Thursday, January 21, 2010

2 Years: Where We've Been, Where We're Headed

Two years ago this week, we posted our very first episode of the Eating Ithaca podcast. At the time, we had no idea if anybody would care, or if anyone would listen at all. We were excited to see something we made out there in the world, but it was hard to tell what Eating Ithaca was really going to be.

So we made it all up as we went along. Gradually more and more people found us, we watched the number of downloads go up and comments started coming in on this blog we'd thrown together. Then Andrea became co-host, and our little podcast about the local Ithaca dining scene began to grow into something more than just talking about food.

We started getting out to meet the people behind the local foods of Ithaca and the region. We interviewed our very first guest, Kevin Cuddeback of Gimme! Coffee, in Episode 5. In that time, the podcast continued to evolve, more people found us, and now...
  • That first episode has been downloaded more than 500 times; and we're about to hit our 10,000th download overall.
  • We've produced 45 podcasts, plus a few specials.
  • We've featured more than 34 exclusive interviews with people from all over our food community.
  • We've given you our one-of-a-kind reviews of over 70 different restaurants in Ithaca.
It's been great fun . . . But we're just getting started!

Since we went on a podcast hiatus in December, we've been working on a better Eating Ithaca. Thanks to all the great input we got from our recent audience survey, along with the list of ideas we've been wanting to include on our website since the beginning, we're finally taking the time to make some of those changes happen. While we can't promise anything for sure, we will definitely be improving the look and navigation of our website, with a fully searchable and easy to use restaurant guide. We'll also be writing capsule versions of our restaurant reviews to complement our podcast, which will be archived and easy to access when you're looking for where to dine out in town.

Our primary mission remains the same: to keep you connected to local food. We will continue to interview the people behind the food we eat, and share news and stories about what's happening in the community. We're also planning our next special live event, and working with other organizations in the area to help spread awareness of the food culture of Ithaca and the Finger Lakes with the rest of the country. And we're going to have some exciting new opportunities for you to get involved and support us as we grow.

The new year is filled with great opportunities for us. We may still be making it all up as we go along, but at least we know you're listening and reading and sharing, and that makes it all worthwhile. Thank you.

We're still here in the meantime, and we're active most days on Twitter or Facebook if you want to stay in touch. The podcast will be back in February 2010. Talk to you then!

--Your pals at Eating Ithaca

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Local food abounds in this week's Ithaca Times

We just picked up the newest edition of The Ithaca Times (Jan. 20-26 issue) and it's filled with some great local food updates.

Start on page 13, where Rob Montana writes an overview of new business developments in the City of Ithaca, including:
  • A restaurant space on the ground floor of the proposed Hotel Ithaca, located where the Rothschild Building stands now at the edge of the Commons at Aurora Street. We presume this might interfere with the space currently occupied by Madeline's, which could bring interesting changes.
  • A new restaurant from Lex Chutinaround, owner of ZaZa's Cucina, opening in the former Plantations on Ithaca Commons.
  • A large restaurant opening in the beautiful glassed in space on the first floor of the Cayuga Place apartments off of Green Street, behind the soon-to-open Palmer Pharmacy and the new Gimme! Coffee. The local restauranteur is unnamed, but we hope they do that space justice. Given the right talent and the right menu, it could be the new destination restaurant of the year.
  • The Finger Lakes Wine Center could open as soon as this spring.
  • Panera Bread and the Olive Garden are still on track for opening in Southwest Ithaca, as we reported earlier, though we'd be surprised to see anything open before this summer.
The article also hints at the possibility of another food franchise opening in the Southwest neighborhood once the old Salvation Army store is demolished. Montana did a nice reporting job and covers a lot in this well-written piece.

There is also a Winter Times supplement in this latest edition, which includes an extensive preview of the upcoming 12th Annual Downtown Ithaca Chili Cook-Off & Winterfest, written by Taryn Thompson. That event has always offered plenty of fantastic cold-weather eating and we're looking forward to this year's event.

Finally, for all you home cooks, don't miss Henry Stark's interviews with chefs from four local restaurants offering their favorite soup and stew recipes. It includes Moosewood's Spicy Carrot Peanut Soup from Melissa Bergman, a Hearty Sausage and Tortellini Soup from Tim Gaffney at Ithaca Ale House, the hearty Arizona Pumpkin and Vegetable Stew from Liz Van Every at Greenstar Coop, and - our personal favorite - an amazing Hungarian Beef Goulash recipe from Dano Hutnik himself, of Dano's Heuriger in Lodi.

The best part about all this is The Ithaca Times is FREE! Most of these articles aren't yet available on the Ithaca Times website, so pick up a copy today, because next week they'll all be gone.


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