What a weekend I had attending the International Food Bloggers Conference. It happened to be right in my backyard this year in Portland, Oregon. How could I pass it up?
If you have ever been to a blogging conference, then you know how much fun they are, and you know, there are always pre-parties. These are not sponsored by the conference but by brands who like to meet bloggers and introduce them to their products.
I was definitely one of the lucky ones who was invited to the Barhyte Specialty Foods Party at the Barhyte home (pictured above, isn't it gorgeous). It's always an honor to be invited to someone's home and I always take an invitation like that seriously, my mother taught me well. They even asked me to pour my wines at the event. I couldn't have been more thrilled to share my wine with so many of my blogging friends, alongside the Barhyte's amazing dinner.
Here are a few of the products they sent us home with and served at the party. The Creamy Horseradish was on Ribeye Sliders. I ate about 42 of those things...just amazing. What a sauce! Other meats and shrimp were left to marinate in their mouthwatering sauces and let me just say...I was in food heaven. The flavors were superb, top notch and something I will not soon forget. Like never. I can't wait to start using these at home, they make so many fabulous things.
Because I had all the wine, I arrived a little early. After stepping into the Barhyte home, I immediately felt I had landed inside a Pottery Barn catalog. It was gorgeous and rustic and warming. Being the weirdo I am, I immediately start taking pictures of their decor, (assuring them I am not a stalker) so I can show them to my decorator...so my house can also look like Pottery Barn someday soon. After a year of living in my new house, it's really time I start working on this!
Anyways, I was surrounded by amazing food and beautiful decor...could it get better? Yes, it could...
I had no idea who was going to be at this party and it just so happened some bloggers I have wanted to meet for a very long time were there...squeal! When we saw each other we all ended up in this group hug situation where we jumped up and down saying, "OMG, it's The Wicked Noodle, it's Go Gingham, it's The Gracious Girl!!!" I swear, as bloggers we are so weird like that. We have never met, but feel we have known each other for years and are always fast friends. We get each other. We understand each other. We live and breath the culture of the blogging underground. Isn't it bliss to be around people who get you?
Pictured above (from the left) are Me and Sara from Go Gingham, Stylishly Frugal Living. Sara's blog teaches me all kinds of tips and tricks on saving money, awesome recipes and how I should be living on a budget, but in a very stylish way! This woman knows how to do everything well, but saves money while doing it. My husband will want me to hang out with her more. I told her once how much we spend on just technology in my household...she thinks I'm nuts. I agree. So great finally meeting!!
Next is Kelly. Kelly is the woman who brought us all together and does PR for Barhyte Foods. Talk about the sweetest, kindest person I have ever met...Love, love, love her and her husband. They were so much fun!! Can't wait to get together again soon, we live so close.
Next to Kelley is Mindy, The Gracious Girl. Mindy is not just a blogger but she makes her living by helping others be "more gracious" and mindful of manners. I love this...because I freakin' love good manners. Mindy is well connected, while my Instagram is full of pictures of tomatoes and half empty glasses of wine, Mindy's pics are of her and Joey Fatone hanging out in the green room before a show. I love her. I want to be her. And I can't wait to have her over for dinner so I can tell my kids a manners expert is coming over to the house....I know, I'm such a mean Mom.
And last but certainly not least KRISTY... The Wicked Noodle, I have been reading her amazing blog for years and here she is...just as beautiful, warm-hearted and lovely as ever. Not long ago she posted this recipe for Steak Salad with Cilantro-Jalapeno Pesto and I can't get it out of my head. Now I just need to be home long enough to make it!! So glad we got to hang out for so many days together!
And this is when things got crazy. Out came the biggest platter you have ever seen of VooDoo Doughnuts. I had never really tasted all of their flavors, BUT this is where I found someone who I know will be a friend for life...Gail from A Stack of Dishes. First off, let me just say, this is one of the most amazing women I have ever met. She has a movie-worthy life-business story...she's worked with Martha, SHE's DONE IT ALL.
Anyway, Gail and I had our way with the VooDoo Doughnut platter, cutting pieces of this one, and that one, until we tasted a hefty many VooDoo Doughnut. Anyone willing to do that with me is my new bestie in my book. She's back in New York City, but we are already planning our 2013 Reunion in Seattle. Where are we eating?
I have to mention the swag bags we were given at this party...sheesh, talk about spoiled. Not only were we showered with all the amazing Saucy Mama products but with specialty liquor made in Pendleton, Oregon, a Western town where the Barhyte's manufacture their specialty foods, cute cowgirl shot glasses and the most adorable pink coffee mug I have ever seen. We also received these ABSOLUTELY adorable cards made by Amy Prince of Clothespin Cards. She types the sayings on the cards with an old typewriter and they are just so artisan and sweet, made right here in Sauvie Island, Oregon. Amy it was so fun hangin' with you at the party. And then look at this bracelet, by Jewelry By Day, one of Saucy Mama's favorite jewelry makers. The picture absolutely does not do it justice. It's beautiful, just beautiful. And there was more...who am I to deserve all this stuff!! Counting my blessings now.
Here is something else I might have eaten way too many of...they are these little deconstructed pot pies made with Saucy Mama's Hot Wing Sauce, blue cheese and celery and OMG...out of this world. While the image quality is lacking (cell phone pic), the taste was just off the charts.
What a great night...fun, friendship and food! So much more to tell about my weekend...coming soon!