BOOK CLUB: DELANCEY

Molly Wizenberg lives a cool life. Food writer, blogger, teacher and restauranter, there are ma...


Molly Wizenberg lives a cool life. Food writer, blogger, teacher and restauranter, there are many strings to her bow. She also lives in Seattle, which, in my book, is the coolest place in the world. In Delancey Wizenberg crafts a compelling memoir about her journey from starting her food blog Orangette, to meeting her would-be husband Brandon (he contacted her as a result of reading her blog) as he embarks on his grand plan to open a pizza restaurant in Seattle. 

When Brandon decides to open Delancey, Molly is finishing her first book A Homemade Life. A book tour is on the horizon, but Brandon is not about to let this dream go. Molly finally realises how serious he is and reluctantly agrees to help out. 

Delancey might take the reader through the process of opening a business, but it's the origins of that business that I find the most interesting. I am always fascinated by the inception of an idea and the ways in which it is executed. In fact, Molly goes to great lengths to detail just how much hard work, sleepless nights and mad hatter moments that they both encounter as they build Delancey. They go from late nights in Molly's apartment kitchen making batch after batch of dough (a process Brandon would almost burn the apartment down trying to achieve) to finding suppliers, hiring staff and trying to balance a life outside of it all. 

If you love to read about the nitty gritty of setting up a restaurant, or have a love for all things Seattle, then I recommend Delancey. 



STREET FOOD COMES TO READING

During September Reading will host the first street food festival from Blue Collar Street Food . T...

During September Reading will host the first street food festival from Blue Collar Street Food. The event takes place over three days, and features twenty vendors and plenty of entertainment. Organiser Glen Dinning commented:

“We're incredibly excited to turn our home town into the capital of food, drink and entertainment for 3 days. We’ve worked really hard to ensure that there are over twenty handpicked food stalls serving eclectic, gourmet global dishes alongside two bars and an entertainment area. It promises to be a fantastic place to have lunch, go for after work drinks or enjoy an evening out.”









I'm going to be blogging about the event and sharing stories from local vendors. This is a fantastic event for Reading - I hope to see you there!

Local businesses looking to promote their company at the event should contact Glen Dinning on: glen@bluecollarreading.co.uk

The event takes place on 8, 9 and 10 September. For more information visitbluecollarreading.co.uk

IS IT WORTH BLOGGING ANYMORE?

I have asked myself this question more times than I care to count. Since I ...














I have asked myself this question more times than I care to count.

Since I have returned to this blog and the blogging world in general (I stopped reading blogs for a few months) I have noticed a huge change. A lot of my favourite bloggers hardly post anymore, preferring to share their words in newsletters and Ecourses. Comment sections are virtually empty, and there is just a general sense that nobody cares anymore. We are so overloaded with information that it's a chore just to get through it all. So is a blog really worth our time?

When I started blogging four years ago, I would write about my city from the perspective of what I'd want to read about. I found there wasn't any local food blogs that catered to people my age. It was a small niche of bloggers who all did their own thing and had their own distinct readership. I saw a gap in the market and went for it. It paid off. Then it seemed like everyone had a blog. Everyone was reviewing and writing about the same things and those distinct voices started to disappear. They couldn't keep up with the influx of newbies. I'm all for people writing about what they want, but it became overcrowded and over-saturated.

Back when I was knee-deep in writing and maintaining this blog, I started to see just exactly what it was going to be like if I wanted to make this a full-time gig. I went from writing about things I was passionate and interested in, to pouring over follower numbers and unique visitors. It stopped being fun. I made it overly-complicated and pushed myself to produce content to make sure I kept getting visitors. It started to turn into a blog that was all things to all people. And I couldn't keep up.

I found being a blogger was a tale of two halves; the half where you were lucky enough to be one of the first ones to do it, so regardless of what you posted, you always ranked first with Google. The hits came no matter what. Then there's other half where you're stressed out over what a keyword is (I'm not ashamed to admit I had no idea) and if you are using the correct amount per post. I often wondered that had I remained ignorant on the subject, that I would've been better off. There are just too many rules now.

In fact a recent discussion with fellow blogger friend brought up the subject of all these blogging rules. We discussed the fact that you should be able to just write and publish what you want. There's no need to stress yourself out over keywords or click backs or whatever all that jargon means. Just keep it simple. Find something to write about and publish it. Just do it. I understand that analytics are an essential tool for businesses, but if you're just blogging about what you like, why should it matter?

