It is hard to believe, but foodwithaview.com is officially one year old this week. No one is more surprised than me to be writing this today. As anyone who has ever taken on a passion project knows, the urge to quit can be strong, downright irresistible at times. When you often feel like you are working really hard for nothing; that no one is listening, that you will never figure out this web design, photography, or social medial thing, it can be challenging to press on.
capturing life as a restaurant food photographer, one of my favorite photos by jakub at foodiesfeed
Despite those challenges, on the anniversary of the launch of foodwithaview.com, I am reflecting. I am acknowledging how far I have come and the very real milestones that have been reached. This week, I want to take a moment to celebrate them and express gratitude for those who have supported me along the way.
A short history of foodwithaview.com
First, a little history. November 26, 2016 was the official launch date of Food with a View. Date Night Dining Out kicked things off with a roundup of restaurants in northern NJ and New York City that Gary and I frequent for our regular date nights. It remains one of my favorites, and one I find myself sharing often. It defines why I started foodwithaview.com: to help others in the northern NJ area find the best restaurant experiences, to enjoy their time with their loved ones, and of course, their food, to the fullest extent possible. The NJ restaurant world is hard to navigate, and there are not enough reliable resources out there to guide us. I find my greatest Food with a View joy in serving that need.
tuna poke at The Hills Tavern, my favorite from my first proper restaurant photo shoot
Is anyone actually paying attention to foodwithaview.com?
What I quickly learned is you cannot help people if they cannot find you. That is still the most frustrating part of the food blogging experience, but I persevere. The good news is, some of you have found me, perhaps because I have managed to learn a thing or two about social media.
Facebook is my favorite place to engage with all of you, and it appears you enjoy it as well. There are over 250 of you following foodwithaview.com, and over 700 people have engaged in some of the more active discussions. You all got really excited with me the day I released the photos from my first “real” photo shoot at The Hills in Millburn, NJ. You jumped in on great foodie questions like “if you could only have one ice cream flavor for life, what would it be?” and “what’s the one thing every foodie seems to love that you just… don’t?”
Some of you joined me in other Facebook communities. I launched SOMA Eats Local for those in the Maplewood, South Orange, and surrounding communities to dish about our local food scene. I have even gone global in the Smart Meals for Busy Cooks group, where I work with fellow bloggers to help people around the world manage meal prep and general food survival skills during the holidays and beyond.
one of my favorite photos, featured on SOMA Eats Local, by jakub at foodiesfeed
I went from barely knowing what instagram was to over 700 followers of @foodwiathaviewaroundtown. Before Food with a View, I had never tweeted anything, now over 250 of you engage with @foodwaview on twitter (still working on claiming my proper handle!). But Pinterest – wow! I knew it was a big resource for recipe and cooking inspiration, but I had no idea the scale. I’m reaching over 1000 of you daily (over 50,000 of you monthly) with ideas about all that is inspiring in the food world, from recipes to kitchen decor to foodie travel dreams.
It seems no one “follows” blogs directly these days, but there are 38 of you getting posts from Food with a View in your inbox every week. I hope you enjoy them! Nearly 500 people visit me every month and there have been over 3000 visitors to the site since its launch. The week I published the story of our kitchen renovation, over 200 people visited in a single week. A small record for my little site! The most popular post is my review of south + pine in Morristown, with my recommendations on pairing wine with your Thanksgiving turkey not far behind.
dutch baby pancake, a photo from my first cookbook review, Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings
Is it worth it?
These achievements may all sound fairly minor, but they are amazing to me. More so when I reflect on what I have learned, not just about technology, photography, and food. You see, navigating this food writing and social media world is really about branding. And branding is about understanding what you offer, what you want your “customer” to feel about you.
When the “product” you put out there weekly is essentially “you”, defining your brand becomes a highly personal, self-reflective journey. I’m fortunate that my “real” job gives me some of the tools needed to even begin to develop a sense of this. My work with Food with a View has taken it to entirely new places. I am proud of the small steps I have taken and grateful for the experiences that have taught me more about what is important to me. Not me the mom, wife, sister, friend, daughter, but just… me.
handmade ricotta from The Dandelion Pub in Philadelphia, one of my first “out of town” culinary adventures
Thank you to those of you that have followed, engaged, shared, and generally cheered me on. Thank you to those friends and family who have endured extra restaurant reservations and forced ordering of extra plates to “try a few more things”. Thank you to the taste testers on new recipes, especially when they don’t turn out quite right. And of course, thank you to Gary. You may not be the best CTO, but you are always the best husband and dinner date, and that’s what really matters.
So what’s next? Oh, the list is so long. I have so many ideas for the site, some of which have come from you. Sticking to my primary objective for foodwithaview.com, I want to make it easier for visitors to quickly find restaurants I have reviewed in the neighborhood or area they may be visiting. [note: in the meantime, all posts are tagged by town, so just type the town in the search and all reviews will appear.] I want to feature additional restaurants and culinary experiences beyond northern NJ, for my friends outside the area and around the world. So much good food, so little time!
Mussels at The Kitchen Step in Jersey City, showing that I’m finally getting half decent with the iPhone in restaurants!
I look forward to sharing more of my food experiences with all of you. I hope I can help you find what you are looking for in the food world, whatever it may be or wherever it may take you. If you have things you want to see Food with a View cover, leave me a comment and let me know, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
Can I help foodwithaview.com grow?
I stand by my plan to keep this for the love, but I cannot help those I cannot reach. So if you love Food with a View, share it with others! Those handy buttons on every post allow you to easily share on your favorite social media channel anytime. If you follow Food with a View on social media, sharing the posts you love with your own networks is always appreciated. [psst…. likes don’t help. It is all about the share, retweet, or the comment. Don’t blame me, blame the social media gods.]