Inside Gaucho Parrilla Argentina, a restaurant in Pittsburgh's Strip Distrcit that is craved by many, a Boston food blog prepared to review the food and the experience. Known as Spilling The Beans, the blog's founder, Tara, ordered Carne Con Pan, meat with bread, and specifically a steak sandwich on a thick piece of ciabatta.
Motivated by Gaucho's popularity, pursuits in online journalism, and high school friendship, I accompanied Tara for lunch.
The restaurant gets attention not only for its food, but also for the line wrapped around Gaucho's building that people see walking or driving by. Tara, tasting her wood-fired, grilled steak sandwich, and I, eating a chicken salad with field greens and mixed vegetables, determine Gaucho is good. The tasty food brings people back for more and the buzz around the establishment attracts people for a meal.
From the pink hair and dreadlocks worn by two of the servers, to the bull horns mounted on the wall, a hip, western (Gaucho translates to cowboy in Spanish) ambience greeted Spilling The Beans and InTheRough's conversation.
Back in February, Tara learned the adage, "there's no such thing as bad publicity." She wrote an honest article about Loyal Nine, a Cambridge, Mass. American style café, saying, "their actual food recipes could have used some help." Tara made the comments to alert future customers that the $20 meal ticket did not match the food's quality.
A student at M.I.T., where Tara attends, caught wind of Spilling The Beans and Tara's review. Taking to 'M.I.T. Confessions,' a thread of tell alls about university life, the student whined because Tara spent a substantial amount of money on food only to criticize the restaurant. The disgruntled student provided a link to the post, and STB's views skyrocketed. Tara's friends reached out in support, praising her hobby as informative and helpful.
"Unbiased journalism is incredibly important to earn readers' trust. Calling a place out for having subpar food isn't terribly enjoyable, but neither is lying to your readers," Tara said.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Tara waited until she arrived on campus in Cambridge to begin blogging about all kinds of food Boston offers. Her website, SpillingTheBeans.me, houses a database of restaurant critiques and enticing food visuals.
Asian food is Tara's favorite, although categories on her site extensively list African, Indian, Mediterranean, and other food types in locations extending beyond Boston, like D.C., Los Angeles, and Taiwan.
Interestingly, Tara's personal life creeps into her blog posts. "I think that blogging is able to connect me to both the people I'm close to and to people I don't know at all," she said. "It's a nice way to update friends and family I don't see as often. For those who don't know me at all, they get to learn a little about my life, and also learn about a restaurant that I'm reviewing."
The personal attention Tara feeds Spilling The Beans turns the blog into a food diary. Her travels allow her to experience new cultures, tastes, and thoughts.
Now, she debates expanding Spilling The Beans to invite more writers to cover more restaurants. Although, her main priority is maintaining authenticity and thorough qualities that boost the site. Tara is achieving that goal herself at the moment and has done well proving her legitimacy to the restaurants she reviews. Some gift her free meals and thank you notes.
In Boston or "not Boston," Tara is always eating and uses food as a guide to gain different perspectives on life.
1601 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222