Wednesday, September 1, 2010

FoodTrek: Cinderella For a Night at IFBC

The Prime was very lucky to be invited to attend the sold-out International Food Blogger Conference opening last Friday night because I had a recipe in the finals for the Foodista blogger cookbook. While I missed all the panels and discussions throughout the weekend, even just being there for the first night was, in a word, overwhelming. And in a totally good way. So I just showed up, did my best Ringo Starr impersonation, and was quite frankly just happy to be there. Let the Om-Nom-Nomming Begin!

Sexy Seafood Sliders from Chef Jason Wilson, from Crush - Photo by Wasabi Prime

Of course, there was much food and drink to be had, judging from the mini-burger pastoral provided by Chef Jason Wilson of the fabulous Crush restaurant. Once you were granted the almighty name badge and give access to the downstairs area of the reception at downtown Seattle's Hotel Monaco, you kind of wanted to proclaim "I've got a Golden Ticket" as you started to wander from room to room, discovering landscapes and valleys of tasty goodness. There was even perhaps the littlest echo of Gene Wilder singing "Come with me, and you'll see, there's a world of pure i-ma-gin-a-tion..." Yes, the snozzberries, do indeed taste like snozzberries. And no, you cannot have an Oompah-Loompah now.

Wlecome to IBC Thunderdome, where the snacks are plentiful - Photos by Wasabi Prime

So, of course, there was food, food, food. Too much to really get into minute detail about, but I think it's safe to say the opening night's most talked-about item were the lovely lamb chops that were making the rounds throughout the reception rooms. I found the lamb-nexus, the proverbial eye of the protein storm, in one of the smaller side hallway rooms. Heat lamps were bathing the racks of herb-encrusted lamb in a naughty, slightly porno-red glow, which is fine because enough people were making sly comments about how incredibly sexy those chops were. They even had little tubes of lip balm made with lamb fat! And yes, I took one, but no, I have not let my chapped lips be kissed with the fat of Mary's Little Lamb.

I'm on a See-Food Diet -- I see food, I eat it - Photos by Wasabi Prime

The food samples leaned towards the seafood end -- quite a bit of tuna and a visit from our local giggle-inducing bivalve, the geoduck (inexplicably pronounced goo-ey-duck, if you've never had a chance to tussle with this beast before). I've never actually had it raw, so had a bite of it at the Taylor Shellfish table with some sea salt and a bit of lemon. The texture was a bit chewy/crunchy, and had that nice fresh ocean taste. For people who came in from out of town, they were impressed by the geoduck' girth. The tuna samples were used in fresh salads, like the tonnino tuna salad at the picture-perfect Lisa Dupar table. She's done amazing work as a caterer, plus the restaurant, Pomegranate, is one of my favorite brunch spots in one of the most unexpected locations -- right in an office park in the middle of Redmond. But let that be a lesson that fine food jewels can be found everywhere.

This ain't no Charlie Tuna - pretty samples of tonnino tuna salad from Lisa Dupar - Photo by Wasabi Prime  

It wasn't just sample heaven, there was good food learnin' to be had -- there was a lovely display showing how an endive grows. I had no idea what a monster root this little delicate pod of greens had! The Modernist Cuisine table had a beautiful setup for the molecular gastronomy crowd -- centrifuge, super-mixer, and samples showing how ingredients like a fruit puree can separate just through centrifugal force. Food nerdist to the max!

She blinded me with science, and then served me carrot soup - Photos by Wasabi Prime

I have to have a total Fangirl moment and say one of the main reasons I wanted to be at the opening reception was neither food nor the incredible goodie bag that progressively got heavier as I schlepped it four blocks to the Westlake bus terminal -- filmmaker Morgan Spurlock was there to give a talk and he's been one of my favorites since Supersize Me and 30 Days, and in general, am just a huge fan of the level of humanity in all his documentary work. I had the chance to chat with Spurlock for just a few minutes and we shared thoughts about Vogue documentary, The September Issue, as I had a chance to talk with director RJ Cutler last year, who was also one of the producers on 30 Days. I figured it was the only time in my life where I could drop a name like RJ Cutler and have a shared experience like this. But really, that was unnecessary, as Morgan Spurlock's a terrifically pleasant fellow and incredibly easy to talk to. Chit-chatting, which was rather cool -- said his favorite Seattle bar was the Frontier Room (excellent choice) and I had mentioned that I was writer even though I just had a story cut, to which he kindly said, "Congratulations, you're a writer." God bless, you and your Big Mac-addled heart, Mr. Spurlock.

Keynote speaker and generally awesome fellow, Morgan Spurlock - Photos by Wasabi Prime

Most notably, I think the keynote discussion about where blogging is and where it's going was one of the best take-aways from the opening night. Spurlock made good points about how projects like Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution are good stepping stones because it's taking the concept of good eating habits to the masses and getting people to become involved in the food on their plates. "Make it fun," he emphasized. "No one wants to be told what to do." Simple advice, yet so true, as the ideals behind a lot of food blogs towards educating the masses can stop short at just the interested readers and never reach the public who could really use this information, so one of the biggest calls-to-arms was for food bloggers to take their message to the people directly. Organize events, become better public speakers to make the message more personable, and provide a physical outreach to communities who wouldn't normally be blog readers. It's a big task, but I thought it was a wonderful ideal to strive towards, taking full advantage of the environment of the new media.

So, with that note of mixing education with fun, I leave you with this parting shot of IFBC and all its sweetness, care of Cupcake Royale and Theo Chocolates. Thanks to the efforts of everyone involved, and to all the sweet and friendly bloggers I chatted with for Wasabi's one night out on the town!

Ghost chile chocolates, the only ghost I'm truly afraid of - Photos by Wasabi Prime 

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1 comment:

  1. Denise, I am SO SAD I did not get to meet you. Those subterranean rooms made it awkward to get around and see everything and everyone... Great writeup though!


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