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Making real life friends via Chowhound

I don't know why this hit me now, but I just realized that a significant percentage of my social circle has resulted directly or indirectly from Chowhound. Years ago, the Toronto board had regular chowmeets and I made several good friends via those. And through those friends, I have met and become friends with many other amazing, food-loving people. All of these are people that I get together with regularly, not only at restaurants, but at each others' homes. We cook, eat, share and laugh together (there may be the occasional karaoke, too).

As one of my dear friends is fond of saying: FOOD BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER.

So thanks Chowhound, for introducing me to a lot of wonderful people!

Has anyone else made friends in real life due to Chowhound?

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  1. Three in Florida where I am, one in Dallas, one in Scottsdale. All wonderful. Numerous others I correspond with and would like to meet, and I have had 2 flame-outs I never met. All in all a nice new dimension as I don't participate in social media and I tend to move around a lot. Unfortunately none in Mexico but home high speed internet is not yet commonplace in many areas so we don't have many regular hounds there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Veggo

      Whoops...can't leave out bagelman01 in New Haven last summer, so 6.

    2. well not in real life... but the board is a bastian that i have to talk about the things I am most passionate about without getting sideways glances and being called freak.

      1. I have made two sets of friends in the SF Bay Area thanks to Chowhound. My wife and I stay in touch with one couple.

        1. When Sam was failing, a bunch of us became his support group. We continue to keep in touch, and they have supported me through my husband's recent illness and death. I've only met one of them in person, but this small group of Chow friends keeps me going.

          4 Replies
          1. re: pikawicca

            And I love you, sweetie :)

            So, yeah, I've met a half dozen or so CHs in person and it's been great. While sharing via posts is great, sitting across the table is WAY better. The only Chowdowns I went to were super food-wise, ho-hum people wise.

            1. re: c oliver

              'The only Chowdowns I went to were super food-wise, ho-hum people wise.'

              Tru dat, been at three or four and did not work for me either.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                Chowmeets are by nature a mixed bag. There were a handful of people that gravitated to each other at the Toronto meets and we finally just realized it was easier to just get together ourselves.

                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  I think it would/might have been more successful had it been a larger group where you could "pair off" but it's a small CH group in the area.

            2. Wow, just counted up my up close and personal Chowhound friends and the number seems high, good for me.
              These are hounds l ate with at least twice regardless of venue and still see when in their area or they are where l am, which changes a lot.

              San Francisco-4
              Los Angeles-2

              In addition there is uhockey, we have both traveled to meet one another at various temples of Gastronomy in many cities, four come to mind.
              It was due to him, that l was included in the zillion course extended tasting menu at Per Se in 2/12 that lasted 6 hours and was just amazing. Another hound Ellenost was at that one as well.On that same trip he and l tried almost every confection Dominic Ansel baked. l am proud to have shared two of his three best meals ever and one of his worst at a Michelin ***.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                In addition to meeting folks from CH as they pass thru NYC (like uhockey), I've also met several CH posters when I've traveled to other places (Italy, Florida, California, Austin…). I consider more than a few of these "friends". But the main answer to your question is here in NYC where, over the years, I now have at least 20 friends as a result of CH. My wife and I are even going to a wedding this evening that resulted from participation on the board. My last foray into Flushing Chinatown this past week was with folks met thru CH posters. We went to dinner last night with another couple met thru CH over 10 years ago, who've been friends since. Yes, I do have other friends, some from college days, some from being neighbors, some from work and some from sports… but it's truly amazing how many friends I have from this silly pass-time!
                And, along the way, I've even found some places to eat.

                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  I'm pretty sure that your Per Se dinner with uhockey was within a day of my pizza outing with him. The man can eat.

                2. Great post Jo. I'm glad to have met you and your "possey" of friends and of course, your hubby.
                  You've proved a gracious host at your house and great at shepparding us towards some pretty awesome goodies.

                  I've also had the pleasure of meeting Alkapal and her hubby for cold beer and steamed crabs on a scorching hot summer night. Perhaps my favourite meal of all time.

                  You are right, food does bring people together but for me, it also opens my eyes to foods I wouldn't ordinarily eat or even know exist without all y'all.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Davwud

                    davwud and mrs. sippi -- you rock! that was fun!!! summer is another crab season, ya know! come back, come back.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      We will. Mrs. Sippi still hasn't seen DC so that is certainly on the itinerary for sometime in the not so far off future.


                  2. I just thought back on a second meeting with a CH. She gave us a great walking food tour of lower Manhattan, including a bite here and there, winding up at Momofuku Ssam. She could have made a living doing that had she chosen to.

