Tag Archive : IFBC

IFBC - Straight Outta Day 2 - omgsdfwfood

IFBC - Straight Outta Day 2 - omgsdfwfoodOkay, I have two words for you: mind blown. Get this. Aside from the copious amounts of wine and food samples that surrounded us all day, these people at the International Food Blogger Conference, held by Foodista and Zephyr Adventures, laid out a kick ass day that any food-centric writer would not only expect to see at a food blogger conference but be pretty stoked to attend. So, I can’t go over every single moment because that would take forever, but here are a few highlights.

 

The morning kicked off with our keynote speaker, Kim Severson who is, among many other brilliantly fabulous things, a James Beard award-winning writer who just so happens to report and write for a little ol’ paper you may have heard of – The New York Times. She talked about the digital food revolution and how important authenticity is in our writing. While I completely wish we were best friends and could talk for hours about her day to day, plus chat about any interesting and slightly embarrassing stories she may know about Ruth Reichl, that wasn’t going to happen – at least here – so instead I took away some wonderful tasty nuggets she shared:

  • We are purveyors of great information.
  • Report with humility. Write with authority.
  • If you’re not composing, you’re composting.
  • I procrastinate just as much as you do (paraphrased, but this one hit close to home – oh, look! A squirrel!)

She also said a few things that made me say, “Crap! I knew I should have left that in there!” I oftentimes over-edit myself after writing something because I worry that I need to scrub for a general audience, and what I kept hearing over and over again at this conference was “BE YOU!” After hearing her speak, I rushed to add some things back into some of my work that I’d previously removed, feeling very Norma Rae, “Yeah! Stick it to the man! They DO want to hear about my difficulties describing umami and how my tongue gets ahead of my brain sometimes! I may even talk about my obsession with knives next week!”

After getting all goose-bumpy over my Kim Severson experience and rushing to change words, I panicked when I changed a URL (which Dr. Jean Layton said never to do in an earlier session); so I grabbed the nearest person, frantically asked her to check my site on her phone since I didn’t believe mine, and she assured me I had not blown up my website. Then, I realized it was just a slug I’d changed – technical jargon for “something that won’t blow up your site if you change it.” So, thank you to the wonderful person who helped me, and I am so sorry I didn’t catch your name. You are awesome.

Alright, back to the “BE YOU.” Next up was a pretty remarkable writer’s workshop with talented author, Jess Thomson who really emphasized knowing who you are and being that authentic self through a video of the “Freaky Hookah-Smoking Caterpillar” in Alice in Wonderland when he asks Alice, “Whoooo Aaaarrrre Youuuuu?” It was another lesson in “people want to hear what you say because YOU’RE saying it!” She had us go through two short writing exercises that honestly gave me a little boost of confidence. I completely embraced everything she was saying and even spoke with her afterwards about more writing workshops to further improve my writing style. Her workshop was like coming home and noticing the room had been rearranged, but it was still your home – finding new ways to highlight your talents that are ready to be moved around. Pretty cool.IFBC - omgsdfwfood - Irvin Lin

Another session featured Irvin Lin and Sarah Flotard who spoke about holiday preparation and how to put your best dish forward to help the masses as they prepare for the holiday season. This session was somewhat controversial at our table because the last few hours were all about authenticity and being the honest “you,” and then here we were focused on how to paint a half-baked turkey so it looked finished for you to take pictures of it four days later. It was interesting and was definitely of value in many areas – I will say, aside from some of the “soapy bird” professional food styling bit, I totally dug all the ideas about lighting, props, background, seizing the unplanned moments, and having fun with it. Needless to say, you will not be seeing a painted turkey on my site during the holidays. If I bomb, you’ll know it.

IFBC - omgsdfwfood - Andie Mitchell PanelWe also were introduced to a superhero trio to be reckoned with: Andie Mitchell, food blogger and author, along with prop stylist Jenn Elliott-Blake and award-winning food blogger and photographer Aran Goyoaga. They create the “Justice League” team who collaborated to work on Andie’s cookbook which is being released next spring! They discussed the ins and outs of creating a blog style which can be aesthetically appealing to your audience while highlighting your own personality and vision. And, whatever you do, WASH YOUR LINENS before shooting!

IFBC - Curriculamb - Tracy - omgsdfwfood

Then, the American Lamb Board held a Curriculamb 101 class (parum-pum – I thought it was funny). We learned so much about the different cuts, how to best prepare the lamb, and we got to taste some stellar lamb pate, as well as some incredible smoked lamb… aaaaaaall right after we watched a video about the baby lambs and how cute they are and how the farmers “get attached” to them. O_o Yeah.

