Friday, June 23, 2006

Personality Profile

Food Blogger, Amanda McClements

I've always been impressed with Metrocurean's Amanda McClements. Listed as one the "Most Beautiful People in DC" last year, this Durham, North Carolina native is as nice on the inside as she is to look at, on the outside.

Amanda says her 9th grade teacher got her hooked on the idea of journalism. By the time she graduated, she was the editor of her high school paper. She graduated from UNC with a degree in journalism, and moved to DC in 2000.

Her first job in this area was at a technology magazine, in the graphic design department. She says, “My biggest regret about leaving that job is that the restaurant, 2941, opened two months after I quit!"

From there, Amanda went to work at another publication, Roll Call, where she pitched the editors a “Hot Plate” column. Soon, she was writing about restaurants on Capitol Hill and surrounding area. In June 2005, she went freelance, though she still contributes“Hot Plate” and restaurant reviews to Roll Call.

Next month, she celebrates the one-year anniversary of Metrocurean, her very popular food blog. Amanda claims, “I didn’t even know what a blog was a year and a half ago! My boyfriend suggested I start one to keep myself writing during slower weeks as a freelancer.”

20 minutes into “playing around” with blogger last summer, and trying out different blog names, Amanda got an email from DC Blogs offering to link to her. Taken aback with the immediacy of response she exclaims, “I was like, ‘Wait! I’m not serious about this!’”

Obviously, she became serious about it. She now says, "I see a blog as an information source more than a personal journal. ‘Comments’ make it more community-based.” She explains that inspiration for a food blog sprung from the idea that she wasn’t the only person interested in DC restaurants. “Metrocurean became a place where I could use the information I didn’t use in my other writing.”

Metrocurean's a loyal following doesn’t always realize blogging is not her full-time job. “80% of my time is devoted to paying jobs. Eventually, I’d love to think of ways to turn it into something bigger. I love doing it, and I like that people know me for it.”

She plans to add new features to Metrocurean, including updated lists of restaurant recommendations, an ongoing list of new hot-spots on the horizon and recommended cookbooks. She also wants to pursue more national publications as venues for her own writing, having contributed a DC Restaurant Report to Food & Wine Magazine's May issue.

Ironically, Amanda admits, “I don’t love to write. I only like to write about things I love. I’ve always been into food. Its like the adage about some people eating to live and others living to eat. My mom and dad are amazing cooks. Our vacations were about having more time to cook, while other people’s families were happy not to have to cook."

Before moving to DC, she did a 4-month work program at a language school in Paris. She says, “I learned to eat well on very little money. A baguette, some cheese, olives and wine… I pretty much lived on that.” She adds, “I’d love to go back and eat in some nice restaurants.”

Amanda says, “Its an exciting time to be in DC. People are starting to realize that Washington has a lot to offer. We have a lot of young talented chefs and sommeliers, that is, if they all stay!”

With the Restaurant Awards this weekend, I had to ask this DC foodie about her picks...
She says,"
I'll got with Busboys and Poets for Neighborhood Gathering Spot.
For Hottest Bar Scene, I think it'll be a very close race with five spots that are "hot" in different ways. I'll give the edge to Sonoma or Tabaq, though Zaytinya has a good shot, too.
As for Power Spot, I'll go for Charlie Palmer Steak.


Where does Metrocurean’s dame of dish like to go for a drink?
“I wish Restaurant Eve’s bar were in my neighborhood!” She also loves the Saloon, for its good Belgian beer selection; the bar at the Tabbard Inn; and sings the praises of Agreria’s house martini, which comes with pickes, peppers and olives.

Favorite libations?
Margaritas, Side Cars and always Kir Royale. Amanda says she also likes a good beer, then adds… “Oh, and then there’s wine…”

I have a sneaking suspicion a Wine of the World Wednesday chat between The Liquid Muse and Metrocurean could be on the horizon…


For more info check out: www.metrocurean.blogspot.com

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