One Month with WordPress

It’s been one month since I made the switch from Blogger to WordPress, and the transition has been a bit of a mixed bag.

I think I still need some time to get used to the layout of the WordPress Dashboard, even for doing simple things like viewing and editing posts, but for the most part, the differences haven’t been too jarring. I also like the ability to have access to statistics on traffic and post views (and see, with amusement, some of the search terms that people have used to navigate to my blog – some on purpose, some by accident, such as “steve miranda eat noodles on the floor”). Lastly, the plugins that Mack helped me install when he initially set up this new site are a WordPress bonus as well.

Some things I’m not so amused with are the means by which categories are added or modified (I find typing so much faster than having to scroll down a very large list), and the inconvenience of having to log in twice to view my stats page (once into my admin, and once into WordPress itself). There’s also the very big problem of not being able to include spaces between paragraphs, resulting in my immediate download and reliance on Windows Live Writer. Live Writer has been great, but with Blogger, I never had to use an external program just to compose posts.

Since it has only been a month, I’m sure there are other quirks – both good and bad – that I will discover in the next few weeks.

Blogging at FoodTV!

I’m really excited to share that I will be contributing to Bazaar, one of the two blogs:

“Bazaar is a blog dedicated to those extra things that make dining and eating a great experience. Entertaining plays a big part in the whole thing. This blog is about the tools, items and venues that add to our food experiences.

“We’ll be taking a closer look at restaurants and markets from coast-to-coast, we’ll be reviewing and covering the latest cookbooks and kitchen gadgets, and keeping our eyes on the houseware items that bring your everyday and dinner party table together! “

Focusing on what Edmonton has to offer the culinary world, I will be submitting a series of posts over the next few months. My first piece will appear later this month, where I reveal the treasure that is Edmonton’s Original Farmer’s Market.

Welcome to Only Here for the Food!

Though I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time under Blogger’s platform, and more than that, blogging under my West Wing-inspired title, Optimistically Cautious, I’ve decided to change things up a bit.

Highlighting my adventures in food, this design and name should make it easier for those looking for inspired eats in Edmonton to locate and navigate my blog. As I had mentioned in my five hundredth post, however, I will continue to write about things outside the culinary arena – namely, television, theatre and events of interest in Edmonton.

Of course, to give credit where credit is due, I have Mack to thank for assisting me with this launch. I am not tech-savvy in the least, and could not have made this switchover without him.

Thanks again for reading, and I would love to hear your comments about the new look!


Plugging away at this blog, juggling restaurant reviews, staying afloat of local culinary news, and maintaining my kitchen experiments have almost become an unpaid part-time job. But I love it.

I didn’t start this blog with the intent of narrowing the focus to all things epicurean, but it has become that way, and I have accepted my development into a full-fledged food enthusiast. And what better common ground than exercising one’s sense of taste? Food is disarming; it brings people together; but most of all, it facilitates memorable experiences. In blogging about restaurants and recipes, I hope that my excitement about the possibilities of food translate – dishes to gather around, places perfect for a specific mood or occasion, and events that incite a better appreciation for what the city has to offer.

As mentioned in my three hundredth post, it was no coincidence that my interest in food heightened right around the time that I began documenting my eating adventures. What I didn’t realize until recently however, is how important of a role those around me have played in supporting my newfound appreciation for everything edible. From my diner buddy to my pho friend, Latin food connoisseur and Asian cuisine cheerleader, coworkers who never tire of my incessant ramblings, and all who have shared a kitchen with me, I thank you for humoring me with your interest, patience, and appetites.

The best thing about a personal blog, of course, is that I don’t have to limit my content. I do still enjoy commenting about the arts scene, and in particular, the wonderful plays staged by the theatre community. And so, despite the proliferation of food-centric posts, I will continue to think of myself as a blogger who simply happens to write often about food.

Onward to the next 500! Thanks for reading!

Milestone #2

Back in December, I vowed to overcome two challenges. The first, to maintain this blog for three months, which I reached back in January. The second was to accumulate three hundred posts.

