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Category: blogher food

  1. Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    BlogHer Food, La Petite Soirée and Lots and Lots of Food

    As you know (because I keep telling you!), I went to the BlogHer Food conference this past weekend. It was wonderful. Truly. And not just because I got to eat things like this for two days straight.

    Here are a few quick highlights from the conference:

    • Rooming with my dear friend Vanessa Druckman from Chef Druck Musings and my new friend Tricia Callahan from Once A Month Mom. They were such great roommates. Easy to be around, lots of laughs. And Vanessa didn’t have any nightmares as a result of sharing a bed with me. All in all a successful roomie experience, I think! (Pictured: Tricia left, me, Vanessa right)

    • Hearing Penny de los Santos speak. She’s a photojournalist who does exceptional work, but is also full of beautiful stories and true inspiration. Yeah, I cried.
    • Hearing Shauna James Ahern speak. Inspiring? Check. Funny? Check. Great writing and even better stories? Check. Yeah, I cried again.
    • When Michael Ruhlman ended the closing keynote panel by standing up and sharing his strong feelings about the importance of food and cooking to humanity. I can’t do his words justice, so I won’t try. But his words made me…cry. Yup. Again.
    • Chatting with Erika of Ivory Hut. She is quiet and lovely. Erika shared a story with me of a woman who wrote her a letter, and sent all the extra money she had for the month to help Erika’s family. It was moving. And, while I think I did a good job covering up, Erika made me cry, too.
    • But before you start thinking I spent the whole weekend crying…I also laughed, talked, and ATE. A lot. The conference was full of amazing speakers, amazing attendees and food galore.

    Pictured: Helene Dujardin, Me, Kristen Doyle, Stefania Pomponi Butler

    I think the true highlight of the weekend for me was co-hosting La Petite Soirée. Somehow I was able to convince three lovely women into throwing a party with me during the BlogHer Food weekend. I count my lucky stars every day I had the chance to work with these great women. And the party? It was perfect.

    For the food, Stefania had the brilliant idea to hire local food carts from the city. They were all amazing and provided unique foods and drinks to please every palette. And it was just plain cool.

    For decoration, we simply had beautiful flowers and cool lighting. I’m not exaggerating when I say you could see our party from miles away. The party was in a photography studio on the top floor with tall windows and no drapes. So, yeah, you could probably see those lights from the moon. We know how to party.

    We also had some super sweet gift bags. In fact, the whole weekend came complete with lots of foodie-happy swag. But I’ll just use it, enjoy it, and share my favorites with you over the next months. I do need to thank Federated Media, WordPress, Scharffen Berger and Clever Girls Collective for being our main sponsors. They were all wonderfully supportive.

    And, in case you like knowing about good restaurants, here are the various places I ate over the weekend. The Martha Stewart team treated a small group of us to dinner at 54 Mint. And it was amazing. Especially the fried zucchini blossoms and the pasta with eggplant. On Friday, a bunch of us bloggers went to Out the Door for lunch. The chicken that came in a clay pot (I’m pretty sure that’s not the official name) was so tender and flavorful, and I am officially in love with bok choy. For lunch on Saturday, Ziplist treated a group of us to lunch at Restaurant LuLu. I told you the weekend was full of good food!

    I’ll be honest, I usually walk away from conferences feeling a little deflated. I think that comes from being overwhelmed by the sheer number of talented bloggers out there and wondering, “What’s the point?” This weekend was completely opposite. I’ve walked away inspired and feeling like I’m part of a powerful and positive community of people with similar goals but different ways to meet those goals. And, I know it all sounds so cheesy, but it was just such a happy, warm-fuzzy weekend. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way, so I’m just gonna go where the cheese takes me. Thank you to everyone who was a part of it, whether I mentioned you specifically or not. You all touched my heart in one way or another. Thank you.

  2. Saturday, October 3, 2009

    BlogHer Food: The Conference!

    Okay, this is my last BlogHer Food post – promise! And get ready for lots of fabulous links in this post that will be sure to keep you busy!

    sfmoma cafe

    The actual conference was a lot of fun. I went to a few sessions on photography as well as one about seeking opportunities from your blog. Lots of great info and stories. The best part of the conference, however, was meeting so many other bloggers…many of which I have relationships with online, but haven’t had the chance to meet in person or don’t see very often. Lunch was one of my favorite parts of the day…I skipped out on the conference lunch (rebellious, I know) with Kristen Doyle from Dine & Dish, Katie Goodman from goodLife {eats} and Amy Johnson from She Wears Many Hats (pictured below in that order). We walked next door to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Cafe…the food was fresh and tasty (pictured above – it looks good right?)…definitely a nice lunch spot in the city.