                    1. I've had lunch, several times with 2 prominent goofball CH's...we eat, drink, laugh and scratch.

                      1. Absolutely not. ;)

                        In addition to you crazy Torontonians, on a trip to San Francisco with my mom and her friend, I had to explain to them that we were meeting a friend for dinner that I had never actually met in person...and that this was perfectly normal and not at all scary. That friend was the delightful alanbarnes, whose presence I dearly miss on these boards. And it was the best meal (and company) we had in a week of ridiculously good eating.

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: Wahooty

                          Without Chowhound, how would I ever have discovered that Wahooty does the best full-on chicken imitation that one could ever hope to see?!

                          If any of you ever have the opportunity to play Ultimate Charades with Wahooty, I highly recommend it.

                          1. re: TorontoJo

                            You might have had to pay for the privilege, as the residents of Lafayette, IN once had to.

                            Although I'm not sure "imitation" is the right word... I become one with my inner chicken. I take my craft very seriously. I also do not limit myself to one variety of poultry. But I love that both you and Jacquilynne have mentioned that within the last couple of weeks.

                            And without Chowhound, I never would have known the glory of a Steak Run.

                            1. re: Wahooty

                              We are sorely feeling the lack of good chicken impersonations here in Toronto since you left town. We just have to keep bringing it up in hopes that you'll bring the poultry roadshow back to visit.

                              1. re: Jacquilynne

                                jeez - get your game on, all it takes really is a lack of self-respect or shame

                                if 'Kids in the Hall' Mark whathisname can do it...

                                1. re: hill food

                                  "all it takes really is a lack of self-respect or shame"

                                  DINGDINGDING! That's me to a T.

                                  hill, you are on fire tonight. Have we met? ;)

                                  1. re: Wahooty

                                    maybe someday. I'm just everybody's friend, I'm like that weird kid down the street.

                                    you're where(or were) Toronto? I haven't even been up to Chicago in years. but both great cities.

                                    1. re: hill food

                                      I was Toronto for a few years...where I first discovered CH. Now I'm small-town Michigan...basically six hours due west. But in Chicago and DC several times a year. I am a bit of a gypsy.

                                2. re: Jacquilynne

                                  If you are ever in Austin we'll take youto Mrs.Ps Electric Cock

                            2. re: Wahooty

                              alanbarnes - that's a name I haven't seen in a while, is there a story that I wasn't aware of? I have almost always liked his posts (which is about as good as it gets).

                              1. re: hill food

                                Not much of a story. He just kind of got fed up. Pun intended. I still see him on facebook, but miss him around these parts. Keep hoping he'll reappear, but I think it's a lost cause.

                                1. re: Wahooty

                                  oh good, I was fearing the worst. cranky is cool. dead is depressing.

                                2. re: hill food

                                  We try to meet for lunch at a fave Chinese spot when we're passing through Sacramento. He's good.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Awwww.... I like you...at least most of the time. ;)

                                  1. re: girloftheworld

                                    Ipse beat be in a chess game here that was deleted. He outwits me at every turn. I hope that lightning strikes his fly.

                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                    ipse - well if you could just stop calling us all those names with that potty mouth of yours...

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      Probably intimidated. You get around and you know my area better than I do. Five Guys, it would would be...

                                    2. I've encountered folks that seem fun outside of CH and are 'friends' on line and it's fun to get their perspective on things.

                                      and have (still just digitally) met up with someone who ran in the same or tangential RL circles as I did long ago. been fun to compare notes.

                                      13 Replies
                                      1. re: hill food

                                        hill food, more fun still to meet them in person and break bread. Brings cyberspace down to earth and adds some reality!

                                            1. re: Veggo

                                              Only if you're foraging in NYC.

                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                We have now cross-pollinated three threads.....

                                          1. re: hill food

                                            hill food, as you may or not remember, we had lunch at Michel Richard's Central in DC and had his "faux gras" with a couple of martinis each. All thanks to you. A great lunch. Thanks again.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              this sounds sooo familiar. the sad part is for me if they are on the drinks menu, then 2 martinis easily turn into 6.

                                              but yes, it was perhaps the best lunch I have ever had in DC. if you were across the table or on my left doesn't matter as it's all still shifting. (who still uses Esperanto?)

                                              the stuff of fable and legend (and restraining orders - wasn't he the BEST bail bondsman EVER?).

                                              1. re: hill food

                                                I recently checked the menu and the 'faux gras' isn't listed.

                                                Six martinis each?????? That exceeds even MY limits.

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  it moves between lunch and dinner, season and whim. as I posted in response to someone the other day on the hunt for chopped liver "it is a most elusive dish"

                                                  ehh if you're in DC again call ahead and beg. chefs have egos too.

                                                  but that bondsman - that's the number to keep.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    Even when the faux gras isn't on the menu as a separate item, it's on the charcuterie plate appetizer. Agree that Central is a good lunch.

