By Lisa Aurand
Everyone has an opinion on the food he or she eats, but not every opinion is as enlightening – or as enticing – as these.
Here’s a look at some of our city’s most interesting food bloggers.
The Breakfast Grub Guy
James Phillips believes your mother was right when she told you breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
But that’s not the only reason he’s devoted his blog entirely to eggs, bacon, hash browns and various other morning eats.
“I think (breakfast) can be the most exciting meal of the day,” Phillips says. “With French toast, you can add all kinds of berries and whipped cream, or coat it in cereal. With pancakes, you can add chocolate chips or pecans. You can’t do that with your meatball sub.”
His blog, The Breakfast Grub Guy, has become a creative outlet for Phillips, who recently began working in appliance repair after a stint in call center customer service.
“Basically, I decided to combine three things that I love to do; one is photography and one is storytelling. I usually … try to incorporate a little personal story and humor,” Phillips says. “And also, breakfast is my favorite meal. I decided to take the adventure and make a hobby or pastime out of it.”
Once he began looking around, Phillips, a Galloway area resident, found plenty of eateries serving up bacon and eggs, pancakes and doughnuts.
“I’ve reviewed six or seven doughnut places in Columbus and have barely scratched the surface because there are so many,” he says.
In just over a year, Phillips has compiled reviews of 30 to 40 breakfast joints – with a few food trucks and other food-related posts scattered in. Though he has nothing against chains, Phillips prefers to frequent independently owned restaurants.
Leptologists at Lunch
Lots of people go to lunch with co-workers on occasion, but taking that opportunity to review restaurants is a less common concept.
Paul Melko and Candice Strelsky, who met six years ago on the job at Nationwide Insurance, are the friends behind Leptologists at Lunch, a dryly witty food blog written in dialogue format.
Strelsky and Melko, who is also a science fiction writer, discovered they shared mutual interests in science and technology and had similar values. But the thing that cemented their friendship was music.
“Within a month of sitting next to each other, he cranked up ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light.’ I had to jump up and start singing. We did a nice little harmonic duet, much to the chagrin of our co-workers,” Strelsky says.
The two naturally began spending time together, including lunches out.
“Like food. Have opinions. That’s all you need for a food blog,” Melko says.
The friends like to visit all types of restaurants, but have developed a taste for Indian food in particular. In the two years they’ve been writing the blog, Melko has greatly expanded his palate. Strelsky, who is the more adventurous eater, has one rule: no chain restaurants.
During the meal, they use an iPad to take notes, jotting down their impressions of the food and snippets of conversation, including jokes.
Afterward, Melko writes up a draft of the blog post and gives it to Strelsky to review and edit. They try to publish a new post at least once a month.
Learning Through Food
Learning Through Food: It’s an apt name for a food blog by a graduate student.
Author Mark Anthony Arceno is studying for a master’s in anthropology at The Ohio State University – with an emphasis on food and culture, of course.
Arceno – born in the Philippines, raised in the Detroit area and a student of both the French language and African culture – dishes out his scholarly take on restaurant reviews, recipes and other food-related personal experiences.
He started the blog in January 2011 while employed at Denison University.
“I wanted to find a way to … connect or record everything I wanted to do with food to that point,” Arceno says.
Though he’d been cooking since he was a child – “I think it was either Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake or a lemon cake that was the first thing I cooked,” he says – he rediscovered his love of food after watching the 2007 Disney Pixar movie Ratatouille, about a rat who wants to be a chef, while he was an undergraduate student at Albion College in Michigan.
Recipes on the blog are written out conversationally, with descriptions of how to do each step – and, occasionally, discussion about the “whys” behind them, with accompanying links.
Now that he’s in grad school, he doesn’t have as much time to cook, so the content has shifted to restaurant reviews and posts about food culture.
“(I write about) my experiences with local farmers and brewers and people in the local food movement,” Arceno says. “There’s so much more than just food as nourishment.”
Lisa Aurand is a contributing editor. Feedback welcome at email@example.com.