OMG Food!

Soup's on, folks! I'm Tina M. Courtney, aka PoetKitty -- a Los Angeles based food writer audacious enough to think I can critique all manner of eateries. It's a labor of love, and I'm honored to welcome you. Grab a fork and let's get this party started.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The New Chowhound - Bigger Better Faster More?

Yeah, we all new it was bound to happen. For years and more, devoted foodies across the nation devoured a little web site called Chowhound - nothing more than an old school BBS system, full of meager text links and lackluster search capabilities. But man, were we devoted. Scores of food-fans made Chowhoud their virtual mecca for all eat-it-up news, reviews, and most prominent - Where Can I Find questions. Some of us checked and triple-checked the boards many times a day, offering advice, opinions, and our own barrage of Help Me Find's. Chowhound became an identity - "I'm a Chow!" And yet, the site stayed the same. Graphic-less, frustrating, and beautiful.

Humans - especially hungry ones - don't respond well to change. When most of us heard the rumblings that our beloved boards were being merged with the big dogs at CNet, we didn't throw a party. I had high hopes, however - the dream that I could one day have access to, say, all the Foie Gras favs in the city, just by performing a *gasp* search on the site gave me (pardon the pun) goose bumps. But would a revamp take away our happy little family? Would massive changes mean I could no longer attend an LA party and, at some point in the evening, delight to the sound of - "Wait, you're PoetKitty from CHOWHOUND!?!?! I love your reviews!" I wanted it all, people - I won't lie.

The Day of Change has come and gone. There were, of course, hiccups from the get-go -- folks couldn't get their long-time monikers. Somehow they were snatched up, or errors abounded. Some of us received early registration offers - supposedly the diehards. I received no such invite, but it turns out that was a blessing. Those that tried the early bird entry didn't get the reward of a worm, unless that equates to errors and mayhem. Dommy! had to lose her trademark exclamation point. Others had to swap identities all together. This was pandemonium. But yet, we toiled on.

I might get hosed for saying this, but I like the new Chowhound. The reds and beiges are prettier than the grayscale of yesteryear. It's much easier to post - no confirm! Deny! step, no non-intuitive navigation. And - lo and behold - I can hit the Search bottom, type in Foie Gras - and WAHLAH - all related postings magically appear. I could do without the mass of CNet related links at the bottom, but they're easy to ignore. I don't read any of the features - I'm still very LA-centric, and very much devoted. Of course, my nickname was still available. Rest-assured this would be an all out war if someone had stolen the PK label before I descended.

As it stands, I'm still hungry, and I'm still relying on the Chows to steer me right.

Ciao, 'Hounds.


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