Welcome to our first round of the First Annual Foodie Fight 2014! For those of you who didn't get a chance to digest the Foodie Fight intro blog, we'll give you a quick breakdown: We've hand-selected over 100 food bloggers across the nation, narrowed it down to four in each region, and are pitting them against each other — March Madness bracket style — for the ultimate throw-down. Most of the scoring will be done by our Restaurant Social Media Index (to calculate viewer sentiment and engagement score), while the third and final component will be an editorial review score based on overall content, design and interaction within the blog itself. Note: Readership numbers do not directly affect the scores because, just like in our measuring of restaurants, scores are based on density, not volume. In this sense, all blogs will be treated equally.
Let's get started, shall we?
Southwest: The Contenders (in alphabetical order)
Blog: Amateur Gourmet
A seasoned blogger and foodie, Roberts’ Amateur Gourmet is far from bland.
Posts include restaurant reviews, pop-up dinners, and recipes. The overall appeal is simple yet sophisticated, with content proving this guy knows his stuff (and the right people, for that matter). Imagery is pure food porn, with some photos in particular leaving us near salivating (judging this blog before lunch could also be a factor. Note: don’t read this on an empty stomach). Adam includes a lot of guest posts from noteworthy personalities, including Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy and former chef/pastry chef-turned-writer Gina DePalma.
Content: 8 (based on a 10-point scale): Easy to read and approachable, humorous, informative, original, well-rounded. Reading his posts makes you want to become best friends with him (but only if he promises to invite you to his dinner parties, of course).
Design: 7: Great food shots, organized content on the menu tab (if you’re looking for something specific), but not mobile-friendly.
On-Blog Interaction/Commentary: 8: Readers are super engaged, proven by the fact that only one post within the past month has 0 comments. Adam seems to reply to comments on occasion — if there’s a specific question that needs answering regarding a recipe or something like that.
Klout Score: 70
Twitter Followers: 29.8K
Sentiment Score: 8.83 (based on a 10-point scale)
Engagement Score: 6.79
Average Editorial Score: 7.6
Overall/Final Score: 23.22
Blog: Now I'm Hungry
There are a lot of moving parts to Now I’m Hungry (which we found ourselves saying quite a bit while browsing through). Posts are generally very short, which may be an advantage considering most people are on-the-go and we live in a “we want it now” society. The writing, though short, is superb and detailed, perfectly laying out a dish’s flavor profile. But, wait... we knew there had to be more to the story! If you scroll down after the Pinterest-esque collage of preview posts, there are longer format posts, detailing chef-driven events, restaurant reviews and lifestyle stuff.
Content: 7 (based on a 10-point scale): As a notable writer, it’s no wonder the tone, wit and knowledge that Gladstone incorporates in each thought-out post seems to always leave you wanting more.
Design: 4: If you’re not familiar with this blog going into it, content — while there is a load of it — is difficult to navigate. For example, once you click into each individual post, you must click on the photo within the post to see the full view of the image, otherwise it is slightly cut off. Also, one of the menu tabs above, called ‘Sip Savor Swallow’ brought us to a completely different site, which can be confusing to readers if they’re unfamiliar with E.C. Gladstone’s work (SSS is another blog of E.C.’s). We also took points off for no visible dates on some of the posts.
On-Blog Interaction/Commentary: 1: Based on lack of comments, we assume readers come here to digest good content without fussing over it.
Klout Score: 63
Twitter Followers: 1,765
Sentiment Score: 7.62
Engagement Score: 5.12
Average Editorial Score: 4
Overall/Final Score: 16.74
Blog: EJ Eats
Erin writes for Serious Eats, so we can appreciate EJ Eats, putting a more personal spin on her food content. As is noted in her bio, EJ Eats is a “one stop shop” for her food writing around the web, but it also includes EJ-only posts that are exclusive to her personal blog. These particular posts include a roundup of her ‘Best Ofs,’ as well as reviews on dishes and restaurants as a whole. Erin’s writing style is well-versed, short, sweet and sophisticated. She comes across as the type that refuses to call herself a “foodie,” and we were right. Her ‘About Me’ clarifies this fact.
Content: 8 (based on a 10-point scale): After digesting just a few of her posts, readers can get a solid sense of Erin’s personality. Her writing style is concise in the sense that everything is to-the-point and you’re not sidetracked with other thoughts while reading through. Quality of content is there, with a well-rounded approach to different subjects, though she is a burger blogger on the side, so you’ll notice quite a few posts featuring patties that meaty dreams are made of.
Design: 7.5: With a color scheme and style similar to Serious Eats, there’s a clear connection from writer to publication without even having to read it (for those familiar with the food blogosphere). Also, EJ Eats is mobile-friendly. (Yes! Bonus points.) We also love how organized the menu tabs are, with the ability to sort content by food category.
On-Blog Interaction/Commentary: 4: Some action, but not a ton.
Klout Score: 47
Twitter Followers: 1,437
Sentiment Score: 5.38
Engagement Score: 5.04
Average Editorial Score: 6.5
Overall/Final Score: 16.92
Just as one would want to take their time tasting a wonderfully prepared dish, Matthew’s posts take you on a culinary exploration, bit by bit. Each articulate segment captures the scene, transporting readers to the place he’s discovering. The beauty is in the details. We also appreciate him taking the time to connect the dots, like in this review of a ‘Tire Shop Taqueria,’ where he branches off into how it fits within the L.A. dining scene, and also how it stands apart.
Content: 9 (based on a 10-point scale): Ranging from savory to sweet in terms of reviews and restaurant choices, Mattatouille gets our approval for a broad range of niche content. As we stated above, the writing style is solid, and the photos are far from shabby.
Design: 5: Standard Blogger template with not much personalization infused into it. However, the pictures bring the score up a notch.
On-Blog Interaction/Commentary: 4: Some action, but not a ton.
Klout Score: 66
Twitter Followers: 4,361
Sentiment Score: 8.71
Engagement Score: 6.23
Average Editorial Score: 6
Overall/Final Score: 20.94