I thought pretty hard for the past few weeks about what to write as my farewell blog post on Clean Plate Charlie. I've been writing for this thing for more than two years now and working at New Times for four. And at the end of this month, I'll be hitting the road (literally), leaving the paper behind for a cross-country road trip and whatever life may bring afterward.
It wasn't an easy call, and in many ways, I'm sad to be going. Writing
for this paper has been a life-changing experience. I've had the
opportunity to work with easily the smartest, funniest, most
intelligent group of people I've ever been around -- and that's no
joke. The writers who have come and gone from this place have been
amazing inspirations and great friends. There have been times when I've
thought I must be the luckiest person in the world to work in an
environment like this. We've had some truly unique times together:
Taco Tuesdays, drinking at Maguire's, and field trips to Le Tub;
tree-climbing, beach parties, Grumpus-farming, and picnics in Holiday
Park. New Times is more than a paper -- it's a family. I really appreciate having been a part of it.
Thanks to Eric, Deirdra, Ed, Robert, Tony, and all the editors who've
helped me along the way. Thank you Gail for being my mentor and one
hell of a writer. Thanks Mooney, Mickey, Erica, Tara, Keef, Miche, Bob, Jamie, Tom,
Smashley, Lisa, Lisa Two, Amy, Stefan, Devin, Rebecca, Leslie, Jonathan, Reed,
Jeff, Jason, Kelly, Brandon, Penn, and anyone else I might have missed.
As far as the restaurants, South Florida is a tough place to own a
business, let alone a business as unforgiving as food. To the ones who
make it work, you're the shining spots on a very strange and rocky
landscape. Thanks for some damned good eats.
But the biggest thanks I have to give to the readers. I didn't get into writing on purpose, and I didn't expect to make any
real impact on the paper -- or South Florida -- when I started. I don't
know if I have or not, but some of the comments and letters I've
received from readers telling me they loved a restaurant I recommended
or just enjoyed one of my articles has been my inspiration and reason
to keep on writing. To anyone who's ever been a reader of Clean Plate
or my column, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. Writing
about restaurants is a tough and humbling experience. Despite
the perception, eating for a living is not a cake walk. You guys have
made it much easier.
I'll still be blogging and writing until I leave at the end of November. Anyone interested in becoming a restaurant critic should go here.