IFBC – the International Food Bloggers Conference – my personal favorite blogging event that I go to each year (or as often as I can). It is a smaller, more personal conference than most of the others, giving the attendees a feeling of camaraderie and making it very easy to start conversations with everyone. We all love food and that common passion flows through the entire conference.
I had some remarkable food experiences this year, and made some new friends that will last a lifetime. It was a whirlwind weekend jammed with events and opportunities to discover new products, vendors, potential clients, and learn new aspects to improve our blogging skills.
I flew into SeaTac airport and was picked up by Kate McDermott of Art of the Pie. We rendezvoused with Robin E.H. Ove of What About the Food? at Sitka and Spruce where we enjoyed a glass of wine with Ashley and Dana of Laura Davidson Public Relations. It is so wonderful to meet people in person and have a face to go with a name when we are “talking” over email.
From there we headed over to meet up with a group of about 18 people for dinner at FareStart Restaurant. Organized by Dr. Jean Layton of Gluten-Free Doctor, we had the opportunity to experience a truly unique dining experience. FareStart is a culinary job training and placement program for homeless and disadvantaged individuals. Since 1992, FareStart has provided opportunities for over 7500 people to transform their lives while also serving over 6 million meals to disadvantaged people in their community.
The night we were there we were privileged to witness the graduation of three members of their team. All the young men have secured positions in restaurants in the area and are poised to begin a new and brighter future. It was a wonderful way to begin our evening.
Thanks to Alina Ferguson of One Girl, One Glass, One World, we had an array of amazing wines that paired perfectly with the elegant and delicious courses the FareStart team prepared for us. We started with an amuse bouche of shrimp cocktail served in a spoon with celery root relish, then we enjoyed the beautiful and artfully designed salad with baby greens tucked into a hollowed out cucumber and dressed with a citrus basil vinaigrette. Next was our main course, grilled Hawaiian swordfish with herb-chive blossom butter melting over the top, atop a mélange of fresh vegetables and Parisian potatoes in a lemon chive butter reduction. And we finished the evening with an extremely creative take on the classic peach melba with a vanilla bean panna cotta, poached peaches, fresh raspberries and a toasted almond tuile. This was a meal that easily compared to the best meals I’ve had around the country and was prepared by student chefs. We were all very impressed with their skills.
One of the many things that IFBC does with extraordinary flair is organizing evening events where we have opportunities to meet the sponsors and this year was no exception. ANOLON was the title sponsor this year and had amazing new products to show us and generously gave everyone who attended their session an Advanced Umber Hard Anodized Nonstick 9.5-inch Crepe Pan (I can’t wait to play with it!) as well as giving 50 lucky attendees a beautiful skillet.
We have to give a big shout out to the incredible sponsors whose generosity helped create a memorable and fun weekend. Kudos to Stonyfield, Krusteaz, Maryhill Winery, Franciacorta, American Lamb Association, Concannon Vineyards, WordPress, Teavana, Bays English Muffins, Wusthof Knives, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods, Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs, Isernio’s Sausage, Sur la Table, Miele, Sabra, KitchenAid, Trione Vineyards, BigOven, Sansaire, Lindsay Olives, Coravin, Chef’n, Chile Avocados, Cabot Cheese, Gourmet Ads, WoodChuck Hard Cider, Harvest Stone, Crunchmaster, Windset Farms, Oil & Vinegar, GelPro, IACP Culinary Trust, and Zomato.
In addition to the sponsors, the chefs and restaurateurs of some of Seattle’s finest restaurants provided tastes of a few of their most popular dishes for us to try. How amazing to have all that talent in one room! We were able to experience foods from Sky City at the Needle, Hama Hama, Molly Moon’s Ice Cream, Marx Foods, Percy’s and Co, Bitter Raw, Ethan Stowell Restaurants, The Herbfarm, Hot Cakes, Hot Stove Society, Skillet, and Six|Seven at the Edgewater. I had two favorites that stood out … the charcuterie from Salumi Artisan Cured Meats. I only wish The Artist could have been there to try them too. All of the meats that I sampled were amazing, but their mole salame is so unique. The mixture of chocolate, cinnamon, chipotle, and ancho peppers blended with the meats is something I am still craving. If I lived there, I would definitely be a regular. And Armandino Batali (Mario’s dad) couldn’t be cuter – if only I wasn’t already married, LOL. My personal best bite of the night award goes to the short rib mole with sweet potato puree, sesame and pumpkin seeds from Six|Seven. I will be dreaming of the texture of that puree and the depth of flavors the chefs achieved with those short ribs for years to come. Truly remarkable!
And between times, we were able to steal away and enjoy some of Seattle’s most popular attractions. For the first time in about 25 years I had a chance to walk through Pike Market and marvel again at the incredible fresh seafood, produce, and other vendors. Kate took us to The Pike, one of Seattle’s best pubs and a place I know would be a favorite haunt if I lived in town. Wall to wall memorabilia makes it fun and festive and the TVs tucked into nearly every corner makes it the perfect place to watch the Seahawks (or 49ers)! If you have a chance, read the story of how it was started by craft beer pioneers Charles and Rose Ann Finkel – it is a great tale.
We had two other memorable and delicious meals, but those will have to wait for the next post!
Next year IFBC is heading to Sacramento for some of the best farm-to-table food in the country! I’ve already signed up – join us! Use promo code EARLY to get a discount if you register by December.
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