Why I Started Blogging for The Buzz

a laptop with a notebook, pen, and a mug of coffee

Image credit to: Runaway Dreamer

I started blogging for The Buzz in January 2016 (Spring 2016 semester) as a Student Blogger. I started blogging for The Buzz for a couple of reasons:

  • I didn’t have the time or day to join a club or events that were happening around City Tech, but when I received an e-mail in my inbox that there were blogging opportunities with The Buzz I quickly sent in my resume. Although I was busy working and going to school, I knew I had time to squeeze out posts about my experience with food, blogging, and restaurants in the evening.
  • I also wanted to build my portfolio and show future employers that I blog and write beyond what’s expected from me as a student in school. I write on three blogs (two of which I launched on my own) and I am an active Yelper.
  • I know City Tech has a news publication team – New Tech Times which I have written for before about food too, but technology has evolved and so have I so I wanted to put my experience, thoughts, and ideas with The Buzz.
  • I know that City Tech cafeteria food isn’t the best so I wanted to show and open up City Tech students and faculty of the neighboring restaurants and food spots that they can try out.
  • If you don’t already know, food is one of my biggest passion and love!
  • I also love to write and blog. I’ve been blogging for over 10 years and it makes me good to share my individuality, my feelings, and experiences.
  • I was reading blog posts from previous bloggers for The Buzz and everyone has their own blogger voice, but I wanted to bring something fresh, fun, and personal.

Everyone joins a team, club, event, and etc. for different reasons. You’ve just read why I joined The Buzz and if you’re a student blogger or photography blogger for The Buzz, why did you join The Buzz? or If you’re a blogger, why do you blog?

Blogging Practices: Branding and Promoting Your Blog

As a blogger,  your main responsibility is to create stellar content for your specific niche, regardless whether you joined the blogosphere in search of a casual hobby or to establish a serious business. Before your market and publicize your content, if you really want to hit it big with traffic or revenue, you have to view your blog and more importantly yourself as your brand.

Here are some tips and practices you can utilize in branding and promoting your blog:

  • Set Google and Twitter alerts for your blog’s name and keywords related to your blog and then join conversations as they happen.
  • Send direct messages to people who follow you on Twitter to strengthen your conversations and relationships with them.
  • Start a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram page or anything related to your niche


a Facebook page about food

a Facebook page about food

  • Start guest posting. If you’re looking for an effective way to promote your blog, one of the best things you can do is start guest posting. Guest posting, or writing a blog post that will be featured on a different blog, is one of the best ways to expand your audience and begin to develop authority in an industry like here at The Buzz.
  • Create the top 10 list. Create “The Top Ten list” of brands or blogs that you want to model yourself or blog after. Either because they are a competitor, you share a space with them, or they are in your niche. Make sure that they are successful at what they are doing and someone you want to emulate. Refer back to this list whenever you need inspiration, have to make a decision or want to see how others have done it.
  • Put a link in your e-mail signature.

a business card of a food blogger "Jessica Deng"

  • Creating your own business card is a quick way to add to and strengthen your blog brand. Putting your logo and your colors on print materials will help when you travel, share, connect, and dream. Make sure that when you create your cards that you are comfortable with the information you put on them and keep them connected with you overall brand.
  • Use Pinterest. Believe it or not, I highly recommend using Pinterest because it has endless visuals that are surely going to spark some creativity or inspiration in you and there’s endless content on Pinterest for you to read, use, or emulate.
  • Attend networking events and/or conferences. There are many social media marketing events and blogging conferences available for you to attend where you can hear from influencers, meet other bloggers, and exchange business cards.

Hopefully you’ve found these tips helpful and took some notes. The next post will feature why I started blogging for The Buzz/Openlab.

Do you have any tips or tricks about how to promote a blog? 

Blogging Practices: Setting Up Your Content Menu

Hi everyone! Hope you’re off to a good start this summer. I am happy to announce that after negotiation with the brains behind Openlab and The Buzz, I along with other bloggers will be blogging this summer. Hope you will enjoy reading our posts and find them interesting!

