Locale’s OC Food Bloggers InstaGrammys
Written by: Angela Hatcher Orange County Foodies
You voted and the results from your Top Five Favorite Orange County Foodie are in! Whether food is your craving or your passion, these top five foodie pros take mealtime and sweet delights up a few notches to make your next dining trip one of the yummiest in the OC. From Anti Bitch Serum coffee drinks to mile-high sugary doughnuts and more, we can all agree that the five foodie winners top the epicurean charts, so here are a few words from the winners:
Orange County Foodies
Christina Bui and Thinh Le | @donutscookiesandcream
Q: How excited are you to be one of Locale Magazine’s blog poll winners?
Christina Bui/Thinh Le: We are thrilled to be part of the Top Five! Orange County has SO many foodies, so it’s an honor to be recognized alongside some of our distinguished foodie friends!
Q: What inspired you on your journey to becoming a food blogger?
CB/TXL: We have the biggest sweet tooth and always sought out to be adventurous and try the newest foods (mostly desserts!). We’ve always loved taking photos with our iPhones and DSLR camera, so this food journey sparked our love for photography even more. We figured showing our love of food would inspire others to be adventurous, too!
Q: What is the best and worst thing about being a food blogger?
CB/TXL: The best thing about being a food blogger is getting the opportunity to try new foods before it’s released to the general public. We’ve also met some of the most AMAZING people in this industry that have become some of our very good friends, too. We’d have to say that the worst thing about being a food blogger is having our camera eat first—by the time we’re ready to eat our food, it’s cold (LOL), and not necessarily as good as it would be if we ate it fresh!
Q: What would you like your fans to know about you?
CB/TXL: Even though we eat a ton of foods and desserts, we like to live a balanced lifestyle by working out frequently. We love powerlifting and yoga. If we know that we have a media event to attend, then we’ll work out extra hard (so that we can eat more, of course)!
Q: And lastly, Christine and Thinh, inquiring minds want to know where is your go-to place when your sweet tooth craving kicks in?
CB/TXL: Definitely Sidecar Doughnuts! Their donuts are next level!
Connie Aboubakare | @occomestibles
Q: How does it feel to be one of Locale Magazine’s blog poll winners?
Connie Aboubakare: Wow! What a surprise and such an honor to be mentioned and recognized. Honestly, I am surprised, and I don’t know how or even what I did to deserve this honor. I am always grateful for the opportunity and especially to be noticed for the work that I do. Thank you so much!
Q: How did you become interested in the food industry, and how did you become a top food blogger?
CA: I love to cook and bake. I love cooking and gifting my baked goods to my family and friends. I really love bringing my family together for a meal. Also, my husband and I love to date, and we have date nights once a week; this tradition of ours goes way back, even to when our kids were very young. Through our date nights, we have always tried different restaurants. I would share these home cooking recipes and new restaurant experiences with my family and friends on social media. A few years ago, I decided to learn how to use my DSLR, so I started taking food pics and documenting on Instagram, Facebook and my website (of which I am kind of behind!). Honestly, I still don’t know how I received this award since I just love food. I love to cook, and I love trying new restaurants. I love meeting wonderful and talented chefs, and bringing family and friends together is my all-time favorite thing to do.
Q: You have brought some to-die-for dishes to the table; what is your all-time favorite comfort food?
CA: My all-time favorite comfort food to make is Vietnamese braised fish in a clay pot.
Q: Are there any ingredients that you just really don’t like?
CA: I must admit that I am not a big fan of pork.
Q: If I’m going to create one great seafood dish from your blog, which one should it be and why?
CA: I would highly recommend the baked salmon spring rolls. They are easy to make, fun to eat and refreshingly healthy.
Andy Hoang | @goodeatzco
Q: Are you excited to be one of Locale Magazine’s blog poll winners?
Andy Hoang: It’s an honor!
Q: What was the inspiration for becoming a food blogger?
AH: Who doesn’t love food? Honestly, it all started when I would see food bloggers on my personal account. I wanted to see if I could start one myself, and I did!
Q: As your blog suggests, you really don’t seem to believe in counting calories. What’s your secret to staying in balance?
AH: A lot of time in the gym, believe me. You can’t skip out on cardio.
Q: What’s the one thing you’d like your audience to know about you?
