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November 20, 2014

Three weeks ago, my good friend Danielle and I were invited to a Food Blogger’s Happy Hour in Midtown. Well, saying we were invited is quite a stretch. We Googled “how to become a famous blogger” and this event was the first thing listed. It took place at a bar called Latitudes at 7:30PM, so we decided to grab a bite to eat after work so we could catch up and not be the first ones there, waiting at the bar, desperate for someone to talk to us. (This still happened, but more on that later).


Our original plan was to meet up at Briciola in Hells Kitchen, but the entire restaurant was the size of my bedroom closet, so with her giant bag and my high anxiety level, we decided we should go somewhere a little less claustrophobic.


We looked directly across the street and there was this charming wine bar called Xai Xai, so we jaywalked across 50th street and went inside. Unlike Briciola, this place was open and empty. Perfect for two loud friends to enjoy a meal and a bottle of wine.


Upon sitting down, we had no idea that Xai Xai was a South African tapas restaurant. I had never eaten cuisine from South Africa so I was extremely excited to try it. (See also: Braii for the Brave).


Our waiter came over and explained a little bit about the menu. Before he could read the specials, we interrupted him and said, “Bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, please.” While he was getting our wine, we started talking about everything that has been going on with us the past few weeks. 


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Danielle and I used to hang out all of the time, but then she moved to Westchester and we barely get to see each other, so when we do, there is a lot of ground to cover. After we each gulped down a glass of wine, and telling the waiter “5 more minutes” four times, we finally decided to order. Being a tapas-style restaurant, we figured we would each pick out one or two things and share. During our ordering, the waiter suggested we get the “Rainbow Platter” which comes with a choice of 5 tapas for 35$ - not a bad deal, huh? There were so many items to choose from, it was hard to narrow it down to just five. 


We ultimately chose: The ostrich burgers, which were amazing. I had never eaten ostrich meat before and it was so tender and juicy. The macaroni and cheese, naturally, and it was one of my favorites in the city. So cheesy. We also ordered the eggplant lasagna, the Portobello mushrooms and goat cheese, and some sort of salad (I forget what kind…a “lettuce salad” maybe? I don’t know…)

Mac & Cheese

Ostrich Braii Burgers

Each and every item that we chose was amazing and left us full, satisfied, and ready to mingle at the Food Bloggers event. I, as you know, have a fantastic food blog, and Danielle has a charming and witty lifestyle blog all about her adventures in Westchester, called Ms. Westchester (check it out…but after you finish reading my post please).


We headed down 8th avenue until we reached the bar and waltzed in there like we owned the joint. The bouncer put his arm out in front of us and said, “Excuse me, hold up.”


“Um, I’m going upstairs to the blogger event. I hate to name drop, but I’m The Hunger James…I’m kind of a big deal…” I said, reaching into my back pocket to pull out a business card.


“That’s great” he replied. “But I need to see some I.D.”


Feeling humbled – and humiliated – I pulled out my driver’s license while Danielle acted like she didn’t know me.


Finally upstairs, we looked around the almost-empty bar. The girl at the front handed us nametags with a Sharpie and told us to write our name, our blogs title, and our Twitter handle. Once this was done, we stuck them on and headed to the bar, got a round of beers, and waited for someone to talk to us.

After fifteen minutes, we finally decided that we should just go up to people to begin a conversation. “They are all just intimidated” Danielle assured me.


The first girl we talked to was named Kim or Janice or something and she had just started a Vegan Food Blog and was explaining to us the importance of eating not only vegan, but organic.




We then spoke with a guy who was lost and looking for his softball league. We gave him business cards anyways.


All in all, it was a very successful night. Were we discovered? Did we catch our big blogger break? Did anyone follow us back on Instagram? No. But we had an amazing meal, drank (a lot) of alcohol, and laughed. What more could you ask for on a New York Tuesday night? 

Ms. Westchester & The Hunger James

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