The New Amateur Gourmet

leah and ben

Hey! What’s going on? Why does everything look so different? WHAT’S HAPPENING?

Welcome to the new Amateur Gourmet. The people you see above you are the brilliant people responsible for what you see around you. That’s Ben on the left–he’s the programmer who worked the HTML like a maestro–and that’s Leah on the right, the visionary who conceived of this brand new design.

It’s a design that went so far above what I ever thought possible for my blog, I feel like my site just went from being a dingy five flight walk-up to the Taj Mahal. What makes this new design so special? Whereas my old design was basically a generic Typepad blog with impenetrable archives, this new design makes it incredibly easy to access the three-and-a-half years worth of material I’ve created ever since I wrote “my name is Adam and I like to cook.” (Ok, I never really wrote that.) Here are some of the many features that make this new design more special than your own children:

* There is now a menu bar at the top of the screen with six main categories that should make navigating the site a cinch. Not sure what you want for dinner tonight? Click “Recipes” and scroll through salads, soups, stews and entrees and make yourself a feast. Or not sure where to eat out in New York? Click “Restaurant Reviews” and see everything broken down by borough and then, in Manhattan, by neighborhood. (There are also reviews for other parts of the country and the world!) My writings have all been categorized, as have my films and songs. Now my archives are as searchable as Lindsay Lohan’s glove compartment, and you don’t even need a search warrant.

* You’ll also notice that in the Recipe and Restaurant Review sections, every post has been assigned a star rating. That way you’ll know right away what I thought of a particular dish or dining out experience and whether or not it’s worth your time.

* The site now has tags so I plan to go through my archives and assign everything a few tag words so that in the future if you click “clams” in the tags, you’ll see every post that references clams–including that time I dressed up like a clam and tried to seduce Bea Arthur.

* On the upper left you will see “The Daily Specials,” a very good reason to check back on the site throughout the day for as I find and discover interesting food-related links, I will share them with you there.

* You may notice that the banner doesn’t rotate right now but that’s because in just a few weeks we are going to begin something new and very exciting: a new food-related banner every month! Complete with new color scheme, courtesy of Leah and Ben. (Any votes for what should be flying around in September?)

Finally, all the design elements should be far more pleasing than they were before. Look at the colors, look at the fonts! I can’t tell you what attention to detail these two paid to every stitch, every pixel. As Leah says now (she’s here because I cooked her and Ben a “thank you” dinner), “We designed it as fans of the site. We’re both super-fans so we designed it for ourselves, really.”

Well, Leah and Ben, I can’t thank you enough. And for those who are wondering how I thanked them with food, here they are at dinner:

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And here’s what I made: a beautiful tomato salad with green and purple basil and Farmer’s Market blue cheese:

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Suzanne Goin’s roasted pork loin with haricot verts and mustard bread crumbs (from “Sunday Suppers at Lucques”):

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I can’t tell you how great this came out: the key was cooking it to an internal temperature of 120 degrees (oh, and marinating it overnight in mustard and garlic and thyme.) Ben and Leah loved this pork as much as I love their new design. I hope you love it just as much too, even though you didn’t eat the pork.

If you’d like to get in touch with Leah, you can contact her through her blog Pink Leahtard; and if you’d like to get in touch with Ben, you can e-mail him at blim8183 AT gmail DOT com. Thanks so much to them again for such spectacular work. And please let us know what you think in the comments—any bugs you notice, report them there.

Here’s to a new day at the Amateur Gourmet!

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32 comments

  1. Thank you Leah and Ben for the pleasing-to-the-eyes and fingers design.

    Three cheers for the new amateurgourmet.com.

    Hooray I’m the first to comment!

  2. WoW! This is like going from driving a VW to driving a Mercedes! And THANK YOU for the bigger type face! These senior citizen eyes REALLY appreciate it!

  3. adam –

    liking the new design a lot, and many many thanks for including your small links in your RSS feed.

    however, somehow it seems that your RSS feed is a little messed up – formatting new paragraphs isn’t working, so this and other posts have become a single block of text.

    as The Most Important Person In The World, i read your site mainly on RSS and this makes it a lot harder to read quickly in between massages from madonna and meetings with mitt romney.

    thanks.

    sam

  4. It works a treat but doesn’t look so wildly different that it just feels all wrong and unwelcoming. Great job Leah and Ben!

  5. Lookin’ good! I like it- very pleasing to the eye.

    Yeah, I have funny stuff happening on my RSS also- it said you have 15 new posts and I thought wow you have been hard at work!!

  6. Adam, it’s so freakin bright and cheery and happy and I LOOOOOOOVE it. Love love love love love the new design.

    But then again I’m a design geek.

    :)

  7. “…including that time I dressed up like a clam and tried to seduce Bea Arthur”

    That really sounds like an episode of Family Guy.

    The pork loin looks great by the way.

  8. I really love this! I’ve been hoping that you would start using tags and organizing reviews by neighborhood for awhile. Hooray!

  9. love the new banner! love the font! love everything! love you!

    ahem. did i get too carried away?

    great job to ben and leah. and congrats to you for movin’ on up!

  10. I think it’s awesome! Site is easy to use and aesthetically appealing! Way to go Ben, Leah, and Adam!

    Only thing that throws me off is when I read through anything at the bottom (particularly comments), the middle section seems so alone since there isn’t much down here with it :)

    Congrats on a great makeover!

    Hillary

  11. Okay, but now I have a problem. Sometime in the last 6 months you blogged about an excellent restaurant in Yountville, California, where you ate that WASN’T the French Laundry.

    Having failed to get reservations for the FL during the dates I’ve reserved for vacation from work, I’m looking for an alternative in that area (hotel reservations already made). So where can I find that entry? What was the name of the restaurant again? Help, Adam!

  12. I’m also having issues with the RSS feed — looks like the feed no longer contains full articles, it just contains the blurb, so I have to click through on each story to read it.

    Bummer — I usually end up unsubscribing from blogs that are set up this way, since it’s a pain to constantly switch back and forth between my feed reader and my web browser.

  13. Congratulations on your new cool website. It’s very attractive and easy to see.

    But I can’t use the SEARCH function. When I use it, “Page Not Found” is shown.

  14. I thought you might like to know that I can no longer access your blog through Chocolate and Zucchini as I once could. I had to google to find your new site. Also, the serious eats banner on the top left is partially covering the first photos. I’m sure there will be a few things to work out. It does look very well orgainized, dead ducks and all.