The 2015 International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) returned to Downtown Seattle this past weekend, inviting food bloggers from around the world to travel to Seattle to meet fellow food fans, discover new foods & food knowledge, and take home lots of neat food products. This conference contained a good variety of things to see, do, and eat, from the complimentary eats to the informational seminars to the hands-on demonstrations and the diversity of everyone indulging in the vibrant setting. Compared to when I last attended the conference two years ago, this year’s conference felt substantially shorter because 2013’s conference started on Friday morning while this year’s conference started on Friday night. It also costed $100 more to attend this year. Regardless, I treated this as a vacation to explore the city and meet new people, not as a business trip of sorts.
Following some liquid escapades from the previous night, my body did not feel prepared to wake up early for a long day of a conference. Determined, I rolled myself out of bed to hike it up to the conference, not wanting to miss a second, as well as the complimentary breakfast. After breakfast and the introductory speaker, the conference sessions started. Out of the first set of three sessions, I chose to go with Anolon because I had heard that they would give out free kitchen gear to whoever attended that session. While I could have chosen to go with Teavana or Krusteaz, they eventually brought some of their goods out to the foyer for everyone else to enjoy. After the Anolon session, I sipped on some Teavana cider and snagged a big bag of Krusteaz cookies that I ended up enjoying daily until the last day. After the Anolon session, I ended up at a Stop Motion Photography session. I got nothing out of that because they kept talking about pinning iPhones to a rack to take photos, while I had hoped to accomplish something like this instead.
Lunchtime soon arrived, and I connected with my group from the previous night to take a trip down to SoDo neighborhood. After passing by the Old Rainier Brewery facility, which has since converted to artist studios and lofts similar to Brewery Art Walk, we touched down at Jack’s BBQ. Perhaps the closest thing to authentic Texas BBQ in Seattle, we got a chance to tour the back area of the restaurant where they stored their giant smokers. In addition to smoking meats, Jack’s BBQ also uses their smokers to smoke oranges for their drinks, and smoke sugar to make a smoked simple syrup that they use to sweeten their cocktails and sweet tea. Following the tour, we walked back to our table to discover a mountain of smoked meat waiting for us to devour and conquer it all. To top it off, despite still feeling hungover, a courteous server brought out a small beer flight for me to sip on as I stuffed my face with smoky meaty goodness. We spent more time here than expected, so we ended up returning late to the Sheraton; however, this lunch more than made up for it. #SmokedMeatEveryday
Deciding between a wine, sparkling wine, or lamb session, I found myself at a crossroads trying to figure out which session I wanted to attend. I first visited the sparkling wine session, but ended up leaving halfway through because I do not have a palate for wine. I moved over to the lamb session, and while I did not get any useful information out of it, I did end up receiving a leg of lamb that they would ship to me later.
Following a short break, we reached the main event of the night, basically a Taste of Seattle. Numerous food vendors set up around the ballroom all serving delicious food samples, such as short ribs, chicken & waffles, catfish & kale, pork sisig, molten chocolate, and much more. I underestimated the richness of the foods here, as I should have expected for a food fair such as this. I got full within half an hour simply by returning to the short rib, chicken & waffles, and molten chocolate over and over. I also got to indulge in s’mores ice cream sandwiches and the SOLE beer vendor.
For a Saturday night, I had plenty of opportunities to go out and experience the nightlife of Seattle. However, since I had a hangover for most of the day, would have to return the next morning again, and that it started to rain, I decided to call it a night early on. I had to make sure I could preserve my energy for the next few days!