It was a gloomy weekend here in New York City and what a perfect time to cuddle under your blanket while sipping some hot chocolate. It was good to be home on a Sunday afternoon while enjoying the gloomy view of Manhattan from my window. But as a true foodie, I have to use my spare time wisely to uncover more stories within the world of food. At last, I have found Serious Eats, the holy grail for all foodies out there.
From the name itself, I can tell you it’s the real deal. Serious Eats can be your new best friend in finding local restaurants’ reviews, food recipes, food talks between NYC community burger specialists, pizza specialists and “photograzing.” Being created by Ed Levine, the author of New York Eats, Serious Eats has incorporated exceptional food bloggers, critics and chefs. From my first visit, I have spent at least two hours in reading the articles while googling about the featured restaurants. It was a really fun thing to do on a gloomy Sunday afternoon. Although there are still many other food blogs out there that are ready to be discover, I believe that I have hit the jackpot with Serious Eats.
About Serious Eats
Why is Serious Eats a successful website?
I believe that it has a balanced web strategy between business, community and technology (as I referred it to Jeremiah Owyang’s Web Sphere). Serious Eats web strategist must have already incorporated all the skills needed to balance and maintain the three spheres’ elements. As a result:
- Serious Eats appears to be more trustable and reliable among chefs, professional and food enthusiasts
- Serious Eats is known among millions of people around the world
- Serious Eats is among the top food blogs within the industry
- Serious Eats has become an exclusive online community for food enthusiasts to interact and communicate with each other throughout the world
As Owyang mentioned on his article, a good website strategist must understand the need of current and potential customers. In this case, Serious Eats has been successful in doing so. Although there are many blogs out there that can satisfy the cravings of many food enthusiasts, Serious Eats is able to distinguish itself among its competitors for being the top player because of its content excellence. Instead of focusing on only one concentration, Serious Eats is able to provide its users with varieties of information on food. So, visitors from different food interests may have reunite at Serious Eats. Whether or not you are a great cook who’s looking for new recipes or local food enthusiasts in New York City and Chicago or someone who just loves food, Serious Eats will always meet your high expectation.
Again, communication is not a one way street. Someone needs to respond on the other side. Other than being a successful food blog, Serious Eats is also an online community for serious food enthusiasts all over the world. Although currently it only serves big cities like New York and Chicago, I am pretty sure Serious Eats will cover other places soon. I am excited to see it serves in cities like Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Inside Serious Eats’ online community, you’ll be able to communicate with local or nationwide Serious Eats members in these different categories:
- Cooking and baking
- Eating out
- Food media and news
- New York
- Site Feedback
Moreover, as a member, you’ll be able to enjoy the feature of “photograzing” which enable you to upload pictures of your dish. Then, other members will be able to comment on it. Nevertheless, you don’t need to be a member to browse pictures on photograzing. Lastly, to keep you updated, you can subscribe to different kinds of Serious Eats newsletters. Based on your interest, you can subscribe to a weekly newsletter, specific city newsletter, drinks newsletter or even recipe newsletter. You are basically in control of satisfying your food news craving. As a result, Serious Eats has enabled unique interactions between its users through its online community.
From the business perspective, Serious Eats must have clear goals and objectives to be a successful website. As an online blog community for food enthusiasts, Serious Eats has been chosen to be an award winning top food blog and able to reach 1.7 million visitors monthly, as it previously mentioned on its page. From this statistic alone, Serious Eats has been able to deliver its objectives through its strategies in bringing those many visitors to the site. Through my analysis, I have assumed that Serious Eats’ objectives are:
- To create and establish a reliable website for food enthusiasts that provides varieties of food related topics and unique blogging experiences
- To establish an online blog community for food enthusiasts to interact and communicate between one and another, within food related topic categories
- To increase an awareness of Serious Eats among its target users
- To increase sales in advertising
- To position Serious Eats as a go-to food blog for food enthusiasts among its competitors
Aside from delivering its objectives to its end users, I believe that Serious Eats has also been able to satisfy its internal teams through these objectives. Not only that the end users are its priority, but so as the creative minds behind all of those insightful articles. By publishing about 150 articles a week (accoring to the “About Serious Eats” video), there is a lot of creative thinkers being involved. For them to create these many articles are not easy. Those articles need to be well research before getting publish on Serious Eats. Meaning that, the bloggers will have a huge responsibility to publish a well thoughtful article while meeting the objective of the site and readers’ expectation. Looking at Serious Eats’ content quality, I am confident that the site has been able deliver its business objectives to both internal and external stakeholders.
