A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend my very first blogging event. Food Blog Forum 2015 was held at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. We were treated to all of the luxuries one might imagine in the happiest place on earth. Lovely rooms at the Grand Floridian Resort. A Welcome Party at the Four Seasons Resort, with a stunning spread of food, drinks, and desserts from PB&G, their beautiful poolside bar and grill. Breakfast and conference sessions at the Contemporary Resort. An unforgettable lunch at the California Grill high atop the Contemporary Resort where chefs from all around Walt Disney World showcased their signature dishes for a swarm of food bloggers who spent as much time taking photos of our food as we did enjoying it. The view and the fare was truly stunning. Not to mention the fact that I got to meet some fellow bloggers, which in itself was sort of a strange phenomenon for me. Having someone speak “blog” to me was a fun and weird experience. There’s a lot that goes into blogging beyond just cooking, photographing, and writing about it. It was so intimidating yet inspiring to get to chat with others who have built successful careers from their blogs. Here’s to hoping that someday I will do the same.
The conference sessions offered a great variety of tips and inspiration from some of my blog heroes. Todd Porter and Diane Cu of White on Rice Couple taught a session about food photography. I mean really. I can’t even. It took me the entire weekend to even introduce myself. I was way less nervous when I met Martha Stewart or Joe Bastianich. Thanks to my roomate Lynda from Southern Kissed for snapping a photo. Side note: If you’re interested in food photography, you should definitely take their Creative Live class. It was sort of a breakthrough for me when I did. In fact, I should watch it again now because I still have so much to learn.
Disney went all out when it came to their accommodations. We were spoiled with media fast passes, which meant all we had to do was wander up to the front of the line of any attraction we wanted, flash our magic band, and magically a light turned green and off we went with no waiting. It was ridiculous. The fact that I had no kids with me to share in my glee was somewhat disheartening, but Lynda and I ran around the parks in all our free time, and even managed to accidentally meet some princesses. We may or may not have gotten “fast pass happy” and just wandered into what we thought was a ride, but turned out to be a meet and greet with Cinderella and Rapunzel. It was hilarious. Oops. I also ate my body weight in pastries at Epcot. Real all about my Epcot Pastry Crawl here.
After a free day spent in the parks, our final event was a trip to East End Market in Orlando (not on Disney property). What an impressive end to a wonderful and surreal weekend. The folks at East End Market went all out and spoiled us completely. Since they’re not open to customers on Mondays, we had the place to ourselves. The market is fantastic. They have a great variety of local, artisan foods represented. There’s also a lovely event space upstairs if you should find yourself looking for a great venue. There aren’t words to describe the food, and overall experience at East End Market. I just had such a great time, and as you all know from many of my Foodie Field Trips…markets are my jam.
Above: The most ridiculously delicious cheesy grits ever.
Above: This slider with white barbeque sauce from Houndstooth Sauce Company was sensational.
Above: Tea cake that was almost too pretty to eat. I managed though, and it was perfect.
Fresh Strawberries in a dainty little galette…the perfect bites for a girl living in the Michigan tundra. Is it berry season in Michigan yet? By the way, those “disposable” little bamboo bowls were way too cute…I brought mine home with me.
Above: Pork belly from Txokos. My vote for best bites of the entire weekend.
Above: Stuffed pepper from Txokos. My love for peppers begins and ends on this plate. They turned me into a pepper diva and also ruined all the other peppers for me in one fell swoop. Amazing.
Above: The cutest little chicken and waffles I ever did see.
And they all lived (and ate) happily ever after…
I want to say a HUGE thank you to all of the organizers of Food Blog Forum for making such a wonderful experience for all of us who were fortunate enough to snag the coveted tickets.
Julie from The Little Kitchen. She is so kind and friendly, and super talented. Meeting her in real life was a treat.
Todd and Diane from White on Rice Couple. My food photography heroes, and the inspiration for my budding desire to plant and grow some of my own foods.
Jaden and Scott from Steamy Kitchen. Scott was a great MC for the event, and Jaden shared her wisdom and experiences beautifully. Their success is incredible.
Lindsay from Love & Olive Oil. She and Julie put so much work into planning and organizing the whole event, and it was a masterpiece. Her blog is one of my favorites.
Bjork and Lindsay from Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro. They are a fun couple to listen to. They are so generous with their tips and advice, especially when it comes to the business side of blogging. Pinch of Yum is another one of my favorite blogs.
Last but not least. Walt Disney World. We were treated wonderfully, and spoiled beyond measure. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.