Tag Archives: food blogger

Foodista

Back in May, I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle, Washington. It was the first ever conference just for food bloggers, and was organized by the founders of Foodista, Barnaby Dorfman and Sheri Wetherell.

Foodista Blog of the Day, MyLastBite.comFoodista is described as “a collaborative project to build the world’s largest, highest quality cooking encyclopedia”. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s like “wikipedia for foodies”, and since I’m such a hard core “info junkie” AND food lover, Foodista is definitely one of my favorite online resources.

As a food writer working alone at home most days, Foodista is also an important part of my personal (although virtual) community. I get most of my Foodista updates via Twitter now, where I usually “retweet” and share (recipes or food stories) with my own Twitter followers. Learn more about Foodista (and Twitter) via links below.

When I first read about the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) on Foodista.com, the main thing that caught my eye, was the fact that Gourmet Magazine’s Ruth Reichl was the celebrity guest speaker. Like most food lovers, I’ve read all her books, and was eagerly awaiting (her then) soon-to-be released memoir “Not Becoming My Mother”.

Hmmm… a chance to meet Ruth in real life? Without looking like a stalker? The airfare and hotel costs would probably be worth it, just for this opportunity alone!

The book I was reading at the time was Molly Wizenberg’s “A Homemade Life” (she’s also the author of Orangette.com), so when I saw her name on the weekend roster as well, I thought, “that’s it… I have to attend IFBC!”

But here’s the thing… I HATE conferences. I make fun of conferences. I make fun of people that go to conferences. I especially hated when I was forced to go to them for work. The only thing I probably dislike more than a conference, is a committee. One of my favorite quotes being, “as useless as a committee”. I would think to myself, “why would I want to sit in a room full of women (or men) talking about one subject? Why not just google?”.

Okay, you get it… I’m just not a “conference” type of gal. Or at least I used to NOT be. Foodista’s IFBC changed it all for me. It wasn’t a stuffy, “all women only” (also not for me), large venue type of event. The organizers (Sheri and Barnaby) really put on a thoughtful, relaxing and FUN weekend in Seattle.

IFBC 2009, MyLastBite.comThe actual conference was held at the beautiful “Sanctuary at Admiral”, a restored historical building (from 1929), located in West Seattle. It was two stellar days filled with food writers, photographers, technology pros and, of course, lots of FOOD (and wine!). 

A few IFBC topics (that I was most excited about) were: “Food Porn – Food Photography & Styling”, “Blogging As A Career” and “Blog to Book – Getting Your Writing On Paper”. The latter in which Molly Wizenberg was on panel. She was so warm, informative and refreshingly humble. I was already a fan BEFORE meeting her, but I probably elevated myself to “Molly Groupie” afterwards.

One of the sessions that I thought would be boring, “Passionate Purveyors & Producers”, was far from it! I was especially captivated by Karl Kupers of Shepherd’s Grain, when he spoke about the “Find the Farmer” project. It’s a website that traces flour from farm to table. Cool, right?

The IFBC nights were fantastic as well. Friday evening’s welcome party was held in a funky, old building near Safeco Field, home to the Mariners. Lots of wine, food (oh, the fresh oysters!) and more wine!

On Saturday evening, it was all about Ruth Reichl. We all gathered at the Pan Pacific Hotel to hear the legendary writer read from her new book. It was just a wonderful, inspirational gathering, and the highlight of the weekend for me!

My good friend Afaf was my traveling companion for the trip, and we were both so happy to finally meet Charles Thompson, another L.A. based food blogger. It turns out that Charles knew my husband Peter from years back (they both work in movies), so the three of us (Afaf, myself and Charles) quickly bonded during the weekend in Seattle. We had two fabulous dinners out (that I’ll post soon), and we even squeezed in a sneaky, quick getaway to the Seattle Cheese Festival on Sunday morning.

