After three days in beautiful Santa Monica at the International Food Bloggers’ Conference learning, listening, eating, drinking, walking and dreaming about food and blogging, I could write in depth just about the beauty of Michael Moore’s stunning dinner Saturday night or the crazy creativity of the local LA food bloggers’ dishes at an after-conference gathering, but instead I will give you what my schedule allows – just a few nibbles of the quality food and wine I was lucky enough to ingest during this speedy but energizing three days.
1. Lago Santa Monica’s Caprese Salad with basil sorbet – what a great example of what Ferran Adria talked about in his San Francisco book talk – taking an existing idea but changing elements to create a whole new experience – Burrata instead of mozzarella, cherry tomatoes instead of sliced, and the crown jewel – basil sorbet instead of fresh basil leaves. Brilliant.
2. Food truck lunch – the two stand-outs for me were the charming personality of one of the employees of the Steel City Sandwich truck – she made each of us feel special as she so graciously took our orders; and the pumpkin “grilled cheese” from the Grilled Cheese Truck was such a sweet, gooey, crunchy seasonal surprise when you bit into it – simple, sinful, superb.
3. Adding Wine to your Food Blog session – we tasted three wines as part of the effort to force us to think about what we tasted and how we would translate it into words for our readers. Fascinating panel members – Michael Wangbickler from Balzac Communications in Napa, Gwendolyn Alley, an art and wine enthusiast who writes a blog called Art Predator , and Michelle McClindon who is the winemaker for Don Sebastiani and Sons. The Sebastiani Crusher wines from the Clarksburg appellation served as a great springboard for learning how to describe the flavors of wine using the written word. For me – a brain-bending experience.
4. Saturday dinner with Chef Michael Moore from Australia. He is in the states promoting his new cookbook, Blood Sugar, a compilation of recipes focussed on offering diabetics fabulously tasty options that still support the dietary needs of someone closely managing blood sugar levels. His story is inspirational – diagnosed with diabetes, then a massive stroke only a year and a half ago, now back to full function and cooking wildly creative and healthy food that he shared with us Saturday night –
Salad with Sonoma goat curd, heirloom carrots, borlotti, lima & green beans, endive, pomegranate, meyer lemon, mint ruby grapefruit, radish
Beef Filet with red frill cress, pickled chili, horseradish, garbanzo & dixie beans, san marzano & heirloom tomatoes
Vanilla Brûlée with syrup & mascarpone, beurre, bosc pears, raspberries, persimmon, dried citrus & blueberries
5. Attending a gathering with food bloggers supplying the food can reframe your perspective on what to expect at your next potluck – OMG! Yummy is not nearly a strong enough descriptor. An example of what we were lucky enough to consume at the post-#IFBC gathering organized by Andrew Wilder of Eating Rules: Shaved brussel sprout salad whipped up at 6AM that morning by Greg of the blog Sippity Sup, homemade kimchi from Matty of I Make Pickles, tabbouleh creatively made with cauliflower (really) by Pamela of My Man’s Belly, four types of sushi rivaling in flavor almost any I have ordered in highly-acclaimed Japanese restaurants by Allison of Sushi Day, boxes of Buddha hands and Korean pears for all of us to take from Melissa’s Organic Fresh Produce, Chocolate Chai cookies baked by Valentina of Cooking on the Weekends, and I can’t forget the truffled potatoes, flavored by real truffles, not just truffle oil from Erika who writes In Erika’s Kitchen. The San Francisco/San Jose bloggers in attendance are awed and inspired to coordinate regular gatherings this impressive on a semi-regular basis.
I could continue – there was oh so much more yummy and impressive food at the potluck and so many interesting products and people to talk about from the conference. But it took me all week just to get this much “on paper” so let these nibbles gnaw at your taste buds and go enjoy the rest of this upcoming week of inspiring food, friends, and family.
By the way, the next IFBC is in Portland in August – I’ve never been and it’s high on my list of foodie cities to visit so you can bet I’ll be attending IFBC Portland in 2012! (and I hope my fabulous roomies will be too – Annelies of La Vie en Route and Carol of Uncovering Food)