Before I was a food blogger, I was a Chowhound. This occurred out of necessity when I first moved to the Bay Area over seven years ago. I had come from Southern California -- a place where I had lived my whole life and where I knew numerous hole-in-the-wall, amazing restaurants. Once I got here, I had bad meal after bad meal. Add the fact that I was homesick and it was June and like 10 degrees Fahrenheit out, and you may begin to understand my despair.
Then there was The Day Of The Two Bad Meals. I'd already had a bad lunch and for dinner my friend Tricia and I decided to eat close to our new Richmond District apartment. I burst into tears as I tried to eat horrible spaghetti, and vowed that I had to find a better way. I had learned that even though there are some really fantastic restaurants in San Francisco, there are also some really vile restaurants out there -- and when you're new it can sometimes be a minefield.
So I found Chowhound. And that was the beginning of delicious meal after delicious meal. Seven years later, I have a love-hate relationship with Chowhound, but I will always be grateful to the members of the boards for showing me the ropes when I was still getting my bearings in this new town.
Early on, we had a lot of "Chowdowns" where members of the community would gather to have a meal at a restaurant. There were certain rules to these events, and one of them had to do with assigning one person to transcribe the menu for the boards. I think because he hated being the transcriber, Derek (now chowfun_derek on the boards) often plied us with egg tarts from Golden Gate Bakery. He'd pick them up from the bakery right before our Chinatown meals and we would eat them still warm. We always let him off the hook for the transcription -- in fact I think that gift of the egg tarts let him get away with a lot.