There were so many nice folks at the conference (I can say that “c” word without grimacing now!), and it’s been fantastic keeping in touch with several on a regular basis. Here’s a shout out to a few of my daily Twitter pals that I met at IFBC: @Inuyaki, @PlumpestPeach and Washington’s own @PassionForEating … who just so happened to visit me for a wild night (with her family) in L.A. recently! 

I know for sure I’ll be going to IFBC again, and hopefully we’ll have a large L.A. group attending the next one. It was a treat to get out of my “virtual” community (internet & twitter) and actually spend time with my fellow food lovers in person. It just took a special type of conference, like Foodista, to make me appreciate it!

As you can tell, Foodista isn’t just the “wikipedia of food” for me. They’ve also been a solid support for the growth of my blog. If you’re lucky enough to be named Foodista’s “Blog of the Day”, just sit back, smile and watch your page hits skyrocket!

WOW. MyLastBite in the New York TimesA couple of week’s ago, Foodista co-founder Barnaby Dorfman emailed me and asked if I’d like to be photographed for the New York Times. The article would feature Foodista as well as other web-based recipe sites. Soon after, New York Times reporter Kim Severson called and she interviewed me via the phone. Two days after that, photographer Axel Koester was in my kitchen, taking countless pictures of me making bacon-wrapped breadsticks. 

The article was published yesterday… online and in print, and my husband was so excited he got up early and bought twenty copies for family and friends. I’m framing a copy for the kitchen of course, and am just so grateful to Foodista for even thinking of me! For all your support, kindness, guidance and generosity… THANK YOU!

More Photos from IFBC:

IFBC 2009, MyLastBite.com
The Sanctuary at Admiral

IFBC 2009, MyLastBite.com
A few of the many wonderful speakers at IFBC!
Top left: Kristy Melville, Molly Wizenberg, Jaden Hair
Top right: Molly Wizenberg, Jaden Hair
Bottom right: Rebekah Denn, Kathleen Flinn, Julie Brosterman 
Bottom left: Kristy Melville, Molly Wizenberg

IFBC 2009, MyLastBite.com
Inside the conference

IFBC 2009, MyLastBite.com
Welcome cocktail party

IFBC 2009, MyLastBite.com
Meeting Ruth 
Reichl

IFBC 2009, MyLastBite.com
The most amazing goodie bag EVER. Thanks Sur la Table & Foodista!

About Foodista

IFBC details

IFBC 2009 Agenda

Foodista (and me!) in the New York Times

Mentioned Above:

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

Not Becoming My Mother by Ruth Reichl

Orangette

About Twitter

About Wikipedia

Gourmet Magazine

Steamy Kitchen by Jaden Hair

Eat All About It by Rebekah Denn

Shepherd’s Grain

FindTheFarmer.com

Simply Heaven Food by Afaf

100Miles by Charles

Bacon Wrapped Breadsticks!

Kim Severson, New York Times

Photographer, Axel Koester

All my IFBC photos on Flickr

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6 Comments

Filed under Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.)

N E W… Y O R K… T I M E S!!

WOW. MyLastBite in the New York Times

Wow!

A great big THANK YOU to Foodista for including me in the article! Thanks also to Kim Severson at the New York Times, and the awesome Axel Koester for all the lovely photos he took of me in my kitchen! That’s me (above, right) about to cook a tray of bacon-wrapped breadsticks in the N E W… Y O R K… T I M E S!!

I’ll post more pics from the photo-shoot soon.

Read the New York Times article here

Make Bacon Wrapped Breadsticks!

Kim Severson, New York Times

Photographer, Axel Koester

Bacon Wrapped Breadsticks on Foodista

10 Comments

Filed under Little Bites, Recipes

Phil’s Food Fest

One of the joys of writing a food blog is getting positive feedback from readers, friends and family. Naturally, I expect my own family to be supportive and not criticize me (too much) for spending almost all my waking hours consumed with thoughts of food.

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBiteAt first, when complete strangers complimented my writing or photographs, I felt sort of stunned because I couldn’t believe anyone (who wasn’t forced via family ties) would take the time to visit My Last Bite. I thought each visitor HAD to have found my website by accident, and very much appreciated each and every comment left.