I know you’re all used to reading my posts about food and I promise we will get to it soon, but for the next four posts I will be discussing best blogging practices for those that are looking to start a food blog.

cartoon of two computers communicating

Image Credit to: blog.plush-media.com

Setting Up Your Content Menu

From interviews and podcasts to slide shows and reviews, you’re not limited to the variety of posts to feature on your blog. Regardless of the angle of your blog, remember that an assortment of content will appeal to a broader audience.

As a blogger, your primary responsibility is to produce original content for your site or any site.  Posts can be about cooking, eating, food safety, food-related travel – really anything. Here are a few forms your posts could take:

  • Reviews:  Share your experiences and insights about restaurants, cookbooks, kitchen gadgets, and food brands to provide your audience with tried and tested suggestions for expanding their culinary repertoire.
  • How To’s: Audiences love this! Go back to basics by featuring simple technique posts tied to your area of expertise such as: how to pipe rosettes, how to order from a restaurant wine list, how to choose a wine store, and etc. This concept also applies to providing step-by-step photos to illustrate the process of preparing longer recipes.
  • Lists/VS.: Picking a topic and ranking things numerically is always an easy crowd-pleaser. It’s easy to read and gives people something to agree or disagree with. You could do a “Top Five” for almost any topic. A good list tends to kill on comments, so we’ll often save them for our last post of the day, which is the prime slot.
  • Newsy Stuff: Any time you come across an interesting food-related article in the paper that might have broad appeal, consider linking to it for a quick post. Particularly if it’s something controversial, it’s a good way to get people talking.
  • Series: Create a themed series for you blog by dedicating an entire day, week, or month to specific ingredient or topic. For example, dedicate the first week of December to foods that make great holiday gifts, post only about ice cream for the month of July, and etc.
  • Interviews: Post a simple and straightforward interview with a notable food name or fellow blogger that’s both informative and entertaining. Address trendy topics such as their top five favorite restaurants or what foods are always in their fridge. Promoting your culinary comrades enhances the online community centered around your blog, is a great way to meet new people and introduces your audience to new faces.
  • RecipesThese are the bread and butter of your food blog. Recipes can range from four-course meals to children’s snacks, but they are always better when accompanied by a short anecdote about discovering them, creating them, whatever. 

If you’re looking to start a food blog or any blog at all, I hope you found some of these content ideas helpful. Next up, I will be discussing about branding and promoting your blog.

What are some content ideas you can share with me or other bloggers?

A Stroll Down Memory Lane at City Tech

Note: This is a non-food and restaurant related post. This is merely a reflection of my years at City Tech and majoring in Hospitality Management.

I started my degree in Hospitality Management late in 2009, because I didn’t feel comfortable or interested in Communication Design. While it wasn’t easy at first in Hospitality Management and getting through college, it’s everything to me now.

I must admit I didn’t like 1/4 of the classes in hospitality management merely because it didn’t interest me or it was math related and I’m not very good in math (i.e. – cost control and accounting & finance).


I took Baking 1 & 2 which were two of the hardest classes I’ve taken because I’m not very good at baking and both were late afternoon classes that ended at 7-7:30PM. My boyfriend would stay late at work (he works on Montague Street) and swing over to pick me up  and in return, he ended up with all the desserts, cookies, and bread that was made in class. Fair trade right?

food dishes

I took Culinary 1 & 2 on Saturday mornings (almost a mistake), but I got lucky because both classes were taught by one of the most down-to-earth and easy going professors: Professor Tomlinson. I learned a lot about cooking, food, and how to plate food which was very helpful. My boyfriend would also get up at 6:30-7AM to drive me to class and pick me up on most days after.

dining room tables

I also took Dining Room & Operations which was very fun and taught me a lot about what to look for that may be a red flag when dining outside.


