You’ve probably never noticed food bloggers before.
But if you look around, they are everywhere — from fancy bistros, cafes and celebrity chef-owned restaurants to food festivals, food trucks and the latest hole-in-the-wall hot spots.
They lug their fancy DSLR cameras or whip out surreptitious iPhones, snapping away at anything and everything edible, from sloppy burgers to $48-per-plate meals the size of an ice cube.
And then, in their own private space, they type, upload and hit publish.
Love or hate them, food bloggers hold impressive clout within the foodie community. Imagine Anton Ego from Ratatouille, the feared pencil-nosed food critic with a pen sharper than his nose — except in this digital age, with the omnipotence of the Internet and fancy technology.
Within Los Angeles, we have our own share of food bloggers — average people who work stealthily to share their untrained-yet-passionate knowledge and experience in the craft of eating.
Eater LA is the ultimate news feed for foodies. All the food-related news that’s fit to post, it will — preferably with a jab of snarky attitude.
It’s one of several sites on the Eater network, updating a dozen times a day with fresh content — from dining reviews, restaurant opening alerts and updates on food news and trends, to gossip about celebrity sightings in restaurants, discussion on Top Chef hosts and contestants, and a list of Eater’s favorite food-related articles around the Web.
The best thing about Eater LA is the sense of community. It’s proud to be an Angeleno blog and you feel it — loud and clear. A recent post sent out a cry of outrage about a Michelin guide director’s comment that “the people in Los Angeles are not real foodies.” The community joined together in denouncing the director’s claim.
Indeed, it is this infectious Angeleno pride enveloping the readers that leaves them with a happy buzz that cannot be achieved with just food.
Who says vegans don’t eat well? Quarrygirl will dispel all misconceived ideas of morose carrot-munching vegans by seeking out the best vegan food — sometimes in unexpected places.
Besides the obvious vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Los Angeles, the author’s vegan horse isn’t too high for her to visit omnivorous restaurants as well, and that includes food trucks.
Drool as the author raves about food truck Fresh Fries’ hummus fancy fries, which are sweet potato fries topped with hummus, smoked paprika and sesame seeds, or about the luscious cupcakes from Babycakes.
Quarrygirl doesn’t make compromises — the blog is clear about its vegan principles, but that just means it is even more aggressive and passionate about sharing available vegan options to readers, be they the hardcore vegan or the curious omnivore.
It might be more accurate to call USC alumnus Matthew Kang a food writer, rather than a food blogger.
Kang doesn’t have a fancy camera; he shoots all his pictures with his trusty iPhone. Food porn isn’t the main draw of his blog, however. His words, which ooze with sensual hunger images, are more intense and tantalizing than any two-dimensional photograph could be.
Although Kang visits restaurants, snaps pictures and talks about his experience just like any other blogger, his prose reads like fiction — allowing his readers to experience his meals so they don’t leave hungry, but full of the tastes, smells and joys of the delicious experience he describes.
Javier Cabral, the author of Teenage Glutster, is no longer a teenager. In fact, he turned 21 in January.
But Cabral has moved up the foodie ladder with great stride and already has his own full segment on the L.A. episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, a mention by The New Yorker and even a close brush with a several million-dollar lawsuit for blogging about his guest appearance on the second season of Hell’s Kitchen.
Mischief and antics aside, Cabral’s talent lies in wheedling out a hunger for inquisitive gastronomical romps from his readers while testing the limit of his speedy metabolism. You might see some fancy cocktail events on his blog, but you will mostly find him grubbing at unique places around the neighborhood, sometimes at ungodly hours.
As a second-generation Mexican-American, Cabral knows and delights in regional ethnic cuisines, especially those from his roots. His discovery of an Oaxacan restaurant called Moles La Tia in East Los Angeles (where he lives) turned the place into a foodie sensation, the restaurant was then also followed up by Pulitzer Prize-winning food guru Jonathan Gold.
Midtown Lunch is the broke college student’s ultimate guide to eating out. Founded by former New York resident Zach Brooks, the blog has now crept its way to other urban lunch spots in the nation, finally reaching Los Angeles this January.
You won’t see indulgent multi-coursed meals here — what ordinary person has time for that during their lunch break? Midtown Lunch does not waste calories on junk either. It deviates from generic chains or salad bars to inform its readers that yes, it is possible to get a good, cheap meal without resorting to Yoshinoya or wilted salads.
One particularly helpful method Midtown Lunch uses is a breakdown of its reviews using the “+” and “-” signs, essentially the pros and cons of each place. The “+” category is spoken as someone who loved the place, and the “-” of someone who disliked it, allowing the reader to see both perspectives.
The food blogging trend has taken off. Some people think food bloggers are just self-glorifying gluttons, while others believe they do a public service by providing free information and visceral foodie experiences. As long as there are hungry readers out there, however, food blogs are here to stay.
Sophia Lee is a sophomore majoring in print and digital journalism. Her column, “That’s What She Ate,” runs Mondays.