In terms of technology, Serious Eats is pretty advanced in delivering its content to its users. Just like any other successful blogs, Serious Eats has performed tremendously in keeping its users up to date with its content. Its medium has involved pictures, video, RSS subscription, email subscription, “members only” features, links to social media platforms, FAQs page and search engine within Serious Eats’ website. As a result, Serious Eats’ administrators will be able to monitor traffic, new and old users’ interactions as well as users’ feedback. As technology advancement grows rapidly today, I believe that there will be a new addition to blog technology in near future. As long as Serious Eats able to keep up with the technology progression while delivering its objectives, Serious Eats will surely continues to be the top online community for food enthusiasts around the world.
Overall, the three spheres are all interconnected. A website cannot be as successful if they only adopt each element individually or even two out of the three. It needs to maintain a balanced proportion of each sphere for it to be well-established in the long term. If Serious Eats is not as successful currently, perhaps I would not have found it in the first place when I googled “food blogs NYC.” It must have enough traffic to position itself as the second best result in Google. I am looking forward to see new features that Serious Eats will offer in the future. Perhaps, It may includes some new cities. But for now, I am digging for more updates on New York City’s local dishes and restaurants. I cannot wait to expand my “foodie” list on my Blackberry. As Serious Eats continues to grow, its sphere’s balance may have been updated; each area may have been weaker or stronger than one and another. However, if Serious Eats is able to maintain a good balance throughout its lifespan, it will carry its success for a long term and become a successful example for other food blogs across the world.
This week, I’ve been hunting for more foodie apps for my iPad. Foodspotting, Open Table and Zagat have been so helpful in terms of finding best dishes and restaurants in NYC. But, i think it is not enough in terms of discovering “cheap eats” around the city. I am pretty sure there are some delicious deals out there that I can use for my budget. Like Groupon for food, perhaps? Apparently, Scout Mob will uncover these deals for you from near by restaurants. How convenient is that? Don’t get thrilled yet. I have found a second app to accompany Scout Mob. If you are a huge fan of food truck, you’ll find this app very useful. I thought I could only find food trucks in LA, but apparently, it’s easy to discover one here in Manhattan with this app. It’s called Tweat.it. Both of these apps are originally an iPhone app, but these will also work on iPad.
1. Scout Mob:
“Mobile deals for the local serious.” – Scout Mob
Scout Mob clearly lives up to its statement above. For a foodie and local serious like me, I am excited to use Scout Mob to uncover nearby deals. After I finished with the installation, I straight away give this app a try. I gave a permission for the app to use my current location. Within seconds, many deals popped up. These deals are coming mostly from the local bars, wine bars or cafes at your nearby location. Currently, Scout Mob is serving 20 major cities in the United States, including New York, los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver and Boston. If you are looking for some good cheap eats, this app will definitely be an excellent choice. Most of the deals are 50% to 100% off. Looking at the restaurants that are participating with this app, all of them seem to have tasteful ambiance and inviting atmosphere. Also, the Scout Mob team has added little handwritten captions around every picture to display their personal thoughts. It’s pretty cute. Although I am not a fan of local cafe/bar, this app has changed my perception. I want to try some!
If you are scared of missing a deal while you are at school or at work (where you have no access to your phone), you can access Scout Mob through your computer. Just go to its website, insert your email address, and you will get a reminder every time a new deal pops up around your location. Then, you can share it with your friends through Facebook and Twitter. How convenient is that? I am loving it. Just like what I said before, it’s Groupon for food.
If you are a local business and want to participate on Scout Mob, you can see reviews from other local business who already participated. These reviews are in the form of videos. It’s pretty detailed and easy to follow. Therefore, as a new participant, you will build a certain connection with these established users. You will see the benefits that they gained and hopefully you will earn the same benefits. Overall, Scout Mob has benefited both from personal and business aspects of consumers. Both foodie and local food businesses can enjoy and participate on the features of Scout Mob.
“The coolest way to find a mobile food vendor near you in NYC.” – Tweat.it
From the name alone, Tweat.it reminds me of Twitter. But, looking through at the features that the app provided, Tweat.it clealry behave similarly like Twitter. It provides you with tweets from food trucks around Manhattan area. These tweets will contain any information regarding the food trucks’ open hours, locations and even job openings. It is pretty handy in terms of the bipolarity of New York weather at this time. I mean it’s winter, anything can happen. These food trucks might move location or close early due to the weather conditions. As a result, Tweat.it will keep us informed.
After I installed the application, I straight away put in my current location. Within seconds, five to six food trucks popped up. I was surprised that one of them is actually my favorite waffle place. Then, I clicked on its logo and the waffle truck’s info popped up. It says:
“De Carts: De Bierbeek is on Columbus Circle by Time Warner Center until 9:58” – De Carts.
Now, I know that they will stay open until roughly 10 p.m. tonight. Pretty accurate, I presumed. I would probably try going there after class and see whether or not they are still open. I am so excited!
