Friday, January 23, 2009

The Houston food blog explosion

My list of links is growing.

Houston has had an explosion of food blogs over the past year. Three years ago, you could count on one hand the number of blogs that discussed Houston restaurants. Now we have over 20. It seems like I have added at least 5 new blogs to my links in the last week.

What is the explanation?

These are a few possibilities:

1 - Jenny did it. She has jump-started the Houston food dialogue in a way that no one else has. She started the Houston Chowhound web board less than a year ago. She also has organized countless meals where bloggers mingle with other food fans, many of whom were inspired to start their own sites.

2 - Everyone wants to write a blog. There has been a lot of discussion about blogs for the past 5 or 6 years. But now, a much wider group of people know how to do it. And they believe they have something to say.

3 - Food flavors have become a topic of conversation. For years, wine writers such as Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson have engaged in a dialogue about wine that focuses on texture and flavors. "This medium dark ruby-colored effort reveals soft, berry flavors with steely/mineral-like notes in the background." For the most part, no one wrote that way about food. Sure, restaurant critics wrote about dining and chefs talk about cooking. But there was a lack of conversation about flavors. Food blogs focus more on the minutiae of flavor.

4 - Gladiator chefs. Do you remember the thrill and excitement of the first time you saw the original Iron Chef? The idea was so audacious -- turn chefs into gladiator heroes and pit them in battle against each other. Five years later, we are inundated with chef challenges and battles and contests. Cooking has become a gladiator sport. And the equivalent of the sports spectator blogs are the food blogs.

Recommended blogs

My list of blogs on (on the right side of the page) is democratic. If I hear about an active blog that addresses Houston food regularly, I include it. If you have a blog and want to be on it, just mention your blog in a comment.

Still, I have several favorites. To me, these blogs epitomize the diffent types of food fans:

Tasty Bits. Misha puts Houston in an international perspective. He travels around the work on business, and eats very well. So when he talks about a Houston restaurant, he really can compare it to places like French Laundry, Brasserie Roux, and Alinea. He's been there.

She eats. This is perhaps our most casual, funniest, and most personal food blog. Who else could create an hour-by-hour account of every weekend -- and actually make it interesting? The number of posts are down recently because the author has been writing slightly more serious pieces for the the Houston Press blog (below).

I'm never full. Houston's best-named blog. Great photos. Some of the most authoritative writing about Houston's Chinatown. The author has exposed me to more restaurants than anyone else in town.

Texas Burger Guy. There is nothing better than a healthy obsession. Ok, maybe not so healthy.

Eating . . . Our Words. The Houston Press's blog has a great collection of writers, from Jay Franciss to Katharine Shilcutt to Robb Walsh. There is no betters source for food news.


Anonymous said...

I'd have to put Cook's Tour near the top of the list for food blogs in Houston. I have always thought Alison Cook's reviews in the Chronicle were a little adjective heavy, but she her blog coverage is a lot more informal and always interesting. It's amazing that with all the pressure newspapers are facing she is doing a really impressive job of reaching readers in a way print media never could (you can tell Robb Walsh is struggling with it a bit). I always make a point of checking food blogs from local critics and her's is one of the best on the national scale. Plus her Twitter and Facebook updates are actually worth reading.

Sleeper hit for me is Great Food Houston. Ruthie is a copy writer, so her posts are always highly readable and she has a nice stream of updates.

Unknown said...

Nice blog! I would like to introduce you to - a food and cooking encyclopedia - and invite you to link your blog to foodista-related pages using our small embeddable widgets. Check it out here. This is a good way for you to build traffic and connect with other food lovers! Also feel free to share any recipes and tips with us!

neverfull said...

giving credit where it is do, you, my friend, are the main reason i started my food blog in the first place. you encouraged me and promised me that my writing would get better with practice. just look where it has led me!

not only that, the houston chowhound membership requests have been coming in like crazy this weekend.

you have an amazing following & i'm so grateful that you have led so many of them to the houston chowhounds.

hope to see you at the taco truck crawl on 2/7!

neverfull said...

do = due. i'm high on roasted duck.

