November 21, 2008
Time For A Course Other Than Another Appetizer

According to the calculator with the software that powers this blog, this is the 760th entry I've written since Appetizers began in May 2006. What the calculator doesn't say is that this entry will be my last.

At the outset, I said I wanted Appetizers primarily to be the outlet where I could post observations, news and tips about wine, food and restaurants that might not find as timely a place in one of my dining or wine columns in The Bee. By and large, that's how it worked out.

Less successful was a secondary goal - to encourage readers to ask questions, take issue with opinions expressed here, and otherwise participate in what I'd hoped would be an ongoing dialogue. I suspect the primary reason things didn't work out that way was that I never developed a comfortable blog voice, one that compels and provokes.

But there were other reasons why Appetizers didn't become a kind of online coffee house where anyone could jump in with a question or comment, I sense. For various reasons, readers couldn't even post comments for the first several months it was up and running, and that delayed traction for the anticipated exchanges. I also now realize that blogs need promotion and marketing to develop a following, and that didn't materialize to any great extent.

If I were to stick around, I'd lobby more energetically for that kind of support for all the blogs emanating from 21st and Q. But that isn't why this is my last posting. After I hit the "publish" button I'll pack up the last of my tasting notes, the bumblebee rock paperweight my granddaughter painted for me several years ago, the photo of my wife, and head out the door for the last time. I've accepted The Bee's voluntary buyout, and look forward to eating at The Waterboy, Lemon Grass, Mulvaney's, Biba and other restaurants without fretting about whether the battery in my digital recorder abruptly will die.

I'm going away, but Appetizers isn't. My colleague Chris Macias, who also is assuming much of the food and wine writing at The Bee, will take over Appetizers. He'll bring a fresh and energetic voice to this space, and I look forward to his observations on the local culinary scene. I may even post a comment here now and then. But I'm taking the silhouette with me.

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