On the other hand, if you access Tweat.it through your computer, you will see the trucks’ live tweets on the side bar following the food map in the middle. It’s pretty easy to use. In this case, you don’t need to sign up for anything. You just need to provide your current location.
This app surely will bring the unknown food trucks to be known. Especially, with the live tweets feature, you can easily follow your favorite food trucks on Twitter. Then, you can share their tweets with your followers to spread the brand awareness of these food trucks. You can also be writing about their food reviews. So, you are not only a foodie like me, but you can easily be a food critic. With lots of social media interactions through this app, I am sure that a lot more food trucks will be participating and Tweat.it will be more popular among the New Yorkers.
Both Scout Mob and Tweat.it have clearly impacted the small, local food businesses in Manhattan and other major cities in the United States. By participating in these apps, these businesses have created some sort of “advertisement” within the local market that may lead to an increasing diners traffic at their restaurants. Eventually, looking at their success, many will follow their foot steps. At the end, it’s proven how you don’t need to be a big player like Groupon or Living Social to provide the best deals in town. You can be the underdog and still adapting to its concept. Although Scout Mob is currently the underdog in terms of food deals, I believe that there is a huge possibility for it to grow in near future. Similarly to Tweat.it, perhaps it may expand to another major city in the United States. Based on my past experiences living in LA, the city of angels can be the next great candidate for Tweat.it. Due to the large amount of food trucks’ participants, I believe that many LA foodies and local businesses will gain as much benefits as those who reside in NYC.
After living in NYC for a month, I have expanded my “foodie” list on my blackberry through word-of-mouth and different online medias such as Foodspotting, Zagat Rated and Open Table. I have tried most of them already, but there is still something missing on my list. I haven’t found enough “delicious” and “worth trying” Italian restaurants in the heart of Manhattan. So far, I’ve only tried Basta Pasta and Babbo. Their signature dishes are pretty good; especially, Basta Pasta’s sea urchin pasta is a MUST try dish. Aside from that, I am still in search for more undiscovered delicious Italian food house. Perhaps, newly opened Machiavelli can be my next destination.
Machiavelli is located at 519 Columbus Avenue, around the corner of 85th street, in the heart of the Upper West community. After reading its review on the New York Times, I am intrigue with the description of its majestic interior based on the critic’s experience, Julia Moskin. As she clearly mentioned on her opening statement:
“Eating at the grandiose Machiavelli is like visiting a museum of Italian food — complete with long-winded exhibition catalogs. Reams of paper arrive with the menu, bearing tales of the muralist who decorated the walls, the ceramist who designed the plates, the coloratura soprano who even now is singing into your ear.”
By looking at this statement, I can only imagine how beautiful the restaurant atmosphere will be. I am pretty sure that a visit can be a very enjoyable experience. You will be able to enjoy delicious Italian food while witnessing grandiose Renaissance arts inspired murals on the wall. The restaurant owner, Nathalie de La Fontaine clearly found a new place for all of her art collections. Another positive aspect that she has added to this experience is by providing different music performances each day of the week, both for lunch and dinner. This unique diners’ experience will definitely distinguish Machiavelli aside from its competitors and soon will become a hot topic among New York foodies.
Moving on to the menu, Machiavelli offers enough varities of Italian dishes. Among all, Moskin has differentiate the menu by price and dish type which in my opinion is very helpful. I would say that the prices are pretty standard and affordable for Italian fine dining restaurant. I am very excited to try the lamb chop ($37), Bologna tortellini ($20) and signature pastas ($17-22) during my first visit. Hopefully, it will be very soon.
Overall, Moskin has done an excellent job in providing us with the reviews on the New York Times. She laid out all the important elements that I need to know about Machiavelli. Especially, as a new restaurant, there is not much reviews out there that I can rely on. By being the headline on the New York Times Dining and Wine on Valentine’s day, my eyes were drawn upon this article. The New York times’ review has set the stage for Machiavelli among the other Italian restaurateurs. I am pretty sure, lots of New York Times food lovers have already read this article and ready to have some tastes on Machiavelli’s signature dishes. As a result, these readers may be the next reviewers or critics that may lift up the restaurant’s reputation. Whether it is good or bad, the modern social medias will definitely keep us up to date.
Currently, Machiavelli maybe be ahead of its competitors for the new upcoming Italian restaurant. But, as its popularity rises within the heart of New Yorkers, the restaurant will need to always have a high standard. Especially, with more reviews and critiques rise to the surface, Machiavelli will need to handle any challenges quickly and professionally. These reviews will definitely expand the restaurant’s clientele but Machiavelli will have to maintain its good reputation along the way. With such accomplishment, surely, Machiavelli will be a successful and well known Italian restaurant in the Upper West. Machiavelli will absolutely reunite Italian art lovers and food admirers altogether under the same roof.
For more information on Machiavelli, click here.