map with a link to a "Midwestern" message board, which takes in a large geographic area but includes fairly regular patter about St. Louis-area eats. The number of local (or locally interested) posters is fairly finite right now, but it would be neat to get a lot more discussion going. There are also many other groups, for subjects ranging from tamales to kosher food, where the banter often gets quite animated.

If you don't mind being labeled a foodie, Zagat itself also has a Web site (www.zagat.com), but even though registration is free, the long-promised expansion to include the St. Louis Zagat listings has failed to materialize.

We've all but given up on stl.dining, the newsgroup on Usenet created several years ago for St. Louis table talk. Lately it's been averaging only a post or two a month.

And if you'd like to yak with Pat Corrigan at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, she regularly frequents her own "Dining Out" discussion group (as do I). Follow the "Forums" link at www.postnet.com.

As for the online RFT, if you haven't nosed around lately, you should note that you can read reviews online and then follow the "Discuss This Story" link at the end (or the "Discussions" link on the left side of the RFT home page) to register your opinions. We now have online the complete, searchable database of all recommended restaurants in the St. Louis area. Take a look!