Happy Friday! Today’s foodie feature is Jen from Tiny Urban Kitchen, one of my favorite Boston bloggers and one I had the great pleasure of meeting at the Stonyfield lunch. We share some of the same favorite restaurants in the Boston area (Craigie on Main and Mamma Maria), and I lived vicariously through her as she went on the Napa Valley adventure of a lifetime with Foodbuzz and S. Pellegrino. If you haven’t read her blog, I am certain you will want to by the end of this post. And if you haven’t been featured yet and would like to, let me know!
Interview with Jen
I write the blog Tiny Urban Kitchen, which is so named because, like Meghan, I am also a city-girl and live in a tiny urban condo with a tiny urban kitchen in Cambridge, MA. I’ve been blogging on and off since 2007, but did not really get more serious about it until last summer when I renamed the blog “Tiny Urban Kitchen” and signed on with Foodbuzz. Throughout this past year, I have enjoyed blogging tremendously. I love meeting so many like-minded food lovers around the world, and it has provided me with many many amazing food opportunities as well.
What has surprised you most about food blogging?
I think everyone says the same thing, and I have to agree. The community is AWESOME. Most people start food blogging to share recipes with friends and family, or to keep a record of all the restaurants they’ve visited – at least that’s why I started my blog. You never really realize how food blogging can connect you to so many like-minded people around the world. I’ve had the great privilege to “meet” people from Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, and, of course, all over the US. Things like the Foodbuzz Festival are great ways to connect with other food lovers. I never would have thought that starting a food blog would open the door to so many other friendships, opportunities, and experiences.
What has been the most amazing food opportunity that you’ve had as a result of food blogging?
No question it was my trip to the Napa Valley earlier this year to blog about the S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition. Foodbuzz and S. Pellegrino had hosted a contest to send one person there. The trip really opened my eyes to what the food industry is like. The food industry, especially the restaurant industry, is grueling, and it takes a ton of hard work and perseverance to make it. I was so privileged to be able to see this up close. It really gave me a new perspective and added respect for those who choose to follow this career path. Of course, Napa Valley is also beautiful, and I had a fabulous time there just checking out the vineyards and trying some amazing restaurants!
Which posts did you have the most fun making?
That’s easy – it would have to be my first 24, 24, 24 post titled “Kyaraben on Steroids.” I spent the day making sushi and other foods in the shapes of my favorite Japanese anime characters. It was a ton of work and took all day, but to this day I still love looking at the pictures of the cute Hello Kitty, Domokuns, Totoros, and Keroppis that I made for this post.
I also love playing with my food and photographing them in different angles, and therefore some posts whose photography I really enjoyed creating are the ones about dragon fruit, meyer lemons, ratatouille, and fiddleheads.
What are you favorite restaurants in Boston?
My favorite neighborhood restaurant is definitely Garden at the Cellar. The truffle fries alone are the best I’ve ever had, and the rest of the menu is excellent and pricedvery veryreasonably. I hope it never moves away! Bergamot is also another excellent restaurant that just recently opened. For fancy dining, Craigie on Main, formerly Craigie Street Bistrot, is fantastic – some of the best food I’ve had in Boston. Bryan is also partial to O Ya, although I think I need to try it again before making my final conclusion (my first experience was disappointing).
Muqueca (Brazilian coastal food) is one of my favorite little ethnic family restaurants, while Mamma Maria or Prezza just might be my favorite North End restaurants (of course you can’t forget Mike’s Pastry!). Outside of the North End, we just love Basta Pasta, both the original Cambridge location and the new Quincy location.
As for Asian food, because I’m Taiwanese, that cuisine tends to be my favorite, which is why I love going to Taiwan Cafe, Gourmet Dumpling House, and Shangri-La. I also love the hot pots at Little Q (more recently moved to Arlington). I think Fugakyu has one of the best sushi lunch specials around, and Cafe Sushi has one of the best Sunday evening sushi dinner specials.
Hi Rise Bakery is one of my favorite bakeries (love love love their vanilla loaf. My favorite ice cream is from Toscanini’s and my favorite pizza is from Emma’s. My favorite burgers are from Bartley’s, although Capital Grille and Smith & Wollensky are a close second.
What have been some of your favorite dining experience ever? In the world?
One of my all time favorite dining experiences in the world was at Kyubey in Tokyo. It’s this sushi place right down the street from Tsukiji Fish Market. We got the omakase and essentially had our personal sushi chef for most of the meal, creating interesting bites for us. As a seafood lover, my favorite restaurant in terms of food is probably Le Bernardin in New York City. One of my favorite dining experiences is probably at Daniel. The service, food, everything was so impeccable, it really made for an unforgettable experience. I also love dumplings, and therefore Din Tai fung in Taiwan is also one of my favorite dining places in the world.
I love interacting with my readers through comments the blog. I like to think of the blog as a forum for communication about food. Although I offer lots of information on the blog, I have also learned a lot of things from my readers. The communication totally goes both ways, and I love it that way!
Thanks so much Meghan for a chance to be featured on your blog!
Random Friday Question: If you are a blogger, what has been your best blog-related experience? If you are a blog reader, what is the best thing that has come out of it?
P.S. If you are in San Francisco this weekend (lucky!), check out the SF Chefs 2010 event: http://www.sfchefsfoodwine.com/ It looks fabulous, and I wish I could go!