Tastingmenu 2.0

I’ll admit it. I’ve been sick of food.

OK. Not really, but sort of. I’ve eaten at hundreds of restaurants. I’ve written tons of write-ups and taken thousands of photos. I’ve had some incredible meals. And most importantly I’ve learned an enormous amount. And while the number of things I don’t know about food still outnumber the things I do know by 10,000 to 1 (or more), I still do enjoy learning. And yet, I’ve been feeling lethargic and uninspired.

I have always loved sharing superlative food experiences with friends and family. Tastingmenu has always been an expression of that passion. When I’m having a hard time finding food experiences that are exciting, I have a hard time finding things to share with readers. I’ve been wrestling with the problem of how to make tastingmenu exciting, focused, and vibrant, and I’ve finally come upon the answer.

I met Dana Cree when she was a cook at Lampreia restaurant in Seattle. Dana, a Seattle native, is a young chef who has been building her career thoughtfully for several years now. After a short stint at culinary school, Dana spent significant time at Lampreia. She then worked at the Fat Duck (in England), Eva (in Seattle), and has just started the latest step in her burgeoning and exciting career at the Rainier Club (also in Seattle).

For a long time I’ve known that another voice, a complementary voice would really make tastingmenu much much better. And as I wrestled with how to reignite my passion around food I realized that adding Dana’s voice would do the trick. While I have always (and will continue) to focus my writing on what it’s like to eat at and experience some of the finest restaurants, food stalls, and food venues across the planet, Dana is on a mission to become a creator of some of that memorable and incredible food. Her resume already speaks to her early success. Her popular blog, Phat Duck, has also given her plenty of experience writing thoughtfully and intimately about her trials and travails in the kitchen for a loyal readership.

I’m pleased to announce that Dana is joining tastingmenu as of today. She and I are both encouraging her loyal readers to join us over here at tastingmenu to continue to follow her growing career and her insightful perspective. We believe that writing focused on the restaurant experience (which we both adore) from behind the plate as well as behind the stove will prove interesting, exciting, and fun.

In addition to Dana joining the team, we’ve made one more key change which hopefully should improve the tastingmenu experience for authors and readers alike. When tastingmenu began in August of 2002 there was no good blogging software. (Apologies to those packages that existed then, but none really allowed me to make the site look the way I wanted.) I’m embarassed to admit it, but tastingmenu has been built manually since its inception. And when I say manually, I mean completely manually. The RSS feed is built by hand. Those of you not into these technical details will yawn at that, but folks who understand these matters will consider this remarkable. Remarkably stupid. But all that is over. As of today tastingmenu is published by the lovely and powerful WordPress software.

The entire old site has come along for the ride in its old form. The urls remain the same. The old site will have the old look, and won’t get too much of the new fun and features, but at least it will be there. Thanks for your patience while we work through this transition. And please accept our apologies in advance if you encounter random inconsistencies and broken links. We’ll try and fix them as we go.

One side effect of the old system (or lack thereof) is that posting had actually become more and more difficult taking way more time than it should have. Hopefully this new streamlined system will result in it being easier to post, and therefore, more posts. Wish us luck. :)

That’s it for now. Tastingmenu has always been focused on superlative restaurant experiences. Now you get that focus from two perspectives: behind the plate and behind the stove. We’re excited to embark on this new chapter of tastingmenu. We hope you are too.

13 Responses to “Tastingmenu 2.0”

  1. Hey, welcome to the Cult of WordPress. Scoble would be proud. IMO, from the little time I’ve spent with it, it’s about as good a CMS readily available.

    I’m amazed you did the previously version entirely manually!

    Looking forward to more food goodness.


  2. Richard Chan says:

    Congrats! This is a major milestone! Eagerly waiting to hear about your next food experience. More photos please btw. :)

  3. - Ø®£Z - says:

    Great news.

    ps. Spelling mistake> “from behing the plate”

  4. Jay Olins says:

    Thanks for the update and good luck. This is my first RSS from TM in a very long time, and hopefully they will arrive with much greater frequency.

  5. hillel says:

    Thanks everyone for the nice wishes.

    And Jay, I hope by a very long time you mean 2 weeks. Otherwise that means we’ve had a problem with our RSS feed that I was unaware of. I suppose it would not be completely surprising given that I made it by hand. ;)

    WordPress will do a nicer job here. :)

  6. chica says:

    Very pleasant surprise to get an update and to learn of the changes/additions. Looks like you’re out of the lethargic spell. Awaiting more good features, insights, pictures and recipes on a regular basis from hereon. God bless

  7. TJ says:

    Welcome to the fold, Dana. I’m looking forward to more fabulous foodie posts from both of you!

  8. Tana says:

    Congratulations on your advancements, and keep up the very fine work.

    (Second the motion for more photos, please.)

    : D

  9. Erin says:

    Congrats Dana! I have always enjoyed reading your blog and am very happy for you. Tastingmenu is a great site and I look forward to your input!

  10. Terry Miller says:

    The food lives on woo hoo! I must admit I was missing the blog for a while now, glad to see you found your mojo hehe.

  11. Smith says:

    I’ve just started exploring tastingmenu and I have to say I’m hooked. I love the stories and most of all the pictures; they’re brilliant. I’m looking forward to see what’s coming next. Keep up the outstanding work.

  12. hillel says:

    Thanks for all the nice comments. We have lots of good stuff planned. :)

  13. Yvonne says:

    Yay! I’ve read Dana’s blog and tastingmenu both for a while now.

    All you need now is to get Lara Ferroni on board to do your photography and updates from Viv (seattlebonvivant) and I’ll be all set for my Seattle food info. :-)

    quick update for Hillel… As you may remember I left Microsoft a couple of years ago and then happily got my ass kicked at Greystone before plunging into the world of pastry. I’m up at the crack of dawn these days and learning all sorts of good stuff in school. I recently finished up a little internship at Coco La Ti Da. Life is good.


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