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.