I met HowChow quite serendiptously.
I was down at the Second Chance one evening eating dinner and getting some work done on the old iPad, when I spied his tweet looking for somewhere local to eat outside on a lovely Spring evening. Naturally, with my deep loyalty to my local pub and my hometown village of Oakland Mills, I suggested that he "come on down."
As I was leaving I look a risk and approached what I thought might be his table. (He is rather anonymous, you know.) HowChow and his wife graciously allowed me to join them for a bit of conversation. I was struck not only by how friendly and easy-going he was, but also how respectful he was of his wife. He was a true gentleman, and I mean that according to the spirit of that term: courteous and honorable.
Of course HowChow has become every bit the local celebrity in Howard County. People go places based on his recommendations. Restaurants brag if he writes them up. And this is meaningful in a town that doesn't have its own home-based newspaper or television station. He's the real deal.
But, to me, what makes HowChow remarkable is the community he has created on his blog. All the information he shares with us is wonderful. But he sees it as only the beginning. He wants readers to explore, enjoy, and share. He wants to learn from us.
Take a look at Thursday's post. Now, read the comments. Not to discount his research or writing in any way, but it's in the comments section that we really see how successful his blog has become. They are helpful, supportive, knowledgeable, positive. How many comments sections do you see of this calibre? HowChow has truly elevated the discussion around local food.
So, I am sending up a VG/TS HoCo Holler! today for HowChow. Not only does he focus the spotlight on local food, he has created a space where conversation and community are welcome.
And he's been doing it beautifully for six years.