2015 REFLECTIONS: goals

IMG_3804There are 3 parts to this reflection: ‘the beginning‘, ‘ growth‘, and ‘goals’.

goals: in which I ruminate about everything that 2016 has to offer


GOALS

2015 was a year of refining the practice. It was taking major strides in writing quality after taking a few days to write in a notebook without consulting a computer. The goal for 2016 is to put out more variable and high-quality content.

In the works: “Best Of…”, personal essays about cooking in college, collections of mini “recipes”, cooking hacks, cheap kitchen gear guides, partner posts and…food videos??

2016, ya ready?

BREAKING NEWS

There’s something new happening everyday in a city like Chicago, and as a journalism student, I’ve sort of been trained to stay on top of it all.

As a food critic, I have a feeling that new restaurant openings and food events will keep me on my toes in a similar way.

Following breaking food news will hopefully give me an edge that takes advantage of timely and seasonal events.

FINDING THE BEST OF THE BEST

Living near a city that is constantly on the cutting edge of new music, new cultural phenomena and new food trends certainly has its perks, so it’s no wonder that some of the nation’s best foods (allegedly), including the best burger, best hot dogs and overall best restaurant, originated in Chicago.

Over the past year, I’ve really started to despise settling for mediocre food at a mediocre price. Natalie linked me an article by Todd Kliman, food critic for The Washingtonian, called, “Follow This Simple Principle, and You May Never Eat a Mediocre Meal Again.

I read it while I was abroad in China, but his argument has stuck with me ever since:

If you want to be a happier, more fulfilled diner, then you need to ditch the middle.

By this, he means: eat out at either a very inexpensive place, like a diner or a mom-n-pop shop that uses cheap but outstanding ingredients and executes A+ dishes, or at a splurge place with quality ingredients, undoubtedly worth the price. The in-between is mediocrity, a financial investment not worth the return. Those are your $16 brunch places, half-ass tex-mex, and the trendy (but trends always fade, right?) restaurants that set up shop in your college town, tailored to the stereotypical and one-dimensional college taste bud.

Can you tell I sort of despise Evanston food?

Anyways, I implore you to read the article and enlighten yo self.

STUDENT-ORIENTED ARTICLES: ESSAYS + RECIPES + TRICKS

The end of 2015 led me to decide my niche of student-oriented food articles. Rather, every article I write is by a student, for the students, because that’s the perspective I know, and people loooove when you write what you know.

Moving off-campus, buying my own groceries and making my own meals has been an utterly unparalleled experience. Did you know that eating cabbage every single day for a week (because you’re the only one eating it and you bought a whole goddamn head) makes you hate cabbage? Or that bread keeps perfectly in the freezer? Or that apples + pb is the perfect healthy late night snack when you’ve got the munchies?

I haven’t come across many food blogs or publications targeted towards college kids, except Spoon. For a while, I thought about applying to write, because I thought that working with a publication could give me a sense of a structure. Working with editors and budgets could build my skills up pretty quickly. But I find that working alone on a website like this teaches you so much more.

Because as long as you put in the effort to re-read what you write and try your best to put out a high-quality review, you will learn incrementally, without any creative restraints. You get to grow freely, on your own watch.

COLLABORATIONS

The end of 2015 hinted at the possibility of collaborations when I did a joint food review of Wicker Park’s Mindy’s Hot Chocolate with Natalie, who started her own food review blog over the summer. But I guess it technically wasn’t a collaborations, since I just jotted down a few of her voiced opinions at our lunch table and incorporated them into my article.

It was a gentle start to what I hope is a more engaged, conversational attitude I take on towards other passionate foodies I meet. I can hit up people at school and strangers on the internet, and find new restaurants to explore, recipes to test out, and potential ~friends~ to make.

I dream of going out to restaurants, experimenting in the kitchen, going grocery shopping, visiting the farmer’s market, or even…making food videos together???

A food channel is an idea I’ve been toying around with for a while…

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