Thanks for the Memories
2008 was literally a banner year for the House of Annie food blog. The blog has been in existence since October 2006, but it was only a chronicle of the things we were eating and not a serious effort to participate in the wider food blog community. Then in Christmas 2007, just over a year ago, we met face to face with Bee of the Rasa Malaysia food blog.
We had been fans of her site for a while, so it was a real thrill to get to meet with an experienced food blogger. She encouraged us to make our blog better, to take it to the next level. She also invited us to join the Foodbuzz community as a Featured Publisher. We signed up in March.
That was the impetus for us to really get serious about the blog. In our "Spring is Coming" post, we took on a new attitude and a new purpose. We would write better posts, provide better recipes, shoot better pictures. We would even get organized and make a better design.
In May, our Pandan Waffles post became the first of many to get noticed by the wider Web. A month later, our Bun Rieu Cua post came out, and it has now become the 2nd most popular post on our site. In the middle of June, we met and mingled with other Foodbuzz featured publishers at a dinner at Gochi Fusion Tapas in Cupertino. At the end of June, we were thrilled to receive mention in the Malay Mail newspaper when they featured us in their Blogspot column. All these gave us impetus to continue to improve our blog.
Giving and Receiving
In July, we introduced another popular post, Secrets to Making Spam Musubi. In addition, our Es Teler, Killer Kalbi, and Cream Scones recipes all became popular posts as the blog began to get noticed. Our pictures were starting to get accepted to the Tastespotting and Foodgawker sites. We held our first ever giveaway on our site, giving away a bag of Lupicia Lichee tea to one lucky commenter.
In August, we gave Jaden of Steamy Kitchen a birthday present of Five Quick Asian dishes: 1-4-7 Steamed Eggs, Two Tofus Two Ways, Mustard Potatoes, Stir-Fried Beef with Ginger, and Steamed Shiitake Mushrooms. In return, we somehow won her drawing for a Flip video camera. Even more incredible, we found out that we had won the Foodbuzz traffic challenge for most improved blog traffic between March and August. The prize was $1000, which helped pay for our trip home to Hawaii.
Of course, we blogged about all the foodie adventures we had in Hawaii, like having shave ice at Waiola Shave Ice, mochi ice cream from Bubbies, and musubi from Mana Bu's. But the best meal and the most fun we had was when we met with other Foodbuzz Featured Publishers at Tokkuri-Tei, and Foodbuzz paid for that meal!
Coming Home and Going Out
Not only did Foodbuzz pay for that dinner, they also got us in to the NatureSweet Tomatofest, held in Carmel Valley in September. It featured the finest, most awesome, tomato-based dishes from top chefs in the Bay Area. Annie was excited to go because this was the premiere event to focus on heirloom tomatoes, a passion of hers. I was excited because I got to try out my new Canon DSLR and Flip video. Later in September, we were blessed to have Michael from the Cooking for Engineers blog visit our home with his wife for our own heirloom tomato tasting.
In October, we did a lot of going out, from the newly opened California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, to the venerable Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, to the Gizdich Apple Ranch in Watsonville for their Apple Butter Festival. Annie and I celebrated our anniversary at Chez Panisse, and we also celebrated our bloggerversary by holding another giveaway.
In November, Foodbuzz got us in to the Fabulous Food Festival in San Francisco. We were also treated to go to the Grill on the Alley in San Jose for some of the best steaks on earth. Our November giveaway was the biggest yet: an entire starter kit of Old Bay seasonings (stock pot included)
Ending on a High Note
It seems fitting that we end the year with a final giveaway, this time a prize in the Menu for Hope raffle to raise money for the World Food Program. This is what the House of Annie is all about - giving of ourselves and connecting to the wider world around us.
Please, if you haven't yet donated to this great cause, go NOW to http://www.firstgiving.com/menuforhope5 before the raffle ends at midnight on Dec 31!
Looking back, I cannot believe how far we've come. Thank you, dear readers, for sticking with us. It's honestly been a lot of hard work and lost sleep. But we're not running out of steam in 2009. We've got a lot more to share, and a lot more determination to be better.
Cheers and Aloha,
Annie and Nate