This page was originally published on 2015-09-03, and most recently updated on 2017-10-07.
My restaurant blog is a convergence of several random factors. Years ago, you could review several restaurants for Zagat, and get a free guide as a result. When I lived in Connecticut, less than an hour train ride from Manhattan, I sort of took the city for granted. The one huge change I noticed after moving to Northwest Arkansas was that there were very few independent restaurants of note that weren’t barbecue-based. That, fortunately, has changed quite a bit since my arrival in 2010.
When I traveled east to visit New York City and my family upstate, I made a point to visit at least a couple of restaurants that I could review, and to reconnect with the great pleasure of a good meal that I used to enjoy but now had to do in a much more regimented way. Many restaurants open up their bookings a month in advance and become fully booked just as quickly as a hot concert or sporting event. On my budget, I could usually afford to eat well once a day and then opted for more casual fare, whether that be hot dogs at Grey’s Papaya or a couple of slices at the neighborhood pizza place that you find out by word of mouth.
When Google bought Zagat, they closed down user reviews, including wiping out all of the crowd-sourced reviews on its Website. I stopped writing for awhile, but then found my way to Urbanspoon, which is now Zomato. A good friend recommended the site and showed me how eating at a bunch of neighborhood finds can generate a nice portfolio of reviews. I decided that my focus would be to write about any independent restaurant that I visit, regardless of cuisine and price point.
I link my reviews to Zomato since they welcome bloggers. I decided that if I was going to take the time to write about a restaurant, I wanted to own that review, and not have it disappear as my work on the old Zagat site did. Also, I have always been fascinated by Web development and blogging, and starting and maintaining a blog would help me learn more than just reading a book. The final factor was also going on vacation in New Orleans, which is certainly one of the most exciting food cities in the country.
Thus, Good Meal Good Life was born in September 2015.
The result is just awesome! People who I have never met are reading my reviews, and I’m reading theirs! Sure, I have to be a bit more disciplined when I visit restaurants, making sure to take the perfect photo before diving in and taking the time to transfer mental notes into words soon thereafter. It’s a small price to pay to do what I enjoy!