Friday, June 15, 2012

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BlogHer Food 2012 Day 2 Recap

Day 2 began much like day 1.  I drove to the South Kirkland Park & Ride to catch the same bus to Seattle.  The Saturday bus doesn't come as frequently so if I miss the bus I'd have to wait a half hour instead of 10 minutes for the next one so I got there a little early to make sure I didn't miss it.

I decided to travel lighter on Saturday.  On Friday I brought my laptop after reading that a lot of people brought theirs to take notes.  Unfortunately I did not think it was a good idea.  I have a 17" laptop and also had bags of swag that I had to carry all day.  Maybe if I had a tablet or smaller laptop it wouldn't have been so bad.  I took notes the old fashioned way and did not miss not having the laptop too much on Saturday but I also didn't take as many notes.

I had just received the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 the week before the conference and had a few borrowed lenses from Olympus (12mm F2 & 45mm F1.8) for the occasion and was glad the camera arrived in time.  Even though the camera was released a few months ago, getting one was difficult even though I pre-ordered it in February.  The demand for this camera was apparently much higher than expected and there are many people still waiting for theirs.  One of the best things about this camera system is everything is so much smaller than a DSLR and the picture quality is just as good so I was able to carry it and 4 lenses in a tiny little backpack so it was perfect for the conference.  I'll be posting an in depth review on my blog a little later if anyone is interested. I did get quite a few people ask me about it.

I again had my regular morning shake for breakfast and was looking forward to more bacon and eggs at the conference unfortunately there was none of that on day 2 it was all pastries and bagels.  I broke my diet a bit here and ate half a bagel with my herbal tea as I watched the breakfast keynote.  Jory Des Jardins interviewed Alicia McGlamory from MasterBuilt, Cassidy Stockton from Bob's Red Mill, Elise Bauer  from SimplyRecipes and Jaden Hair from SteamyKitchen on the topic of the intersection of brands, bloggers, ethics and opportunity.  It was noted that in the last 2 years the blog traffic from phones has increased by 50% and continues to increase.  Other than using Google Analytics for web traffic stats, another site was mentioned called Quantcast.  I use Google Analytics but haven't heard of Quantcast.  It will give you traffic stats publicly so other people can view your stats.  You can share the link to your stats to people you might be pitching something to so they can see what your reach is rather than you telling them.  I haven't checked this site out yet but I plan to.

SESSION 1
I had good luck with attending a food photography session yesterday so I took my chances at attending another one.  Taylor Mathis spoke on the topic of Taking Your Food Photography Outdoors and On Location.  It was the first session that only had one speaker and was listed as being for all levels.  I beg to differ, beginner and possibly intermediate would have been more appropriate.  I know there were a lot of beginners in this session, many questions were being asked and lots of people learned some things.  Unfortunately I can't say that I learned anything from the session.  He talked about hard light and soft light and how to change the light using reflectors and diffusers, all stuff I've been working with for years.

PIKE PLACE EXCURSION
Following the class he was leading a photo excursion through Pike Place.  I had originally planned on joining that group but decided I would join the Shutterfly excursion instead.  There is a BlogHerFood iphone app that includes a scavenger hunt where you send in specific photos and there was a section for the Shutterfly stroll requesting photos of things at Pike Place Market like the gum wall, Starbucks, Beacher's Cheese, etc. So I met them at their table and a small group of a dozen or so of us started walking towards Pike Place and while walking there we bumped into another group that was doing a Pike Place tour. I recognized a couple people in that group from Day 1 so I decided to switch groups on the way.

We met up with a tour guide and he took us on a whirl wind tour of the best restaurants in Pike Place.  He kept apologizing for going so fast because we only had a half hour and his tours are normally much longer and include some tastings.  The only thing we got to taste was some salt at Market Spice. What was worse is it was 12:30 and we were all hungry.  After the tour a group of us (Kathy_Writerbooklovercook, jennifersmentionables, beege, brenn24) decided to go to Piroshky Piroshky and got piroshkys to go.  The line was so long it wrapped around and down the side of the building.  I got the beef and onion.  It wasn't bad but it was a little greasier than I would have liked and also wasn't on the list of foods I can eat on my diet.  We headed back to the hotel for session 2.
Market Spice Salt Walking Pike Place

