We had the good fortune of connecting with Alysse Hogan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alysse, what inspires you?
I’m honestly inspired so much by culture. I love the way that culture gives us the opportunity to learn more about others, who they are, and where they come from. I feel like culture gives us the vehicle that drives us towards empathy and understanding. Culture has the opportunity to teach, educate, and inform. Culture connects us. All of the things that culture is and does, deeply and ongoingly inspires me. One of the most obvious and clear ways that we can experience culture is through food. Tasting and trying cuisines from different cultures excites me! I pursue anything that is going to help me understand but also experience what is different from me, and exploring culture through food helps me do that. The neighborhood I live in now is one of the more diverse neighborhoods within San Diego County, and I’m proud of that. I’m inspired by the varying cuisines and restaurants in this neighborhood that I will eventually try out and feature on my foodie IG blog. Through my foodie blog, I hope that as I continue to be inspired by culture through food, I can somehow help others do the same. I hope that people step out of their cuisine comfort zones, try something new, and seek to tastefully learn a little bit in the process.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
First, it must be known that I genuinely get personal fulfilment from going to different restaurants, getting my food and taking photos of it, in a way that makes it look tantalizing to eat. I think this stems from my passion for adventure and being an avid seeker of new experiences and food fulfills my ability to do both. So for me, finding a new restaurant to eat at is an adventure in and of itself. I like to look up reviews, view pictures on a restaurant’s social media, look at the menu and determine if it’s a place I want to try out. But for me, the adventure doesn’t stop when you find a new place to dine, it continues, because more often than not you’re perhaps visiting a different part of town, or maybe trying a new cuisine for the first time. Either way, the whole process is an experience and what I like to refer to, as an adventure. It was this fun process of looking up new restaurants and exploring different parts of the city that inspired my IG foodie account: @i__amhungry, which became my visual documentation of all of the foodie adventures I was going on. I use the little bit of photography skills that I have and use my iPhone to create my blog’s food content. I think that’s where it starts, it starts with you, as the artist/content creator. It has to start with you because there will always be other people who want to tear you down and/or give their unwanted opinions. You have to believe in your craft and/or art enough to be satisfied with your work REGARDLESS of if anyone else is ever satisfied with it or validates it. This is a really hard lesson to learn and fully embrace ESPECIALLY in the social media driven world we live in. So much of social media, Instagram in particular, is about seeking the input, engagement, and follows from other people. Before I started my foodie blog I first had to, make up in my mind that whatever content I choose to put out, would be content that I am proud of no matter how many likes it gets. In the same way that people create scrapbooks to savor memories for themselves, is the same motivation I use to put forth content, it’s for me. If people choose to support me along the way, amazing, but if not another person liked my photos or engaged in my comments or followed my page, I’d be okay with that. As a result, I may not grow my platform as quickly as other foodie influencers which is hard sometimes, but again my way allows me to be as authentic and as free flowing as I choose to be with my content. And I deeply compel any artist/creator, any person to be honest, to always live as authentically and genuinely as you can. Regardless of how many folks may be doing similar work as you, there is only ONE of you and THAT is your power, own it.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is SUCH a fun question because I LOOOOVE playing tour guide when my friends come to visit from out of town. I take personal responsibility in being able to show someone around San Diego in a way that I know they would uniquely enjoy. This is a 5-day long trip so that gives me LOTS of time. Assuming this is a warm summer week I would first, definitely want to take them to Corondado. We would do brunch at The Henry and then spend the day at the beach, chillin. I might walk them around the rest of the peninsula to the cute shops and boutiques that are around and support some of the local Coronado businesses. The second day I would take them downtown. We would eat brunch at Cafe 21 in East Village and then rent bikes and ride along the path in Harbor Island. I would then take them to happy hour for drinks, dinner, and a movie at Theatre Box*. The next day I would take them down to Point Loma, specifically, Liberty Station. We would have breakfast at Fig Tree Cafe, walk around the re-designed navy base, grab coffee at Moniker General Coffee Shop, and grab dinner to go from the Liberty Public Market and drive over to Sunset Cliffs to catch the sunset. The next day I would take them up to LaJolla. We would get up early and do a hike at Torrey Pines State Park*, and then grab breakfast at Caroline’s Seaside Cafe. Afterwards, we would go visit the seals at La Jolla Cove, and then take fun IG photos at the “Secret Swings”. We would eat dinner and then grab desserts from Le Macaron French Pastries. The fifth and final day, I would take them to North Park. We would get brunch at Better Buzz Coffee in Hillcrest. We would drive back to North Park and go visit the famous “Greetings from San Diego” wall mural and take Instagram photos. Afterwards I would take them to City Tacos for lunch. After lunch we would end the day at Pigment creating our own plant terrariums for them to take home as a little San Diego memento. Five days is a full few days to see so much of what San Diego has to offer, but to be honest, it still isn’t enough. I’ve been living in San Diego going on 4 years now and I STILL feel like I’m finding new gems and neighborhoods to explore. It’s so fun being here in San Diego, I love it here, and every day I start to more clearly understand why it’s known as being “America’s Finest City”. Additionally, if someone’s visiting in the summer, they should try to make it to the San Diego Soul Food Festival that’s in the works for summer 2021, so stay tuned for more info on that! *may not currently be open due to COVID

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
As crazy as it may sound, I’m inspired by the incredible black creatives that utilize their platform to elevate and encourage other black creatives to believe in their passions and pursue their purpose. I struggle with fear CONSTANTLY, and I love watching and being inspired by people that hold similar values to me and look like me. People that I don’t even know, challenge me to choose faith over fear. Some of these people I’ve never met in my life, yet their content motivates me to push past doubts and into my God-given greatness. So thank you, thank you to the creatives that motivate, inspire, and uplift people like me, who need that extra push to keep going. I would be remiss if I didn’t shout out my inner circle, a mix of both family members and close friends. I do want to specifically shoutout my cousin, he’s an up and coming writer himself. But I swear my cousin is one of my biggest cheerleaders. I always leave conversations with him feeling like I can do anything. Any time I feel like I have massive barriers in my way, after talking with him, I feel like the barriers are so minute that they are almost nonexistent. Having people like my cousin in your life, and crucial to anyone’s success. We all need people that believe in us and make us feel unstoppable, my cousin is one of those people for me. Included in my inner circle is my mom. My mom is me in an older woman form and I appreciate her and have to shout her out because she just gets me. My mom is the one who takes my crazy ideas and helps make them better. My mom, who is a WIZARD with words, is actually the one who helped me take the initials in my name and put together the food focus I wanted, to create what is now my IG handle. She’s my brainstormer, and my think tank. I’m able to go to my mom with jumbled up ideas and thoughts and she helps me piece things together to create cohesion where there was initially just chaos. I have incredible friends that have supported this crazy food journey/blog with me. Matter of fact one of my coworkers turned friends took the photos of me that will be featured with this article. To be honest, I could write an entire book each filled with a chapter dedicated to the incredible and influential people that have inspired me either directly or indirectly. I’m incredibly blessed to have people that support my foodie lifestyle and blog and I know that their constant support and encouragement has and continues to propel me deeper into my passions.

Instagram: i__amhungry

Yelp: Alysse Hogan

Other: Email: iamhungry.218@gmail.com

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.