During the Dining Room class, we were required to go to a fine dining restaurant in New York City and I chose Asiate. I typically don’t do fine dining, but this was a nice, once in a lifetime experience and especially since it had a beautiful view of Central Park & Columbus Circle.

a city building with the words "ON POINT WITH DOWNTOWN: 'Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Explore. Dream. Discover.' -Mark Twain"

Last year, I also took Hospitality Marketing with Professor Duchamp which I admire because he’s very much into social media and Twitter. I’m not sure how other marketing professors teach, but if you’ve taken Professor Duchamp in Hospitality Marketing, then you know for the final project you have to create a tour and a website using Square Space. Unfortunately the website I created is inactive, but here’s a screenshot I took during the production.

A lot of friends I know don’t like writing and I was told Research Seminar would be the hardest classes, but it turned out to be my favorite because I was able to combine a hobby that I like to do with my project and it worked out perfectly.

a food shop

This is my last semester as a full-time student and I am taking Hospitality Services Marketing and one assignment was to do a comparison of two Hospitality enterprises so I did Chelsea Market vs. Eataly, two of New York City’s most popular food hall. I’ve never been to Eataly before, so I went for the very first time in April and it was a great and fun experience. I’m also taking Hospitality Enterprise Development and our project for the semester is building a business plan of our own. It was due today and hopefully I did well on it.

a magazine article

Outside of my classes and before Openlab was created, I was writing for the New Tech Times for 1-2 years. It was definitely not as engaging or fun as writing for The Buzz. I am very happy that City Tech created Openlab as it provides a space for students and faculty to share their creativity, but also a chance for student bloggers to express their passion and creativity through images and words.

This is my final post for The Buzz and although I haven’t been heavily involved in our meetings due to work obligations, I did enjoy collaborating with my team mates and reading their posts. I also enjoyed being a Hospitality Student because it really opened me up and I was able to visit sites I wouldn’t have done if it wasn’t for my classes. If you’re still interested in reading my works, you can check out my personal food blog or my Yelp page. If you would like to contact me anything related to food, blogging or social media, you can shoot me an e-mail: jessdeng08@gmail.com.

Thank You! Have a great summer!

Bibble & Sip

It’s not everyday that I would trek to Hell’s Kitchen/Theater District in the city for food, but If I don’t do it when I can, then I probably won’t do it ever again. During spring break, I met with my dear friend Diane to have lunch in the area and I wanted to try Bibble & Sip as well.

a bakery called "bibble and sip"

Image Credit to Sideways.NYC

The cafe is located in Midtown West and is known for it’s friendly atmosphere, unique pastries, and adorable alpaca themed decor. There’s a limited amount of seating here, but there’s a small counter where you can munch on your food and sip on your beverage. The staff at Bibble & Sip are quick, on point, and friendly. Their personality and level of professionalism matches this interesting cafe.

I read a lot of reviews on Yelp to see what were the menu items that stood out and were the most popular so I would know what to try at Bibble & Sip, so I made a list.

an iced tea and a pastry

Many reviews suggested that the lavender latte was absolutely delicious, so I decided to give it a try and I got the Iced Lavender Latte instead. The iced lavender latte was coffee meets lavender in a cup! The lavender wasn’t overpowering so I was still able to taste the coffee flavor. Everything was in equal parts in this lavender heaven latte! It stole my heart.

I also ordered the Earl Grey Cream Puff which was huge and  true earl grey heaven! I’ve never had an earl grey dessert as good as this. The cream puff was flaky, soft, and absolutely delectable.

a pastry with dipping sauce

The earl grey cream filling was pure heaven! It was sweet and full of earl grey deliciousness! I took my time to eat it to make sure I was able to enjoy every bite. I wished I had a whole tub of the earl grey because it was just that amazing! I was in love.


My friend had the Black Sesame Hazelnut Crunch Mousse cake which she thought was amazing especially with the different combination of flavors and textures. She actually didn’t finish it because our lunch was quite filling, so she saved it to indulge on later that day.

