We have arrived yet again, gentle reader, at another milestone for Exploring Food My Way: the second anniversary of my first post (technically that would be tomorrow, but skipping a post on Friday and posting on Saturday instead would fall outside my normal posting schedule). While I was happy to celebrate successfully writing on my blog for one full year, the fact that I've continued to do so for an additional year has helped give me a sense of purpose and accomplishment all at the same time.
Looking back over this last year, I realize that I've discovered some very tasty places to eat, done some very cool things, and met some incredibly cool people along the way, both readers and others in the culinary and media fields. Something you realize very early on is that even though northeast Ohio covers a lot of square miles, it really is a pretty tiny place and it turns out that everybody seems to know EVERYBODY. Six degrees of separation is much more close to two.
So now, to commemorate the past twelve months of work, let's take a look at Tino's Top Ten Totally Tremendous Things about year number two:
10. Winning free tickets to the Top Chef event at St. John Medical Center and having a great time attending with my friend Edsel.
9. Eating (and surviving) my way through The Lenten Project. My love of fried fish and pierogi knows no bound.
8. Being able to happily announce the opening (or discovery) of some great restaurants and the sadness involved in announcing some closures (Baricelli Inn and Bar Symon).
7. Being in complete and utter awe that people from all parts of the world have taken time out of their busy lives to visit my website 100,000+ times since I started keeping track back in May 2009 (as of 12/17/2010 12:00:00 AM, the number was 101,552).
6. Being asked to give cooking demonstrations at both the Howe Meadow and Hudson Farmers Markets.
5. Meeting Lisa Abraham and having an article published about me and the blog in the Akron Beacon Journal (the original article has been archived, but this link is the exact same story).
4. Being asked to be a judge at both the Autism Chili Cook-off and the March of Dimes Signature Chef's Auction.
3. Being able to cook and share a number of great meals for my grandmother.
2. Adding critical reviews of another 150+ restaurants to my considerable base.
And, of course, no Top 10 list would be complete without an awesome number one:
1. Being banned from my very first restaurant. Ironically enough, the article I posted about getting banned received FAR AND AWAY more attention than the original review I wrote on the restaurant itself. Even with Wendy Williams's help.
I really could not have predicted that this was where I would be two years ago. I am hoping for even bigger things to happen in my third year of blogging about anything related to food. I’d love to be able to parlay all of these connections and the experience of writing, editing, and publishing a blog into something full-time in the food and/or writing industry, not something I do just as a hobby that I love.
Of course, I want to finish this second retrospective by thanking all of my faithful (and even the drive-by) readers. It's an odd feeling to know that you aren't just writing in a void and that people not only enjoy what I write but also interact with me and each other through comments and emails. I particularly like that about the blogging community and I hope that aspect continues on for a long time.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming ...