Deep End Decade: I'm Your Number One Fan! You Betta Recognize! Happy Valentine's Day! Horse Thief BBQ. Downtown L.A.

Me n' Anthony Chin of Horse Thief BBQ.

Funny things happen when you least expect them. Back in 2007, I was having lunch with my ex-wife Diane at one of my favorite restaurants, the IKEA cafeteria. (You know you love it.) The Swedish meatballs were moist and delicious as usual, but I recall having some kind of argument with Diane, probably about which shade of Expedit to buy or, worse, who was going to assemble those shelves. Anyway, while we were passionately debating the shelves, I noticed a guy walk by and give me a look of recognition. He then walked back to our table, asked if I was Eddie Lin, apologized for interrupting, and introduced himself. At first I thought I knew him from somewhere but then I realized I didn't. He spoke in a sort of gushing manner, not much unlike a basketball fan who happened to spot Magic Johnson. Not that I'm the Magic Johnson of the food blogging world, but his reaction was, as he even described it, "starstruck." He went on to say that, "He couldn't wait to tell the guys back at the office that he met me." I have to thank him because he was responsible for cooling me and Diane down, ending our tiff.

When I started Deep End Dining in the summer of 2004, I simply wanted to continue my passion for writing in a subject I enjoyed, which I eventually narrowed down to exotic foods. Originally, the intention was for my blog to be about food and travel since I was jet-setting more in those days. But never did I once think that a blog of any kind would turn me into any sort of "celebrity". In fact, I worked in film and television in various behind-the-scenes roles prior to my food blogging "career" change. So I'm very familiar with what real celebrity-dom is about. Getting into the Sky Bar with my entourage without acknowledging the doorman as he unhooked the velvet rope for us was not a perk in food blogging.

I now call that guy I met at IKEA my "number one fan" because he knows quite a bit about me and my writing and even videos. His name is Anthony Chin. And the reason why I go into detail about him is that I ran into him again this week. Yes, roughly six years or more later, I am reunited with my number one fan. And the way we crossed paths again was weirdly similar. I was co-hosting a media event at downtown L.A.'s Grand Central Market with my fellow Los Angeles Magazine staffers and contributors. I was yucking it up with guests when I noticed a guy from my peripheral smiling and looking at me. I assumed he knew me since I was one of the featured guests at the event. Later on he approached me while I was waiting in line for some Central Texas style BBQ from a food stall called Horse Thief BBQ (love the name!). The first thing he said to me was, "I met you at IKEA a while ago." I instantly remembered him because I've told that story many, many times since that encounter. This time I learned his full name, Anthony Chin. He reminded me that he works in the music industry. He also explained that he is a partner of Horse Thief BBQ. My number one fan had become a restaurateur! That is excellent! My reaction to reuniting with him was very enthusiastic, as if I was now the fan boy. (A fan boy for my number one fan. That's sort of weird in a meta way.)

Horse Thief BBQ at Grand Central Market.

Anthony shared with me his favorite posts from Deep End Dining. He recollected his favorite video of me cooking and selling bacon-wrapped hot dogs in front of my house at a yard sale. He even mentioned how I've been kind of slacking on Deep End Dining since I teamed up with Los Angeles Magazine. (Thanks, Anthony for the kick in the pants. Gonna start posting more!)

And now Anthony and his partners are smoking real deal Central Texas style BBQ using oak wood and lovingly coddling the beef brisket for 12 to 15 hours at a time, which results in deep smoky deliciousness. The pulled pork is just as incredible. I need to try the ribs soon!

Deep End Dining has been an amazing ride: TV appearances, radio, books, magazines, newspapers, and all the glitzy parties and events that come along with the now high profile food world. But, truly, the thing that has the most meaning is still what mattered when I first began my blog — connecting with people. Painting a picture in their minds and on their palates, helping my readers taste through my words and sentences because, as you may know, not everyone wants to eat what I eat! Ultimately, telling stories through food is an act of nourishment, love, and giving. And it does all come back to you. Thanks, Anthony for reminding me of that. And to all my "number one fans" out there. I'm a big fan of yours too! Happy Valentine's Day.

Horse Thief BBQ's sammies!

Horse Thief BBQ
324 S. Hill St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013