I still do, and as a “Twitter Fanatic”, I can appreciate how difficult it is to read a blog post that has more than 140 characters these days. It’s a bit frustrating because I’ve found myself becoming impatient when I click on a link to read a detailed recipe or even a two page food story.

What I’m learning to do now, is to stop myself, shake out of “Twitter Mode”, and force myself to relax. This way I can enjoy the words that someone has taken the time to share with the world.

So to those of you who take the time to visit my blog, I want to say THANK YOU! And a very special appreciation of thanks to my good friend Phil Nigash (aka my most frequent commenter!).

Phil and I first corresponded via email after he commented on a Molecular Gastronomy Class post I wrote last year. He was at that time, just thinking about dabbling in “Modern Cooking” and during that first class, we got to make Ferran Adria’s FAMOUS Pea “Ravioli”.

Phil was downright angry that he didn’t know about the class and even spoke about it on his radio show (audio link below). His blog is called “My Life As A Foodie” and focuses on every part of the food industry… not just the pretty side either! Check below for links and more info.

After I heard that first radio segment, I thought, “Wow, what a really generous and solid guy”, and felt totally thrilled that he even mentioned me on his show. I wanted Phil to be my new best (foodie) pal, but of course I was wary about making friends with a complete MALE stranger.

We continued emailing, FaceBooking and getting to know each other’s spouses through photos. Our daily messages consisted of shared food articles, restaurants we wanted to try, or chefs we dreamed about meeting someday.

With my good buddy Phil, MyLastBite.comIt wasn’t until two months later, that Phil and I actually met in person. In February he drove up from Orange County with a friend to attend another fun Molecular Gastronomy class at Sur la Table. My husband Peter and nephew Cody joined me for the class again, and this time we focused on making groovy “Airs and Spheres”.

Soon after I got to meet Phil’s wife Katrina, and we planned an evening at the Bazaar by José Andrés (molecular cooking heaven!). Ever since then the four of us have shared more and more of our lives with each other, including spending some great evenings with my sister’s family and friends.

Since late Spring, Phil and Kat had been trying to organize a dinner party for us at their home in Irvine. The dinner was not only for myself and Peter, but for my sister Janet, her husband Paul, plus family friends; Afaf, Ray, David and John.

Due to scheduling conflicts, the dinner didn’t happen until last month, and it was so worth the wait! The food was fantastic (Phil is an awesome cook), but more importantly we all enjoyed the warm friendship and delicious fun of the evening.

Less than a year ago we were all complete strangers, and because of that first blog comment by Phil, we now get to share this friendship (plus lots of tasty food!) for the rest of our lives.

To this day, Phil is usually one of the first readers to leave a comment on any of my posts or photos, and each message is so thoughtful and supportive. Thank you Phil for your ongoing encouragement and for being my wonderful food-obsessed friend!

Phil’s Food Fest:

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Photos Top Left: Shrimp Cocktail and Bisque.
Top Right: Poke Tacos
Bottom Right: Calçots and La rouille sauce
Bottom Left: Serrano Ham

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Chorizo Sarta, Green Olive Piquillo Pepper Anchovy, Serrano Ham

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBiteCantimpalos (cocktail chorizos) and Aoli

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Potato Blini, Creme Fraiche and Smoked Salmon

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Savory Lobster Ice Cream w/ Chervil, Horseradish Cream and Caviar

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Phil in the kitchen (Savory Lobster Ice Cream)

Dinner w/ "My Life As A Foodie", MyLastBite
Cassoulet (white bean stew, duck confit and garlic sausage)

All Flickr Photos from Phil’s Food Fest


Dining Date: 8/29/09


Phil’s Blog: MyLifeAsAFood.com


Phil’s first mention of MyLastBite on his radio show


At Molecular Gastronomy Class with Phil


Phil’s radio show on Molecular Gastronomy Class


The first Molecular Gastronomy class


Dinner at the Bazaar with Phil & Kat


Sur La Table Cooking Classes


About Twitter


Follow Phil on Twitter


Follow Me!

