It all started yesterday afternoon at 3:15 p.m. Megan (aka The Gluten Free Vegan) and I hopped on a plane to head to Portland, Oregan for the 4th annual International Food Blogger Conference. If you have ever heard of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, you will know that you cannot fly direct to anywhere from here. So, we flew first to Denver, had a 3 hour layover (which we filled with beer and supper), and then had a second leg from Denver to Portland.
We landed at 11 p.m. Portland time, and after sorting out our luggage, train ride, etc, we got to the Hilton DoubleTree at 12:15 a.m. We walked into our room and this is what we saw:
Yep, the bed was slept in.
And there was trash in the garbage can.
And toothpaste in the sink.
The staff were very nice and quickly gave us a new room, and vouchers for breakfast for the rest of our stay, as well as complimentary wifi. By the time we got to bed though, it was after 2 a.m. Saskatoon time.
But, 6 hours of sleep later, we were up and at it, getting ready for our tour at Bob’s Red Mill. We were fortunate enough to get a tour from Bob himself, who is 83 years old and still works at the mill every day. Seeing their dedicated gluten free facilities, extensive lab testing and friendly staff was a delight. I’m officially sold on the Bob’s Red Mill brand, and will make an effort to purchase their products in the future.
And the swag bag we got was amazing! I can’t wait to try out all the goodies!
When we got back, it was time for the conference registration and welcome, and a keynote by Bruce Seidel, former Food Network employee (he was the creator of Iron Chef America), and CEO of the new YouTube food channel: Hungry.
Lunch hosted by Organic Valley was next, but we were really disappointed that there were only grilled cheese sandwiches – hardly a viable option for Megan, who follows a gluten free and vegan diet. We headed to find food and had the most amazing lunch at Gather, the bar in the hotel lobby. Grilled watermelon salad with black quinoa, chia seeds, and balsamic strawberries and veggies. Topped with goat cheese for me, and without for Megan.
I will definitely be trying to re-create this one when I get home!
Next up was the world’s first ever live food tasting and blogging. It’s like speed dating, but with food! Each local restaurant or business was given 5 minutes to present their dish to the table. We were responsible for live blogging/Tweeting/Facebooking about each dish. Here are the dishes we sampled:
1) Blackberry Ginger Dressing over Salmon and Summer Vegetable Salad from @ORBC. Really yummy with a huge blend of flavors.
2) Silverspot IPA from The Pelican Brewery. Delicious of course!
3) Water buffalo tartare from @nickyusa. Amazing, definitely my favorite!
4) Sourdough from Rockfish Bakery Café. The starter is from 8 years ago.
5) Tuna salad home canned at Culinary Center in Lincoln Center. This was a bit underwhelming compared to the rest of the dishes. Maybe if I had tried the tuna on its own, but in a salad, I couldn’t taste the difference from any other canned tuna.
6) Chocolate from @coastalmist_or. The lemoncella was yummy, but I wasn’t a fan of the other flavors I tried. But take that with a grain of salt…I’m not a chocolate person.
7) Harvested salt from @jacobsensaltco. Sprinkled on top of baguette with butter and honey…my tastebuds were screaming with happiness!
8) El chupacabra roast from @happyrockcoffee. This was her medium roast and it was amazing. Strong and delicious….I can’t imagine how bold her strong roast is!
9) Salted caramel made with homemade truffle butter from @oregontruffles. The owner is adorable and has never had to put a cent into advertising because her food is so amazing that word of mouth is all she needs! Oh, and P.S.: She has trained her dogs to sniff out truffles. See what I mean about adorable?
10) Dungeness crab sushi with homemade wasabi from Fishes Sushi & Japanese cuisine. This was a close second (maybe even tied) with the water buffalo tartare. The wasabi was amazing…I never knew wasabi could have so much character.
After the food tasting came the workshops. Megan went to the “Niche Blogging” workshop, and I attended the one called “How Bloggers, PR Pros and Brands Can Best Work Together”. There were some really good points which I am far too tired to recall right now. But don’t worry, I took notes.
And once we were done all the “hard work”, it was time for a wine tasting reception, followed by a food fair. I was so exhausted and hungry (how could I have been hungry!?) that I forgot to take pictures of the food fair, but I promise to make up for it tomorrow.
Some of the highlights of the day:
– Being asked if Megan and I were sisters.
– Wearing sexy hair nets and goggles…there’s nothing that wins or loses you friends more quickly.
– Getting 6 different compliments on my top. Apparently everyone loves cherry blossoms!
– Getting water spilled all over me by Janelle from Talk of Tomatoes. But it’s okay, she’s adorable and has the biggest, brightest laugh, so I quickly forgave her. Besides, I’m completely klutzy myself…. so I’m just thankful it wasn’t me this time. ;)
And that’s a wrap folks. This was me 1.5 hours ago when I started this blog post (yes it’s taken me extra long because I keep getting distracted):
If you want real time updates, be sure to follow me on Twitter at @jnbauer or @GourmetHW. If you’re on Instagram, my username is jlyn_b. And of course, feel free to email me jacquelyn [at] gourmethousewife [dot] com.
Read my Day 2 recap here: http://www.gourmethousewife.com/2012/08/ifbc-in-portland-day-2/.