    The closing keynote was my favorite session of the day. Lisa Stone, co-founder of BlogHer, moderated a panel with Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman), David Lebovitz and Elise Bauer (Simply Recipes). I didn’t take notes so I don’t have any helpful information to share…but it was an informative and entertaining hour, and all three speakers were fantastic! And I immediately went to the lobby to buy David’s new book, The Sweet Life in Paris, which I am thoroughly enjoying.

    closing keynote

    One last thing…BIG thanks to CHEFS Catalog for the sweetest swag bag ever at the after party. Goodness, so many fun kitchen gadgets and tools. I was most excited about the dishwasher-safe basting brush and the mini spatula. I know, I’m a geek. Oh, I also discovered the KitchenAid with a GLASS bowl at the after party. I am officially in covet mode.

  3. Friday, October 2, 2009

    BlogHer Food: Bertolli Dinner in Napa with Rocco DiSpirito

    The night before BlogHer Food, I was invited to a dinner at St Supéry Vineyards & Winery in Napa with Rocco DiSpirito, hosted by Bertolli. Here I am with Rocco. Wasn’t that nice of him to have dinner with me on my birthday?

    bertolli dinner jane rocco

    Okay, it wasn’t just me at the dinner. A group of about 20 food bloggers attended. It was really fun meeting so many interesting and talented women. And, I got to hang out with some of my most favorite blogging friends. Here are my girls: Gina Von Esmarch (remember Gina?), Vanessa Druckman and Jennifer Perrillo.

    bertolli dinner girls

    The wine was flowing that evening. I mean FLOWING. (I don’t drink, but everyone seemed happy with the wine.) How pretty is this white?

    bertolli dinner white wine

    And the glasses! So many glasses! We counted, St Supéry served NINE different wines over the course of the dinner. We could barely fit our plates on the table.

    bertolli dinner wine glasses

    Bertolli was the sponsor of the dinner, so they served Bertolli frozen meals as the main course. While I wish they would have served a mix of food, I was surprised that the pastas were actually pretty good. The Shrimp Scampi (pictured) and the stuffed shells were my favorite. I’m not a frozen, prepared foods kind of girl, so it’s really only something I would serve in a pinch. But it’s definitely a good frozen dinner option.

    bertolli shrimp scampi

    The appetizers and dessert were Rocco’s creations. The appetizers were fantastic. The dessert was quite good…the lavender crème brûlée was everyone’s favorite. Apparently the little chocolate cakes were supposed to be lava cakes…sadly they had been overcooked (which, in case Rocco reads this, was not his fault!). But they still made for a beautiful photo subject!

    bertolli dinner dessert

    Thanks to Bertolli and Rocco for a fun night!

  4. Monday, September 28, 2009

    BlogHer Food: Swimming in Scharffen Berger

    I have so many fun things to share with you from BlogHer Food, so instead of one monster post, I’m going to divide it up into a few. And since chocolate is hands down the best food ever, we’re going to start with Scharffen Berger.

    scharffen berger box1

    Ah, Scharffen Berger. They were an official sponsor of BlogHer Food and one of the sponsors at the fun after-party put on by Ree, Jaden and Elise. Which means I received a LOT of Scharffen Berger chocolate this weekend. Which means I’m one happy girl.

    My favorite? The 41% milk chocolate. To die for. It is creamy and smooth, but still has very rich flavor. But I still have lots of other chocolate to eat…tonight I’m going to make lava cakes and use the bittersweet chocolate and cocoa. You can bet I will report back on the results.

    scharffen berger 2

    Chef Elizabeth Falkner was at the conference with Scharffen Berger, who is currently hosting a recipe contest that uses ‘adventure’ ingredients combined with chocolate (you could win $10,000 – check it out!). In honor of the adventure ingredients, she made a magic chocolate box, which was essentially a giant chocolate box filled with all kinds of ingredients…both crazy and normal. If you wanted to eat it, you had to put on a glove and stick your hand right in. Linda from One Scoop at a Time captured an oh-so-lovely shot of me enjoying this unusual dessert.

    elizabeth falkner

    Elizabeth Falkner was also at the after-party, where she had prepared some amazing petits gâteaux. And yes, I ate my very own without any help. And yes, I was a little sick to my stomach afterwards. And yes, it was worth every bite. I got a chance to chat with Elizabeth for a minute, at which point I drilled her about Iron Chef…and here’s what I discovered, for those of you who care. The Iron Chef and the challenger get a short list of potential secret ingredients about one month prior to the taping, but they don’t find out the ingredient until you see it on TV. They are given a small budget to bring ingredients of their own, and there is a well-stocked pantry on set. I asked her if it was stressful or fun…and she said both! Maybe I’m just a geek, but I’ve always been curious about those little points. Elizabeth was very nice (and cool) and it was fun getting a chance to meet her!