My Day at IFBC

 

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:

 

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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.

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I wasn’t too tripped out—still happy to be there, sucking down coffee and chillin’ with the fun peeps at our table.

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Plus, I had just acquired my newest favoritest thing in the multiverse:

 

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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.

 

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(The rumors are true.)

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The true standout was the housemade wasabi. Oy! So good.

 

Some other vegan options:

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Fresh fruit jam from the Fruit Loop in Hood River…

 

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Beer from a new brewpub in Hood River called Pfriem…

And….

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Vodka!

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A quick shot and some kale chip crumbs before going to our talk on Niche Blogging.

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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.

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I also spent some quality time taking pictures of corks and candles.

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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.

This was my favorite part. We were starving. A huge thanks to Biwa, Boke Bowl, Veggie Grill and Departure for having vegan options!

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How do I find an up arrow on my keyboard? This dish in the above photo was soooo good.

 

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Guys, f’rill, I don’t even particularly LIKE zucchini, and I could eat this thing all day every day.

 

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Yurm.

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Chef Gregory of Departure working his sweet sweet magic.

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Vegan Roasted Vegetable Bao. Heavenly.

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And then! You guys! BUBBLES!!!

 

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Any event with bubbles gets an automatic A from me. What can I say, I’m easy.

 

And last but certainly not least:

 

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Veggie Grill!

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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.

 

 

 

 

Labor Day and Autumn Eats and Drinks

 

Happy Labor Day!

Did you know that Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day a holiday, in 1887 (According to Wikipedia)? Let’s hear it for Oregon!

I typically celebrate Labor Day by working (a common malady in the service industry), but if you are the type to have a three-day holiday weekend, here is a collection of perfect-for-fall recipes for Labor Day and beyond. Autumn is my favorite season, so I’m realllllly looking forward to pumpkin and root vegetables and corn and warm drinks and did I mention pumpkin?

 

Golden Beer-Battered Tempeh Nuggets (<—My mom’s recipe!)

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This is my mom’s recipe. I might be biased, but she is basically a culinary genius, plus she has a blog. Plus, she’s really cute.

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Dijon Dill Pasta Salad

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This is the best pasta salad in the universe. The multi-verse. Forever and Ever. Etc.

 

Vegan Dijon Dill Burger with Cold Soba Noodle Salad

Dijon Dill Vegan Burger

The soba noodle salad is from vegan wonder-woman Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.  The burger is a concoction from my kitchen, and easily adaptable for your personal likes and dislikes.

 

Farmer’s Market Caprese Fettuccini (gluten-free)

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Basil makes my world go ‘round. This recipe calls for basil, big juicy tomatoes, balsamic reduction, and gluten-free fettuccini noodles.

 

Mac and Cheese

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This recipe is as old as the hills. It’s from 2008. When I make macaroni and cheese, I usually make some variation of this recipe. Lately I’ve been adding broccoli and bread crumbs to the top before toasting it.

For a Man Vs Tofood video featuring another Mac and Cheese recipe of mine, click here.

 

Individual Baked Apple

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Raw oats are polarizing, but if you don’t like raw oats (weirdo), just leave ‘em out. It’s worth it.

 

Dance Magic Bars

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These were inspired by Jenna’s recipe some time back. They’re vegan Magic bars and they’re wonderful.

 

Cashew Cream Tart with Sugared Berries

Cashew Cream Tarts with Sugared Berries

These little suckers are just delightful. They’d be great with big ripe juicy fall peaches.

 

Spiced Pumpkin Pie Cocktail with Maple Oatmeal infused Rum

Pumpkin Pie Cocktail

You heard that right.

Please excuse the picture. It’s a reverse ratio: For as boring as this photo looks, the drink tastes that good. What’s that? Yes, it does have to be really good then, huh? Trust me, it is.

 

Vegan Baileys Whipped Cashew Cream

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If you’ve tried my recipe for vegan Baileys Irish cream, you could take it to the next level and make baileys whip cream for all the pumpkin pies you’ll be making come pumpkin season. You can eat this with a spoon (and if you do, I won’t tell anyone).

