I <3 Food Writing

This blog post is about shameless self-promotion. My second article with Distinction magazine, a lifestyle magazine targeted at the Hampton Roads area, came out yesterday. I’m still astonished that I get to see my name in print, especially in a magazine that is so pretty and well-crafted.

When I was in college, and I decided to major in English, I was told I had to take a foreign language. I had taken Spanish in high school and learned nothing, but if you had taken Spanish in high school, you had to start with 2000-level classes. Problem. So I took French, which they would let me start at the Intro level.

The first day, my professor came into the classroom and spoke to us in French. He came around to each of us and shook our hands and asked our names. And then he talked. A lot. In French. I was horrified. I understood nothing. I tried to hang on and follow along. After class, I went out to the parking lot and had a miniature panic attack in my car. How would I speak French?

Somehow I learned a little bit. And at the end of the semester, and each subsequent semester for the next four, our professor arranged a little field trip to a French restaurant in Decatur, Georgia, called Cafe Alsace. It was there that I fell in love with French food, with bread and meat and cheese and champagne and escargot and, at least at Cafe Alsace, delicious ice cream.

Cafe Alsace: my hometown French restaurant

This past Christmas, I took my girlfriend home to meet the family. Two days before Christmas, we decided to declare a date night for ourselves, and I took her to Cafe Alsace. We ordered champagne and two appetizers (escargot and baked brie) and two flavors of ice cream:  my favorite, the lavendar vanilla, and a new one, chocolate cinnamon. None of it disappointed. It was as I remembered:  outstanding. And what was even better was sharing that restaurant experience. Nothing had changed, and as we sat there stuffing our faces, I told Amanda about all the times I had been there, what I had eaten, who I was with, where I was in my life at that time. It’s a great thing to grow up while frequenting a restaurant, to know that lavendar vanilla ice cream will be there for me.

I consider myself very fortunate that I make money as a food writer – Hell, who am I kidding? As a writer. Period. But I do have the good luck to get to write about food. I am lucky enough to actually receive assignments. Go eat French food in Williamsburg, and then write about it. It’s fantastic.

So do me a favor. Read my article. Find a French restaurant near you (I highly recommend Le Yaca in Williamsburg!). Order champagne. Then forget that calories exist. (They don’t count when you’re eating French cuisine, anyway.) Order cheese and escargot and bread and dessert. Rest. Repeat.

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