There could hardly have been a better place to hold the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) than Foodie Heaven Portland. Viewing the city from the airplane felt a little bit like coming home. Luscious trees, vibrant green colors and the winding Columbia River drew me in before even having set foot on Oregon soil. City love at first sight!
On my first evening I attended a dinner hosted by the Northwest Cherry Growers at Paley’s Place, one of the best restaurants in Portland. I knew I was in for a treat since chef and owner Vitaly Paley has received the James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest in 2005. At Paley’s Place they take pride in using local, organic and sustainable ingredients. Chef de cuisine Patrick McKee featured locally grown cherries with every course, both sweet and savory. He visited our table several times that evening to ensure the meal was to our liking.
At dinner I met Peter (@Hooks and Cooks), a local writer, photographer and cook. He took my friend Manu and I on a night tour through Portland pointing out well known restaurants and food trucks while driving us all over before we stopped for a nightcap at a downtown bar close to Voodoo Doughnut. At around midnight, a guy came running out of Voodoo Doughnut unbelievably excited because he received the bucket. The bucket was filled with unsold doughnuts that the store takes of the shelves every few hours to ensure that all the doughnuts they sell are as fresh as possible. So instead of the usual pink box picture, here is a picture of the bucket for you.
After a very short night, I found myself on a bus heading towards Milwaukie, Oregon to visit Bob’s Red Mill. Thank you Cathy (@The Noble Pig) for extending the invitation. Bob himself guided us through the mill, which features a big variety of whole and gluten free grains. To ensure top quality products, the best milling equipment gets imported from Denmark. It made me happy to learn that a lot of Bob’s Red Mill’s lab equipment comes from Germany, including the very newest addition – an impressive state of the art GMO testing system.
Many thanks to Bob for the informative tour, and to Cassidy Stockton for the very generous goodie bag.
I wish I’d had a lot more time to explore Portland, but the IFBC was the main reason for my visit. This was my first time attending a foodie conference, and it was an amazing experience. I tasted one of the best blue cheeses ever (Oregon Blue), had to drink vodka shots at 3.30 PM, and ate oatmeal while speed posting.
The workshop agenda covered a lot of topics (more info here), and it would take way to long for me to go into all the details of the ones I attended. My favorite was presented by Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz, addressing the subject of Food Bloggers & SEO.
It was also very exciting to meet New York Times food photographer Andrew Scrivani in person. His photography workshop included a cooking demo with Chef John. The two of them turned out to be very entertaining. At some point I was laughing tears. Some attendees decided that they should have their own cooking show named Chef’s Jacket…Plaid Shirt. I am all for it!
The following is a video from Jenn-Air featuring the photography workshop: