The Truth Behind Being A Food Blogger

“You don’t actually eat all of that food do you?”

is a question I get asked weekly about my Instagram and website. This makes me red in face to hear and is upsetting. YES, I eat all of the food, and yes, my sweet tooth is out of control. It might be hard to imagine that I eat almost a whole pint of Talenti ice cream in two days regularly since you think it’s too rich, but that is the food I love! I don’t overdose on chips and queso, or pizza like others do as dessert is my vice. Yes, it’s super hard to eat like this, and there are times when I go too far and am in pain and regret from overeating, but this is what I’m passionate about, and unfortunately, it just happens to come with a lot of calories. I always think about what it would be like if I could have just decided to be a fitness blogger six years ago instead of, well, an overeater. Ha! When people say “you are so lucky you get to eat such good food,” I always wonder “what is stopping you?” Anyone can go to restaurants and order the items I try, but yes, as a warning, eating this much IS A STRUGGLE and can come with some discomfort, but this is why I always say it’s mind over matter.

When I lived in NYC I did Crossfit 3-4 times a week and walked about 4-5 miles daily, so I was hungry! With my job, I think about food all day, so I DO have a hard time. I get upset with myself when I ate two 1 pound cookies in under 10 minutes and then I do it all again the next day after I said I wouldn’t. It’s not as easy as it might look because it looks fun to you. I wanted to write this article to show how being a food blogger can be a struggle for me every day since I’m not one of those that just has a bite and walks away. I am always finishing the plates at a group dinner and I worry about how much I eat or I try to work out even more the next day. Also, when everyone knows you like dessert as much as I do, after any meal, they say “well your the dessert queen so you pick.” I never get a break and feel like I have to live up to my reputation.The only solution I found since I can’t put a cookie down is walking. I would walk to meet my friends for brunch in Brooklyn over the Williamsburg Bridge which took me 45 extra minutes, I walked home from my cousin’s dinners all the way from 81st Street to Houston Street (about 81 blocks). This was no joke, I mean I HAD to, and it’s also the way I learned the city found new hidden restaurants! It’s a hard job and while I don’t always feel comfortable about my body and the weight I have gained, (only my mom and really close friends understand as I complain to them) and body image is obviously not something I want to draw even more attention to myself. However, body image is only getting worse with social media and people calling food “clean” these days which is ridiculous and just another bad marketing tool, so I decided to share my story. Also, I’m sorry to my friends who I have brought down with me at times (to the one who threw up after eating my entire birthday apple pie with me).

That being said, this month marks 6 years of Chekmark Eats,

of helping friends, family and readers find the best food in New York City (and now Austin), finding my favorite hidden gems, experiencing hospitality to the fullest, meeting the people behind this industry who have a story I love to tell, and of course, EATING MY FACE OFF. In the past, I’ve had parties in NYC to celebrate: year #2 and year #3, so this year now that I have relocated to Austin, I decided to giveaway 6 of my favorite desserts from around the U.S. over 6 days which includes: Jars by Dani, Cookie Do, City Cakes all from New York City; Tiny Pies and Kellie’s Baking Company from Austin; and Big Fat Cookie from Chicago. Tune in to Instagram starting, Sept. 17 to enter to win.

I’ve also decided to share some of my most ridiculous indulgent stories from over the years just to show how crazy food has been over my life. If you haven’t read, sugar is more addicting than cocaine so it’s not my fault right? Good thing I haven’t tried that…

