360 Days of Reflection

Well hello there faithful readers and welcome back. I hope everyone is shaking off the winter blues and feeling reinvigorated, energized, and hopeful as spring approaches. The clocks have sprung forward. The light is returning and the cherry blossoms are in bloom. And as I was dusting off the old blog and reading some previous posts, I realized that TFTB is just about 1 year old (on April 5th).

As the blog approaches its first birthday I am reflecting on the past year, the birth of TFTB, its roots, its journey, its evolution. This blog was born out of a place of love for food and cocktails, out of a deep admiration for the innovation and creativity required to continuously surprise and excite our pallets. But the true inspiration for this blog was to share the stories of connection, of laughter and of friendship which so often occur when we break bread together.

With the momentous birthday on the horizon, I think it’s important to explore where we have been as well as set our sights on where we hope to go from here. Prepare yourself friends.  This post is severely lacking in snazzy photos. But what I lack in pictures, I make up for in words! As such, today’s musings will be dedicated to answering the following questions: 1) Where have we been? 2) Where are we going.

The first part is easy. In the past year, we have gone to Detroit, Seattle, Portland, Miami, Montreal, Windsor and (of course) Vancouver! We have attended cocktail competitions and food festivals. We have met incredible chefs and bartenders.  We have had beautifully composed 7 course tasting menus. We have had mind-blowing street food. We have started projects and paused projects and thrown projects out all together. We have met more people and tasted more dishes than I can count. It has truly been an exceptional year.

As a blogger with almost 365 days under my belt, there are some questions  that continue to arise. I am keenly aware of the fact that, these days, food blogs tend to be a dime a dozen. As such, I’ve been asking myself what kind of weight my voice holds in this sea of foodie opinions? What do I have to offer that is different from my colleagues? Why should people care about what I have to say?

I by no means have all the answers (shocking, I know), but here is what I have come up with thus far. Food is so subjective. I am under no illusions that my preferences, my favourites, my choices are the right ones. They are simply an opinion. I am not here to tell people what to eat or where to spend their hard earned dollars. But what I do want to do is inspire people to try, to derive a sense of adventure, excitement and joy from tasting something you’ve never tasted before, or sitting at the bar when you usually sit at a table, or striking up a conversation with a complete stranger over a cocktail.

On a similar note, you may have noticed that this blog has never really posted a “negative review.” I have given this considerable thought and I have decided that it’s not something I’m interested in doing. It’s not that every experience is amazing. And it’s not that the less amazing experiences aren’t worth discussing. But it’s not something I care to share on a public forum with a potentially wide reach. I’m happy to have those discussions on a personal basis and leave the critical reviews to the pros. It’s important to remember that as food bloggers our words can have unintended consequences for people that have staked their savings, their dreams and their livelihood on opening a restaurant, a bar, a food truck, etc. As I said, my musings are meant to inspire people to try. They are not meant to tell people where to go (or avoid). So with all that said, I plan to use this year to continue to focus on my best experiences at my favourites locales (of which there are many!).

So 360 days, 7 cities (including Vancouver), and 22 posts. Where do we go from here? In January, I made a blog-based resolution to post once a week. …Oops. I think a revision is in order. How about this- I will double my posts from year one. Magic no. 44! Hold me to this folks!

Also, you may recall the Left Libations project during the early days of TFTB. For those of you that were not aware, I was leaving drinks at different bars around the city for faithful readers to go and claim. However, the project was abandoned shortly thereafter (I couldn’t stand the thought of an unclaimed cocktail). I would REALLY like to start this endeavor again as I feel it is completely aligned with my goal of inspiring people to go out and try (cause honestly, what inspires people to go out and try more than free goods?). So if any of you smarty-pants out there have suggestions as to how to get this off the ground and running (aka- get the word out that there are free drinks being left for people around the city) I would love to hear it.

TFTB will be embarking on a number of adventures again this year including returns to Detroit, Portland, Montreal and Miami. In exciting news, we will also be traveling to Costa Rica in November. Stay tuned folks! It’s gonna be a doozy. 

On a final note, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to my faithful readers for sticking it out with me over the past year. I love being able to share these stories and experiences with an audience. I love hearing from you all about your own exciting adventures in the culinary world. Here’s to another year filled with amazing food, delicious cocktails, and the kind of friendship, exchange and laughter that inevitably takes place over a great meal. Cheers!