Just as meeting the author of your favorite book or the actor in your favorite film can be a strange experience, so too can coming face to face with the blogger behind the postings you peruse on your daily jaunt around the blogosphere (please forgive me for using that word). That’s the person who writes so eloquently about ancho chiles? you find yourself thinking. She butchered a bunny?
Over dinner at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in the Theater District the other night, I had the pleasure of meeting not only bloggers whose words I read regularly, but also those whose blogs were completely new to me. And this is what I discovered as we nibbled tender red slices of seared tuna with spicy wasabi mustard, and crackers topped with tenderloin carpaccio and red onions.
To my left, I met Julia of Grow Cook Eat, who quit being a chef to become a professor of Accounting (usually it happens the other way around, she quipped), and to my right, Foodie Mommy, who didn’t quit eating good food just because her kids were born (notwithstanding the fact that one of them likes mostly chicken nuggets).
As our host offered fresh lobster and shrimp from a towering display of seafood on ice, I found out that the amusingly disgruntled law student behind Tales of the Basil Queen tackles in her kitchen such inspired projects as chocolate pasta with oxtail tomato sauce. She also makes homemade puff pastry and speaks with a slight British accent.
As we finished our appetizers, our wine selection switched from Taltarni Sauvignon Blanc to a tasty McMurry Ranch Pinot Noir—both nice examples of the glasses available on Fleming’s extensive 100-glass menu. Soon plates of perfectly broiled filet mignon and flavorful bone-in New York strip steak (the chef’s favorite, he told us) arrived.
As more wine flowed, a woman who writes for the blog at Menu Pages talked about her exploits in ordering take-out on Beacon Hill, her sense of humor reminding me of Samantha from Sex and the City. Nearby, the glamorous Finance Foodie, a recent transplant from New York, said that she works for a hedge fund by day and indulges her gourmet sensibilities by night.
An array of family-style side dishes—the best of which were the roasted garlic mashed potatoes and the fried onions piled high like donuts—filled our plates as we shared stories around the table, and I learned more about my fellow bloggers.
The face of Fork it Over, Boston! is a student of science journalism, while Jackie from the Leather District Gourmet was born in Japan and used to be a lawyer. Now she writes about sustainability and kisses suckling pigs on the lips. Our friend at Cave Cibum comes from an Armenian family and makes beautiful candied citrus that is perfectly innocuous--even though her blog name means "Beware the Food."
The point is, we were all women who loved food, but that was where our similarities ended. And nothing makes for conversation that pairs well with food like a diversity of interests and experiences. As we passed around dishes of dessert, I realized I was quite enjoying the company of these varied women, just as I liked the New York cheesecake drizzled with berries every bit as much as the rich and custardy vanilla bean crème brulee. Not to mention the molten chocolate cake served with ice cream and crispy pistachio cookies.