Published on January 16th, 2014 | by Katy Evans3
Your friendly (vegetarian, cocktail snob) food/drink editor
Here at ye olde Post Defiance, we have noticeably uneven food and beverage coverage. As the editor of this section, this makes me disappointed in myself, frustrated, and sometimes just a little apathetic. Every community’s food culture is unique, and although Tacoma’s may be trailing inattentively behind it’s neighboring cosmopolises, it still deserves coverage. How else can we get tastier?
It’s a new year, time for new things and all that, so I’m putting this post forward as both introduction and disclosure of a new approach: I’m about to write a lot more about food as a local eater (and gentle critic), and I figure it will help if you know a little more about my frame of reference.
So here they are, the reasons (but not excuses) for Post Defiance’s random output; some of which are on me, some of which are on Tacoma:
Reason one: It’s hard and a little unfair to ask people to regularly pay for all their own food, then write about it for free.
Everyone at Post Defiance writes, contributes, and edits for free. We are wary of applying a funding model for a number of reasons; namely because it’s a lot of extra work we don’t really have time for, and because we love our content now.
We get inspiring content from our contributors as volunteers stirred entirely by passion. Our goal is to pay people, really. Even ourselves. But right now, we feature a purity of content and presentation that is only tainted by our connections in town. And really, that can be said about anyone who creates and shares content anywhere.
Reason two: I am both vegetarian and partnered to Christopher “Hilltop Kitchen“ Keil
Being a vegetarian as well as life-besties with Chris does not hinder my professional or personal life at all, but it informs my relationship with food and drink. OBVIOUSLY. But every writer builds perspective based on their own lives; it’s the only way we can do it, and we can’t really help it. For me, that means I’m both biased and restrictive: I live my life without meat and spend most of my eating and drinking time with an obsessively dedicated food and beverage professional.
I care very much about the food/beverage/service industry, and living the last dozen years with a professional has only deepened my passion, curiosity, and criticism for it. This means I will always be overly preoccupied with and critical of an establishment’s 1) vegetarian options; 2) drink menus; 3) interior design and lighting; and my two most important, 4) service; and 5) ingredient sourcing.
Whenever I eat and drink out, I judge my time not only through a personal filter, but through that of someone looking out for vegetarians/vegans, and as someone who will go and share everything about my experience with not only Chris, but with lots of my friends who also care about food and eating in Tacoma.
This is the way I dine out, and this is the way I like doing it, but it has made me hesitant to write regularly because my palate isn’t omnivorous.
Reason three: Tacoma doesn’t have a lot of awesome food to eat in awesome places
Feel free to disagree with me – that’s the joy of criticism and community discourse – but for the 14 years I’ve inhabited Tacoma, I can count on two hands the number of experiences I’ve enjoyed that featured a mind-blowing culinary delight in a pleasant venue.
This is not to say that I don’t love some of our local eateries and I don’t have reliably agreeable times there. And I know we are Tacoma, and not Seattle or Portland (or even Olympia). But the sad truth is that I am not alone in running out of satisfactory, exploratory eating options very quickly, and our local excuses for lack of options are beginning to ring hollow.
I’m also outing myself really transparently as someone who will be writing about food because, although I deeply respect and appreciate the work of (my local, food-writing hero) Sue Kidd, I’m already not very anonymous. So, in the spirit of Adam Platt, here I am, caring about food and writing about it, not incognito.
Now that you know way more about me and what goes on in my mouth than perhaps is necessary, I’m pleased to announce that I’m launching a series – from my very specific, vegetarian/cocktail snob perspective – highlighting some of my current favorite Tacoma food experiences. You’ll hear from me soon.
(And don’t worry, it won’t just be me writing about food for Post Defiance; we have amazing writers, palates, and critics to help diversify our criticism. That said, we always want more viewpoints: if any of you more carnivorous Tacomans are willing to spend your money eating, and then spend your time writing about it, please let me know. I’d love your help.)
All these classy photos are from my instagram account.