BUT, I love meat, and that’s probably not going to change anytime soon. The point was to show us that these lambs are well-taken care of and do live a good, healthy life in a wonderful environment prior to their incorporation to the food chain. We, as consumers, need to know where are food is coming from so we can make better choices with where we purchase our food, and the smaller farms are where it’s at when it comes to sustainability and freshness. My opinion.

 

Did I mention the copious amounts of wine? Right after this last session, we engaged in a grand wine tasting with various wineries and regions, including wines from Trione WineryFranciacorta, and Concannon, right before the pièce de résistance, the Culinary Expo and Fair.

IFBC - Culinary Fair and Expo 2 - omgsdfwfood

 

 

 

 

 

 

IFBC - Culinary Fair - Skillet - omgsdfwfoodWow. There were nearly 30 different vendors and restaurants who filled the room with aromas of fried chicken and waffles from Skillet Street Food, smoked sobrasada chorizo with port soaked figs and Valencia almond from my new favorite Seattle restaurant Lark and everything in betwIFBC - Culinary Fair - Lark - omgsdfwfoodeen. Just zoom in on the grid pics above to see every single vendor who showed their love to all the food bloggers in attendance. Bottom line: killer food, killer drinks, killer peeps, killer vibe.

One more day to report, and I cannot wait to book next year’s conference already! Sorry I was so late today – we can all thank Canlis for that one, but I’ll talk about that later.

 

 

 

Note: While all IFBC posts are completely written based on my own experience and opinion, I was offered a discounted rate in exchange for three general posts about the conference.

IFBC - omgsdfwfood - Straight Outta Day 1As a great, prolific writer once said, “Today was a good day.”

I may not be “Straight Outta Compton,” but I am straight outta the first day of the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) in Seattle, Washington, and it was pretty darn awesome.

For the last six years, Foodista has held this conference for food bloggers everywhere, focusing on writing, food, and technology. And, this is the first year I’m participating in this phenomenally food-centric gathering.

In addition to the conference, I’m also finding some time to hit a few hot spots in Seattle to check out what the locals enjoy on a day to day. Yesterday, I made it to Stateside and Altura, two amazing visits which will get their own features soon, and today, I swung by Purple Cafe and Wine Bar before heading out to my first event with IFBC.

Purple Cafe and Wine Bar - IFBC - omgsdfwfood - Fig and Gorgonzola Pizzetta
Taking the suggestion of my server, Jessica, I opted for the trio lunch plate that featured a beautifully created fig and Gorgonzola pizzetta, along with a butternut squash soup and a strawberry and goat cheese salad. I love figs and am a huge fan of pear and Gorgonzola flatbread; so, I knew this was going to be a winner. This pizzetta was out of this world. The buttery crust was perfectly crisp on the outside and nice and chewy where it counted. It was the perfect way to start my day’s adventures.

Miele USA - Cooking - IFBC - omgsdfwfood

 

Now, while tomorrow marks the first official day of conference sessions, today featured a few excursions for the attendees. My particular group went to the Miele USA Showroom for a hands-on cooking class featuring their top of the line appliances, including an induction cooktop which we were able to utilize during the class. Their sleek, German-engineered, stylish ranges, coffee centers, wine refrigerators, and dishwashers were front and center during our class and proved to not only be appealing but functional.

Miele USA Showroom - Seattle - IFBC - omgsdfwfoodOur group was split into five separate stations where we each made a different dish following Miele recipes while being led by our Miele cooking instructor, Mary. Group number two was where I landed, and I was paired up with Suki, a “super duper fantastic” blogger out of San Francisco who joined me in our take on Pasta e Fagioli. I say, “our take” because we put our own twist on the recipe that may or may not have included adding an entire can of tomato paste to the mix versus a few tablespoons. Whatever the case, the soup rocked, and everyone thought it was a hit!IFBC - omgsdfwfood - Miele USA Cooking Event Food - Paella Souffle Pasta Fagiole Burger Steamed Bun

 

Together with the rest of our larger group, we created Paella, Steamed Pork Buns, Sliders, Greek Salad, and Gruyere Souffle, a feast fit for kings and queens! Everyone did an incredible job and seemed to truly enjoy our outting at Miele. Now, plenty of food later, it was time for another amazing event, registration and the gift suite expo featuring local restaurants and food businesses.

IFBC - Salumi Seattle - Batali - omgsdfwfood

 

Now, for me, the highlight of the gift suite expo was meeting the incomparable Armand Batali, father of famed restaurateur and Food Network icon, Mario Batali. Armand, who is actually an icon in his own right with Salumi Artisan Cured Meats in Seattle, was sampling four different salumis, fennel being the featured one in the pic. Not only was the salumi phenomenal, but Armand was, once again, an absolute delight. I’ve actually stood in line for hours to indulge in one of his handcrafted sandwiches made at Salumi, nearly missing my flight many times because I NEEDED that sandwich!