19 Comments

Filed under Food Stories (written by me)

Squash Habañero Chutney

A great big THANK YOU to TasteSpotting, for graciously adding my Squash Habañero Chutney recipe to the Patrón Social Club: “TasteSpotting this summer brings the perfection of Patrón into your kitchen with entertaining tips, ideas, and recipes created especially for Patrón.” (Links below)

Squash + Habañero Chutney, MyLastBite.com

About the recipe:

I like it fiery hot. Whenever I mix up a big batch of my homemade Habañero Chutney, I’m usually the only one who ends up enjoying it. So, for the whole room of dinner guests to eat and enjoy, I make a version that includes apple and squash, which temper the heat of the Habañero.

Making a chutney is really quite simple. It just takes a little bit of patience to stand next to the stove, which just happens to be my favorite spot in the house.

The chutney is the perfect accompaniment to a simple grilled Flat Iron Steak.

My Step-by-Step Photos Recipe on the official Patrón Social Club website

Squash & Habañero Chutney, MyLastBite.com
Ingredients

Squash & Habañero Chutney, MyLastBite.com
Prepped & Ready to Cook!

Squash & Habañero Chutney, MyLastBite.com
Slowly Cooking Chutney. Grilling Flat Iron Steak on Grill

Squash & Habañero Chutney, MyLastBite.com
Grilled Flat Iron, Squash Habañero Chutney

TasteSpotting

About the Habañero Chili

About Flat Iron Steak (my current favorite beef cut)

Recipe posted soon

10 Comments

Filed under Recipes

Thank you Foodista!

Foodista Blog of the Day, MyLastBite.com

Featured Blog of the Day

About Foodista

Bacon Wrapped Breadsticks Recipe

5 Comments

Filed under Little Bites

[CLOSED] Susan Feniger’s Street

I loved watching the recent “Street Food Special” episode of “No Reservations”. It brought together my very favorite Anthony Bourdain clips; the scenes when he’s out and about eating “real food” with the locals, and also recapped Tony-visits to Singapore hawker (food) centers. It really made me wish we had something similar here in Los Angeles.

As Bourdain so eloquently stated: “Whereas in America the food court is the nexus of all things generic and awful, in Singapore these open-to-the-street food centers, coffee shops and hawker centers offer a near limitless variety of Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes”.

In a 1991 LA Times piece, my favorite food writer Jonathan Gold wrote: “The closest thing to a hawker center in Los Angeles is, of course, the Grand Central Market downtown… Among the fruit stalls and the poultry stands, there are 10-odd places where a hungry person can get something to eat”. I haven’t been there in years, and look forward to rediscovering the Grand Central Market again soon, but still it’s not exactly what Bourdain calls, “a ONE chef, ONE dish vast food court”.

It’s true that our multicultural city is filled with delicious strip-mall eats, and I personally plan to spend more time searching them out (hint to my foodie pals). But the large food courts I’ve been to (at various local shopping malls) would never be a destination dining trek of sorts. Well, except for “Hotdog-On-A-Stick”. I’m a sucker for any type of food on a stick.

Susan Feniger’s Street Food

When I first read about Chef Feniger’s new restaurant, I envisioned it to be a sort of miniature hawker center. An enclosed space filled with individual street carts from the around the world. In my mind, I even imagined individual cooks (in traditional attire) selling the dishes at these tiny indoor food stalls. I don’t know WHERE I came up with these ideas, but reading Jonathan Gold’s description in LA Weekly certainly added to my fantasy:

Street, MyLastBite.com“Street is a virtual museum of world street food, snacks and savories from every part of Asia — Korean-style mung bean pancakes studded with bits of anise-braised pork belly; hollow, potato-stuffed Indian ping-pong balls called paani puri, moistened with a bit of spicy broth; a juniper-laced salad of roasted beets and crumbled walnuts; even a take on the classic Singaporean breakfast dish of toast with coconut-jam kaya and a runny egg. There are dense dal fritters, a delicious version of the do-it-yourself Thai bundles of roasted coconut, bird chiles, peanuts, tamarind jam and minced lime, among other things, sensibly wrapped in bits of collard instead of the traditional betel leaf.”

