Bahamas Blogger Love Fest

Once in a while, the universe smiles at you and decides to let you have a lovely, wonderful, joyful gift. It’s impermanent, like all things; eventually the tide comes in and washes that sand castle away. But for a moment or two, life can feel especially blessed. This is how I felt recently on vacation in the Bahamas, hanging out in the sand and surf with several of my most favorite food bloggers, and favorite people, in the world. Recognize the girl on the left in the photo above? That’s the ebullient Jaden Hair, writer of the aptly named* Steamy Kitchen blog, and regular guest author here on Simply Recipes. Because of her work for Club Med Jaden was able to invite a few of us food bloggers to join her for a Club Med food and wine festival in the Bahamas.

One of the main sources of inspiration I tap into every day, to help keep me motivated for the every day work of cooking and writing for this site, are my fellow food blogging friends. You have to be somewhat crazy, inspired, or obsessed to maintain a food blog. I thought I would take a moment to introduce you to a few of my fellow crazies, the food bloggers who participated in this trip, and encourage you to visit their beautiful blogs.


First up is the lovely Diane Cu, of the blog White on Rice Couple, Jaden’s soul sister on the Internet. Diane is one of the most multi-talented people I’ve ever met. In addition to being a professional portrait photographer, she is a master gardner, a fabulous cook (cures her own sausage!) of Vietnamese and other cuisines, and leads culinary tours of little Saigon.


Diane and I met for the first time and bonded over many things, not least of which was a love of all things sardine.


Do you like sardines? Diane and I could eat them EVERY DAY. And we did.

Diane spent most of the week running around like an Energizer Bunny taking beautiful photographs of everybody. One late afternoon she had us all meet at the beach dressed in white so that she could do a Calvin Klein shot of us. You’ve never seen such a bunch of narcissists, each of us with a humungous camera, running around the beach in white linen, saying “take a picture of me, of me, no wait, this is my good side….” Absolutely hilarious, and a perfect inspired-by-Diane project.


Next up is Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites. Now Matt might seem all tame and cuddly in the above photograph, but in actuality, he is a lunatic. Nah, just kidding. Just because he was forever making faces and leaping into the air… okay, so maybe he is a bit “touched”. (Elise dodges bullets flying out of Long Beach.) Matt Armendariz is a professional food photographer, whose works you have likely enjoyed over the years in major lifestyle magazines. I sit at his feet hoping he throws me a bone here and there, because I have the same fancy camera equipment he has, and now you know why it’s the photographer that makes the photos great, not so much the camera. I’ve been reading Matt Bites ever since he started it, usually drooling while reading, and wondering “how does he do that?” I have since learned that Matt has a secret weapon, Adam, who makes things pretty. (Hah! I want one of those!) Remember the Calvin Klein shot? Here is Matt’s collage of our white linen-bedecked selves. His shots around the resort are why I put my camera down for most the trip and just let the pros do their thing. That shot at the top of Jaden and me? Matt took it with my camera. I think.


Somehow I managed to get through the week, with plenty of pictures of conch shells and looks-like-they-dyed-it aqua water but missed catching a shot of one of my favorite food bloggers Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen or her calm and lovely husband Alex. Probably because whenever we hung out together we were too busy yakking to bother with taking pictures. Either that or we were playing bocci ball and whipping the tushes off of our opponents. (Who knew the girl had such an arm?) I rather doubt that there are many of you reading this who aren’t already familiar with Deb’s beautiful and popular blog, Smitten Kitchen, but if that’s you, get a move on! The Smitten should not be missed.


If I had an intra-spacial teleporter to transport me across thousands of miles of land and ocean in the blink of an eye, I would use it just to hang out in Paris with David Lebovitz. (Even though he apparently owns and sometimes even wears what they call in France le string.) David’s humor on Twitter and on his blog sustain me and many a food blogger. When I want to pull my hair out in frustration over something cooking or blogging related, David’s is the shoulder I cry on. Albeit virtual tears, through email. Because the boy lives in Paris. Which one can only get to with thousands of dollars of air fare, a dozen hours of flying, and major jetlag. Teleporter please! I want to sip coffee at a Parisian cafe with David, while eating croissants, and watching the elegant French ladies carrying their lap dogs stroll down the street. I want to taste David’s elegant macarons, and tie them up with pretty ribbons. I want to delight in David’s presence and wit every day, not just when the fates allow. You do know that every woman who meets David falls in love and wants to marry him, right? I’m no exception, I’m lost without him. I’m in love with his friend Romain too, even though his English is barely better than my French. Sometimes you just don’t need language.


Sigh. All great adventures must come to an end, and this one ended way too soon for me. Many many thanks to Jaden and Club Med for organizing this fabulous gathering. Many thanks also to my Best-Friend-Forever, Club Med roommate (and recipe contributor) Steve-Anna Stephens who put up with her noisy roommate. Apparently I sing. Loudly. In my sleep. (News to me!)

