BlogHer Food attendees get ready to take an early morning power walk through San Francisco. From top left to right, Nikki, Leena, Alice, Sam, and Alanna, and crashing the party with her Charlie’s Angels pose, our very own Jaden.
A little over 6 years ago I started this blog, Simply Recipes, with the sole intention of documenting some of my family’s recipes for my siblings and friends. I didn’t know what I was doing. The software was hard, my photos were ugly, and I was learning quickly that I knew much less about cooking than I thought I did. Fortunately, at the time, there were a handful of other folks also putting their food passions into blog form, and we turned to each other for advice and inspiration. Clotilde helped me out with camera setting advice; Heidi told me what lens to get; David taught me how to make ice cream. Over the years, this band of food bloggers has grown to thousands. The spirit of generosity and sharing of knowledge that shaped the food blogging community early on continues to expand.
If you like what you see here on Simply Recipes, it’s because what I cook, write, and photograph has been inspired by and informed by the vibrant food blogging community of which I am part. So when 300 food bloggers gathered a couple weeks ago for the first annual BlogHer Food conference in San Francisco, I was practically beside myself with giddy anticipation. Here are just a few highlights from the BlogHer conference weekend.
Part I: The Night Before In Which We Stay Up Late Eating, Drinking, and Eating
the daughter of Shauna and Danny. I think everyone falls madly in love with Lucy at first sight, and I was no exception. Of course the meal was spectacular. If you can make it to Contigo I highly recommend the tripe and chorizo, the sardines on toast, and the pulpo salad. (A serious yes on the tripe. I don’t like tripe. I avoid menudo. But Brett’s tripe with chorizo and garbanzo beans is outstanding. It will make you a tripe lover.)
Jaden and I then retreated to our room at the Westin with Jenny where we had a raucous girls night in,
stuffing our already sated selves with the best ice cream on the planet (I want to drown in that salted caramel ice cream)
Ree and Alanna
and playing silly people tricks (Ree won, hands down, the woman is a human pretzel).
Part II: The Conference, in Which We Do a Lot of Hugging, Learning, Listening, and Gabbing
The next morning Jaden and I woke up simultaneously at 5:15 AM. Jaden had a good excuse, being on East Coast time. But me? I rarely crawl out of bed before 8 am, after staying up past midnight most nights. But if you’re up, you’re up. We decided to be the welcoming committee for the gang of early risers going out for a walking tour of the city at 6:30 am, organized by Sam Breach.
Not as if we would be braving the cold and dark for the hilly walk, but we certainly admired Sam and the gang.
The conference was held at the beautiful 5-star St. Regis, where we ran into this bunch in the lobby.
Top row: Cheri, Lydia, Cora, V. Druckman, Lisa Fain, Andrea Myers, Stephanie O’Dea
Front row: Anne-Marie Nichols, Rebecca Caro, Tea, and me.
Our photographer was the wonderful Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen.
Breakfast consisted of lots of jumping up and down with glee seeing old friends and new.
Jaden and David
I participated in two panels, the first with Lisa of Analis First Amendment, brilliantly moderated by Sean of Hedonia on protecting your work. The second panel was the closing keynote with best-friends-forever Ree and David, moderated by BlogHer’s founder and CEO (and BFF as well) Lisa Stone. My mom and dad came down from Sacramento and sat in the keynote. Big thanks to everyone who introduced themselves to them, mom and dad felt like rockstars!
Part III: The After Party, Where We Learn That Jaden and Garrett Are Both Excellent Dancers, and Where We All Get Well Fed, Well Coffee’d, and Well Margarita’d
I forget how it came about (probably Jaden’s idea because we all know she is a troublemaker), but somehow Ree in Oklahoma, Jaden in Florida, and I in Sacramento, decided to put on a party for 200 BlogHer food bloggers in San Francisco. Now the last time I threw a party for 200 people it was in college and it was a KEGGER. With chips. But chips and beer wouldn’t do for this crowd, so Ree and Jaden found generous sponsors, and Jenny Kayano came to our rescue as our party planner and we were off to the races.
A note about Jenny. The woman walks on water. Four days before the event our venue fell through due to unforeseen permitting issues. The caterer had already been paid, the bus limos ordered, space inspected, plans drawn. Weeks of work. All about to go poof. Jenny came through like a tornado in Kansas, and along with some quick thinking and generous help of a friend of a friend Jessica Mullens of Mullens PR, we had a new venue, only a block away from the hotel, at the cozy and fun Tropisueno Mexican restaurant.
Photo by Jen of Ree, me, and Jaden
The food was great, the DJ played hits from the 80s (so even I could recognize the songs), and the margaritas hit the spot. This party was the most fun I’ve had in years, and the main reason it’s taken me so long (2 weeks) to write about it. One doesn’t recover as well from extended carousing as one did say when one was in one’s twenties.
Did you know? Jaden can dance! Like, really dance. Salsa. Complicated moves.
Garrett can dance too, but I already knew that, he used to be a GoGo dancer in a former life. There is a video floating around somewhere of Garrett and me dancing at the party, which we would rather not see. May a plague of locusts descend on your bundt cake if you find it and post it in the comments.
The party would have been beer and chips (cheap bear and fritos) if not for our sponsors. A big thank you and call out to:
- Hewlett Packard who were showing off their new web conneted printer.
- Tasty Kitchen – the latest mega project of Ree, the Pioneer Woman where you can post your own recipes and participate in a vibrant cooking community.
- Scharffen Berger and Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake provided 200 of the most luscious chocolate mousse cakes.
- Starbucks made wicked drinks with their latest product Via Instant Coffee.
- Chef’s Catalog provided amazing goodie bags for party attendees packed with useful, cool cooking tools.
- Foodzie‘s Emily Olson brought her team and shared beautiful artisan desserts.
- Hardy from Murphy Goode poured wonderful wine.
It’s hard to sum up a weekend like this, even in this rather long post. To all who came to the party, thank you for joining us. For all who had a hand in organizing BlogHer Food, thank you for the opportunity you gave us, to come together and share our love of our craft. For all of you just stopping by, thank you for doing so, and please click on a few of the links so you can see what the fuss is about.