Cathy Danh's Los Angeles-based food blog, Gastronomy, straddles science and language, table and stove. Danh likes to cook, eat and write. Her fiancé (and frequent dining partner) Vernon Chaplin, aka The Astronomer, is a physicist who also enjoys eating, particularly with Danh. To manage the impact of their culinary interests on their waistlines, they jog, as portrayed in a recent post on their dumpling marathon.
When she isn't behind her desk at Pasadena City College, Danh is out scouring the city for a good meal with her trusty sidekick, or digging up an old family recipe to share on the blog. Danh's posts are personal and historical, her blog a vibrant scrapbook, laced with family recipes, mentions of her table company, a catalogue of local cupcake bakeries, and exotic street food. Scrolling through Gastronomy, you will find recipes for vegetarian pho and chocolate chips cookies, photos of The Astronomer and The Gastronomer's travels through Asia and Mexico, and an entire section dedicated to banh mi. We tracked down Danh through email to ask a few questions about her food blogging hobby and her favorite local eats.
Squid Ink: How long have you been blogging about food?
Cathy Danh: I started Gastronomy in 2006 while living in Philadelphia.
SI: What's your real job?
CD: I am a writer and editor in the public relations office at Pasadena City College.
SI: What's your favorite little-known food blog?
CD: Ravenous Couple, a thoughtful and beautiful site full of homey Vietnamese recipes. There are also a smattering of L.A. restaurant reviews. Another favorite is Eating Asia, a South East Asian food and travel blog written and photographed by two American expats. I can't decide which moves me more, the words or the images. Both are seriously amazing.
SI: Do you cook?
CD: Yes! Eating at home offers the perfect balance to dining out. I try to have a baked good in the house at all times, which means I'm constantly baking up a storm. I also like to recreate family recipes that I grew up eating. I'm currently loving with my grandma's Thit Kho (braised pork with eggs).
SI: What do you consider unique about food blogging in Los Angeles?
CD: Bloggers in LA are obsessed with being the first to dine at a new establishment. I'm the type of eater that prefers to wait for the good reviews to roll in before slapping down my credit card for a taste. I really appreciate the extreme lengths that LA bloggers go to sample a new restaurant's entire menu on the very first night of business. Another unique aspect of food blogging in LA is the tight-knit community. I never once met a fellow food blogger while writing in Philly or Vietnam. In LA, we seem to meet up at least once a week for an epic feast. The quest for dining excellence is much more fun with like-minded friends.
SI: What's your favorite food truck, if you have one?
CD: Cool Haus. I've got a penchant for sweets and a soft spot for smart, entrepreneurial-minded women.
SI: Are you from LA? If not, where?
CD: From age zero to 18, I lived in San Diego. I lived in Philly for seven years for college and work. I lived in Vietnam for a year. I've been calling LA home for a year.
SI: What's restaurant do you most frequent in LA?
CD: Living in Pasadena, I find myself trolling for Chinese fare in Alhambra, Monterey Park, and San Gabriel quite a bit. My favorite joint is Dean Sin World because it reminds me of living in Asia — great food, great prices, smiling ladies.