Sunday, January 8, 2012
My Current Situation: Blogiversary
For my dad, who has been having issues with his eyesight (we're hopeful it will be improving soon): large print playing cards, a giant die (singular dice), and more. (Dad also got a kick out of the blog book I dedicated to him based on my trip to South Dakota.)
For my mom, who has been driving Dad where he needs to go, a fun turn-about: My sister hired a stretch limo to chauffeur Mom (and the rest of us) around her town to view the Christmas lights!
Today marks the start of Year #3 at Eggplant To Go, and I’m looking forward to where this blogging journey leads me next. I couldn’t have predicted the surprises, delights (and occasional scoops) the last year has brought my way.
Thanks to Chef Todd Kelly at Orchids in Cincinnati and Chef Jeremy Ashby of Azur in Lexington, I’ve had two of the most spectacular meals of my life. I got all kinds of inspiration from the Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show in Lexington, a front-row seat to watch the filming of Man v. Food at Tom + Chee, an invite to the press party for Chef Kelly’s new cookbook, and an insider’s view of the Cincinnati Magazine “Best of the City” party, thanks to two of my favorite Cincy food truck friends, Toya and Randy from a Streetcart Named Desire aka New Orleans to Go. Even got a hug and a thanks from my favorite fishmonger on New Years Eve day.
It’s funny how what goes around comes around. 2011 was a year in which I made strides in overcoming my shy, homebody ways and learned a lot about how rewarding it can be to reach out. One turning point came in August when I screwed up my nerve and asked local Top Chef: Just Desserts contestant, Orchids pastry chef Megan Ketover, if I might be able to speak to her on behalf of AllTopChef (where I’m a member of the blogging team). In addition to being a remarkable talent, Megan was so welcoming and gracious that the experience inspired me to screw up my nerve again and invite local food bloggers Stephie from Small Girl Adventures (who is launching her own business) and Jen from Our Good Food Life to join me for dinners during Restaurant Week, and Jeff from A Dork and His Pork for a Slow Food Cincinnati meet-up, where I met a bunch of other lovely people passionate about local food. At the press event for the release of Todd Kelly’s cookbook, I finally got to meet in person the uber-talented Courtney of Epiventures (who is also Chef Kelly’s co-author) and a number of other local food bloggers, reporters, and personalities as well. I was in food blogger hog heaven thanks to the company, as well as the opportunity taste more of Chef Kelly's amazing dishes.
As much inspiration as I draw from all the fine food folks I’ve been lucky to meet in person this year, I’m also full of gratitude to my homies – the bloggers of all ilks, from all parts, who have become dear friends even though I haven’t met them in person – who care, and comment, and lift my spirits. One never knows quite how karma weaves its way through our lives. But I can’t help but believe the chances of Scout returning home after his 2½ week kitty walkabout were only improved by your prayers and good wishes. And I’m certain that if he hadn’t come back, you would have been there for me too.
With the full force of your inspiration and friendships filling my sails, I already have a lot to look forward to, including a return visit to Lexington for Azur’s “Naked Dinner” Jan. 26; a local Cincy blogging conference in connection with the Winter Beer Fest on my February birthday; the weekend after my birthday in Lousisville to see Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert – and eat at Edward Lee’s 610 Magnolia!; and a late March visit to Nashville, where my niece is competing in Show Choir Nationals (think “Glee” in real life). Let me know if you have any suggestions on where to eat in Nashville.
Meanwhile, I’ll continue to be an enthusiastic cheerleader for the Culinary Smackdown (do you have your recipes ready for Battle Tofu?), and I’m looking forward to bringing you more blog-worthy posts from my own kitchen. Because inspiration is a terrible thing to waste, and it's always fun to keep exploring!