Happy New Year – Future Plans and a Thank You!

As we head into a new year, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect. When I started my little blog, I was thrilled the first time 100 people read a review. That was in late 2004. Now, ten years later, traffic in 2013 was the highest ever – just under two million views. That doesn’t count the email subscribers and feed readers – another 6,000 every time I write a post. It always surprises me what stories bring the most traffic.  I can slave away over a post, and it might be read six or seven thousand times. Other days I will dash off something quick, go to lunch, and come back to 50k readers.

One of the issues with multiple sclerosis, is that it can be rather isolating. It is easy to give in and spend life on a sofa being angry at the world. Along with a new medication which I started in 2013, I think this site is a big part of the reason I am doing fairly well.  I am eternally grateful to all of you for a reason to get out of bed every day. Now I’m happily angry.

I was surprised how high the traffic numbers were this year, especially with all the other food sites in town. Though I have taken a year off from doing real reviews, I think people still know that they can come here for my honest opinion about all things food and drink in Portland. I’m not going to be some phony, and tell you the Portland food scene is better than ever, that every restaurant is great or that every chef is a god. If you want “happy talk”, there are sites out there that will give it to you. I’m going to continue to be my honest, snarky self and won’t blow smoke up your ass. That is the perk of not having a boss – I can say whatever the heck I feel.

This site will continue for another year, without a lot of changes. I’ll resume doing occasional reviews. Look for more food-related stories and product profiles, a new food writing contest, food haiku competition and more. I’m always looking for new ideas, so let me know if you have suggestions. As the way people use the web continues to evolve, I will also be making some changes to the website. Over the last three months, I’ve moved to a larger server, offloaded lots of code and images to Amazon’s cloud, and optimized the heck out of things. It is a lot faster now, and I’ll be rolling out some navigational changes as well. Also, for legal reasons, I’m going to be switching to a more text related format for press releases. The death of Google reader and its ability to render things properly has resulted in lots of odd looking posts. Also there is the whole issue of businesses using copyrighted images in their newsletters – Don’t do it!

Finally, I want to thank the advertisers who have made this site possible. R. Stuart & Co. WinesSyscoMarlin Restaurant SalesThe Hop & VineBeaverton Farmers MarketPortland Farmers MarketPortland Food AdventuresArtisanal Wine CellarsOregon Culinary InstituteSapori Fine FlavorsNorthwest Food & Wine Guide and New System Laundry. Many of them have been with me for years, supporting this local site. If you’ve never checked out these businesses, I hope you do in the future!

Thanks again. I wish all of you a 2014 full of love, friendship, good health and good food!

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. afish says

    Thank you FD. I probably stumbled across your site sometime back in 2005 when your #1 commenter was (?)porkcop, along with a few of the other originals who were the most vocal among your earliest commenters, many of whom still leave a comment here and there. To say that checking out your website for new news, restaurant reviews and comments from the loyals helped to make my week a little more complete (not much going on in my life?) is an absolute truth.

    Best of health please, and continue to provide your fateful readers with information, insights and those personal stories – I’d mentioned to you that your Italian wine-soaked adventure was truly exceptional writing (and reading!).

  2. Ross Pullen says

    Food Dude! 2013 …..it was a great year for this little blog of yours. Glad you are moving to 2014 with no changes. You are always on the mark,usually offering surprises and always quality reporting. You walk the fine line well, something that I could never do as a “Joe Citizen” with the PDX food scene.
    I was not aware of your fencing match with MS. You have notice me writing about Belinda’s restaurant. Not much information is out there because we were before the www,but we were in the top 5 in the Portland fine dining scene, and surely had the top wine list for a 52 seat space in the NW!
    Belinda has handled MS well since diagnosis at OHSU in 1978. She is the bravest person I know. I have first hand knowledge of what you deal with,my friend. I’d climb a mountain and plant a flag for you if I could get up the damn thing.,but those days are over.
    KUDOS anyway!!!

  3. Revalani says

    Dude, a friend pointed me to your blog even before I moved here in 2005. I can’t begin to describe how valuable it’s been to me, from settling in and getting a general sense of the PDX restaurant scene, to industry gossip and, of course, reviews, snarky comments on reviews; lather, rinse, repeat.

    I have a good friend with MS — a woman I’ve known since high school, and that was a long, long time ago — and I understand, as well as any of us temporarily “well” people can, the limitations of that disease. Finite energy reserves = a whole lot more than just needing an afternoon nap.

    You’ve created a hugely significant resource here. I’m so glad you’re in it for 2014. Happy new year!

  4. Theresa says

    Thanks FD for a reliable resource and an entertaining and sometimes poignant read. You’re my first source for an honest and well-written opinion and as a long time waitress I find your perspective very relatable. I also enjoy the polls and debates that you set up, as well as the strictly informative posts like which restaurants are open on New Year’s Day. Looking forward to checking your site every day in 2014 as I have done for the past four or five years at least, and I wish you the best of health.

  5. Jill-O says

    Glad you’re sticking around, FD. I’ve been around since the beginning and you’ve created a great resource here. Lots of us truly appreciate it and what you do…and the way you do it.

    Here’s wishing you a healthy and happy 2014!!

  6. MsMora says

    Thank you for all the hard work you put into your site. We stumbled across your site in 2006 in anticipation of our move to Portland. Your reviews and thoughts were always spot-on and you never led us astray. Being so forthright and honest is what makes your site a true pleasure to read. It’s reassuring to know you will never compromise your standards.

    Wishing you a most wonderful 2014 filled with everything you need and want.

    P.S. Long live John Ash… ;-)

  7. mczlaw says

    Critical analysis of Portland’s ever-evolving dining scene, with minimal favorite-playing and grudge holding, is in short supply. The most read writers often have the least reliable information to pass along–and I’m not talking about Eater which serves its own noncritical, but useful function. For those of us who take our Portland food seriously, it is a sad state of affairs as we slip into 2014. Always appreciative of your efforts, Dude. Enjoyed my early days writing for this site. Keep up the good work.

    –mcz

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