So no, Susan Feniger’s Street is not the culinary “It’s A Small World” experience that I fantasized about, but it is a wonderful, exciting (and fun!) restaurant that brings my dream just a little bit closer.

What we ate:

Street, MyLastBite.com
Amuse-Bouche: A very exotic (savory) version of a Rice Crispy Treat! Millet Seed Puffs, with Marshmallow, Fennel, Curry, Coriander,Cumin and Black Currant

Street, MyLastBite.com
Spinach Varenyky: Ukrainian dumplings stuffed with spinach and cheese. Served with sour cream and lemon marmalade

Street, MyLastBite.com
Paani Puri: Chef Susan Feniger first tried these on a street market in Mumbai, India. Filled with potato, chutney, beans and topped with yogurt cilantro

Street, MyLastBite.com
Cuban Stuffed Potato Cake: Filled with spiced beef, raisins, and capers; with tomato mint salsa and poblano crema

Street, MyLastBite.com
Scandinavian Beet and Apple Salad – Slow roasted beets with apple, black currant, watercress, toasted walnut, and millet croutons in a juniper vinaigrette

Street, MyLastBite.com
My FAVORITE bite: Kaya Toast, a uniquely Singapore experience; toasted bread spread thick with coconut jam; served with a soft poached egg drizzled in dark soy and white pepper (link to recipe below!)

Street, MyLastBite.com
Marinated New York Strip Steak, skewered and roasted in the wood oven, served with Wild Mushroom Spaetzle and Rapini with Creamed Onions and Bacon

Street, MyLastBite.com
Top Photo: Vietnamese Corn – wok cooked medley of fresh corn, spring onion with glazed pork belly.
Bottom: Saag paneer with Kokum Dal and Rice Plate – A South Indian spinach dish stewed with homemade paneer cheese, tomato and spices; served with dried plum dal and yogurt rice.

Street, MyLastBite.comSusan Feniger’s Street [CLOSED]
742 N. Highland
Los AngelesCA 90038
(323) 203-0500
Website

Street on Twitter

Dining Date: 5/30/09
with Peter, Julian & Wendy 

Mentioned Above:

More about Singapore Hawker Centers

Kaya Toast Recipe via LA Times

My love for Kaya Toast (on LA Times)

Jonathan Gold’s LA Weekly Street Article

Jonathan Gold’s L.A. Times Food Stall Article

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Official Site

“Down on the Street” (Bourdain street food) episode

Grand Central Market

Hotdog on a Stick


Susan Feniger's Street on Urbanspoon

7 Comments

Filed under Eating Out

Mozza 2Go!

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.comSince our very first visit to Pizzeria Mozza (Christmas Eve 2006), Peter and I have continuously wished for two things: That Mozza would offer a Pizza-to-go / Delivery service, and that Nancy Silverton would make a pizza with chicken liver, guanciale and burrata. If you love Mozza’s Chicken Liver Bruschetta, then you’d understand how amazing this dream pie could be.

Last Thursday, when I learned (via @Foodwoolf on Twitter) that “Mozza 2Go” was OPEN, I immediately texted my husband and wrote, “DO NOT MAKE PLANS TOMORROW!” 

Peter had Friday off from work, and up to that moment, we had no actual plans for the 3rd of July. I searched online to find an opening time for Mozza 2Go, but the closest thing to actual hours listed (at that time) was an Eater LA article stating that, “the first order accepted at noon and the last order at 11:00 pm”.

Thinking there would be a line around the block (hey, it’s Mozza after all!), I told Peter we should plan on getting there by 10:30 AM. I figured we could order a pie, eat it there and then do some shopping at the Grove afterwards. There’s a Mac Store at the Grove… and Peter was obsessed about getting his new iPhone. All I wanted was to check out the new Mozza 2Go. It was a “win win” situation for sure.