Piroshky Piroshky

Kathy took this photo of us eating our Piroshkys at Pike Place

SESSION 2
This was my first session in The Garden room. I was looking forward to seeing this room. I had seen pictures of the large windows in a slide presentation earlier in the day and had asked someone where that was.  This room was larger than the Metropole room where almost all of the other sessions I went to were at. It was also a lot brighter due to all the light coming through the big widows.
The Garden Room Kitchen Mishaps Panel
This session was titled Making the Most of Kitchen Mishaps; Embracing Imperfection.  There were 3 panelists: Jessica Goldman Foung aka SodiumGirl, Joy Wilson aka Joy the Baker and Julie Tilsner author of the Bad Homecooking blog.  I found it amusing that Julie's blog audience is her cheerleader and helps her when she blogs about her fails and applaud her when she succeeds.  Her failures seem to be less often and people sometimes ask her if she is going to rename her blog since she isn't as bad of a cook as she used to be but she doesn't seem to have any intention of changing it. She still fails occasionally and is sometimes happy when she fails because it goes along with her Bad Homecookig blog name.  It's sometimes good to post your failures because people respond to honest.  I have even posted about some of my failed attempts at cooking.  The one that comes to mind is this sugar pie that ended up in the trash because it was so bad and I will probably continue to post about my fails should I have anymore.

After session 2 we had our afternoon break and mingled with the sponsors some more. There were a few snacks waiting for us but many of them were sweet (macarons and cupcakes) so I didn't eat most of them. I did have a small plate of nachos that were pretty tasty though.
Animal Cookie Cupcakes Macaroons Chips and Salas
CLOSING KEYNOTE
The closing keynote was Lisa Stone interviewing Kim Sunée, author of Trail of Crumbs, her personal memoir that takes you through her life which starts at age 3 when she was abandoned in a Korean market. I didn't take many notes during this interview, maybe because I was so enthralled with her story.  I did write down one quote "Food is a search for home.  Food is a gift".  Her story is an interesting one and one I wanted to read more about.  She was doing a book signing after the interview.  Unfortunately I waited a little too long to get in line because she ran out of books a few people ahead of me.  But I may still buy the book, I added it to my Amazon wish list.

CLOSING RECEPTION
After the closing keynote we had a little more mingle time before we packed onto buses to head over to SODO Park for the closing reception with co-hostesses Ree Drummond, Jaden Hair and Elise Bauer.  The reception was sponsored by Masterbuilt, allrecipes and Pork Be inspired.  I sat next to food photographer and author of Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots, Nicole Young, who I've been following on Twitter and Google+ for a while and have also met in person a few times before.We were the first bus to get there.  The space is used a lot for wedding receptions. The ceiling look like they came from an old barn and lots of light shined through the windows to light the place up.
Closing Reception at SODO Park
Then there was the food oh yeah this is the food I've been waiting all weekend for.  I took a picture of the menu so I could remember what everything was.  The main table was filled with various platters of food and this time I wasn't waiting though I don't think there was any problem with running out of food this time.  There were platters of artisan cheeses and a Mediterranean greek platter with feta, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, hummus, tapenade, tzatziki and pita bread.  On the other side of the same table were some bite sized appetizers of sweet potato crab cakes, beef loin canapes with apple celery root slaw, poleta bites with pine nuts, spinach and red peppers, endiver spoons with curried mint chicken or tofu and finally a masa cake with roasted vegetables and cotija cheese.  Are you drooling yet? You should be.  In addition to this table full of food there were also some food stations in various locations that had deep fried turkey, creole shrimp and spring rolls.
Closing Reception Menu
First Helping
Creole Prawn Station Creole Prawns
Besides the food there were a couple of bars where you could get wine, beer and who knows what else and the Pork Be inspired table was handing out Bacon White Chocolate Martinis which I would have loved to try but again my diet doesn't allow alcohol so all I drank all weekend was herbal teas and water.  I spotted the girls I had lunch with and spent the rest of the evening hanging out with them.
photo
Jennifer's husband took a group photo of us.  You can see my tiny head in the back.

You can see more of my photos from the conference on my Flickr stream. Author: Paula Thomas

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