  1. LEVAIN BAKERY TREADMILL NIGHT—     I’ll never forget the first time I had a 6 ounce chocolate chip cookie from Levain Bakery. It was my last day living in New York for a summer internship program, and I got two: accidentally eating both in one sitting not knowing how damn good they were going to be. I raved about these cookies for the next year until I moved back the next summer permanently. I talked about them so much that during my first Christmas there, my boss sent me a 4 pack with Chocolate Chip Walnut, Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, Dark Chocolate Chip, and Oatmeal Raisin. At my desk that day and night, I managed to finish the Chocolate Chip and alternate bites of the Dark Chocolate Chip in between until both were gone. I snuck in some Peanut Butter and Oatmeal bites because I just couldn’t wait until the next day to try them. CRAZY! As my night ended at work, I immediately raced to Equinox to run 5 miles on that Treadmill. Luckily, I can down pounds of food and still work out after without getting sick. Then since I was still pretty full, I walked up from 33rd Street to see the Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center and all the Christmas windows. It was a magical and wild night on the town… (my first Levain cookie at age 21 below)
  2. CARBONE OPENING—  When Major Food Group opened their jewel Italian spot in the West Village, I was honored to be invited to opening night with my friend Jordan who was an editor at Daily Candy and on assignment to go try the food and write about it. I definitely took advantage of this all expense paid meal to the fullest. I’m 100 percent sure this is the most full I’ve ever been in my life and to prove it, I didn’t go back to this restaurant which has the best Veal Parmesan in the world for 2 years out of fear. We noshed on the table side Caesar Salad, Black Lobster Ties Pasta, Meatballs, Veal Parmesan, Seabass Filet, Creamed Escarole, Carrot Cake and a Banana Split. Don’t forget there were jut two of us little ‘ole 26 year-olds doing it up in this modern yet old-school Italian haven. I remember I ate half of the Veal because Jordan tapped out and I brought the other half home but had to force it on my doorman that night because there was no way I could look at that after waddling home. Note to self: NEVER GO HERE WITH JUST ONE OTHER PERSON because you end up eating for 4 people.
  3. EARTHQUAKE IN A FISHBOWL—                                                                                                                             One of the restaurants I worked with during my time at Shadow PR, was Sugar and Plumm. My eyes lit up when I heard I’d be working on an account devoted to chocolate, ice cream, and sugar plum fairies. This whimsical restaurant and bakeshop had a whole retail space for chocolates, candies, and ice cream. My move was to get the chocolate chip cookie on my way out after diving into the beloved Earthquake in a Fishbowl signature dessert. On the menu it was listed as “to share for 2-4 people” but I never had it with more than one other person. It included a bunch of sugary desserts in a legit fishbowl: Blackout Cake, Heaven/Hell Cake which was angels food cake and chocolate ganache, Cheesecake, Butterscotch Pudding, Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Ice Cream, Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Keylime Pudding ( I actually didn’t touch this component). My territory was over the chocolate cakes and the ice creams. I had a minimum of 10 of these over the few months that I worked with them, and lets just say having this in the middle of the day and going back to your desk to work is not a good look. 
  4. MY 29th BDAY ICE CREAM SUNDAE DINNER—                                                                                                 For my last birthday in New York, I decided to get straight to the point. Instead of going to a long fun dinner and waiting all night to get to the dessert part, I skipped that and hosted a DIY Ice Cream Sundae “dinner party” at my apartment at 7 p.m. I laid out vanilla, mint chocolate chip, and cookie butter ice cream pints, toppings like golden grahams, crushed up oreos with extra stuffing, mint bark thins, M&M’s, gummies, and sprinkles. All of my friends brought a little dessert or champagne to add to the party so we ended up with a FULL SIZE Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake, Milk Bar cookies and Truffles, Dominque Ansel DKA’s, honey roasted peanuts, minature snickers and reese’s, and who knows what else. While I thought this was a brilliant idea, we all were sugar high with chocolate and cookie crumbs all over our faces starving of something salty and savory to balance out the intense sweetness. Welcome to my world, friends! No but this was really over the top, I won’t do that again. Sorry y’all!  
  5. BON APPETIT MAGAZINE X STICKY TOFFE PUDDING —   Quality Eats was another restaurant where the savory food was so good you’d be “too” full to get dessert. The problem though is that their dessert is a MAJOR delight. They have individual ice cream sundae cups that are fun and flirty like Birthday Cake with Chocolate Malt Ice Cream, Confetti Cake all topped wit Vanilla Icing. I had dinner with the features editor from Bon Appetit one night here and I was super stoked to meet him. My favorite magazine, and I wanted to impress him with my knowledge of food and the restaurant industry right? Well, this somehow resulted in us ordering a Dressed up Scoop and the Sticky Toffee Pudding Pan for Two with Warm Butterscotch, and Vanilla Ice Cream. Guess who ate half the sticky toffee pudding pan MADE for TWO, but ALONE? Let see did my nerves do this to me and did he think I was impressive or just gross? Haha never again..
  6. JAMES BEARD AWARD AFTER PARTY—  You are already reading this long winded post dedicated to the last 6 years eating like a king, so I’ll keep this last one short. I somehow ended up at the Jams Beard Awards after party three years ago as my boyfriend at the time and I were at our favorite bar Acme Downstairs. They came to tell us a private party was coming in as we were the only ones hanging around down there. Of course, we asked for who and found out Major Food Group was hosting a party so we talked our way in. The night ended with seeing every chef in town getting after it, tequila ice luges and Momofuku Milk Bar cookies passed out to all. I woke up the next morning with my purse full of cookies and he woke up with a bottle of tequila in his coat. Story closed. 

  7. RIHANNA + PUDDING– It was my first time into Sugar Sweet Sunshine, a bakery on the Lower East Side known for it’s amazing puddings, cupcakes and cakes. I was overwhelmed by all the pudding options such as: Chocolate Bomb, Chocolate Chip, Banana Pudding, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Coffee, Red Velvet, The Nog, Mint Chocolate Chip. I was sitting there staring at each flavor, tasting a few, and then circling around to the cupcake counter to look at the line up from yellow cake, red velvet, pistachio, chocolate, lemon, etc. 10 minutes later by the time I walked out of their with my pumpkin pudding, I ran smack dab into RIHANNA filming her music video for What’s My Name where she has bright red hair and is prancing around in a black and white striped blazer. If I wasn’t so meticulous about what dessert to order, I would have never popped out to see her whipping back and forth and all the yellow tape up on the streets for do not cross.