-So, obviously, the first thing to talk about is...
Who the hell is this pony, and what's she doing with Carrot Top's cutie mark? The frighteningly detailed MLP wiki tells me her name is "Serena," and that she's been around (with that same flower and saddle, no less) since season one. Well, poo to that; Serena is a stupid name for a pony (to be fair, it's a "placeholder name," but still), and Carrot Top doesn't need any hypothermic doppelgangers prancing around Canterlot, thank you very much.
...Okay, she is pretty adorable, with the matching flower and saddle and everything, and the white hair gives a nice, not too harsh contrast to her coat. BUT STILL!
Carrot Top makes a brief appearance in this episode early on, studiously ignoring Pinkie's reality-warping shenanigans while
showing how to right properly rock the flower/saddle combo looking for somewhere to eat. Honestly: first it was Manehattan, now it's Canterlot; is there anywhere in Equestria she can go to get just one Pinkie-free day?
-I liked the way that Pinkie and Rarity handled the food: Pinkie hated it, of course (we are talking about a connoisseur of tabasco-doused cupcakes), while Rarity proves not to quite have so refined a palate as she might like to pretend--which fits pretty well with the "refined affectations, but more pastoral mores" thing she has going on. Of course, the show went and threw that away later, but oh well; I enjoyed it initially, and that's not nothing.
-I have to say, I was a little uncomfortable with the Indian-expy father and daughter. Maybe it was the accents, which were... well, "exaggerated" is probably a fair word for it. Maybe it was the fact that they made both ponies brown, with blackish hair (following the old cartoon adage that white culture is the default, and "white" characters can therefore be depicted as any cartoonish color; non-white is different, and must be denoted with relatively accurate skin-tone. Oddly, this is something MLP has been pretty good (albeit far from perfect) about avoiding in the past). Maybe it was the "Bollywood" song which had almost no connection to Indian music ("lowered sevenths and an occasional Shehnai-esque riff" feels to me like about the level of "put a bagpipe in it, now it's Scottish").
Or maybe I'm just being oversensitive. That happens sometimes. Regardless, as far as personal impressions go, I didn't find those two offensive, per se... but I did find them a little unfortunate.
I also found these two unfortunate, though mostly because I have no idea what's "Whinnyapolise" about them. Do you guys think that Minnesotans all have bad haircuts? Is that a thing? Or that we're big into fanny packs? I'm just saying, I don't get it; these two are no March Gustysnows, you know?
-Oh, while we're on the subject: did anyone else think it was weird that the Indian expys were still ponies? I mean, when the show's had obvious African, Arab, Native American, probably-more-that-I-can't-think-of-off-the-top-of-my-head characters, they've used different races to represent them. And yet, these two looked exactly like ponies, except for the "Indian" hair and skin... and also, having slightly pointy ears.
I mean, I don't have a problem with any of that. It just seemed odd to me.
Here we see
Serena is a stupid pony name, I'm hereby recrystalling her "Winter Root." She's a bit sweeter than Carrot Top, it's true, but she wilts quickly when the heat is on. Anyway, Winter's going along with the crowd, having lost everything up to and including the saddle off her back in a high-stakes crazy eights tournament. "This place Rarity's promoting doesn't even have any hooves," she thinks to herself, "so at least the food ought to be cheap."
-I thought this episode was going to go with a "you can like different things, and that's okay" moral, and to be fair, I think the episode was trying for that. The problem for me was that, by making the food critic be actually wrong, it undermined the message. Pinkie and Rarity aren't just complaining that not everypony enjoys the same things Zesty enjoys; they're also saying--in the same breath!--that Zesty's tastes are stupid (well, "specific and strange"). I wish the moral had been that people can agree with Zesty or disagree, when the presentation seems to lean more toward "here is a villain who says flavor is bad."
-Also, have you noticed that the girls routinely encounter endemic social problems which they completely fail to solve? In this case, for example, all Zesty was doing was rating the restaurants; she didn't force anyone to close down, or change their menus, or anything. The problem was that the ponies of Canterlot were following her advice... let's say, "overzealously." So, Pinkie and Rarity, rather than addressing the problem of ponies ceding too much of their identity to authority figures, simply promote a single counterexample and call it a day (in the end, they also discredit the critic, but this a) was incidental to their plans, and b) still didn't address the root issue). Maybe the girls aren't Harmony's defenders so much as they are its duct tape: a quick patch that doesn't really fix the underlying issue, but will do for now.
-In the end, I actually thought this was a pretty good episode--better than the last few, which were all firmly in "fine but forgettable" territory for me--but wasn't one that I particularly enjoyed, personally. My reasons, as you can see, are mostly personal interpretation, rather than problems with the episode itself... but hey, that's why I don't call these "reviews."