Tagging onto yesterday’s post, the 2015 International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) returned to Downtown Seattle this past weekend starting on Friday night with an opening reception and lasting until Sunday morning with additional content and activities. This conference contained a wealth of things to see and do for people in the food blogging community, from all the seminars to the interactive demos and all the yummy food and drinks that we could have the entire time. A handful of attendees had already left town by Sunday morning to fly back home, or otherwise could not stay the entire time in order to fly back later in the day. Because I would return home Monday night, I still had all of Sunday and most of Monday to explore the city and its bounty.

Sunday marked the last day of the conference, providing attendees with another breakfast and a set of educational sessions. Following breakfast, I attended the Food Trends session since I have written about food trends in the past. Throughout the seminar, the speakers mentioned food trends that I had accurately predicted earlier this year, so they basically covered what I already knew. They did provide insight on upcoming and emerging food trends, some of which I mentioned would emerge this year. Still, this will prove a great resource for predicting next year’s 2016 as well as my own individual research. As for the session afterwards, I had to attend Cooking with Cannabis just for the heck of it. I did not pick up much from the seminar since I do not cook, but I still learned a great deal about its medicinal use and witnessed some creative uses of cannabis in food, such as in butters, oils, and chocolates. Following one last session with all attendees, the conference came to a close with the announcement that the conference would move to Sacramento next year on the last weekend of July. While this excites many with the concept of farm-to-table and wine country so close, I feel that I may not return because I already have a standard writing style, as opposed to bloggers trying to establish themselves.

With the 2015 IFBC officially over, I said my goodbyes to many of the attendees and reminisced about the fun weekend. With the rest of my day open, I joined some old friends for a brief tour of Capitol Hill to check out some of the sights. Since the conference did not provide lunch, we first visited the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room, which also contained a Serious Pie. The roastery had the feeling of a microbrewery, as they roasted & brewed coffee, sold merchandise, and had lots of see there. As a bonus, I got to dine at Serious Pie, a restaurant that I wanted to visit the last time I traveled to Seattle two years ago. I can still taste the garlic and bacon from the pizza, a delightful combination that I do not encounter enough in Southern California.

Walking though Capitol Hill, we land at Chophouse Row, an alley with small shops and eateries including a meat shop, cheese shop, cupcakes, ice cream, and Italian food. The centerpiece shop, Chop Shop, offered a succulent Braised Pork Sandwich as a Happy Hour special. Afterwards, we visited Kurt Farm Shop for ice cream samples of some unique flavors, such as Bay Leaf, Rose, and their signature cheese. Cheese in an ice cream? Of course I had to try it, and it reminded me of a cake batter ice cream, but more creamy and not as sweet. At the far end, we discovered a neat little balcony with restaurant tables set up that looked like a movie set.

Feeling nice and full, we walked up Broadway for a bit before saying our goodbyes and parting ways.

I took a bus up to Ballard to explore more of the neighborhood since I ran out of time on Wednesday. The evening started with dinner at Bitterroot BBQ, a barbecue restaurant suggested to me earlier in the day. There, I got to enjoy some brisket and a fatty piece of pork belly, paired with cheddar grits and garlic green beans. #SmokedMeatEveryday

With solid food out of the way for the rest of the evening, I could finally embark on my self-guided brewery tour. I first stopped at Reuben’s Brews, a brewery recommended by many to me, including Southern Californians. With over 20 brews on tap, I can see why many recommended this brewery to me. With a food truck out front and a big screen showing the game, I felt right at home in Reuben’s Brews.

After downing my brews at Reuben’s, I turned the corner to discover Stoup Brewing. Many had also recommended this brewery to me, so I greatly looked forward to visiting them. Like the previous brewery, Stoup has a solid interior with plenty of outdoor seating, and can easily house a food truck outside. Stoup offered a significantly smaller selection of brews though, but since their brews pack bold taste, I took my time downing their beers.

Just around another corner, I discovered Lucky Envelope Brewing. Lucky Envelope feels more like the typical neighborhood bar – very quiet, and looks like someone’s living room. Their brew lineup looks like that of a standard brewery, plus a few unique brews such as their Peanut Butter Stout. Their staff exhibited solid beer knowledge, especially about breweries in Southern California.

It started raining by the time I finished at Lucky Envelope, so I made a dash to the next brewery, Populuxe Brewing. Unfortunately they had already closed for the day by the time I arrived, so I ran over to the next closest brewery, Maritime Pacific Brewing. Sadly they too had just closed their doors for the day. Not wanting to stay out in the rain for much longer, I decided to simply call it a night and return for the night to stay dry and not damage my camera.

With less than 24 hours left of my trip, I wanted to make sure that I made the most of it. I will go on record to say that I have the fondest memories of my final day for this vacation. Stay tuned tomorrow to see the adventures of my final day in Seattle.

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