Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Food Friends

I just got back from a whirlwind dinner, meeting people with a myriad of specializations but with the single-focus of good food. FoodBuzz, as you seen on the banner on the left, hosted a dinner in Newport Beach for Southern California Featured Publishers. At first, I was apprehensive, not knowing what to expect, but by the end of the night I felt truly comfortable in excellent food company.

What makes you feel more welcome than someone recognizing your work? Fiona of Gourmet Pigs greeted me by name, recognizing my picture. Her review list is like my dream try list of places in LA. Hal of This Man's Kitchen remembered my churro post. Talking to him, I could see the charisma that makes him an actor. I got to hit up Ila of I Nom Things for her stash of shiso leaves.

Then there's the big-shot names I've only idolized from afar thus far. A woman in a sleek black dress came up to me an introduced herself as Sarah. Covering her eyes, I was startled to find the Sarah of The Delicious Life and Tastespotting. Talking to her, I could tell she had all the enthusiasm in person that she exudes on her blog. HC of LA & OC Foodventures and I talked about many of the great events coming up in LA and his extensive coverage of these events on his blog. I met Wandering Chopsticks who regaled me with stories of stalkers staking out her favorite joints or e-mailing asking to come over for dinner. Considering she hosts 80,000 hits a month, the crazies don't seem too far-fetched. I only got to speak to Bee of Rasa Malaysia briefly, but I could tell her personality was just as beautiful as the pictures on her site. Abby, who hosts meet-ups on Pleasure Palate told me of the budding food tourism industry in LA, something that I might want to look into in the future.

There were people with such specific focuses that it was inspiring just to see their dedication. Sitting next to me was Kathy of Panini Happy who drove all the way from San Diego to attend the dinner. I had an educational conversation with Matt the Rum Dood about some of his favorite drinks. His encyclopedia knowledge of rum completely floored me. Sarah of Go Eggless has specific dietary restrictions that inspired her to blog about places that suit her needs. It was fun trying to figure out why the restaurant's paella had aioli as an ingredient.

Although the crowd was foodcentric, it was good to see the other varied interests of the participants. Anyone can be a foodie. David of An Easy Recipe managed to quit his day job to pursue blogging full-time. He also writes about personal finance, travel and golf among other things. Seeing someone pursue his loves in life is always a great feeling and makes me optimistic for my own future. Nicole balances Art and Aioli an appreciation of the culinary and the visual arts.

Now I also have some blogs to consult when eating in the OC. Griffin of Griffin Eats OC and Daniel of Eat in OC gave me some recommendations right off the back, including some Peruvian places where I could find Inca Kola. And if you're looking for a Mexican restaurant in the OC, there isn't a better resource than Christian's Orange County Mexican Restaurants.

All this great company, did I mind that the food wasn't worth writing about? Nah, I gained much more than a full stomach. Although I will note that Blanca's lemon drop amuse-bouche was creative and unique. I hope to see all these people again. Check out their blogs.

Blog URL Name
An Easy Recipe David
Art and Aioli Nicole
Eat in O.C Daniel
Griffin Eats OC Griffin
I Nom Things Ila
LA and OC Foodventures Hiu Chung
Orange County Mexican Restaurants Christian
Pleasure Palate Abby
Rasa Malaysia Bee
RumDood Matt
The Delicious Life Sarah
This Man's Kitchen Hal
Wandering Chopsticks
Go Eggless Sarah
Panini Happy Kathy
Gourmet Pigs Fiona


ila said...

Aaron, it was nice to meet you too!!!
And the shiso leaves... I'm thinking of getting a plant because I consume a monstrous amounts of it. If it goes well (I don't really have a green thumb) I'll make sure to deliver you some!

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Hey, it was nice meeting you too. I'm so glad you mentioned your trip to Peru so I can travel vicariously through you.

Anonymous said...

So great to meet you last night too, Aaron! Great blog - glad to know where I can keep up on the LA restaurant scene (moved away 4 years ago and lost touch!).

Anonymous said...

Ugh, what a weekend, just barely getting around to reading all the round-ups.

It was terrific getting to meet everyone, and I hope to get to drink and dine with you again...maybe some place with more than Bacardi and Captain as options. ;-)

H. C. said...

Thanks for the shout-out, your memory and social skills are to be envied. Half the night I couldn't recognize folks till I hear their blog names! Haha.