If the television camera adds ten pounds, does blogging software take a few inches off of a blogger's height? That's what I was thinking after I met Clotilde Dusoulier last Sunday at Otto, where she was feted by the many fans of her famed food blog, Chocolate & Zucchini. Although she was taller in real life than I had imagined her to be, she otherwise lived up to her blogging persona in every other way -- cute, charming, inquisitive, thoughtful, and completely down-to-earth.
[A digression: it can be amusing the way the mind fills in the gaps when reading blogs. Just recently, in fact, I discovered that I had mistakenly believed that another blogger was the mother of a baby girl. Turns out, the photos on her site were of her niece ("I'm the doting aunt," she wrote me in an email).]
I caught up with Clotilde again this week for lunch at Pearl Oyster Bar. Between the food blogging panel last Thursday, Sunday's get-together at Otto, and our lunch on Wednesday, this has been a surreal week in which my online pursuits have strangely transitioned into the real world, and I have been able to meet so many others involved in this organically formed food blogging community.
Not to wax too philosophical, but I would never have imagined when I created this site that I would be interacting with people around the world with shared interests in food and cooking. The existence and proliferation of food blogs has become so matter of fact that I think I've almost taken it for granted. But, meeting Clotilde in person, who I feel like I know after reading her site for more than a year, reminded me in a very tangible way how much has changed since I started The Food Section almost two years ago.
Back to lunch. I suggested we meet at Pearl Oyster Bar, since I had never been there and always wanted to go, and also because Clotilde had never tasted the glory of a lobster roll. The lobster rolls lived up to their reputation -- warm buttered and toasted hot dog buns split and heaped with big chunks of lobster meat (see recipe here). Clotilde arrived equipped with her own recommendation for an appetizer -- deliciously plump and crunchy fried oysters (which were a first for me). Between bites, we talked about blogging and writing, traded advice about our sites, and discussed her visit to New York City.
So where does a Parisian food blogger go on a gastronomical tour of New York? Armed with a list of recommendations from her readers, she told me that she had been to Chelsea Food Market, might make a trip up to Zabar's later that day, and had been sampling restaurants high and low.
It was great to finally meet Clotilde, and I look forward to reading more about her adventures in New York when she returns home to Paris and, of course, dutifully blogs them.