Earlier this week, I was in Tribeca after a dentist appointment. I had a few hours to kill before meeting with a potential client. It was pouring rain, cold, slushy and generally unpleasant outside, so wandering around window shopping didn't seem so inviting, and I didn't really have enough time to go home then come back for my appointment (the only downside to living in Brooklyn, in my opinion). I passed a Le Pain Quotidien on W. Broadway, so I decided to stop in for a late (second) breakfast, and to while away some time.
I ordered my favorite item there - the single soft-boiled egg with toast(s), and while I was enjoying it, I realized that this was probably my favorite thing to have for breakfast. I also realized that part of what prompted this particular realization while enjoying this particular soft-boiled egg was the experience of eating a soft-boiled egg at Le Pain Quotidien. For anyone not familiar with LPQ, they are actually a chain of Cafe's originally from Belgium, and their primary focus is on making really great bread (thus Le Pain). They also primarily use organic ingredients, make a lot of their own condiments and products (jams, spreads, granola, etc), and in all of my experiences, make very simple but very delicious cafe/bakery style food.
Being an IA, I started cataloging what it was about the experience of eating at LPQ that made it particularly pleasant: they provided jams and spreads on the table without me having to ask. Each table had salt and pepper grinders. The menus were easy to read, explained what is in each item, and provided calorie counts (now a NY city law for restaurants with 15 or more locations, and possibly soon a national requirement). They have a well defined brand, and one that appeals to me - Simple French rustic - that they have consistently applied to all of the myriad spaces they have throughout NYC. The service was friendly and efficient, there was never any pressure for me to move on or order more food (I was there for over 2 hours), it was relatively quiet with low classical music playing, and on this cold day, it was warm and cozy.
Since I went back to independent consulting work last fall, I've been thinking that I should start writing a blog- ideally a blog that discussed or analyzed the type of work I do. Keeping your finger on the pulse of what is happening on the interwebs, and being able to synthesize and comment on practice, process and theory of experience design is a requirement for a UX consultant. The problem is, there are tons of UX blogs out there, some more personal, some for specific niche markets, some are merely marketing tools for companies, and some better than others. I find a lot of these compelling and interesting, but I also find them hard to differentiate and really difficult to keep up with reading them. So how could I exacerbate the problem by starting a new "UX" centered blog?
I love food and I love cooking. As I was enjoying my last piece of LPQ toast with their Brunette spread, I thought, "why not start a blog about the user experience of eating and cooking?" I quickly came up with a long list of things I could possibly write about.
There is actually one blog that I found that does this already (curses!) which is actually quite good, but a little more philosophical and theoretical that I plan on being here. I hope to focus more on the idea of 'usability' (I'll write more about my methodology later) of eating and cooking. This won't be a restaurant review site, but I will be writing about restaurants, stores, and cooking tools and about what makes an eating or cooking experience particularly good or bad.
We'll see how it goes...