It’s Time We Finally Met

Readers,

A wonderful thing has happened. The Six Apart Team has benevolently upgraded me from dusty old Movable Type 3 to sparkling new Movable Type 4. What does this mean for you?

It means that, at long last, you can have user profiles! That’s right. Right now, in the comments of this post, you can register an account–post a picture, link up your Twitter, your Facebook, and your very own blog. I’ve always been curious about my readers: who are they, what do they do, and–most importantly–how sexually attractive do I find them? Now my wish has come true!

So please, by all means, let’s test this baby out. In the comments, sign up for an account and fill out your profiles. Pretty soon we’ll have an Amateur Gourmet community to rival all other food communities in cyberspace. This is going to be really rad.

So thanks Six Apart Team! You guys are the best.

P.S. This new comment system will work for this post and all future posts but not, alas, on old posts. That may be fixed in the future, so stay tuned for that.

P.P.S. In case you register and then you’re like, “What should I write in the comments?” why don’t you tell us other changes you’d like to see on the site. It’s our job to serve YOU.

Nibbles 4/10/08 (The Fix, The Gym, Frankie’s Sputino & More)

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First things first, as you may already have figured out, my brilliant web guys Ben and Justin have fixed our comment problem; comments are back up and running. A huge thanks to them and also a big thanks to Ben Trott, co-founder of Six Apart, who happens to read this blog and who, upon reading my frenzied no comment post, offered up his help. Thanks Bens & Justin!

And now, to make up for my lack of posting during the crisis, some nibbles to nibble on before the weekend…

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A Comments Freeze

An e-mail from Dreamhost (the company that hosts my blog) today informed me that because of spam and excessive comments in my archives (over 20,000!) they were going to put a freeze on my comments. Obviously, this is a big deal because comments are such a big part of the site. So please sit tight as my web guys and I try to figure this out… in the meantime, if you see 0 comments under this post that means the freeze is still in effect!! (Unless no one tries to comment on this… but don’t you want to comment? I bet you do….)

Comment Policy

I recently did an interview with Express (A Publication of The Washington Post) and the interviewer, Stefanie Gans, asked me: “What’s your policy on comments? Do you keep all of them? Even the offensive ones?” I answered:

“I think of comments like guests at a dinner party: If someone said this at a dinner party would I kick them out? Those are the comments I delete. Also ones that insult the physical appearance of friends and family. Sometimes people leave comments on my blog and I feel it’s as if they not only said something rude at a dinner party but they climbed on the table and took a dump.”

Sorry for how graphic that got (and, ironically, I’d never say THAT at a dinner party) but that pretty much articulates my comment policy. I delete the truly nasty ones and the insulting ones; otherwise, comments are fair game.

For the record, if you’ve left a comment and it hasn’t appeared that’s not because I’m actively screening it. Movable Type, the program I use to run the site, automatically junks lots of my comments for inexplicable reasons. So at the end of the day, when I come home, I go into my junk folder and unjunk them. So if your comment doesn’t appear, wait 24 hours and check again: if it’s still not there, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll be happy to check it out. Thanks.

Discovery

I’ve heard from various readers that their comments aren’t showing up and now I’ve figured out why: Movable Type thinks they’re junk! So I am manually going through now and “unjunking” as many comments as I can. I promise to continue doing this in the future, so if you write a comment and it doesn’t show up, please let me know. I don’t think you’re junk.

New Site Issues

It’s been just a few days, and I’m still in love with the new design. A few technical problems, though, are being addressed at present:

– Some have commented that The Daily Specials don’t work in RSS (you can’t click the title that takes you to whatever it is that was linked). Ben should be working on that soon, but in the meantime if a Daily Special shows up in your feed reader just come to the site and click the link on the upper left.

– Others have commented that the search feature doesn’t work, that all the links are dead. As far as I understand (and maybe Ben can explain it better), that’s because Google has yet to process the new site so it’s trying to direct all your search results to the old site which is no longer there. Hopefully this will regulate in a few days.

That’s about it, as far as I know. If you notice any other bugs, please report them here.

The New Amateur Gourmet

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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!

A New Design Is Coming

What’s that whisper in the wind? Voices are calling, they’re singing out: “A new day is here…a new dawn for The Amateur Gourmet.” What will this new day entail? What’s going to happen to the site? When’s it going to happen? Will it be today? Tomorrow? It may not be until the middle of next week. But when it happens your whole world will flip on its head. Be excited. VERY excited.