I am very glad  to have tried Bibble & Sip and even though I was a little disappointed in the size of this place with limited seating or standing room, I would definitely come back. I would like to try their matcha cream puff and other beverages. For those of you who haven’t been here, you definitely need to visit Bibble & Sip especially if you like unique and adorable baked offerings.

What dessert or cafe spots do you like to visit? What food and beverages would you recommend?


My Favorite Five Dishes That My Mom Makes

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and today I am not writing about a restaurant I’ve tried , but instead I would like to share with you seven dishes that my mom makes that I absolutely love. My mom is one of the best chefs I know because she really does put a lot of heart and soul in cooking and the food. When we have a feast to honor our ancestors, mom is always the one that cooks and every time the feast is always delicious.  Although I know how to cook already, I want to be as great as my mom is.

white dish of food

This is my mom’s Pan-Fried Salmon with Tomatoes that I absolutely adore. This is really my favorite salmon dish and full of flavor and deliciousness. I thought it was a complicated recipe, but apparently it’s very simple and I have tried making it before and it’s easy!

Chinese food

This is Zongzi or Joong and it’s a traditional Chinese food made with glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped with bamboo leaves. My family and I typically make and eat these during the fifth month of the lunar calendar. My mom always makes these and adds a lot of fillings and makes her own salted eggs. Her joong is always number one to me.

white plate of six pastries

These are Fa Gao and it is a Chinese cupcake-like pastry, mostly consumed on Chinese New Year, but my mom does make these when she has the time. I truly enjoy eating the Fa Gao my mom makes versus the ones from the Chinese bakeries because it’s usually colored with food dye. My mom doesn’t use food dye at all and she uses brown sugar instead of white sugar. They are extremely fluffy and moist!

noodles and vegetables

This is my mom’s famous Vermicelli with dried shrimp and she makes this just about every Chinese holiday or for our birthdays or whenever we request for it. It’s extremely tasty and it never gets tiring to eat. This dish also represents longevity.

stewAnother food that my mom makes during December for a Chinese holiday is called tong yuan which can be eaten savory or sweet. We often eat the savory version for breakfast or dinner. For the savory version, my mom usually adds mushroom, cabbage, shrimp, chunks of dried scallops, scallions, and chicken or pork. It’s really an enjoyable food and soup to have especially during winter.

These are some of my favorite dishes that my mom makes.

What are your favorite dishes that your mother makes? What do you like most about it?

Dining Solo at Two Hands

There’s this little cafe called Two Hands that I’ve been interested in trying for a long time. I was supposed to have lunch and coffee with my friend, but my friend ended up showing up late, so instead of just waiting around I ended up experiencing the restaurant and cafe by myself.

Gorgeous, white interior, natural light and very inviting/trendy, and just super chill and hip customers. Two Hands is quite small with limited space and the wait can be anywhere from 1 – 1.5 hour, so be prepared.

a white drink with ice and a red and white straw, in a glass jar

I ordered the Matcha Latte ($5.00) which was served in a mason jar, no surprise here. The Matcha Latte was unsweetened, but very refreshing and delicious!

avocado slices on salad greens

I also had The Good Life Salad ($13.00) which was baby spinach, carrot, chickpeas, quinoa, golden raisins, sunflower seeds, and avocado with mint pesto. The salad was a little pricey, but very good and filling! The mint pesto gave the salad a very refreshing taste to it and the combination of the sunflower seeds and avocado gave the salad a nutty flavor to it.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience at Two Hands. Two Hands is focused mostly on creating healthy, simple. and delicious foods. It’s definitely a place worth coming with a friend or someone that enjoys healthy food and a relaxing and mellow atmosphere. I would definitely come back here, but with a friend next time for sure.

Do you enjoy eating at cafe? Which cafes do you like to go to?

