Above: one of the tastiest parts of the year: Alon Shaya's charcuterie and relishes.
It was just over a year ago that I decided to get to work. I mean really work, and I mean on this here blog. I started it in 2008, but I tended to just piddle around on it every few months. Last summer, I had a break from work and a need to do something creative and writerly for myself, and I channelled just about all my energy into blogging. It's been an amazing year, some parts of which still make me pinch myself.
Dear readers, thank you so much for coming along for the ride. Thank you for reading my blog, for commenting and sharing your thoughts. Thanks for directing your friends and coworkers here, for recommending it to travelers looking for good places to go. Thank you for inspiring me with your own awesome blogs and food photos. Thanks for following Food Orleans through Facebook, Twitter, OnSugar, email, Pinterest, and RSS feeds. Cheers!
Big thanks and hugs to Meredith Martin-Moats and Donn Cooper for contributing their insightful writing on sustainability; to OKRA Magazine for publishing my articles and recipes; to yumsugar.com, Eater Nola, and Tasty Kitchen for featuring some of my posts and recipes; to Tabasco and Hunter PR for an incredible trip and writing opportunity; to Smithsonian Folkways for the Louis Armstrong giveaway; to Commander's Palace for an unforgettable evening; to Diana for sharing her ridiculously good apple cake recipe, and to Laura Hobbs for sharing it in print; to Virginia Willis for graciously allowing me to reprint two of her recipes; to my family, who support and encourage any kind of writing I do, even if it's about oysters and snails; to Paul's parents, Don and Kathy White, who take us on many delicious restaurant excursions throughout the year; and especially to Paul, whose cooking and idea-generating genius play a larger role on this blog than I give him credit for. Cheers to you all!
In September, Paul took Aunt Rudy and Uncle Joe to Galatoire's for his birthday, a fun day that ended with Angelo Brocato's, of course.
In October, we made our first visit to The Company Burger. They liked the review so much they hung it on the wall!
November was all about Diana's fresh apple cake. Not only was the photo featured on yumsugar.com, but food wizard Laura Hobbs wrote a great piece about her experience with the same cake for @Urban Magazine!
In December I went on my cookie baking binge and tried out a new way to use pepper jelly: these pepper jelly rugelach, featured on yumsugar.
In January, Paul made this awesome quick-and-easy version of barbecued shrimp, which was later featured on Tasty Kitchen's blog. I also experimented with a new photographic style: overhead with solid backgrounds.
In February I devised a recipe for Ya Ka Mein, partly because i wanted to know how to make it at home, and partly because I realized there weren't many recipes for it online. It's now my most viewed post.
In March, I took a cue from a card game and used some local specialties on a big ol' hunk of corned beef. This Corned Beef with Cane Syrup and Creole Mustard was also featured on Tasty Kitchen.
In April, I got to visit Avery Island as a guest of Tabasco. This was my lunch one day, one of many awesome meals prepared by many awesome people.
In May, I posted the first of four recipes I developed for Tabasco, this chipotle shrimp and corn soup. It's seriously good.
My favorite post of June was about The Root Cafe in Little Rock, Arkansas. I know, I know: not New Orleans. Not even Louisiana! But sometimes Food Orleans has to get out of Orleans, and sometimes, the food is incredible.
And finally, in July, the blog got a lot of traffic over this post on our experience at the Commander's Palace chef's table, with good reason--it's a pretty unbelievable time. If you have a bucket list, put this on it.
I'm gonna leave y'all with another big thank you for all of your support, and a few more of my favorite photos from throughout the year. Here's to another great year of cooking, eating, and sharing. Onward!