Pleasurepalate has been part of Broowaha for a long time - and has focused her writing around one topic that she is obviosuly passionate about: Food. I caught up with her to ask a few questions about her passions and how Broowaha has been a platform for her food-writing.
How does where you live influence who/what you write about and how you go about reporting?
Where I live has absolutely everything to do with what I write. What people out of LA may not realize is that Los Angeles is truly a foodie town and has such a culinary diversity that it's absolutely amazing. We have ethnic communities where you can get some of the most authentic cuisine short of visiting the native countries. To name a few, there's Koreatown, Little India, Little Cambodia and of course, in San Gabriel Valley, you'll get a breadth of Chinese cuisine that'll blow your mind while San Fernando Valley and the South Bay play host to some of the best Japanese food around.
With all this content just ready for me to "taste" and describe in words, I'll never run out of anything to write about.
What is something about you that we don't already know from your profile? Do you have a special talent or skill we should know about?
Well, I don't know if I call it a special talent or skill, but it's something I really enjoy doing and that's photography, especially food photography. In fact, I actually consider myself a "phoodie" - a foodie who loves to take photos of food. Currently, in my Flickr photoset, I have over 5000 photos just of food alone and that doesn't count the hundreds that I still haven't uploaded. I've even gotten inquiries about usage for my photos for stock photography sites, online websites, etc., but so far, haven't been able to part with any creative control over them.
I see you like writing about food - when did that start? What is the favorite story you ever wrote about on this topic?
It's funny because I never thought of myself as a writer, let alone a restaurant writer. But a few years ago, I started hosting restaurant outings for an organization I was involved with at the time and eventually started my own dining group, Pleasure Palate. Suffice to say that when it came to eating out, I was quite prolific in the number of restaurants I would visit. In 2007 alone, I went to 167 restaurants and these are new restaurants I've never been to before.
I used to and still get asked a lot for my opinion about where to eat, what my favorite restaurants are, which ones I would recommend or not, so I finally started my own blog in 2006 and that's where I started referring people to and eventually, I also started contributing content to BrooWaHa.
As for my favorite story, I have many, but I'd say that the one I had most fun writing about just recently was my experience with the Oki-Dog, a burrito with two hot dogs, chili, pastrami and cheese. I think I actually got props for having an iron stomach from some of the readers of that article.
In the time you've been part of Broowaha, how have you grown as a writer or interviewer? Maybe you can tell us about your first article, your favorite article to write and your most recent.
Broowaha actually has helped me improve my writing to the nth degree. When you're writing a blog, especially a restaurant review blog, people will comment more so on the information you gave about the restaurant and not really on the writing itself.
When I started writing for BrooWaha, the reviews, the comments, the rating system really helped give me a sense of what I was doing right and what I needed to improve of. My first article was " 50s Daze (or Days) at Dal Rae Steakhouse" and it actually got very positive feedback. The next 7 or so that followed didn't fare as well, which forced me to really examine what I was doing and how I was doing it. The two things I really learned included the importance of doing my story telling as if I was having a conversation with a friend and also that injecting some humor will also liven up the article for the reader.
My favorite articles to write are about those small hole-in-the-hole restaurants that would definitely not get the same attention as an Osteria Mozza or a Katsuya. After all, if I go into a place short on ambiance, but has one of the best Korean Soon Tofu Soups I've ever had, than I want people to know about it. Business for that restaurant means it stays open and it also means that I don't have to worry about not having that delicious soup anytime soon.
As for my most recent article, it was all about " Building A Burger At The Counter!"
If you could get could write about anyone or any situation, what would it be?
Honestly, nothing in particular comes to mind. If there's a restaurant I want to write about, I just go and that's it and I've never had much interest in interviewing people, although sometimes a talk with the chef and/or owner of the restaurant would add depth to my piece.
What artist (musician, author, painter, or in your case chief, etc) inspires you?
I'm actually not much of a chef groupie. :) It's really the food or the cuisine that inspires me. Why do certain ingredients work together or not? What is the history of pizza? How does the broth get into a juicy dumpling? Those are things that inspire me more than anything else.
Of our topics (city life, night life, culture, sports, etc) what is your favorite? Is there a reason why you tend to write/read more articles in that section?
As I mentioned earlier, unbeknownst to many, LA is a real foodie town and what better way to showcase that than by contributing content about some of LA's best dining, especially hole-in-the wall dining, to the City Living section.