Why I Started a Food Blog

I started blogging at the age of 14 and I’ve been doing it for 14 years. As you already know I am an active Yelper and have been an Elite member since 2011. I started using Yelp mostly because my sister noticed I like to eat a lot and said I should start writing reviews and it’s from that moment on that I started Yelp in July 2010.

A few years ago I started blogging just about life, but then my boyfriend told me that I should start a food blog – a blog about all things related to food and I thought he was crazy because it requires a lot of sweat, time, creativity, and content. Also what could I possibly blog about? I didn’t know anything about starting a food blog until I did my research, read other food blogs, and attended  a few social media marketing conferences.

a screenshot of a blog page

I started food blogging about five years ago, but I didn’t develop my current food blog: Ambitious Eats until June 2013 when I decided to bring my social media marketing, photography, and writing experience together. I love food and I love to write and share my experience with food and restaurants with others. Food makes me happy and it’s my passion. Besides just eating, taking pictures of it and posting it on Instagram – I’ve always wanted to take it a step further and share my experience in words on blogging.

I’m not looking to be a food blogging superstar or to be as famous as The Pioneer Woman, but in five years I hope my food blog will have a domain name, redesign my blog layout, be invited as a guest to restaurants to sample and blog about them, attend more blogging conferences, and just really bring together my social media and blogging skills together. I also would love to include more recipes because I feel I don’t do that enough and I should.

Do you have a blog and what do you like to blog about?


My Favorite Places to Eat in Brooklyn

I’m a lifelong resident of Brooklyn and every day there’s always a new place to eat or drink that’s opening up in Brooklyn and everywhere else. As a lifelong resident of Brooklyn, I would like to share with you my favorite places to eat here and why. Hope you’ll feel inspired to try these if you happen to be in Brooklyn.

plates of sushi and salads

There’s a lot of Japanese restaurants nearby where I live, but my favorite one is about a 10-15 minute walk and it’s called Samurai Fusion Sushi which is in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. I like going to Samurai Fusion Sushi because they have a variety of sushi rolls to pick from and they are very fresh and tasty. The restaurant isn’t very big, but it feels very calm and relaxing to eat there. The food here isn’t crazy expensive either.

outside of a cafe with pictures of food dishes

One of my favorite brunch spots is Cafe Luluc (not too far from school, located in Cobble Hill). I usually come on the weekends when I want to go to Cafe Luluc and there’s always a line especially around 10AM-1PM, so brace yourself. However, the line and wait usually moves quick. I’ve only been here for brunch and their brunch is pretty good, top notch. Their pancakes are soft, fluffy, and tasty and I highly recommend it. Just an FYI, this restaurant is cash ONLY.


Prince Tea House opened its second location in Brooklyn last year and I was so excited to try it out. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Prince Tea House isn’t a restaurant, but it is a tea house and they are best known for their teas of course, light desserts, and snacks. There’s a bit of a wait at night, but if you’re looking for a pleasant experience with tea and snacks, this is your place. I highly recommend the Lady M’s Mille Green Tea Crepe cake, it is literally layers of green tea deliciousness and perfectly moist!

plates of savory food

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is one of the newer restaurants in Brooklyn and one of the few BBQ restaurants here in Brooklyn. I absolutely love coming here all year round. Their food is top notch especially their chili , brisket, and mac-n-cheese! I’ve also done catering from here for family dinners and food was cooked just right. Never a disappointment here.

seafood dishes

Another favorite restaurant of mine is Mussels & More which I have briefly mentioned in past posts on The Buzz. Last year, I was on a total seafood and mussels binge. I’ve been to Mussels & More a few times and the food and service never disappoints. If you love seafood or mussels, this is the spot to check out. You don’t have go very far for good quality seafood dishes. Their mussels are excellent and come in a variety of flavors and broth.

Well that’s a few of my favorite places to eat in Brooklyn. If you have any questions regarding the places I’ve mentioned, please let me know.

What are your favorite places to eat near where you live? 