*To get a sense of why Jaden calls her site “Steamy” kitchen and not “Amish” kitchen, read her account on the fishing trip she took with the gang. My father read the whole thing out loud and practically fell out of his seat he was laughing so hard.


  1. Lu

    Thanks for sharing this holiday with all of us who read all of the terrific blogs represented at Club Med! Lu :)

  2. Sherihan

    The pictures r indeed amazing and i got mesmerized on my desk at work infront of the computer by the beautiful heavenaly colores of blue behind u guys, makes u daydream :):)

  3. Jennifer

    What a wonderful trip and opportunity. I am a food blog newbie and you are one of my inspirations, and unknown to you, mentors. I hope some day to meet you and have a blast on a sandy beach. Thanks for sharing the photos and links.

  4. Natalie Sztern

    Well having been a subscriber to your site but having never read your bio, I thought, until this post, that Simply Recipes was written by a gang of writers. Imagine my surprise…so now I will say that this is one hell of a site where I get most of my dinner recipes.

  5. Denise

    I hate sardines, Elise, but I loved this post. I’m so glad you all had the opportunity to get together in such a fantastic location. Just beautiful.

  6. Jaden

    Natalie –

    Yeah, Elise is a REAL person! ;-)

    (but I had to invite her to Club Med to actually see her in person myself, just to be sure.)


  7. SAS

    Elise! No, no, no – thank YOU!! That was one of the best experiences of my life, and a much needed break. I’m still wallowing in the after glow. Not to mention the extra pounds ;)

    Meeting all of your blogging buddies (and their buddies) was a major highlight, not to mention the chefs…and the food! What a talented (and hilarious!) group of individuals.

    But the best gift was spending a whole week hanging out with you!! How lucky am I?

    Thank you, Elise! Thank you, Elise’s Mom & Dad! Thank you, Jaden! Thank you, Club Med!


  8. Andrea

    What an amazing trip you all had! I don’t know if I’m more envious of the beach, the food, or the fabulous company. Oh heck, all three!

  9. Madeline

    What a great post! I’ve been reading Jaden’s hilarious details all week long. Sounds (and looks) like you guys had such a wonderful time.

    I think the new site looks great, by the way. I especially like the “recently on Simply Recipes” change. Nice work!

  10. Simone (junglefrog)

    I’ve been reading the various blogs with all those jealous making tales of the wonderful trip to the bahamas… It’s the pleasure of the group that just jumps out of every page!! Love it!

  11. Hana

    I love sardines too…. and there’s so many ways to make a dish out off it :)
    Thank you for the write-up and especially for sharing with us, all of those links!

  12. Diane of White On Rice Couple

    To finally meet the person behind this blog is definitely a privilege that I wish everyone gets to experience. Elise, you have always been and continue to be an inspiration to me and tons of bloggers around the world. Thank you for being the real and wonderful YOU and thank you for being my sardine eating buddy!
    You ROCK ROCK ROCK ROCK! Thank you to you and everyone on this dream trip.

  13. The Daily Colander

    It was fun to follow you guys online while you were down there. All the posts by everyone were a pleasure to read.

    I LOVE your new site design, Elise! It is fantastic! Every single thing seems so well thought out.

  14. jonathan

    As evidenced by the photos above, the commercials weren’t lying.
    It really is better in the Bahamas.

    You sure that first shot wasn’t from a fashion model shoot? ;-)

  15. Cherrise

    Hi Elise, I found Simply Recipes about six months ago and have been your biggest fan ever! You have provided me with some quick simple ways to turn my meal time into something simply wonderful (Valentine’s recipes were especially good).

    I was elated to see you and friends enjoying the beautiful isles of the Bahamas, yes, I am Bahamian!

    I just want you to know that you are welcome back any time and keep the “Simply Recipes” coming!

    #1 Bahamian fan

  16. Arvin

    My wife and I went to Club Med Columbus Isle about four years ago–our last pre-kids vacation. We were somewhat apprehensive about going to a Club Med, but we had great time. Your pics bring back fond memories.

  17. Deb

    What a fantastic blog here guys!! Wish I had been with you – a dream come true being in a real paradise with dedicated foodies like myself. Always find you inspiring and interesting and proivdes great ‘food for thought’. Who knows – maybe one day I will be able to take my folks to this idyllic paradise in the Bahamas – seems so far away from little old New Zealand!!
    Keep up the great work!!!

  18. Nate

    This is the kind of thing all serious food bloggers wish for. Meeting up with fellow food bloggers for fun and food in a fabulous location. I’ve been following all of the adventures on each site – you guys rock!

  19. Rasa Malaysia

    Reading through all the fantastic posts and entries on all your blogs lately had been a painful one for me. I think it would be the greatest regret for me this year, but again, things happened and were out of my control…sob sob but I am hopeful there is another one soon…

  20. Siri

    OMG, all through the post, I felt like I was transported to Bahamas with you all guys. Lovely post and lovely pictures too. Of course, my personal favorite is the ‘Calvin Klein’ picture. Great idea.!!!


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