Almost exactly a month later, thanks to Robyn, my article on Dubai’s top ethnic eats went online. Here is it folks, 16 Top Ethnic Eats of Old Dubai. Check out how some of the low-end yumminess you can find in this city struts past the gilded plates of the designer hotels and makes its way to centre stage.
The rest of this post isn’t about food. I think I’ve spewed out what I’ve had to say for at least a month on the food front in my slideshow for Serious Eats. For a change, I’m doing a behind-the-scenes post that talks about what’s inspired me to blog. No, this is not my version of an Oscar speech for getting aired on Serious Eats. I just wanted to share why I’m so excited about this article…it’s not about face time on a high-traffic site, but about having the opportunity to work with someone whom I’ve looked up to for a long time.
That said, if you don’t care two cents for a blogger spilling the contents of her currently high-on-emo heart, and flaming fish and cheesy manousheh is all your heart desires, skip this post and go straight to Serious Eats.
This article on Serious Eats was a huge deal for me. I used to follow the site in my previous life in New York, though their posts still hit my google reader in Dubai every day. I still occasionally drool over Kenji’s photography or participate silently in battles over hot dogs from Chicago or pizza from New York (or hot dogs from New York and pizza from Chicago…or whichever other city dares to contest that no-winners battle), or slurp up ground-breaking information about instant noodles from around the world.
Serious Eats is one of a handful of online publications whose writers I really look up to, and get inspired by. But even before Serious Eats came into the picture, there was Robyn from The Girl Who Ate Everything. She’s been on the top of my list for at least three years, maybe more, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been influenced by her.
Robyn, I hope your not reading this because from the little I know of you, you’re going to squirm with modesty, and maybe even annoyance that ‘jeez, here’s ANOTHER fan blogger who dreams of having a blog that’s as awesome as mine.’
She’s really the first blogger I started following with a passion, and whose website has actively shaped my own style and approach to blogging. Two years into the blogging scene, having read and commented on throngs of blogs, hers is still the one that resonates the most with me.
Here’s what I love about The Girl Who Ate Everything. Her writing flows unpretentiously like an everyday conversation, with hilarious bits of self-deprecation or observation el randemo thrown in. I kid you not, but even her punctuation is distinctive…it makes her written thoughts glide, shift gears, leap, take a detour, accelerate, or come to a grinding halt just as they would in stream-of-consciousness reality. The quality of her photographs poo poo over many of those overly styled, red-and-white-straws-in-milk-jars-with-a-stack-of-cookies-and-one-lone-broken-cookie-strategically-crumbled-by-the-photographer-on-the-top-right-corner-of-the-frame photographs that seem to have become the contrived rage today. And her doodles, which have prompted me to attempt my own, deserve to be framed in any foodie’s home—like this ripe banana comic that had me giggling over it for days. I still share it with friends, such is the impact that banana farts had on me.
It’s scary, but sometimes when I’m at a loss for words, and a warm shower, a run, a drive, a chocolate chip cookie can’t fix it, the thought that often pops up in my head is: How would Robyn have said it? And the answer is usually, ‘she’d have said it just like it is.’ No pretense, no overly contrived words, no attempt at creating a story out of something that isn’t there. And with a boatload of humour thrown in. I’d never want to be a blogging copycat, and I pray I’m not, but if I’ve ever been inspired, intentionally or unintentionally by another blog, you should know that it’s Robyn’s.
Robyn, I hope you’re reading again now—for unknowingly getting me excited about the food blogosphere, for teaching me something interesting about unique style, voice and photography through every one of your posts, for weaving in humour and doodles seamlessly into your writing, and of course, for showcasing some of the most gobsmacking eats there are to gorge on in NYC, or from around the world…
….and for inviting me to write on Serious Eats…