Why I Like to Review Restaurants and Use Yelp

Review websites such as: Yelp, Zomato *formerly UrbanSpoon), Tabelog, and TripAdvisor have changed the way we obtain reviews and discussions centered around restaurants and other businesses. Yelp in particularly has grown rapidly and has dominated the online review of establishments.

I have heard a lot of mixed reviews and comments about Yelp from classmates, professors here at City Tech and from my family and friends. Based on their comments and feedback, it’s a love and hate relationship with Yelp, but  everyone is entitled to their own opinions just like I do. When it comes to Yelp, most of my friends would describe me as a serious Yelper because I use and rely Yelp a lot to make my decisions of where to eat and I can be considered an active member because I’ve written a lot and have been a member of Yelp since July 2010 (almost six years).  I would like to share with you a few reasons why I like to review restaurants on Yelp and like to use Yelp.

1.Yelp is FREE and has an abundance of information and in my personal opinion, I think it’s quite easy to use.

a screenshot of a yelp profile

a screenshot of yelp review stats

2. On the mobile app and website, you can now see these statistics based on your profile, reviews, and photos. This comes in handy especially because you can see what’s effective and what do your friends and followers like to see. In addition, there’s a section called Rating Distribution where a user/reviewer or a visitor can see what businesses do you review the most and what neighborhoods.

a screenshot of a yelp page showing places on a map

3. I also enjoy using the Bookmarks section a lot because I like to save the places I want to visit or have visited and need to review because it reminds me of places I want to try and comes especially handy when my family, friends, or boyfriend ask me where would I like to go for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. Additionally, if I read about a restaurant or place that sounds interesting and I may bookmark that place so I know to check it out or visit.

a screenshot of a yelp user profile

4. The Yelp Elite Squad is Yelp’s way of recognizing and rewarding people who are active in the Yelp community and role models on and off the site. To be considered as a Yelp Elite member, is based on a number of things (well-written reviews, high quality tips, detail personal profile, active voting and complimenting record, and a history of playing well with others). Members of the Elite Squad are allocated a badge displayed alongside their profile and reviews. After being elite for 5 years, they’ll receive the Gold Elite Badge like I have, and after 10 years, they’ll received the coveted Black Elite Badge.

screenshots of yelp check-ins

5. If you are a user of Yelp and visiting a certain establishment or restaurant, there are places that gives you a discount or FREE food, just by a tap on your phone to “check-in”. Who wouldn’t like a discount or FREE food?  Checking in also lets your friends and fans know where you area and also lets you know who in your social network has visited the place you are at.

screenshots of yelp pages

6. I also love that you can create lists on Yelp. I don’t know about you, but I am a huge fan of lists because it keeps everything organized and in one place (most of the time). I must admit that I don’t always update my lists because I review so much that I sometimes forget. If you would like to see more of my lists, please click here.

screenshot of a yelp comment

7. I also like Yelp because when I do have a good experience at a restaurant or any establishment, sometimes I get a lovely and personal message/comment from a staff member or the business owner thanking me for the review and hope that I will return. There are instances where business owners don’t agree with my review or are apologetic if I had a bad experience and those feedback and comments help me as a customer and reviewer too.

screenshot of yelp results

8. There’s also a Tips section on Yelp where you can read a user’s tips on a certain business. These are NOT reviews, but can give you insight on little bits and pieces that may go on a business that you may not be aware of. I often leave tips if I want to warn my friends and followers or there’s just a service or food that’s outstanding that needs to be known.

All in all, I’ve been using and on Yelp since July 2010 and most people don’t know that I am an Yelp Elite member or that I review restaurants on Yelp, but now you do. My reviews are all based on personal experiences, my personal opinions, and research. I like to write reviews on Yelp because I like to keep track of where I’ve visited, eaten, and to share my experience with others and friends don’t let other friends eat at bad restaurants.

*If you are interested in following me on Yelp or reading my reviews, please click here*

Do you use any online review websites to read or search for a certain business? If so, what is it and do you write reviews?