Happy blog-birthday to me!
Happy blog-birthday to me!
Happy blog-biiirthday dear Wandering Chooopsticks...
Happy blog-birthday tooooo meeeeee! :)
Wandering Chopsticks turns 1 year old today! (OK, that's really my last birthday cake but we won't quibble.)
My adventure into food blogging started by accident. While I knew about blogs in general, the few I had stumbled upon read like online diaries. Opening up my personal life to strangers? Nah, not for me.
But last year, while searching for a recipe for cha ca Thang Long (Vietnamese Hanoi-style sizzling fish with dill and turmeric), I found this post by Noodlepie. I began lurking on his blog because many of his street scenes of Saigon brought back lovely memories of places I had eaten at or passed by the summer before.
Later he had a post referencing Kirk of Mmm-yoso, and a rather lengthy discussion ensued of Vietnamese food in Vietnam vs. Vietnamese food abroad. In the comments of that post, I discovered Elmo of Monster Munching, who had a rather disappointing experience with bun rieu (Vietnamese crab and shrimp rice vermicelli noodle soup) in Orange County. Well, that post finally spurred me from being a lurker to a commenter because I actually had a recommendation for him -- Vien Dong Restaurant in Garden Grove.
But let's backtrack a little. For years, my friends knew me as the go-to person if they wanted to try new places to eat. In fact, I kept a list of restaurant recommendations and mailed it to anyone who asked. Same goes for my recipes. So you'd think I would have realized the wonders of food blogging earlier, but I really didn't.
And then, of course, I felt weird dragging out my camera when I went out to eat. So my first post was Claro's Italian Market in Upland, a small chain I had passed by many times but had never gone in. But for some reason, exactly a year ago today, I absolutely had to get their homemade pizza dough. And a sandwich. And possibly a cannoli or two.
Well, after that, I didn't post again until the next week. And then for the rest of the summer, I forgot about it entirely. Because posting a restaurant review blog just seemed too cumbersome. And then in the fall, I had these lovely photos of my garden and it seemed such a shame to just let them languish in the bowels of my laptop.
So I started adding in some gardening posts. And some recipes. And some travel pictures. And before I knew it, I turned my blog into something sort-of personal after all. It wasn't until last December with this post that I felt Wandering Chopsticks had enough of a personality for me to say, "Hello World"! So this blog became a site for me to celebrate the everyday things that made me happy -- still obsessing about food, with some gardening and quilting thrown in. And who knew that I had an audience for all that?
And before I knew it, it became weird if I didn't carry my camera with me whenever I went out to eat.
I also learned some things along the way. From Kirk of Mmm-yoso, I learned to always acknowledge every comment. If you take the time to respond to me, I'll certainly take time to respond to you. Yes, I get an email every time someone comments so if you comment on an old post, I'll respond on that post, usually by the time I put up my new post. I'd hate for you to sit there waiting and waiting for a response. I think of my blog as a conversation. I share a little something, you share a little something back. Or sometimes, we just visit each other's blogs and say, "Howdy."
I try to respond to as many recipe requests as possible, so if you're still waiting on one, please be patient. I'm still working on it.
I try to include as much information on a place as possible but can't always guarantee that it'll be up to date.
But mostly, I try not to take myself too seriously. If I did, I'd carefully craft a proper restaurant review. They're not. They're simply snapshots and some random thoughts while and when I eat. Which I think is more accurate of how I eat anyway.
I don't wait for the best time of day with the best lighting to cook and photograph my food. I cook when I feel like it and sometimes my photos turn out well, sometimes they don't. But if the recipe itself is worth sharing, then I'll post it regardless of the quality of the photo.
I've also found a ton of new restaurants through other food blogs. Great for my tastebuds. Not so great for my waistline. But it places me one step closer to eating every cuisine that SoCal has to offer.
So now, it's time for me to share a little something. I know, it's my blog-birthday and ya'll should be giving me presents right? :P
But I've made such lovely online friends who share my mutual love of food, or gardening, or quilting, that I want to give you a little something. It's not much because hey, I'm poor, yo! And I gotta ship it to you! Yes, I'll send it overseas and I figured my overseas readers are the ones who will want this the most. And yes, you need to be willing to pay any possible customs fees if you want this badly enough.
You'll get a goody box with my favorite hot and spicy ramen noodles, dried lily buds to make my recipe for Chinese hot and sour soup, vermicelli noodles to make cha gio (Vietnamese egg rolls), banh trang (rice paper) to make goi cuon (Vietnamese salad rolls) or to wrap nem nuong (Vietnamese grilled pork patties), a Vietnamese coffee filter and Trung Nguyen coffee so you can make ca phe sua da (Vietnamese coffee with milk iced), a nice tin of green tea, nori seaweed to make Spam musubi, a pho spice kit of cinnamon sticks, star anise, and cloves so you can make pho bo or pho ga (Vietnamese beef noodle soup / Vietnamese chicken noodle soup), and Sichuan peppercorns for ma po tofu. And that's all I could fit into the box!
The only requirement? I'm only opening this up to my readers who have commented before as a thank you for making my first year of blogging such an enjoyable experience.
C'mon dear readers, drop a note, let me know what keeps you coming back or what you'd like to see here on my humble little blog. Contest closes at midnight as the clock strikes June 14 (because that's when I got around to my second post on this blog and it just seemed like a good deadline). I'll draw the names at random and will announce the winner later that day.
1 year ago today, I bought fresh pizza dough at Claro's Italian Market in Upland.