So is it worth blogging anymore? Yes. It is for me at least. There is a whole culinary world out there that I am still scratching the surface of. I want to share that with people, wherever you are.

We're all out there doing what we enjoy. Let's keep blogging as one of those things.

On a lighter note I have a few favourite food items to share with you. Enjoy!

- I must have watched this interview with Ina Garten at Dominican University, California about 100 times by now.

- One of the best things on NPR is America's Test Kitchen. The show is packed full of cooking advice. They also discuss some of the pressing issues in the food world.

- I'm enjoying what Rachel Khoo is doing over at Khoolect.



BOOK CLUB: JUNE

During my time living in the Pacific Northwest, I was exposed to a giant wealth of food books tha...


During my time living in the Pacific Northwest, I was exposed to a giant wealth of food books that are not readily available in the UK. Blogging is big business in the US, and the libraries in my city were awash with culinary tales. I became an devotee of food memoirs, and I felt positively inspired by them.
Here are some books I'd recommend for the June book club. Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below. Happy reading!

Bon Appetempt - Amelia Morris

Amelia Morris started her blog to document her attempts at cooking those perfectly styled recipes you see in magazines. They almost never turned out perfectly, but they still tasted great.

The book follows Amelia during her time figuring out how to work as a writer, blogger and creative while juggling the inevitable ups-and-downs of life. She and her partner move to Los Angeles, her parents get divorced, she travels, she completes her MFA in writing. Amelia chronicles all this with food always present in her life. She writes with astute humour about her life during this time, that left me safe in the knowledge hard work and appreciation will go far.



The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry - Kathleen Flinn

 Kathleen is an American journalist who was living in London until she loses her job. She decides to pack up and head to Paris to follow her dream of studying at Le Cordon Bleu.

Packing up to head off into the unknown is something I'm familiar with, but Kathleen had a mission to graduate from the most prestigious cooking school in the world. She paints a vivid picture of life in Paris, and describes her classmates with great detail and affection. I actually felt like I knew those people and wanted them to succeed as much as her. A must read for those who aren't sure what to do next.




Both book cover images taken from Amazon

REVIEW: BURGER & LOBSTER, CARDIFF

It's been a long time since I've written a review. When I left Cardiff a couple of years...


It's been a long time since I've written a review. When I left Cardiff a couple of years ago the food scene was really starting to take off. I watched from afar (Canada) as the city evolved into a foodie paradise. Sure, it was great before, but every UK city seemed to live in the shadow of London hipster-cool. If you're not one of the cool kids, jog on. But then something happened. Wahaca is here! Hang Fire has a restaurant! Street food festivals! Cardiff is now one of the cool kids, skinny jeans and all.

Which brings me to Burger & Lobster Cardiff. This wasn't here when I lived here before, and it's definitely cool. I always loved heading to the lobster restaurants whenever I was in downtown Seattle, so I was excited that there was now a place like that in Cardiff, plastic bibs included. I had heard great things about Burger & Lobster, so was excited to be invited to try the new menu.

 I attended with some of my fellow bloggers and, in order to get the most out of the experience, we ordered a bunch of different dishes to share. We opted for the Welsh lamb burger, chick lobster, smack brisket, cowboy caviar, sweet potato fries and crazy blooming onion. The main dishes don't come with any fries or sides, so you'll need to order those separately.

The smack brisket was the first dish I tore into. The beef was generously covered in spring onions, pickles and sauce and nestled inside a brioche bun. There's something about using a brioche bun, instead of a regular bun, to make a sandwich or burger all the more decadent. It definitely worked for the brisket here. The chick lobster was excellently complemented with a butter sauce, and offered a decent amount of lobster meat. The real star of our entire selection was the lamb burger. I think I've had at least three dreams about that burger since, which is a clear indication I need to go back. The burger was cooked medium-rare and topped with pickles. The lamb was light enough to eat the rest of the food, without giving you that automatic 'stuffed' feeling most burgers leave you with. Perfect.

Burger & Lobster Cardiff offers some prime choice when it comes to trying out something different. Cardiff has a lot of burger places these days, so it is hard to stand out. For price and quality, you're looking at around £15 for a burger and side. It is a little on the pricer side than most, but I genuinely think it's worth it.