                                                    The duck rillettes is what really impressed. I make it myself out of the carcass every time I cook duck since having it there. I also made it out of goose last xmas.

                                                    1. re: JonParker

                                                      Good to know. We keep saying we need to make it back. We do house exchanges :)

                                                      1. re: JonParker

                                                        RIS does a darn good charcuterie as well, different, more sedate mood, but I suppose that's for a different thread.

                                              2. 8 years ago, during my annual trip to Hong Kong, I manage to arrange for my first chowmeet there. Since then, it has blossomed into an annual event with at least a dozen participants. This year, I had the honour of having chowhounders flying specially from Singapore, Seoul, Toronto and Tokyo just to join the event!!

                                                During the first Hong Kong meet, I had the pleasure of making acquaintance with Singapore Hound - 'Fourseasons'. Since that first meet, we have made it an effort to try to have chowmeet everyyear! So far we have had multiple chowmeets in Hong Kong, Singapore and New York. A chowmeet in Tokyo or Spain is in the pipeline!!

                                                Another friendship created through Chowhound was me and 'skylineR33'. Initially, he lived way out west. Out of the blue, he e-mailed me one day telling me he had just moved to a street a minute drive from me!! Now, not only do we have regular micro-chowmeet. We also have 'winemeet' at each other house as well!

                                                So 'Yes'! Chowhound does bring people together! - like you and I, TorontoJo, plus the 40+ chowhounders who participated in my Fantasy Eatery, Hi Shanghai, Maple Yip, O'Mei and Emperor chowmeets!!!!!!

                                                May the 'Chow-Force' be with us!!!

                                                9 Replies
                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                    I think the super-active Toronto board has the most chowmeets and hence the most new friendship created??!! In addition to the few I arranged, I also attended Indian food chowmeet arranged by Estufarian, home pot luck party by TorontoJo as well as BBQ chowmeet at Phil's......etc

                                                    1. re: Charles Yu

                                                      This must be that famous Canadian hospitality i hear so much about

                                                      1. re: girloftheworld

                                                        gotw, if I could only teach you one thing in this world, it would be that Canadians are awesome.

                                                        1. re: Wahooty

                                                          Wow, all my Canadian relatives are bullies and jerks. And sooo not into good food.

                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                            You clearly need to meet my Canadian friends.


                                                            JMF, meet TorontoJo and Jacquilynne. If you ever do so in real life, please invite me, because meeting JMF is on my CH bucket list.

                                                            1. re: JMF

                                                              " .... all my Canadian relatives are bullies and jerks."

                                                              Hope their last names aren't "Ford" ......

                                                    2. I've been organizing regular Chowhound meals in the DC area for about 10 years now. The level of activity goes through cycles, but at times it's been as often as once a week. I suppose I've met at least 80 Chowhounds in the DC/Baltimore area. My current email list is 55. Most meals are from 4 to 12 people. When I travel, I try to visit out of town Chowhounds and I have reached out to DC visitors if they post their email in their profile, so I've met quite a few Chowhounds from elsewhere.

                                                      Yes, some have become dear friends, and almost all have become cherished if infrequent companions.

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: Steve

                                                        And meeting you at Etete was GREAT!!!!! Turned us on to Ethiopian food and amazingly we now have a really good one in Reno of all places.

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          Yes, it was great meeting you. Makes life better.

                                                        2. re: Steve

                                                          I attended one of Steve's chow lunches 3-4 years ago and met him and several other 'hounds. I have become RL friends with a bunch of people I came to know through a non-food oriented board - we've known each other for more than 15 years, get together regularly, and have taken trips together. So fun.

                                                          1. re: tcamp

                                                            yeah I used to compartmentalize my friends. now I enjoy the cross-pollinations.

                                                            1. re: tcamp

                                                              This week is pretty busy. Persian last Thursday, Burmese tonight (you can still come if you want to), Sichuan last night, Shaanxi before that, and Bolivian this Thursday for lunch (you are welcome to PM me).

                                                              This goes for you too, hill food.

                                                              1. re: Steve

                                                                ahh I'd love to, but I'm currently out of the area keeping my dad off ladders among other rural pursuits.

                                                                1. re: Steve

                                                                  Sent you a message with my email address.

                                                              2. re: Steve

                                                                I'm in Baltimore and would love to join your email liat

                                                              3. This sounds wonderful. Anybody interested in meeting for lunch in Manhattan on work days? I can use lunch buddies in Midtown east.

                                                                7 Replies
                                                                1. re: Monica

                                                                  I suggest you post a notice on your local board (allowed on Chowhound) and put an email address in your profile to do the organizing (not allowed on Chowhound).

                                                                  1. re: Monica

                                                                    Definitely post on Manhattan about this. I made some of my best, closest friends through Chowhound events here in Toronto, long before I was ever a volunteer moderator or the Community Manager. Plus, we tried a lot of great (and occasionally some only okay) restaurants, so it's something I heartily recommend to everyone.

