A Year On The Blog

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A year ago we launched City of Ate--an event of such importance we forgot completely about the anniversary, which was last week.

In announcing he could no longer remain anonymous, Houston Press critic Robb Walsh mentioned that he was no longer a restaurant reviewer. The expectation that news, notes, observations and whatever else should be available almost instantly has made him more of a food blogger--just as responsible for interviewing chefs and taking food porn snaps as writing critiques.

This wasn't a complaint, just a statement of how daily upkeep on a blog changes the food critic's role.

Before the advent of blogging, a critic essentially dined out four or five nights a week for the purpose of writing one review and perhaps updating a capsule or two in the paper's restaurant listings. All those snide comments about service, thoughts on restaurant trends, or whatever else came to mind as the critic moved through his or her week went to waste. We couldn't print weekly stories pairing wine with ordinary food or scoring the efficiency of pizza delivery. And we couldn't interact so easily with readers.

I'm itching to rub last night's big win in a certain reader's face...but I digress.

Yeah, we were later than others to jump on the blog wagon. I made the decision not to carry a camera--even when visiting a restaurant for a blog-only story--in order to maintain whatever anonymity I have (and because the last camera I owned was a manual SLR, so I wouldn't know where to start with one of those small electronic things Patrick Michels carries around). I also decided we could have some fun, exploring dude-friendly diners and girl drinks. After all, the Dallas Morning News, D and, especially, Pegasus were already covering openings, closings, chef changes and other news items pretty thoroughly.

So, after some bumps as we settled into the rhythm of blog life, we have a year of City of Ate under our belts.

To honor the occasion, I thought I'd tally our accomplishments...but gave up after searching through several months of archived material. Instead, I pulled some random bits from our first full week of operation, one year ago:

  • 10:55 p.m.: Jen officially declares that she's in a "make-out mood." Jake and I assume this means she would like to leave soon and be hanging out with someone other than us.
  • No one understood the connotation of "quagmire" he says. He even queried folks at a nearby wine bar full of up-market types to prove the point, with 100 percent guessing it meant something pretty damned good.
  • Like Super Bowl Sunday's national halftime flush, I had the feeling our collective couch-boundedness Tuesday night would strain the infrastructure of our delivery systems.
  • So you want a soup or salad with that greasy Philly or burger? Why don't you ask for some steamed edamame while you're at it, you panty-waist?
  • "You can't do any oak with salt," he warns. "You'd be screwed."
  • Lobsters are easy.

I don't think we've changed all that much. But we are adding a few new features in the coming weeks, which will hopefully fill in some gaps in our coverage. We may even give away a prize or two.

Hopefully you dozen or so who read City of Ate will appreciate the additions. And thanks for an enjoyable first year to you and to all our contributors.

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