International Food Blogger Conference - omgsdfwfood - The Echo Devils

 

In addition to the ridiculous amount of goodies received, we had the absolute BEST “background” music by this funkalicious Rockabilly group named The Echo Devils. These guys were on FIE-uh! I’m talking blues, funky fab, James Bond groovy jams that took the event to a whole new level.

 

Lark Seattle - Fig Puff Pastry Tart - IFBC - omgsdfwfood

 

Now, if all that wasn’t enough, I decided that I would top off the night with a visit to Lark, one of Seattle’s best restaurants that features local ingredients from the very best artisans, produce growers and foragers in the Seattle area. Chef Sundstrom has truly hit his stride at this new location off East Seneca. While my particular service experience was initially questionable, they were quick to resolve any issues, and the food was never in question. From start to finish, the dishes were sheer perfection. Ending the night with a delectable black mission fig puff pastry tart was the absolute highlight of the evening… Told you I was a fan of the fig.

I can’t wait what Day Two has in store…

Note: While all IFBC posts are completely written based on my own experience and opinion, I was offered a discounted rate in exchange for three general posts about the conference.

omgsdfwfood - Poblano rice

Since 2009, food lovers, bloggers and the like have convened at the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) to explore food, writing, and technology, all while indulging in some of the best wine and food anyone can find at a conference. This year, I am partaking in the fun and leaving Bear and Poblano and Onionthe cats to fend for themselves for a few days. To ensure the refrigerator doesn’t grow something funky, I decided to create a lil’ something from what we had already in the fridge and leave a good meal behind.

I started out with a large onion and three beautiful Poblano peppers just hanging out ready to be consumed. I French cut the onion and julienned the Poblano, then added about six large cloves of chopped garlic to the mix.

omgsdfwfood Poblano and Onion WellIn a large skillet, I heated up a tablespoon of vegetable oil on medium high heat and then added the mixture to sautee until the onions started to get translucent and the Poblanos became relaxed.

While that was going, I chopped a couple of chicken breasts into bite size pieces and then seasoned the chicken with Knorr Caldo de Pollo (chicken bouillon a la Mexicana), cumin powder, and garlic powder. I didn’t add salt omgsdfwfood Poblano Arroz con Pollobecause the bouillon has loads of salt. Once the onion and Poblano mixture was nice and tender, I created a well in the center of the pan and then added the chicken to the center. After the chicken began to start browning on one side, I stirred it all together and created another well.
This time, I added 3/4 cup of white rice to the well and allowed each grain to be coated with some oil and to be toasted up nicely. Once the rice started to turn from opaque to a solid white, I went ahead and combined everything together, making sure to scrape the bottom of the skillet to lift up any fond (yummy tasty bits that get stuck to the pan when cooking).

omgsdfwfood Poblano Arroz con Pollo2In a measuring cup, I added the remaining Poblano Arroz con Pollo3smoky salsa I had made a few days ago, along with two tablespoons of table cream, making about 1 cup of liquid and then added hot water to the mixer to make it just over 1 1/2 cups total. You can use tomato sauce, chicken stock, or even use some of your favorite jarred salsa that you have on hand, as long as it totals double the amount of rice. I simply used what I had on hand. I added the liquid to the skillet and combined well, scraping the bottom of the skillet once again to incorporate that delicious fond.

omgsdfwfood Poblano Arroz con Pollo4Immediately, I covered the skillet and reduced the heat to medium low and left to simmer covered for 25 minutes. Whatever you do, DO NOT remove the lid. The key to perfect rice, alone or with a protein or veggies, is to start on medium high, then add one part rice to two parts liquid, let come to a boil, immediately cover and reduce to medium low for 25 minutes completely covered and undisturbed. You will have perfect rice every single time – we can both thank my cousin Normie for that tip. It changed my rice game forever. I even usually just cut the heat off once the time is up and leave it covered until ready to serve. Best rice advice, I’m telling ya. Check out this rice from a few meals ago. ——–> Right!?!omgsdfwfood Perfect Rice

Once the Poblano Arroz con Pollo was done, I sliced a few salad or cherry tomatoes for a pop of color and freshness. Now, I can enjoy the IFBC knowing Bear has some amazing Poblano Arroz con Pollo to devour!

omgsdfwfood Poblano Arroz con PolloI can’t wait to share what I discover at the conference. From what I understand, we’ll enjoy an amazing tasting of Seattle’s very best restaurants, specialty shops and more, and if that isn’t enough, I have tons of restaurant visits planned… Seattle, here I come!