I had an out-of-body experience yesterday: I resigned from my job as restaurant critic.
This is a job I've really loved, and have taken pride in. Nothing gives me a bigger charge than getting readers excited about what's going on in our city. It's a thrill to talk to creative people about what they do, how they're following their passions -- and to write all about it.
Sharing my thoughts on our fast-paced restaurant scene with a weekly column as well as on Chow Bella (remember these kooky posts from back in the day?) is a privilege I take seriously -- hell, I dream about this stuff.
And I've enjoyed reader feedback so much that some email exchanges have led to amazing friendships. (All of you who're blowing up my phone, thanks! I swear I'll get back to you soon -- although I might need a glass of malbec first.)
I think I've been destined to do this ever since second grade, when I brought cocktail shrimp to show-and-tell and showed my classmates how to peel them.
Over more than ten years at New Times, I've also written cover stories on maverick Arizona winemakers, interviewed rock stars, edited talented writers, and hung out at recording studios, galleries, and fashion shows. I know Phoenix far better than I ever imagined I could when I first landed here in Y2K, and I've learned so much from wonderful mentors and colleagues at New Times.
It's been a blast, but I've decided to embrace the future -- just wait until you see what I've got in the works. For now, while I'm still onboard (and still blogging) here, I'll keep things under wraps, but if you'd like to stay in touch, you can find me on Twitter at @MicheleLaudig and at michelelaudig.com.