Who’s blogging: Alejandra Ramos. I’m a food writer, recipe developer, and cooking teacher in New York City. I own a culinary concierge business in New York City called Alejandra Ramos Culinary & Lifestyle (www.alejandraramos.com) through which I teach dinner party-style cooking classes and host private cooking events and parties. I was born and raised in the NYC area, but my parents are from Puerto Rico and I travel there about once a year to visit family (and the beach!), so that Latin influence definitely shows up in a lot of my recipes! I love dishes with a lot of color and bright, bold flavors. I’m also a little bit obsessed with passion fruit!
Explain your blog name: My blog is called Always Order Dessert, but I usually have to clarify that it’s not just about sweets. In fact, I probably post more savory dishes than I do desserts! The name is really more of my life and food philosophy—the idea of indulging and enjoying and always saving room for a little more sweetness in life. My blog is really all about everyday decadence—the idea that as long as you’re using good, real, whole ingredients and cooking from scratch, you can actually afford to indulge way more than if you’re just filling your body with sketchy processed ingredients. I’m talking things like grass-fed beef, fresh heavy cream, gorgeous in-season berries, pastured eggs, nubby whole grains — so, so, so delicious.
Blogging since: I launched Always Order Dessert and started food blogging in January 2008 after a particularly miserable New Years Eve and deciding that it was time to make something awesome happen and just do something that I really loved. But I’d been blogging on a number of different topics (read: boys!) since way back in 2002!
Where you’re blogging from: New York City
Blogger Alejandra Ramos does it all – scrumptious desserts, easy weeknight dinners and impressive, guest-worthy entrees on her site, Always Order Dessert.
Most popular post: So the REAL answer to this question actually irks me just a little bit because it has NOTHING to do with food. My most popular post is a DIY tutorial I created on how to make chalkboard wine glasses. It was this random idea I had one afternoon, and executed in about an hour. Next thing I knew, the post went crazy viral and I was getting about half a million hits on it. So funny how that happens! My most popular recipe post is the one for my Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake, which is a full-size cake version of an almond rainbow cookie that’s pretty famous here in the NYC area. My totally from-scratch rum cake is another favorite!
What you’ve learned about food: I’ve learned a lot about the ways ingredients and flavors work together. I developed my ability to look at a few things and make something fabulous from seemingly nothing — to see possibilities in everything. I’ve also learned a lot about what foods make my body feel good, and the things that don’t. I’ve learned to eat with the seasons and respect the cyclical nature of food and nature and our bodies and the earth.
Inspiration for your posts: I’m inspired by life in general, as cheesy as that might sound. From amazing things I eat at restaurants and then try to recreate or adapt at home. Or from gorgeous ingredients at the market that I just want to play with. Definitely from travel and meeting new people and learning what they eat. Also many posts are just born from hunger and having to use creativity with the ingredients I happen to have online. I hate being told what to do (just ask my parents and husband and every boss and teacher I’ve ever had), so I’m always breaking the rules in the kitchen—when it works out (often!), it’s usually pretty awesome.
Lessons learned from blogging: That it is absolutely possible to make your dreams come true. If there is something that you want to do, just START DOING IT! I was working as a magazine editor, which was amazing, but what I really wanted to do was work from home and travel and spend my days writing and playing with food. So I started blogging and putting it out there, and more and more opportunities came until I was able to quit my job and now that’s exactly what I do. The blogging world is such a great place to start because it’s a level playing field and it’s open to anyone. If you have passion and really put your all into it, you can make awesome things happen. It’s happened to me and it’s happened to many of my blogging friends. It takes work and time and patience, but it’s worth it.
Where else can we find you online?: Oh I’m everywhere! I love Twitter and update there all day long under the name @nandita (a childhood nickname I got from my little brother who had trouble pronouncing “Alejandra”). I also have a Facebook page for the blog where I share pictures, fun links, and chat with my readers. I write additional posts and share info on my classes and other services on my business website. I’m also totally smitten with Pinterest (who isn’t?!) where you can follow my boards.
Favorite blogs: Right now the ones I read regularly are Joy the Baker, Food Loves Writing, Young Married Chic, Ramshackle Glam, The Kitchn, The Sophisticated Gourmet (he’s amazing!), Sous Style (so chic!), and Aggie’s Kitchen. Oh and Chrissy Teigen over at So Delushious totally cracks me up. She’s a hot swimsuit model and engaged to John Legend so you kind of want to hate her, except that you can’t because she’s awesome and funny.