By Sandy Hu
What can you learn about a person in 140-character comments over a single day? I learned enough about @Melissa808 to know I wanted to invite her for dinner.
Melissa Chang is a freelance writer and a social media consultant in Honolulu who tweets as @Melissa808. I, as @specialforksndy, met her over tweets just last Thursday, trying to help a friend of a friend with restaurant suggestions for her trip to Hawaii.
Although I was the food editor of the Honolulu Advertiser years ago, I wasn’t very current on the restaurant scene so I tweeted @Kamaka_Hawaii, the only foodie from Hawaii I followed on Twitter, for some advice. She, in turn, involved two mavens with the pulse on restaurant dining in Hawaii, tweeting back “both @Melissa808 and @thedailydish (Catherin Toth) are big time Foodies, Bloggers, Journalists from Oahu.”
In true aloha spirit, the two women pitched in to help a stranger. And in no time, tweets were flying fast and furiously about shave ice, fat pig fried rice, lunch trucks, miso butterfish and links to favorite restaurant lists.
Soon a Twitter side conversation evolved about where our grandparents were from and the work they did as immigrants in Hawaii, and we three found we had a lot in common. When Melissa tweeted that she was boarding a plane that night, “Hi! Headed there for Bay to Breakers!” I invited her to dinner.
Last night, I was delighted to meet the person behind the tweets and Steve and I enjoyed making a new friend. You can stay on top of what’s going on in Hawaii by following Melissa. She blogs for NONSTOP, an online entertainment guide for Honolulu, where she posts restaurant reviews and roundups of the best in class in specific food categories, such as the best shave ice or fried chicken. She also blogs every weekday for Honolulu magazine about real estate.
What was for dinner? We didn’t have much time to cook Sunday since Dave and I were recording another demo for Special Fork’s Video Friday all that morning. So for an appetizer, we served the Peanuts and Beer Chicken Wings that we demoed, followed by Spicy Grilled Shrimp, grilled asparagus and Almond Currant Couscous. While I was hoping to make a blueberry pie for dessert to improve on my pie-making skills, I ran out of time. So we served organic strawberries from the farmers’ market over ice cream with chocolate sauce and homemade cookies, instead.
We enjoyed the luxury of a real conversation with Melissa at dinner, unfettered by word count and timelines. But I’m constantly amazed at how we can learn about each other in 140 characters or less, and the friendships that can be forged, one tweet at a time.
Spicy Grilled Shrimp
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons pimenton (smoked Spanish paprika)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Meyer lemon juice
2 pounds large shrimp (16 to 20 pieces per pound), deveined but with shells and tails intact
Combine all ingredients except shrimp in non-reactive bowl. Add shrimp and marinate 30 minutes. Grill over medium-high heat about 2 to 3 minutes on each side until shrimp turn pink and are just firm.
Makes 6 servings.
Recipe adapted from The Best Recipe cookbook by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated magazine, c. 1999 by The Editors of Cook’s Illustrated
1-½ pounds asparagus
Salt and pepper
Snap off woody ends of asparagus stalks. Brush with olive oil and grill over medium-high heat about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6 servings.
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