A few weeks back, Jess, Michele and I attended The International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) at the DoubleTree. We were contacted last year by the organizer, Sheri, for advice and we were asked to give a talk.
We gleefully accepted, and found ourselves on a sunny Friday heading into the hotel for a day’s worth of meals, talks, samples and ‘networking’. (<—I don’t particularly like that word, it sounds so sort of douchy, but I mean it as a catchall—meeting new people, catching up with old acquaintances, making new connections and friends—it was enjoyable.)
I was just able to attend the first day due to having to work on Saturday and Sunday, but it was a full and fun day.
We had been assured all along that there would be vegan options at every meal, so I came in hungry. First thing we saw, at the the coffee station outside the main room:
Vegan milks for coffee! Awesome. Michele and I had geekily brought our own soy creamer (she has pictures to prove it), but I thought that was a nice touch.
Turns out the lunch didn’t have vegan options—it was sponsored by Organic Valley, who provided an array of grilled cheese sandwiches. The flavors sounded nice, and if they were vegan, I woulda snatched a few up.
Instead, I had an (admittedly very delicious) apple and a coffee with home-brought soy creamer.
I wasn’t too tripped out—still happy to be there, sucking down coffee and chillin’ with the fun peeps at our table.
Plus, I had just acquired my newest favoritest thing in the multiverse:
My OXO Water Bottle. Seriously, I love this thing. I can close it up and throw it in my bike bag, and when I’m ready to drink, I just twist the top and out pops the little straw. I love it so so much. I’ve used it non-stop and have been staying way hydrated just because I like drinking from it.
(The rumors are true.)
After an introductory talk, and a welcoming address by the guy in charge of the new Hungry channel on You Tube (heads up: they’re looking for a vegan host, so if you have personality, pep and passion, hook it up, vegan brothers and sisters. Common consensus at our table was that Brian Patton, aka The Sexy Vegan, would be a great choice.), we participated in a ‘Live Blog’ session sponsored by Travel Portland.
Essentially, there were 21 different local vendors, and 10 of them would visit each table in 5 minute increments to explain their product and give us samples.
It was a genius idea.
Half of the people at our table (Jess, Michele, Grant Butler and I) were vegan, so about half of the vendors got a polite interest in their product at best, though the stinky cheese lady might have got a few well-timed bathroom breaks from Jess and I.
But even with some options not vegan, there were still plenty of amazing treats.
The kale chips weren’t part of the rounds of vendors, but they somehow ended up on our table, and we starving vegans ate the heck out of them.
The sushi guy from Cannon Beach actually had vegan sushi for us! I love him.
The true standout was the housemade wasabi. Oy! So good.
Some other vegan options:
Fresh fruit jam from the Fruit Loop in Hood River…
Beer from a new brewpub in Hood River called Pfriem…
A quick shot and some kale chip crumbs before going to our talk on Niche Blogging.
I don’t have any pictures of the talk, but we had a nice turnout of about 20 people, and it turned into a really good discussion. We met a few really nice ladies afterward who came up to chat with us. (Hi, new friends!)
Following the talks, there was a wine reception. I sampled a few whites and met a few nice people. I chatted with a nice guy from Kentucky who told me about a watermelon julep slushy thingy that sounded AMAZING.
I also spent some quality time taking pictures of corks and candles.
Following the wine tasting, we headed into the amazing swag bag room to collect some fun products (see Jess’s picture here) and sample food from more local peeps.
How do I find an up arrow on my keyboard? This dish in the above photo was soooo good.
Guys, f’rill, I don’t even particularly LIKE zucchini, and I could eat this thing all day every day.
Chef Gregory of Departure working his sweet sweet magic.
Vegan Roasted Vegetable Bao. Heavenly.
And then! You guys! BUBBLES!!!
Any event with bubbles gets an automatic A from me. What can I say, I’m easy.
And last but certainly not least:
Look at that big delicious plate of kale salad. They really know how to make vegan girls happy.
It was my first food blogger’s conference other than our own Vida Vegan Con, and it was tons of fun. I met several rad people; I’m stoked that we were asked to speak; and glad I could take the day off work to come check it out.