 

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

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Mini Pumpkin Pies because I have no picture of this smoothie.

This is your basic pumpkin pie smoothie recipe. I make this every fall as much as humanly possible. I still stick with this recipe, but now I add a banana to it.

 

Hope you enjoy the tail-end of summer and the beginning of fall! Happy Labor Day, everyone!

 

Angel’s Rest Hike, Neahkahnie Mountain, The Yellow! Party, and General Summer Merrymaking

 

Last year, summer didn’t exist in Portland. Sure, there was a weekend here or there that happened to not be rainy and bleak, but mostly we Oregonians spent 2011 summer months thinking, “Any day now, summer will begin….” And then BAM, it was October. And it rained. Until June 2012.

THIS year, though, summer is here, and it is hot and beautiful and bikeable and hikaeble. I’ve had a successful summer so far: between the busy busy day job and the other busy conference planning job, I’ve made time to:

* Hit up the annual Oregon Beer Fest.

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* Watch the sun set on the Portland skyline while kickin’ it on a sailboat.

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* Head up to the Washougal River for a few hours of sun and water and sunburn with some gal pals.

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Aforementioned gal pals:

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* Venture out to the Gorge for a hike up Angel’s Rest, followed by a sojourn into Hood River for veggie burgers and brews.

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* Spend a full day at the Oregon coast with my best friend Abby, hiking up Neahkahnie Mountain for gorgeous views, picnicking in the sand, and camping in the forest.

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At Hug Point, the most adorably-named place in Oregon.

 

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* Co-host with my roommate a themed party, “The Yellow! Party”.

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Naturally, the host of The Yellow! Party has to have yellow everything, including fingernails.

 

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Yep, these are vegan ginger-lemon jello shots.

 

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I’ve had a dang good summer so far. And it’s really only half-over. So much more fun to be had! It reminds me of a quote I recently read:

“Isn’t it wonderful to think that some of the best days of our lives have yet to happen?”

Marina and the Diamonds, Take Two

 

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Have you heard of Marina and the Diamonds? She’s one of my favorite contemporary performers. Marina is a singer from Wales who’s part Greek. She’s beautiful, and has got this gorgeous operatic pop-style voice. My good friend John introduced her to me a few years ago. A group of us geekily bought tickets right away to see her perform when she came to the States for her first tour. She played at the Doug Fir, one of my favorite venues, and I spent the evening sipping vodka and falling in love with her.

Side Note: I misjudged calling my blog post  recap “Sexy-Time Photos of Marina and the Diamonds”. I get so many blog hits from people searching for sexy xxx pics of Marina. They must be disappointed when there’s a few poorly lit photos of Marina on stage and a whole lot of photos of kale and champagne cocktails.

When I found out that she was coming back to the states for her second album release, I immediately bought my ticket. Well, that’s not true at all. I talked about buying a ticket for a few months, but was feeling petulant about Ticketmaster prices being so exorbitant (the price was DOUBLE what was listed in fees), that it took me until the week of to actually bring myself to bite the bullet.

 

Marina Band Group

Headed to the show at The Aladdin after eating Los Gorditos tacos and drinking beer on Apex’s patio. This photo was taken with my friend Reggie’s phone.

 

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Black Currant Framboise from Apex, taken with Instagram

 

The show was fantastic. And she’s adorable and tiny and fashionable and has an amazing voice and and and and I love her.

 

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Sunglasses! So cute!!!!! <3

 

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She mentioned in passing to me (and the sold out Aladdin Theater) that she’s coming back for a longer tour this Fall. Thank God. I can’t get enough.

My current favorites from her  second album Electra Heart are “How To Be A Heartbreaker” and “Primadonna”. My Spotify has been nonstop Marina for the past few weeks.

In which Marina offers fail-proof relationship advice

 

Her first US single

 

 

RATING: 5 out 5 champagne cocktails

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