SPOTTER SPOTLIGHT ON LAYNE MOSLER aka TAXI GOURMET
No matter how much you want it, inspiration often only strikes when you least expect it. Layne Mosler found hers in Buenos Aires three years ago when she left a tango club, hailed a cab, and asked the driver to take her to his favorite restaurant. Her quick decision yielded not only an unforgettable meal, but also a food writing career based on cabbie recommendations around the world. Layne has since made a name for herself as the fearless food writer who finds good food the old fashion way - by happenstance - and she just returned to New York after eating through Berlin for her upcoming book. And you know what's the most awesome part about Layne? She is a New York cabbie. Follow the Taxi Gourmet on Foodspotting, read her blog, and I hereby give you permission to stalk her on Twitter.
1) How does Foodspotting, which lets you see before you decide what to eat, compare to your taxi adventures which often rely on just one person's recommendation without photo proof?
I'm a New York cabbie on a never-ending search for cheap, delicious things to eat. When I'm off duty, I get into random cabs and ask drivers to steer me to their favorite things to eat, so Foodspotting comes into play after the fact. If I like what the cabbie shares with me, I post it on my Foodspotting profile as well as my blog because I want as many people as possible to know about it. When I'm on duty, Foodspotting is a way to share the fruits of my restaurant reconnaissance in an easy, immediate way.
Do you prefer one over the other?
No, I don't prefer one over the other. I think they're complementary. I think it's good to get food recommendations from a lot of different sources - other cabbies, passengers, other food-obsessed people - to get a good taste of where you are.
Has Foodspotting affected your adventures in any way?
Yes! It's given me a platform for sharing what I eat - inside and outside the cab. It's also given me some tempting leads for things to try while I'm on duty, like papa flauta and pork mole tamale at Zaragosa Mexican Deli, kati rolls at the Biryani Cart, arepas at Caracas, and on and on!
Any tips for other Foodspotters on the road?
Take pictures of absolutely everything you eat. You never know what's going to hang around in your taste memory (how I wish I'd captured my favorite doner kebab in Berlin on film!). Not every city is used to food bloggers who take pictures of everything they're eating - don't be surprised if you get some strange looks. Finally, if your iPhone isn't working, ask your cab driver where s/he likes to eat.
(Photo of Layne by Ross Mantle/WSJ)