Food and technology pair so well together. #FoodPorn? Let’s be honest: we have all been guilty of it at some point or another. Food bloggers are elevating artistic dishery to a whole new level of culinary appreciation. Whether their specialty is restaurant reviews, ingredient trends, home cooking, or simply food photography, food bloggers have helped connect the masses to the food scene that’s beyond local reach. So, in the true spirit of free speech and the Interwebs, we present Foodie Fight 2014, Round 2! (To digest the First Round, where we pitted Southwest food bloggers against each other, click here. And if you’re not familiar with how this smackdown works, we urge you to read about it here.)
Read: As was laid out in this post, it’s important to note that the only score we are manually judging is the Editorial Review score — all other scoring components are based on organic data, extracted from our proprietary Restaurant Social Media Index.
And now, onto Round 2!
Northwest: The Contenders (in no particular order)
Blog: Daily Blender
A mix of food, culture and travel bits, Daily Blender is a notable blog that’s been on our radar for quite some time now. And because the food & drink content goes beyond the surface (Jennifer Heigl and friends get into the kitchen, interviewing chefs), it seemed only proper we include Daily Blender in our food blog lineup. Aside from said interviews, Daily Blender sprinkles in some food & beverage news, restaurant news, and culinary trends.
Content: 7.5: A well-versed writer, Heigl’s posts offer compelling, easy-to-read content that lends a completely original perspective to the industry. (Basically, she’s got connections to some pretty cool people that are willing to put forth their insight.) The posts that Heigl is not penning — er, typing — herself are guest posts from industry influencers and notable, local journalists. Unfortunately, as Heigl has become more spread thin with all of her endeavors, posts are few and far between (two per month, as of late).
Design: 6: There’s nothing special about the color scheme or overall appearance, but functionality-wise, Daily Blender is doing it right: easy to navigate, obvious social sharing buttons, and organized. The photos used are mostly her own, but we’d like to see some more of them. Bonus: Daily Blender is mobile-friendly! Welcome to 2014, people — step your mobile game up!
On-Blog Interaction/Commentary: 4: A lot of posts did not have comments, though readers perked up in the comments department when there was a giveaway involved. Who doesn’t love free stuff?!
Klout Score: 51
Twitter Followers: 8,665
Sentiment Score: 8.72 (based on a 10-point scale)
Engagement Score: 6.93
Average Editorial Score: 5.83
Overall/Final Score: 21.48
Blog: Get Sconed!
It only seems fitting that someone with the last name Sconé would become a foodie. It was inevitable. Sconé is a vegan, and her content reflects that to the fullest (she also does work for/is co-director of Vida Vegan and Vegan Iron Chef). Get Sconed! offers food news (not just in PDX, but also places her travels take her), interviews with culinary insiders, and vegan dining buzz, including restaurant reviews.
Content: 7: Honest reviews, heaps of variety — everything from a photo essay documenting a recent trip to Las Vegas, scouring veg-friendly eats and drinks, to a detailed breakdown of vegan offerings during Portland Dining Month, and a Q&A with cookbook author and vegan blogger Angela Liddon. Seriously, if you are vegan or are considering making the lifestyle shift, this is a great resource for both educational and entertainment purposes. (It’s also an interesting read for non-vegans.)
Design: 5.5: We’re on a roll with another mobile-friendly site! The template is brand-centric, but all the materials going on in the right-hand column are overwhelming if you just want to browse quickly. Maybe it’s the font we’re not crazy about (at least it’s not Comic Sans, AmIRight?). And while we appreciate social links on the blog, they’re not prominent — you have to seek them out. On the plus side, most photos used are her own, and they’re not half-bad — plus, she doesn’t skimp on them.
On-Blog Interaction/Commentary: 7: Get Sconed! has a following. Don’t believe us? Check the comments. People get involved with this blog, and it probably has a lot to do with the fact that it’s so niche to the vegan community. We can appreciate that. Even more? Jess actually replies to comments, engaging with her audience.
Klout Score: 50
Twitter Followers: 2,591
Sentiment Score: 6.33 (based on a 10-point scale)
Engagement Score: 4.72
Average Editorial Score: 6.5
Overall/Final Score: 17.55
Okay, so Tablehopper is more of a website than a blog, but content is content, people. Tomato, Tomahto. Marcia covers everything from “10 Places to Eat at Now,” which hones in on what’s currently hot on the Bay Area scene, to restaurant gossip (openings, closings, etc.), beverage features, reviews on new restaurants (dubbed ‘Fresh Meat’), old favorites (‘The Regular’), and even some non-SF reviews (‘The Jetsetter’). There are other tabs, as well, that remain a constant, so loyal readers can know what to expect, framework-wise, but always have new content to eat up. And though she is based in San Francisco, there are a slew of other cities (even international ones) you can choose from to get the restaurant scoop.
Content: 7: So. much. content. In so many different ways. Gagliardi’s style is a balance of objective review and personal, anecdotal contribution. She clearly has a passion for seeking out the best culinary options a city has to offer, and, moreover, we can’t hate on someone who refers to queso as a “dirty, slutty food.” It’s this type of unfiltered, under-the-radar humor that makes you want to be friends with her. The downside? Reviews are long-ish, so if you’re looking for a quick summary — perhaps if you’re an on-the-go, mobile restaurant seeker — you may want to go elsewhere. But if details are your thing and you’re in the Bay Area, make sure to bookmark this one.
Design: 6.5: With so much content, tabs are key. Tablehopper has nicely organized menu tabs, which allows readers to easily navigate what they’re looking for. The header is simplistic yet informative, brand-centric, and the overall template is seamless, in that it doesn’t distract from the content. Social buttons are visible on the homepage, but the site is not mobile-friendly.
On-Blog Interaction/Commentary: 5: Because this format is a website versus a blog, it is likely that comments are not even an option here. So, we went to the next best thing: Facebook comments under article postings, but she doesn’t self-promote posts all that much (mostly food porn), so we went to Twitter - ditto. We then decided to cut the score right in the middle to be fair. (And even if you don’t think it’s fair, we’re the ones who made this up, we can do what we want!)
Klout Score: 67
Twitter Followers: 14.7K
Sentiment Score: 6.71 (based on a 10-point scale)
Engagement Score: 7.49
Average Editorial Score: 6.16
Overall/Final Score: 20.36
Blog: Food Gal
Food Gal, which has been around since 2008, is the brainchild of Carolyn Jung, a celebrated foodie with a penchant for good taste. Her James Beard Award for restaurant/chef journalism is proof. Jung fills diners in on what to expect at new and upcoming restaurants, as well as old favorites.
Content: 6: Food Gal is more informative than entertaining, where Jung seems to act as the middle(wo)man between restaurants/chefs and inquisitive diners. The tone is mostly objective and there’s not a heavy stress on personal opinion. It’s a very straightforward blog where, if you’re looking to form your own opinion on a restaurant — and not swayed one way or another prior to visiting — Food Gal is a great source. Jung is well-connected and in-the-know, which obviously adds credibility.
Design: 6: Great photos, most of which are her own. The header is cutesy, but basic. We do, however, appreciate the clean look of the template body, and the fact that content is organized by category, which is listed in alphabetical order. This blog is not mobile-friendly.
On-Blog Interaction/Commentary: 7: Each post we looked into had comments, and quite a handful of them! There’s no doubt that this well-respected foodie blogger has a following and wants to engage.
Klout Score: 54
Twitter Followers: 7,972
Sentiment Score: 7.13 (based on a 10-point scale)
Engagement Score: 7.52
Average Editorial Score: 6.33
Overall/Final Score: 20.98