Around 2002, I started posting food comments on, an international food chat site.  With my first post, I experienced a rush of empowerment as I shared my somewhat unpolished judgments. It was liberating to know I was able to publish opinions to the world, and, who knows, maybe help another person pick a place for dinner.

As years went by, the thrill of being a citizen critic proved increasingly popular.  In 2004, some friends and I founded, which is now an 8.5 thousand member Chicago culinary chat site.

This Dining blog is an opportunity to jump into an evolving conversation over food.

When it comes to chow, everyone is a critic. That’s what I enjoy about food talk:  we all eat, usually three times a day, and each of us has an opinion about what’s good, what’s not good, how to cook this and how to cook that.

Some professional chefs and even critics have argued that bloggers are not “qualified” to talk about food in a public forum. That’s baloney.  No one thinks twice when people voice opinions about movies or politics, so why should food be any different?

This blog is intended to foster discussion about good stuff to eat in Oak Park and surrounding suburbs, including experiences at local food shops (like Marion Street Cheese Market, pictured), restaurants and at home. We’re hoping this blog opens an avenue for you to share your eating experiences in Oak Park and neighboring communities.  We won’t all agree, but if it’s about food, it’s all good.

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David Hammond, a corporate communications consultant and food journalist living in Oak Park, Illinois, is a founder and moderator of, the 8,500 member Chicago-based culinary chat site. David...

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