Romaine Salad with Cornbread Croutons & Buttermilk Garlic Dressing

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Many of my best food memories from childhood occurred at chain restaurants. It’s an old story by now–how my parents didn’t cook, yadda yadda yadda–and we ate most of our weeknight meals in Boca Raton at restaurants owned by athletes (Pete Rose’s, Wilt Chamberlain’s) or country-wide chains like Chili’s, Friday’s and The Cheesecake Factory. At the top of the chain restaurant hierarchy was a restaurant that’s still in business around the country, and still just as good as it was the first time we ate there; that would be Houston’s.

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How To Support Yourself As A Food Blogger

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In 2006, I graduated N.Y.U.’s dramatic writing program and moved to Brooklyn with my friend Diana. At the time, I’d been food blogging for two years and had just sold a book to Bantam/Dell that came with a pretty decent advance. Before I sold the book to Bantam, I had ads on my blog—Google Ads, BlogAds—but wasn’t generating enough money to pay rent. With the book advance, things changed. When that check came, I told my parents that I wouldn’t need their financial help anymore. I’d be able to take care of things from here on out.

And, for the most part, that’s what happened. The book advance only got me so far; at a certain point, I began making enough money—from the blog itself and other food ventures—to pay the bills. Here’s how I did that and how you might do that too.

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Nepalese Chicken Tarkari

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Nate Tate and his sister Mary Kate Tate (yes: their real names!) are the authors of a brand new cookbook, “Feeding The Dragon,” that documents their travels around China (nine regions, 9,700 miles) and the recipes (100) that they collected on their journey. I first encountered the book when they asked me to write a blurb for it (look for me on the back cover); I didn’t know what to expect when they sent it my way. But what this book contains is the real deal: authentic recipes, impressive photography, and real world stories of making one’s way around China. (Don’t miss the episode where they’re chased by feral dogs, pg. 69.)

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The Food at Disneyland

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You may recall a post from April 2009 (see here) in which Craig and I sampled the food at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida while Craig was attending the Florida Film Festival. If you don’t want to click, I’ll sum it up for you: the food sucked. We ate corn dogs and bad Mexican food at the Mexican pavilion. It was fine theme park food but nothing that deserved attention on a food blog; though many passionate Disney fans chided me in the comments, pointing out our terrible decisions and defending Disney as a decent dining destination, if you know where to go.

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Let’s Not Be Paternalistic About Food

In all the debate that goes on in this country about what people eat and how we need to reform the American diet, it’s always taken as a given that people who attempt to nourish themselves and their children on fast food need to be educated, need to be reformed. There’s a sense that we who are enlightened about food, who subscribe to the philosophies of Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman and Alice Waters (I certainly do), are somehow in possession of a great secret and if only we could communicate this secret to the uninformed, we’ll spare them from diabetes and heart disease and cancer and all of the other blights inevitable for those who don’t buy organic produce, who gobble down Big Macs while we gobble down our brown rice bowls.

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The Best Sushi Of Our Lives at Sushi Zo

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Ok, ok, I know what you’re thinking. “Adam,” you’re saying, shaking your head while sipping a vanilla iced latte (why are you drinking that, anyway?), “you’re losing credibility. You just wrote a post below this about some blood-infused noodles and said that the Thai restaurant where you ate them offered the best Thai meal of your life. And now here you are, one post later, and you’re talking about the best sushi of your life. Don’t you think you’re overselling things a bit? If you keep calling things ‘the best of your life’ no one’s going to take you seriously. You’re like the boy who cried ‘best fill-in-the-blank of your life.'”

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Boat Noodles at Pa-Ord

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At a certain point, if you want to earn your stripes in the food world, you can’t act squeamish or repulsed at the prospect of eating a bowl of pig organs floating in a broth thickened with pig blood. Truthfully, I’m at a point now where such thoughts don’t repulse me; in fact, I think I have a mature attitude about such things. For example, I once attended a dinner cooked by Chris Cosentino of Incanto and the first course was a raw venison liver served on a spoon. I ate it. It popped in my mouth and did I cry? Did I enter psychoanalysis afterwards? Well, yes, but still. I got over it. And so it was that after interviewing Zach Brooks last week, I joined him for lunch at Pa-Ord, a deeply authentic hole-in-the-wall in Thai Town.

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