I wanted to quote ‘Oliver”and entitle this post “Food Glorious Food!”, but I’m guessing that line has already been used about a million times already. If ever there was a weekend where it applied though, last weekend was it. For a second year in a row I attended the IFBC (International Food Blogging Conference) in Seattle. I’ve gone to quite a few different food conferences/events in the past, but I can honestly say that IFBC is my favorite. Once again I got so much out of it by acquiring new knowledge, new ideas, new friends and a renewed enthusiasm.
The conference started on Friday, but I decided to get to town early to see Seattle and have a couple of days to relax and explore. I also wanted the chance to get together with a couple of friends from IFBC 2013. My friend Mary from ‘Fervent Foodie’ invited me to dinner along with Jenifer from ‘Cocoa Nib’. We were joined by two new friends, Nichole from ‘Gap Creek Gourmet’ and Jill from ‘Eating My Words’. We had dinner at ‘How To Cook A Wolf’ in the Queen Anne section of Seattle. The name is a reference to the MFK Fisher book about inspiring courage in time of wartime shortages. Ethan and Angela Stowell have created a menu consisting of small rustic plates that take advantage of local seasonal ingredients. Everything we ate was delicious and well thought out. I could have stayed all night, but instead we headed over to ‘Knee High Stocking Company.’ We were not, as you might imagine, shopping for hosiery…quite the contrary. Knee High Stocking Company is a speakeasy. Like the speakeasies of yore, you need to find the unmarked door and ring a bell to get in. You also need to have a reservation. The only thing you don’t need is a password (I think they should institute that). The cocktail menu is long and full of interesting and appealing old school cocktails with a modern twist. The space is intimate, cozy and comfortable. It was like relaxing in someone’s living room, but no one I know makes cocktails like that. Another of my other pre-conference meals included a great bowl of noodles from ‘Long Provincial Vietnamese Restaurant’. Long Provincial has a very extensive menu that I would have loved to dive into; unfortunately, one of the snags of dining alone is not being able to order everything you want. I don’t always mind eating alone…sometimes a little down time before a busy conference is a welcome contrast. Such was the case with my meal at ‘Pintxo’, a charming tapas restaurant not far from the ‘Westin’. I sat and drank a very respectable house red wine while ordering little plates until I couldn’t eat anymore. I really enjoyed the quiet rustic interior, and every dish I ate was a hit. I could only stand so much relaxation before it was off to the conference.
The conference opened with best selling cookbook authors Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. Karen and Andrew are true visionaries. Their work has always been one step ahead of everyone else’s. They were on the forefront in the early days of the Internet, using the new technology to share their ideas and passion about food before anyone else did. They continue to be ahead of the curve and their insight into the way food is continuing to evolve was interesting and welcome. With barely time to catch a breath, we went on to the next speaker, Todd Coleman, who is the creative director of ‘Tasting Table’ and co-founder of ‘Delicious Contents’. I thoroughly enjoyed Todd’s presentation where he shared his modern and unique approach to food photography. His use of simple items like tin foil and flashlights, unexpected backgrounds and interesting textures was truly inspiring. The breakneck pace continued with a cooking demonstration from Seattle’s own Thierry Rautureau, the ‘Chef in the Hat’. Thierry’s session was both amusing and informative. He demonstrated how to elevate a few simple ingredients into a first class meal while dropping tip after useful tip throughout his presentation. Afternoon sessions included something for everyone with topics ranging from food, tech, writing and an informative look into one of my favorite subjects, the wines of Bordeaux.
I think everyone’s favorite part of the conference was the Gourmet Fair. Local restaurants were out to impress with scrumptious offerings, local vintners poured memorable wine and martinis were flowing courtesy of ‘Lindsey Olives’. This was a great way to unwind and socialize after a long day as well as network with fellow bloggers and brands. Here I am just going to let the pictures speak for themselves.
Sunday-morning breakfast was provided by ‘Bigelow Tea’ and was followed by more sessions on writing and technology. At noon the conference drew to a close, which was all too fast and soon for me. The IFBC 2015 conference will return to Seattle again next September. Registration is open and I have it on my calendar. Thank you Seattle and IFBC. See you next year!