HoustonWok said...

Hi Anonymouseater,
I noticed that you have a link to my blog on your page and I would to thank you! I tell you what, I started my blog because of my co workers who have lived in Houston their whole lives and have never tried Pho. They were completely sheltered to the some of the greatest cooking that could be found on Bellaire Blvd. With respect to the many who just choose P.F. Changs as their choice of asian because they may not know any better, I wanted to introduce those to a different perspective. Glad to be apart of this food network.

anonymouseater said...

neverfull - you're too kind.

Misha - Yeah, Alison Cook's blog slipped my mind. It should be on my list.

Great Food Houston is outstanding as well.

Houston Wok - Amen, Brother. Spread the word. Houstonians need to know more about real Asian food.

Desmone007 - I'm frightened by the words "small embeddable widgets." That reminds me of the replicators in Stargate SG-1. Or those earpieces worn by the Borg in Star Trek, The Next Generation.

Cory said...

Nice post. Agreed on all counts, especially on the blogs you mentioned as tops, and the reasons why the food blogger movement is exploding in Houston.

Add to that a vibrant restaurant scene, a town with a booming creative class and you have all the elements needed for a healthy, food blogging culture. These things get really vibrant when there are healthy and hearty disagreements regarding what makes good food, good restaurants and even good blogs.

Misha nails it, Cook's Tour is a great blog, and its updated often which is a turn on for readers because there's always something new.

Not that you're trolling for compliments but, as a trailblazer, your blog has to be listed up there in the pantheon of 'great Houston food blogs'. Your reviews and takes should be mandatory for anyone moving to Houston.

Nice post!

Anonymous said...

A timely piece and despite the broad subjective nature of food blogging, I find the aforementioned bloggers to be; erudite, playful, witty and incredibly informative. To me they (you included) serve as a provocation to challenge my perspective, increase my knowledge and share my passion. I am indebted to all of them. This encomium would not be complete without a plaudit for your inclusion of wine and.....bringing what has to be the sharpest palate under the age of 18 that I've ever met to some of the CH events (you know who).

Unknown said...

Ha! You need not be frightened by the words, Anonymouseater. It's just a fancy technical way of saying we have a link back system. I hope you will check us out soon if you haven't already.

danhole said...

You should consider adding this guy to your food blog. He posts on egullet, HAIF, and many other forums, and them got his own blog. He is very interesting and goes out a lot. Here is his blog:

Anonymous said...

Aw, thanks, Robert! You're right that I haven't been able to post as much recently, but I hope to get back to that soon. :)

And I agree with Jenny and Cory -- you're the godfather of Houston food blogs as far as I'm concerned. The original and the best. :)

Stephanie Manley said...

I know this is way too late, but I am also a fellow houston food blogger, many of the recipes I do on my blog are from Houston restaurants. I do not emphasize this outright, but it is often listed.

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wine production said...

Hi I liked your information is very interesting ... these blogs about such interesting topics and I think I should love to offer more of these items as excellent ... thanks for the post

Anonymous said...

I've recently started a blog called Home Sweet Houston. I write about eating out in Houston, among many other things, but most posts are food-related. I would love to be included in your links!

Bill C. said...

Just came across your blog and have enjoyed reading every post! Keep up the good work.

Shanna Jones said...

I enjoyed reading everyone's favorites. I am too a Houston food blogger who actually started writing about my food adventures during my personal and business travels (with my partner in crime). We have just recently formalized our thoughts on the world wide wide. It is refreshing to see so many people with a passion for food!

Viagra said...

Food blogs are amazing though!

Owls on the Table said...

Just recently started a new food blog, the focus is on serious home cooking and thinking about food. I'm located here in Houston and would love to connect with other Houston food types. Feel free to check it out at


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