Our One Year Anniversary

When we first started thinking about starting a new food-related site, while still sitting in our house in a tiny fishing village in Mexico, we weren’t sure how we wanted From Away to take shape. We had spent years trying to recreate the classic flavors from back home in our tiny Mexican kitchen, using foreign ingredients; basic staples that we had previously taken for granted, like bagels, or buffalo wings, and suddenly, we were poised to return to the United States. Rather than re-adjust to life in America quietly and privately, did we really want to make our initial forays into Portland’s burgeoning food scene public? Could anyone possibly care about what we thought about the local pizza?

Though our first post was officially on July 10, 2010, one year ago today, we spent several weeks writing posts and taking photos, just for us, unsure if we would even publish what we were writing, and if so, unsure if anyone would bother reading. In that year, we have written a few more than 250 posts, almost one every weekday (we’ve missed one, here and there). We have reviewed more than 50 local restaurants, written nearly 100 recipes, and sampled dozens and dozens of sandwiches. Through it all, our readers have followed along: we’re now averaging about 35,000 unique visits per month, generating over 50,000 pageviews. We’ve become the number one-ranked blog on UrbanSpoon (on some days…we keep swapping positions with our friends at The Blueberry Files). We’ve received thousands of comments, nearly 1,700 fans on Facebook, and some attention from some pretty big names, including Bon Appetit, Serious Eats, the L.A. Weekly, LiveWork Portland, a nomination for “Best Food Blog” from the Portland Phoenix, and more.

We’ve found some of the best (and some of the not-so-great) places to eat in Maine, thanks to the ongoing stream of tips, suggestions, and feedback from our readers. Your feedback is why we keep writing: Every time we force ourselves to eat a hot dog after already having had a terrific dinner, just to say we tried a place that our readers love, every time we taste a dozen frozen burritos or eight Chinese restaurants, and every time we re-make a batch of queso fresco for the third time, just to get a decent picture, we think of the people reading the site. Every time someone writes in and tells us that they have been trying to make a successful American Chop Suey for 20 years, but that our recipe is perfect, it makes us smile, and start planning the next week’s worth of posts.

When we started From Away, we couldn’t imagine that anyone would want to read it. We’re thankful every day that you do.

Photo: lumierefl

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as the taco-centric blog "Eat More Tacos," and the junk food-centric "Spork & Barrel." His contributions include Serious Eats, Down East, L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post and his food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater. Finally, he finds it very silly to be trying to write this in the third person.

41 Comments

  1. You guys rock. It’s awesome having someone out there doing all the hard work of finding great local restaurants and quality recipes while sharing it from a perspective that is entertaining, informative and often expresses my feelings exactly. Thanks!

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  2. I am throughly enjoying reading your blog. Most of the places you have been to I have not so it gives me an idea if and when I get to Portland. It is so fun to have you “here”!!! xo

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  3. Congratulations! We read every post down here in Queensland, Australia. We are about to make our first visit to Portland in August and thanks to you have a foodie “wish list” at the ready!

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  4. Congratulations! You’ve got a great thing going here and I’ve mentioned you to many friends since our move here. Thanks for sharing a little portion of your life with us!

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  5. Happy anniversary! As a recent transplant (me) and a native who spent 20 ears away (the g/f), we’re are always talking about your posts, often racing each other to see who reads them first.

    You have confirmed suspicions, revealed jeweles and duds, shared your recipes… every post is a pleasure to read.

    Thanks for taking the time to do what you do as well as you do it.

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      1. Not really. I grew up in Lewiston, and it’s a desolate wasteland for foodies since Austin’s Fine Wines and Food closed like, ten years ago. Nothing is even reviewed on UrbanSpoon, not even Gritty’s.

        Roy’s all-steak hamburgers might be worth a shot, my mom’s cousin ALWAYS goes there when she’s on a trip home. There are two locations, one has mini-golf: http://roysgolf.com/restaurant AND they have soft-serve. She Don’t Like Guthrie’s is the only decent place for sandwiches and hanging out. People in L/A love Sam’s instead of Amato’s, even though they’re basically the same.

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        1. OMG I forgot about Val’s Drive-In. And there are Lewiston/Auburn entries on Urban Spoon, it’s just a sub-category of Portland.

          If you end up going will you please figure out what the heck Jump City Inflatable Center and Restaurant is?

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  6. Hi there,

    I’m a Mainer “ex-pat” living in the other Portland on the left coast and am coming to visit Labor day weekend for a wedding in Freeport. My wife and I are staying in a condo on the west end, and I can’t wait to show her around. I left Portland, Maine in 1997, just when Fore Street was starting to kill it and never had a chance to go. My wife is from Germany, and she has never had a lobster roll and wants to eat at lobster shacks all weekend long! Can you write an article on eating through Portland over a 5 day weekend??? Include as many lobster shacks as possible! Great site and congrats on the 1 year anniversary!!

    Bernie and Eva

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  7. I love reading your blog. Even though I am on the other side of the USA and will probably never get to Portland to try the local cuisine, you writing is fun to read. Thanks!

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