Even though you’re probably too busy doing deals to force down much more than the odd PowerBar and Monster energy drink combo, eating food is much more than just a necessity for staying alive. Now, thanks to the ‘Net, it’s another killer app for showing people how cool you are. So if you want to integrate strategic food appreciation into your personal brand (and you should), here’s a handy guide to spicing up your food eating strat.
Follow the Food Trucks — There is almost nothing cooler than eating food prepared on a truck that has fancy branding, a ‘cross-fusion’ menu selection, and a Twitter account (if it doesn’t have those things, it’s just a regular lunch truck, and eating food off it is gross and for poor people). But if it’s a real food truck, with a web-optimized name like Om Nom Nommers, something about standing in line for an hour to eat Indian Tikka Masala Tacos hunched over a little cardboard fry boat just makes the whole dining experience about 100x more delicious and cool.
Subscribe to Newsletters That Tell You Which Cool Restaurants the Cool People Go To So You Can Be Cool, Too — You know if a place was just featured on Thrillist or Daily Candy, it will be frequented by many cool people, but not TOO MANY cool people, because only really cool people know about these cool insidery newsletters.
Find Hole-In-the-Wall Ethnic Food Places That Are So Dirty, “Authentic”, and Undiscovered They’re Not Even On Foursquare Yet — Among a certain type of person (white), eating food has eclipsed listening to music as a leading signifier or cultural cred, So instead of bragging about the smallest place you saw Arcade Fire perform, try telling others about a super-authentic Indonesian street noodle place you found in a filthy basement under a massage parlor.
Anytime You Go to a Cool Restaurant, Make a Big Show of Documenting It Across Your Entire Social Network — You’ve got to Tweet, status update, Foursquare check-in, Tumblr pic, Flickr share, Yelp review and update your LinkedIn by the end of your meal, otherwise it’s like you were never even there. If you don’t already know what constitutes a ‘cool restaurant’, you need to jack your strat (or just pick up a NY Magazine), but here are a few helpful hints for you entry-levs out there: anywhere with a ‘Tasting Menu’, places where hipster celebrity chefs do really fancy things with pork, crazy ‘Molecular Gastronomy’ places, any meal priced over $100/per person, all Momofukus.
Jack In To the Secret Underground Dining Clubs and Speakeasy Scene — In all the major cities, there are secret underground supper clubs happening right now. Basically you go to the home or ‘raw space’ of some hipster couple who fancies themselves Top Chefs, watch their friends’ super cool band/performance art project while they serve you ‘artisanal cocktails’ and several courses of food with colorful sauces and foams artistically smeared and streaked across the plates, all for slightly more than the price of going to a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant, but without all the lame constrictions of being subject to inspection by the health department. Speakeasies are also a really cool and secret way to drink alcohol even though it is illegal.
Become Active on Established Food Sites Like Chowhound, Eater, Grub Street and Serious Eats — Meticulously track all the latest food developments, engage with other cool foodies and have spirited debates over whose restaurant choices, elaborate dinner parties and local specialty grocers are the coolest and foodiest.
Become the Definitive Authority on “The Best” of All Foods — Throughout your comprehensive online foodie strat, you should make a general point of constantly claiming to have discovered the greatest tacos, soup dumplings, Korean BBQ, pupusas, authentic Thai, etc. You should also talk about BBQ like you’re some kind of mystical old Blues Wizard Ghost from Mississippi.
Start a Cool Food Tumblr — So you can meticulously document your every restaurant experience, farmers market trip, dinner party, home-cooked meal, and afternoon snack. Take lots of pictures of you and your cool friends eating food. Shoot little lifestyle videos of your dinner parties on a Canon 5D, score them with the latest cool chillwave tracks, then upload them to Vimeo so everyone can see what great taste you have. Just think of a cool food/indie-rock pun, name your blog that, and you’re on your way!