                                                                    Here are the guidelines from the FAQ: http://www.chow.com/faq#chowdowns

                                                                    1. re: Monica

                                                                      I'd be up for this next time in NYC, Monica.

                                                                      I'm usu. in/around Midtown West, but don't mind going east.

                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                        if your ever in texas- we(the parentalunit and I) can show the beauty of Austin food

                                                                        1. re: girloftheworld


                                                                          I do, in fact, make it to Austin every once in a while. Thanks.

                                                                      2. re: Monica

                                                                        I would certainly be interested, my email is on my profile, hit me up if you put something together. Later lunch that would involve cocktails would work best with me!!!

                                                                        1. re: Monica

                                                                          Yes include me, if it is scheduled. See my profile for e-mail address

                                                                        2. I've met some wonderful people here on CH -- the lovely alanbarnes for a great crab feast in Bawlmer many moons ago -- I think we were all headed to the Rally for Sanity, so this must've been in 09 or such.

                                                                          Met a current DC resident back in Berlin one summer, and we stay in touch both online and for the occasional get-together.

                                                                          4 lovely ladies in the NYC metro area whom I've met personally several times for delightful meals - most of them in Chinatown, a few on the left coast that I haven't met in person yet but would love to if I ever head that way….

                                                                          1. Yes, I have made offline friends as a direct result of Chowhound or events where I found out one of the participants posted on Chowhound. And actually with only two exceptions I have liked all of the Chowhound people that I have met in person.

                                                                            1. Nice post TorontoJo!

                                                                              I look forward to spending some more time with you whenever we next meet :)

                                                                              1. yep! have met at least 7-8 in person, some who have become dear, close friends, and another handful on FB (after chatting so much on CH), whom i hope to meet in person someday.

                                                                                1. I have had the sincere privilege of meeting a hand full of my local Chow's at a meet and greet I organized about a year go. One of the guests who honored us with his attendance was actually the person who first introduced me to Chow, as a customer in one of my restaurants at the time.

                                                                                  I wish I was available to go to more get together's, as my local (NJ) board is a very social one and seems to make many attempt's at get together's. (Next one scheduled for this Sat!!)

                                                                                  Although I have only met in person a handful I do consider many of you to be "online" friends, whom I do hold in high regard. I thoroughly enjoy my time on here and hope I
                                                                                  contribute to the experience of other users.

                                                                                  I hope I've come a long way from the days when the therapists would tell my mother "Jr doesn't play well with others".

                                                                                  1. I have made a few great real-life friends through Chowhound. I have also had the pleasure of meeting up with fellow hounds for meals across the world: in Boston, San Francisco, New York, London, Mexico City, and Kuala Lumpur!

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Dave MP

                                                                                      I met my first Chowhound in San Francisco (isn't there a song about that?) though I live in Vancouver. In 2009, a couple of us started a Chowhound group here and did dozens of Chowdowns. I still keep in touch with a few of those folks but funnily enough most of my Chowfriends are in the Bay Area, where I'm lucky enough to visit twice yearly. Sometimes there is a formal Chowdown, sometimes I meet up with people for a meal here and there but we always have a great time and eat excessively well.

                                                                                    2. Great post. I've met some of my cooking buddies when I've gone out of town, and even went on vacation with two of them. Just as wonderful in person as on the screen. I'd love to meet more of them.

                                                                                      And we're lucky to have a very friendly and fairly active group in the NC Triangle area. Made a lot of friends here through the love of food. These are serious friendships, not just based on food.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                        We do have a really nice group in the Triangle!

                                                                                        Aside from local get-togethers I've had some e-mail conversations with a wide geographic scattering of CH's. I've also had some very nice meals and conversation with CH's who live in city's I traveled too.

                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                          Well, LulusMom and the ever lovely Lulu facilitated a local Chowdown this evening. I think it was the best one yet! The food from a very good restaurant was better than ever and the group was a perfect size and composed of a lovely group of people.

                                                                                          I'm always surprised how uncomfortable many people are about the idea of meeting on-line acquaintances face to face. With CH you often get a good feel for a person after reading their comments over time. These Chowdowns are in public places, and normal precautions with strangers observed, are a terrific way to meet people and share a great meal. I really encourage anyone with an interest to take a chance and try to arrange one in your area!

                                                                                          1. re: meatn3

                                                                                            We went to two and, while the food was terrific, we had almost nothing in common or anything to say to these folks. But I've been very happy when I've met other CHs in non-chowdown situations.

                                                                                        2. I know a couple of local Chowhounders from other food things (eGullet, for example), but have never met any Chowers, though I would like to. Anyone passing through Cleveland, I'd be glad to meet you for a drink/nosh.