By 10:45 am, the only people visible at Mozza 2Go were locksmiths working on the doors to the Scuola di Pizza (Pizza School) next door. I took several photographs of the exterior and called the Mozza 2Go phone number. The lovely voice on the recording noted that they were open Tuesday through Sunday, and that the phone lines opened at 11:00 am, with the first order availalable at noon. The message also said to check the Mozza2Go.com website for more details, but as of that morning (Friday July 3rd), the site was not yet online (Peter kept checking with his old iPhone).

So, we waited. “Mozza Groupies”, just the two of us. I kept calling the number and got the same recording… over and over again. At 11:30, we (meaning Peter) decided we should drive to the Grove and come back afterwards. My iPhone-obsessed husband traipsed off to the Mac store, while I impatiently shopped at World Market and Sur La Table (both stores are near the parking lot).

At about one o’clock we finally got back in the car (Peter flying high from his 3Gs iPhone purchase), and drove back to Highland and Melrose. The sidewalk was still empty, but Mozza 2Go was finally OPEN! Yes, some wishes do come true!

No crowds yet, just us and another couple waiting to order pizza. For some reason (hunger?) I thought we could order a pizza and have the choice of either eating there or taking it home, but of course it’s called “Mozza 2Go”! After a quick look around (they sell the chicken liver AND the Budino to go!), we decided to try to get a table at Pizzeria Mozza around the corner. Having skipped breakfast, we were both, by then, famished and a little cranky (at least I was, Peter was playing with his shiny new toy). 

During the end of our lunch at Pizzeria Mozza (photos & link below), Peter called Mozza 2GO and ordered a Fennel Sausage Pizza for us to pick up afterwards. We figured we may as well try the 2Go service since we were there, and heck… we never get sick of Mozza!

When we got back to Mozza 2Go, I was curious about the Pizza School next door. “Where do I sign up?” was the first question out of my mouth, but it turns out it’s for private events only, with a max of 45 “students” per class. A press release was recently sent out that noted, “In addition to pizza training the Scuola will be home to a variety of cooking demos, wine tastings and other culinary exploits”. I asked about the cost for a private pizza class (with 44 of my nearest and dearest), but no one had any answers yet. My birthday isn’t until March, so there’s plenty of time for Peter to sort that out.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
 Mozza 2Go Entrance / Awning

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Scuola di Pizza front window (to the left of Mozza 2Go).

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Mozza 2Go Entrance.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Imported goodies for sale.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
That’s Butterscotch Budino on the top right shelf!

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Mozza 2Go Menu.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Butterscotch Budino to GO! Make sure you get the Rosemary Pinenut Cookie with it.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Monini Olive Oil used in the Mozza kitchens. (Nancy participates in this olive oil coop in Italy).

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Counter goodies. (Partial of Nancy Silverton) 

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Peter paying for our treats.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
At the counter.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Scuola di Pizza (Pizza School) next to Mozza 2Go.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Looking from Mozza 2Go into Scuola di Pizza.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Pizza boxes on the shelves at Scuola di Pizza.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Our pizza (Fennel Sausage, Panna, Red Onion $15) outside of Mozza 2Go.

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
I love Nancy’s signature on the pizza box sticker! (Yes, I saved it)

Mozza 2 Go, MyLastBite.com
Fennel Sausage, Panna, Red Onion Mozza 2Go Pizza –
PERFECT 
at home!

Mozza 2Go
Scuola di Pizza

6610 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
323 297 1130

Website

Hours: 12pm – 11pm
Closed Monday
Free 15 minute parking for take out orders available behind Mozza 2 Go.

Dining date: July 3, 2009

All Mozza 2Go Photos on Flickr

Mentioned above:

Lunch at Pizzeria Mozza

@Foodwoolf

Eater LA

The Grove

World Market

Sur la Table

iPhone

18 Comments

Filed under Eating Out