Friday, May 13, 2011

"Diana Takes a New Bite"

I’ve always shied away from it – talking about my blog on my blog. In my mind, it’s the equivalent of breaking character in a play – giggling in the middle of a serious scene or turning to the audience to speak directly of the action taking place on stage.

It kills the moment.

And it kills the perception of voyeurism for the man watching in the third row or the girl reading at her computer. Addressing the art itself – that the play is being consciously acted out, and a blog’s posts are deliberately conceived and not merely a free-flowing array of words – is kind of a buzz kill.

I never wanted anyone to know just how much work and thought I put into what I say here. I never wanted anyone to know that “Diana Takes a Bite” isn’t just the script for the reality show that is my life of eating and cooking food.

But this little pink blog that I started three years, one month and eight days ago is undergoing a change in direction – one that I feel compelled to address lest I leave my loyal readers scratching their heads as they try to figure out, “What happened?”

I’ve never mentioned it before (at least not publicly), but “Diana Takes a Bite” first came into being because I didn’t get a job. At the time, I was a hardcore “Yelper,” spending countless hours penning silly reviews that I hoped would win me “Funny,” “Cool,” and “Useful” votes, new “fans,” and the coveted “Review of the Day” honor.

I was pretty darn good at being irrelevant.

And I loved the rush I felt whenever someone would send a compliment my way for that irrelevance.

So when a Yelp Community Manager position became available in Orange County, I immediately applied for the gig. Suddenly, all those hours I’d wasted discussing my affection for the color pink in the middle of a review about an Italian restaurant didn’t seem like such a waste.

Clearly, it had all been leading up to this point. I was going to get the job, move back to Orange County and be the coolest girl in my hometown. At least, according to Yelp.

Except I didn’t get it.

After dragging my heart along for a month, I was informed that they “were intent on finding someone with a professional writing background for the role.”

Apparently, the list of “Signs you are spending too much time/money in a clothing shop” that I wrote for a review of Anthropologie did not qualify me as a “professional” writer.

Instead of wallowing in my sorrows that I was not going to be the ultimate “Yelper” or the coolest girl in Orange County, I turned the crushing disappointment into a catalyst for something else. I’d been obsessively reading “The Delicious Life,” “Caroline on Crack” and “LA and OC Foodventures” for a while, and had been toying with the idea of starting my own blog as well. Not getting the Yelp job put the fire in my belly to actually go for it.

“Screw professional writing experience,” I thought smugly, as I signed up for an account on Blogger. “I’m going to be the next Delicious!”

Now that we are friends, Sarah and I joke about the moronic email I sent her (when I’d never so much as interacted with her on Facebook or Twitter) asking for “Blog Advice” and pointers on how “to do all the fancy blog tricks.”

The low point was when I signed off my message with a charming, “Keep up the good eating!”

As if she needed the encouragement.

Somewhere in the midst of all this idiocy, I found my “voice,” and eventually, a place in the LA dining community – without all those “fancy blog tricks” I thought I needed. To this day, I still pay no attention to things like SEO. It’s only recently that I even learned how to adjust the white balance on my camera. (Count one toward the “fancy blog tricks” that Sarah has patiently taught me.)

Throughout this whole time that I’ve been doing this whole technologically-unsavvy blogging thing, however, I’ve secretly been hoping to turn my passion for food and writing into a career. I’ve also secretly known that once I got to that place, things would change – that I wouldn’t be able to continue my blog in its current state.

Last week, I finally arrived at that point. I’ve amazingly – Praise the Lord! – found a way to do what I love most for a living (hence the celebratory dinner at Osteria Mozza last Tuesday night).

While I’m sad that it signals “the end of an era,” it feels somehow appropriate that the blog that came into being because I didn’t get a job is going to change because I did get one. I’ll still be here, plugging away on recipes, sharing my horrific dating stories, and pontificating on whatever else is going on in my world, but, because it presents a conflict of interest, I won’t be writing about restaurants any more.

Not even about Osteria Mozza. Or Golden State. Or FarmShop, where I devoured this amazing open-faced tuna sandwich for brunch last Sunday. (The smoked trout-stuffed deviled eggs, pictured above, were no slouches on the couch either.)

I do promise this though – no matter where this new job takes me, I’ll always keep up the good eating.

It should be a little bit easier now that I don’t have to lug a camera around to do it.


Alessandra said...

I'm so proud of you!!

Darin said...

Congratulations on taking a new path!

Roxan said...

Hey Diana - just wanted to say congrats on the new gig. I haven't commented in a while but i've still been reading all your blogs. I'm glad to see that your hard work has paid off and you're excited to be starting down a new path! I hope you continue to keep updating your blog :)

Food Marathon said...

You deserve it.

Esi said...

So should we change the name of your blog to Quinoa Quronicles?

I'm KIDDING! You know I'm thrilled for you.

Robin said...

Dear Diana,

Congratulations!!! Good things happen to good people.


Robin-not your cousin! lol


Gastronomer said...

A perfect post to end the era :-)

Robin said...

Why does the Mary Tyler-Moore theme song keep coming into my head?

Hugs, Robin not your cousin

Robin said...

Diana said...

Ali - Thank you so much! Your support means so much to me... even if it is partially because you are excited I won't be taking pictures when we go out to dinner any more! ;)

Darin - Thank you! I'm going to have to live vicariously through your resto blogging now!

Roxan - I'm so touched that you've been reading my posts all this time. Means more to be than I can say. I'll definitely keep updating -- just a little less frequently! ;)

Neil - Thank you! I figure now that I've eaten pig's tail, I don't really need to go any further. ;)

Esi - It does have a certain ring to it...

Robin - I so want to go out and buy a beret now. First day of work outfit? Yes, please!

Cathy - Thanks, woman. Coming from you, those words are like gold.

Hank said...

Congratulations again! We must celebrate!

Burp and Slurp~! said...

I'm sad because I always enjoyed your restaurant reviews, but congratulations!!!! This is amazing that you've found that perfect job. :D

keri said...

congratulations! it's awesome to hear you have found something you love to do. :)

Anna A. said...

Congrats a million times over TALF. I am so happy for your new beginning but sad to not see your post everyday in the future. Your writing inspires me and Diana Takes a Bite was the reason I started blogging.

kish said...

ok i'll admit i didn't read everything in the post, so i'm not sure what the congrats are about.

but what is that last picture of?! that dish looks....AMAZING.

bagnatic said...

but you'll still be writing and posting your recipes no? please :)

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...


Ashley said...

I knew this day would come, and I'm so happy it's here - even if it means that I can't stalk your blog when I have a restaurant block.


Kung Food Panda said...

Great work Diana. I'll keep on reading and congrats on the new venture! :)

To more good eating ventures ahead!

Leila said...

Congratulations on the new dream job, Diana! I knew a lot of the backstory stuff and it is wonderful to hear that your patience and dedication has paid off. Would love to hear more about the new job at some point. :)

Caroline on Crack said...

Congrats! Hopefully I'll still see you out and about!

Marie said...

Congratulations! New beginnings are always exciting. :)

cyberHag said...

Congratulation Miss Diana!!! That is such fantastic news. Thank you for sharing your writing with us. But please do not stop the recipes. I would starve without them!

cyberHag said...

Congratulations! That is such great news. I am truly happy for you. I have enjoyed your blog for a long time. Thank you for sharing your recipes. I would starve without them!

stuffycheaks said...

Congrats!! It this the same gig you talked about when we've been talking about?? So happy for you! but sad to see your restaurant posts go.