This is post #300.

It seems that I reflect too much on the nature of blogging, especially considering the life span of this blog isn’t particularly long. So without being too self-indulgent, I will keep it short: a blog is a great way of visually documenting one’s experience. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that my interest in cooking heightened right around the time I began The Cooking Chronicles, writing not only notes about my experiments with new recipes, but also uploading pictures of the finished products. A straightforward medium of organizing thoughts, ideas and adventures, I’m finding that it is ultimately worth the time that it takes to post in detail.

Next up: besting Dickson’s post count…any bets?

Blogs are the New Black

Via Eat Drink One Woman, I read a recent New York Times article about the proliferation of food bloggers. In New York, it seems, the fashion isn’t merely to report about the fare and the service (as critically as possible), but to also divulge details about chef appearances, menu changes, and restaurant gossip. The fight against this phenomenon:

“Some restaurateurs are only grudgingly adapting. In a telephone interview, Mr. Hennings, the owner of E. U., said he had no idea who Ms. Freeman was the night she dropped by, but he pegged her as a blogger because she was snapping photos. He said it was unfair to judge a restaurant based on the first half-hour of service by a new chef. ‘These blogs can be ridiculously hurtful,’ he said.

“But others, like David Chang, owner of Momofuku Noodle Bar and Momofuku Ssam Bar, have embraced the blog world.’It’s instant marketing,’ Mr. Chang said. ‘They get the notice out there. It’s a more egalitarian thing.'”

While I myself have no ambitions to increase my blog’s traffic or to gain elite status as a food blogger extraordinaire, I would like to think my enthusiasm for food has rubbed off on those around me. After all, it’s a privilege to be able to share good meals with good friends, and variety is the spice of life, so I’ll continue to document my culinary adventures so long as this is enjoyable.

Milestone #1

My own O.C. (cheesy, I know) celebrates its three month birthday today, reaching the first milestone I set for myself in December.

As of this post, I have accumulated 100 entries, which works out to an average of 1 post per day. While I doubt I will be able to maintain such a breakneck pace throughout my blogging life (interesting how such phrases have managed to work their way into my vocabulary), I can say it has been quite an enjoyable experience thus far.

At times, yes, it does feel like a chore to have to timely document most activities in my life, but I know in the future I will come to appreciate this record. I suppose one of the things I am struggling with is this exactly – there is no end date on this blog; it’s meant to be active, continuously developed, dynamically changing as I grow. This is a challenge, as with most tasks – papers, projects – there exists a definite end date. It is my hope that I am able to surpass this honeymoon period, this initial stage of enthusiasm, and maintain this blog for years to come.

Thanks for reading and for your comments so far!

The Nature of Blogging

I must confess that I quite enjoy blogging. More than fun, I believe it’s a healthy exercise to regularly reflect and record observations and events in one’s life. To an extent as well, I think the notion of being judged solely on the markers of thoughts, ideas, and experiences is a romantic one.

I read an interview by Rolf Potts about the art of keeping a travel journal in See Magazine this week. On the subject of blogs vs. paper, Lavinia Spalding had this to say:

“A blog serves a wider purpose. It’s essentially published, which means that (in most cases, anyway) it’s been proofread and censored for public consumption. Thus, in terms of the actual writing, a private diary entry can be authentic and vulnerable on a level that something broadcast on the Internet can almost never be.”

I won’t dispute the fact that blogs can indeed be very public collections of personal information, but I am more interested in the nature of the media actively allowing for the crafting of identities. Although some blog for themselves, most are aware that somewhere in cyberspace lies an audience. Consciousness of “public consumption” intrudes, and what isn’t said then becomes more important than the content itself: the stories excluded are the more telling narrative.

I can hear my post-modernist literature professor echoing in my head. Or perhaps it’s just my inner English teacher roaring to get out. Whatever it is, I fancy the concept that a blog can be deeper than restaurant reviews, theatre critique, and fashion commentary.