Thursday Night Bites is a year old today. I would love to say that it’s flown by, I can’t believe it’s been a whole year, but really, it feels just about right. We skipped Thursday dinner this week since B’s birthday was on Wednesday and we went out to dinner (to Marjorie, of course). They were every bit as wonderful as always.
I’d hoped to make up for Thursday’s missed dinner tonight with a sort of Blog-iversary dinner, but we’re both sick. My evil, evil sinuses have revolted against me and B has a milder version in the form of a regular cold. We are quite the attractive pair right now, let me tell you.
In thinking about this one year milestone, I started to mentally tick off some of what I’ve learned after 131 posts, a lot of great food, and a few not awesome meals. The list is long, but here are the ten that stand out.
1. The Tortoise was right. Slow and steady wins the race. Last November, I participated in NaBloPoMo. I’m glad I did it. It was a great way to get into the habit of blogging, but it was too much. At some point in the last couple months, I let go of writing about every new meal, every new restaurant, and started learning to choose my posts a little more carefully. I say started because I still haven’t quite mastered that.
2. There are some really awesome people out there. I’ve met (in person and virtually) a couple of really nice people through blogging. It still completely baffles me when I get a comment from someone I don’t know.
3. There are some really lame people out there. Trolls suck. No matter how innocuous the subject, someone will take it the wrong way or just pretend to take it the wrong way so they have an excuse to be cruel. These people are irrelevant. There’s been a lot more chatter lately about trolls. Once I figured out it happens to almost everyone, I stopped caring.
4. Sometimes, adulthood is like Middle School. I don’ t know about all blogging communities, but the food blogging community is cliquish. When I started the blog, I was excited. I followed every food blogger I could find on Twitter. I commented on others’ blogs, used Twitter… tried to participate. I received an icy reception. I watched their virtual love fest forlornly from my Twitter feed. I only felt worse when I realized many of them didn’t know each other in person, but they were unabashedly supportive of each other all the same. I hadn’t felt so insecure or worried so much about what others thought of me since 6th grade when I ate lunch alone every day. Thankfully, as an adult, I can acknowledge that maybe I just don’t fit in. I moved on.
5. No matter what you’re into, someone (or a lot of someones) will think it’s strange. For as common as food blogging is in Seattle, there are lots of people who don’t know what it is and think it’s downright strange when you explain it. And in other, smaller cities? Forget it. They look at you like you’re from Mars. Most people aren’t judgmental. They just don’t get it. For as many baffled (and occasionally judgmental) folks as I’ve encountered, though, there are just as many who are supportive and enthusiastic participants.
6. There is a lot of good food in Seattle. I knew this already. I knew this well. When people start to learn that you’re into food, though, they tell you about more and more great places. Our list currently takes us through April of next year and it’s nowhere near complete.
7. Blogging is not writing. I know this is a never-ending debate in the blogosphere. I was a little offended by the statement the first few times I encountered it, but I get it now. The whole point of this blog was to get me writing again. As far as getting me to put words on a screen, it’s accomplished that, but while I occasionally write a post that I feel strikes a creative chord, most of them don’t. Here’s hoping that this is all a gateway drug.
8. Old habits are hard to break. I’ve been writing for fun since I was old enough to put pen to paper, but it’s always been a very private exercise for me. Others reading my writing has always terrified me. With 131 blog posts behind me, it hasn’t gotten any easier. I cringe every time someone I know mentions something they read on the blog. I’m working on it.
9. Support matters. Though B doesn’t always read my posts (he’ll argue against that statement if you ask him), he’s been unfailingly supportive of this project. When we choose a restaurant, he’s quick to ask if I’ve written about it before. He checks in to see if I’m up to date on my posts and he can stop a table of hungry people with a single look so I can take my photos. He tells people about the blog and tells me when others mention it.
10. Enthusiasm is overrated. Remember when I said blogging isn’t writing? Well, even so, I’m trying to use it as an opportunity to get rid of many of my bad writing habits. Trust me, I know I have many, many more to get rid of, but I’ve actively worked on getting rid of two in particular: unnecessary words and being overly enthusiastic. Exclamation points are, as F Scott Fitzgerald said, “like laughing at your own joke.” I’ve also worked hard to stay away from words in all caps and emoticons. Some may find these useful stylistic tools. For me, they are a crutch.
If you’re still with me after all that, I’m impressed. So, how am I celebrating a year of consistency? Self-hosting, of course. I’m still working on the details and I’ll share more as I have more information.
And now, on to the food. This week wasn’t entirely without a new restaurant experience. Last weekend, I noticed on Facebook that 5 Point Café would be hosting a special bacon dinner (that B dubbed The Baconing) celebrating Bacon Salt’s appearance on the Food Network’s episode of Crave (celebrating all things bacon). B loves his bacon (though, really, who doesn’t?), so he was more than willing to go.
We’ve lived just a couple blocks from 5 Point Café for two years and we’d never been there. I’d heard bad things. Online reviews said it was dingy and dirty and that the staff was rude. A friend of B’s declared it “rough.” Really, why would we want to take a chance on a place like that? Bacon was a good enough reason to give it a shot, but my expectations were pretty low.
I can’t speak for others’ experiences, but I’m inclined to say that they’re all crazy. 5 Point was awesome. It’s not dirty or dingy, it’s cozy. And the staff? Friendly and fantastic. And rough? Not unless you consider Seattle to be a generally scary city (and if you do, I’m laughing at you right now). Both staff and customers alike were exactly what you see walking down any highly traveled street in the city… locals with a smattering of tourists. You’d think I’ve lived here long enough not to listen when people pass judgment on a place for being unpretentious. I suppose in that respect, it serves me right that I’ve missed out on 5 Point for so long. That’s not a mistake I intend to continue making, though.
As for the food, my photos were basically a disaster. It was dark in there. We started with the bacon pillows (pastry dough filled with jalapenos, cream cheese and bacon) and the Chicken Fried Bacon. That’s right. Chicken Fried Bacon. The pillows were awesome. The jalapenos sort of overpowered the bacon flavor, but they were delicious.
The Chicken Fried Bacon was equally delicious, but I could only handle a half a piece. After all, it was deep fried bacon.
Fortunately, the portions weren’t absurd, so we still had room for other, non-bacon related food. For my part, I was desperately craving something that grew in the ground before finding it’s way to my plate. I kept it simple with a dinner salad and B opted for the Chorizo and Eggs (with hash browns, black beans and tortillas). The photo of B’s breakfast came out unusable, but he loved it. I only tried the hash browns, but I agree with his opinion. They were great. My salad may have just been so good because I was craving vegetables after all the deep fried goodness, but it was outstanding. Not a scrap of iceberg lettuce in sight.
Lesson learned. Form your own opinions. Maybe they were just having a rare great night when they’re normally awful. Who knows? What I do know is that we had an awesome experience and we’ll be back soon.