For me, 2011 is about building offline communities. When the clock struck midnight on December 31 of last year, I made a pledge to evolve all my online food conversations into real life meetings. It just seemed a bit ridiculous that I had all sorts of friends in the ether, sweet folks who have listened to my rants, my loves and my silliness (mostly silliness), whom I’ve never met in real life. I’ve met community members thousands of times via professional meet-ups and focus groups because – um, hello! – I’m a community manager by trade. But 2011 is my remedy to four years of talking and typing about food and rarely meeting a fellow food lover face to face.
After nearly three months of cocktails, dinners, and coffees with many of you, I can truly say, boy, you’re all such a lovely lot! Food enthusiasts may be opinionated and perhaps (secretly) a bit scrutinizing of the food put before them, myself included, but we really appreciate a meal made with love. In late January, I had such a meal at Bondir, a newish restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts brought to life by Jason Bond (formerly of Beacon Hill Bistro) and his very skilled and thoughtful team. On that night, Patrick, the restaurant’s manager, offered up the restaurant for Sunday lunch. I booked a February date and invited a hundred friends.
Despite a sudden limp winter storm, 16 people accepted the 16 spots available and drove from as far as Cape Ann and Rhode Island to enjoy a three-course lunch served family style, my favorite style. Rather than bore you with another hundred words describing the meal and all its glory. I wanted to, mainly, thank each person who attended. It was an honor to break bread and sip wine with you.
I’m especially grateful to: the friend who took a red eye from the west coast in order to make the lunch; his wife who picked him up and loaded him with coffee; the rocker who played for a sold out crowd until the wee hours the night before but still showed up; the friend who braved the cold with a cold to join in; the nutritionist who put up with all of our indulgent food chat for a few hours; the lady who loves cheese who parted with her out of town visitors to eat with us; the Rhode Island-based food and wine expert who made the long drive; the columnist (whom I hadn’t seen in a year) who forged past her French jet lag for the meal; the funniest tweeter I know and her beloved; the fisher woman who writes about food and works at that big university; the lady with the tiny urban kitchen whom I barely got a moment with (sadly!); the news producer whom I was finally able to chat with briefly; and the fascinating lady who left her big old house on the sea to meet up with us.
Say all that five times fast! Now, without further hold up, here are the photos from our fabulous lunch. Please know that this will not be the last lunch. It was such a fun day and I’d like to do it again soon. Want to join in? Let me know in the comments.
Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is now focused on opening her first permanent Eat Boutique–a food-retail concept space with a new way to the very best food. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: Recipes That Revamped My Pantry & Made Me Love Me, At Last, will be published by Roost Books/Penguin Random House in 2019. Her first cookbook, Food Gift Love, features more than 100 food gift recipes to make, wrap, and share and is available wherever you find favorite cookbooks.