|Enjoying a mango lassi popsicle from fojol bros. of DC at the Rally to Restore Sanity|
Here is information from their announcement:
Urbanspoon Blog | Urbanspoon's Longest-Running Blogs Go the Distance:
Karen Zgoda, Boston
Blog founded: 2004
First spoonback: Trident Booksellers & Cafe, on 04/23/07
What do you see in the future for restaurants?
'I'm digging the re-inspiration of classic comfort foods and just doing them as well as possible. I love how grilled cheese is suddenly an in-demand item but if everyone is opening a casual, American pub with nearly identical menus it can leave you searching for creativity. I also like the growth of new, independent food magazines, such as Gastronomica. They remind me of upscale versions of skater and punk rock fanzines from when I was in high school."
Read the full interview here:
1. What inspired you to create a blog? What keeps you motivated day in and day out?
I'm working on a PhD and suffered from crippling writer's block, so I wanted to start a blog to keep in the regular practice of writing. My Mom always described me as a fussy eater and my friends always asked for my dessert recommendations, so Fussy Eater was born and seemed like a natural fit. I also wanted to keep track of the bakeries and restaurants I visited, and share recommendations with others and help promote local businesses.
2. From your observations, how has the food scene changed from when you started your blog to where you are now?
Well, the scene has really expanded in a couple of ways. First, there are so many writers and bloggers that finding writers you like and opinions you trust, a curated selection of blogs if you will, takes time. I'm always on the lookout for constructive food writing that really shares the experience with the reader. Second, I sort of feel like the plethora of foodies has spawned a vapid sort of Lady Gaga-esque fanaticism. While this may be the current Zeitgeist and challenge us to create better food dishes, and there are certainly those who enjoy the modern art of food, it can be a little over the top. The South Park episode that dealt with this pretension obsession was the BEST. (my blog post on it here and here). I do wish it was easier to meet other food bloggers outside of sponsored events. I love watching restaurants use twitter and other social media effectively, such as the food trucks of summer tweeting their locations and specials.
3. What was one of best meals you've ever had in recent memory?
When in Vegas, I won't miss an opportunity to stop by Mario Batali's B & B Ristorante - everything is absolutely incredible and the service is impeccable. That being said it's also the closest place I can get In and Out Burger which I also savor.
4. If you had a friend (just as obsessed with food as you) visit your city, where would you recommend they go and why?
Depends on their favorite dessert - based on what kind of dessert they crave and their budget I can make a range of recommendations. I only blog and recommend places that inspire a "I've got to tell everyone to try this it is so good" reaction. Generally I try to recommend small, local places or desserts folks may not have tried. For example, in Brookline, MA there is a local store called Party Favors (blog post here) that is really known as a place to pick up party supplies, but they have an absolutely fantastic bakery. Their cupcakes are better and more consistently good than a lot of the stand alone cupcakeries.
5. What do you see happening in restaurants in the future, both in terms of cuisines and in general dining trends?
I'm digging the re-inspiration of classic comfort foods and just doing them as well as possible. I love how grilled cheese is suddenly an in-demand item but if everyone is opening a casual, American pub with nearly identical menus it can leave you searching for creativity. I also like the growth of new, independent food magazines, such as Gastronomica and meatpaper (more magazines listed here). They remind me of upscale versions of skater and punk rock fanzines from when I was in high school.
6. What's your favorite part of food blogging?
Eating desserts! Having a place to jot down my thoughts about great local places and hopefully inspire others to check them out. It's fun to think about being the Carrie Bradshaw of cupcakes. ;)
7. What are some of your restaurant pet peeves?
Servers uninterested in providing excellent service, especially if I am dining alone. Since reading Waiter Rant I almost always leave a 25% tip because it seems like such a difficult, thankless job, but it's nice to feel as though the staff are making an effort to provide great service to all customers.
8. What restaurants are at the top of your wishlist, and why?
I moved to a new neighborhood (East Boston) back in June and I've been filling my wishlist with new neighborhood places to check out. I'm up for somewhere that seems fun and interesting, and especially swayed by places I can visit on a student budget.
9. Any nuggets of wisdom on the technical aspects of blogging that you wish you had known before you started your blog? (photos, posting, formatting, platforms, writing style, etc.)
I wish I had known how to take better food photos but I'm learning. I wish I had known how easy it was to create a YouTube video from an iPhoto slideshow (example here).
10. What keeps you loyal to Urbanspoon? When it comes to the internet, it's practically a Golden Anniversary :)
CONGRATS!! I love Urbanspoon because it feels constructive and informative and not mean - it's about the food and the experience. I like how easy it is to find information about a restaurant, from the menu to their own feedback to their twitter feed. I've found over time that I can trust the ratings - they have proved very reliable. I also love how they go out of their way to cultivate relationships with local bloggers, the forks and knives on the ground, so to speak. I recommend it all the time. Very much looking forward to seeing how Urbanspoon will grow in the future!