AH: As much as I love going out to eat, the gym is a top priority to me. In fact, I would go to the gym before getting any work done!
Q: What does your death row meal consist of?
AH: Definitely Carne Asada Fries with Churros as a dessert.
Alex Yu | @orangecountycuisine
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Q: What does it mean to you to be one of Locale Magazine’s blog poll winners?
Alex Yu: I really appreciate the opportunity to do this interview and think it means a lot! I’ve been really busy last year with a new job and haven’t been as active on my page, so I’m really happy that I was still able to leave a strong impression. Thanks to everyone for sticking with me and I’ll do my best to start posting more again soon!
Q: What prompted you to become a food blogger?
AY: After graduating college, one of the main ways I kept in touch with friends was going out with them and trying new restaurants. During that time, lots of cool restaurants were opening, so I figured that I should try documenting everything so that I could remember my favorite dishes. Next thing I knew, people that I didn’t even know started following my page, and it just grew from there.
Q: Your blog offers some amazing and colorful dishes. What is one of your all-time favorite dishes to whip up in your kitchen?
AY: To be honest, my culinary skills are pretty limited. If I had to choose one, I’d have to say Pad See Ew! One of my college roommates taught me how to make it, and I’ve been making it ever since!
Q: Name three ingredients that you eliminate even when a recipe calls for it.
AY: Celery, bell peppers and olives.
Q: What are your favorite regional cuisines or specific foods?
AY: I’m a HUGE fan of Japanese food! I think Orange County has some really good options for it, like Oki Doki Izakaya, Meiji Seimen, Ramen Kitakata Ban Nai and Ohshima–just to name a few.
Jed Cartojano | @dailyfoodfeed
Q: How stoked are you to be a Locale Magazine blog poll winners?
Jed Cartojano: I am SO STOKED to be a Locale Magazine food blogger winner! Having grown up here in Orange County, I love OC and the food we have here, so I am honored to be recognized as someone people look to in finding some cool spots to try in my hometown.
Q: What journey led you to become a winning food blogger?
JC: Wow! It definitely has been a journey! First and foremost, I love food. There’s no denying that. I came to love discovering new foods and places to eat because growing up, I never really got the chance since I come from a Filipino family where home-cooked meals were the standard and going out to eat was only meant for special occasions. Secondly, I started @dailyfoodfeed in 2015 as a test for my restaurant marketing agency that I started around the same time. Instagram was starting to become a great marketing tool for restaurants because of how it was able to visually represent food, and I wanted to learn how to best represent food through photos on Instagram. I had no idea that my “test” would become what it is today, but it has definitely changed my life in the best way possible. Because of @dailyfoodfeed, not only do I have a great avenue for me to share my “eats” with a large number of people and have become a top food influencer, I’m also now able to share my knowledge of what I’ve learned about restaurants through my marketing agency, Squad Goals Media, start my own successful dessert shop, The Loop: Handcrafted Churros, and most importantly, meet some of my best friends that I have today.
Q: Why do you think that your blog grew to 100,000 followers in a mere 8 months?
JC: I was in shock! Never in my wildest dreams was that something I thought was possible, or even reachable in my Instagram lifetime. People were discovering @dailyfoodfeed at an INSANE rate at the time, and I couldn’t have been more excited. It also made me want to work even harder on Instagram and provide the best content for my new following, so ultimately, my following just helped me become a better content creator more than ever. It’s insane to think about that feeling of 100,000 and now I’m here with over 600,000 followers to act way too casual about it. I am so thankful for my loyal followers for sticking with me through all of this time sharing my food.
Q: Aside from Dim Sum, what is your second favorite meal?
JC: In-N-Out! I have such a deep-rooted love for it! I have even talked about it on my blog. It’s a little long, so you can find it here:
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Q: What advice would you have for a wannabe food blogger?
JC: My advice to an aspiring Instagram food blogger would be to DO IT if you’re a real foodie and love sharing your food finds with others. Don’t do it for the followers or the likes on Instagram. Do it because you have a passion for food, and the followers and likes will follow. Work on your content and how you represent food through Instagram and find a style that makes you look at your own blog and make yourself feel hungry because others will think the same.
And, there you have it—a few words, inspirations and foodie secrets told from our amazing foodie blogger winners. Congratulations to all, and we will see you in the food aisles!