Saying so long to Seattle

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Well here I am, back in my daily routine and only a few days since the IFBC 2013 conference in Seattle has ended. Many of my friends have asked what the conference was like so I will give you soem highlights. First of all, I really enjoyed meeting such a diverse group of bloggers, speakers and corporate sponsors.

Some highlights of the trip for me were:

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Going to Chateau Ste. Michelle for a wine tour and tasting:

A group of us signed up for this pre-conference tour. We were taking by bus to Woodinville, WA to see the Chateau Ste. Michelle wine operation. Although the Chateau was not in the same location as the vineyards, we were able get an appreciation of the size and scope of the wine making process. After touring the bottling plant we were provided with a tasting of 5 Chateau St. Michele wines accompanied by some light appetizers for pairing. Culinary Director, John Sarich walked us through each of the vintages and which dish would pair well with each. I had no idea that Chateau Ste. Michelle is the largest producer of Reisling wine in the world. It was a great way to spend the afternoon and a good way to meet people.

Touring around Seattle:

I love to travel and see new places.  I decided to take an unconventional route so I took the Victoria Clipper ferry from Victoria, B.C. to Seattle. The ferry travelled down through Puget Sound and docked close to the downtown core.  It took 2 ½ hours to make the crossing but it was a very relaxing trip and the views were amazing.

When I was not in the conference, I spent most of my free time exploring the city. As I mentioned earlier I loved Pike’s Place market. I also explored the downtown area. Seattle is a small city compared to Toronto with a population of approximately 650,000 in its downtown core. The people were friendly and getting around was easy.

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One morning I got up very early to visit the Space Needle and Seattle Center. The Warwick Hotel, where I stayed was central to all of the sights so I was able to walk around quite easily. I did; however; take the Monorail from Seattle Center to the Westlake Center in the downtown core just to have the experience. It only took less than 5 minutes for the trip on this very cool train.

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The Seattle Central Library was also a great place to visit if you love great architecture. The library is decieving from the outside. I climbed up to the 10th floor via escalators before taking the elevator back down to level 1.

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Dinner at Purple on our last night in Seattle:

Urbanspoon hosted dinner parties at 25 different restaurants across Seattle. We were each given a card indicating the neighbourhood that we would be going to but no other information until the Staturday evening when it was time to go. Then we were given directions to our surprise destinations.

My group had the good fortune to be hosted by Purple on 4th Avenue. The restaurant had prepared a wonderful 7 course tasting menu complete with wine parings from their massive wine cellar. The food was spectacular and the pairings were delicious.

Our hosts were very gracious. It was an evening that I will not soon forget.

Food Photography sessions with Andrew Scrivani:

As you can imagine, I was really excited about meeting the renowned NY Times food photographer, Andrew Scrivani. I did not expect that he would be such a personable guy. In spite of his great success as a food photographer, he did not present as someone with a huge ego. He presented twice at the conference. First was a session of food preparation and food photography with Chef John Mitzewich of Food Wishes. The chef and his assistants prepared a few plates of sushi and Andrew explained the process of photographing them. I enjoyed Andrew’s discussion of his work and how he sees the photos.

The second session was about his workflow and the business of food photography. Needless to say I took many pages of notes from this session and came home with a huge to do list.

Meeting Dorie Greenspan:

As I mentioned in my previous post, Dorie is my favourite cookbook author so meeting and chatting with her was an enormous thrill! She is so very charming and quite modest.

All in all; I think this conference was well worth the trip to Seattle. It was informative, fun and I met some great people from all over the U.S. and Canada.

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Checking out Seattle at Pike’s Place Market

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I am so excited! I arrived in Seattle on Wednesday for the International Food Bloggers Conference IFBC2013. My plan was to get here a couple of days early so I would have time to explore Seattle.

Yesterday I got up extra early so I could have breakfast at the famous Pike’s Place Market. It was definitely worth getting up early for. I arrived at the market by 8 AM, bought a croissant and latte and watched the place come to life.

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One of the things that you must see at the market is the floor show put on by the fish mongers at Pike’s Place Fish Company. They call out to each other every time someone buys a fish and throw the fish to the cashier for packing. I have never seen such a variety of fresh fish or in such large sizes. I don’t think there is a fish lover in the world who would not love to check this part of the market out.

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The market also offers a great variety of produce from local growers and beautiful flowers from the region. There are also craft vendors and spice shops and across from the market is a row of cafes and specialty shops and bakeries.

It was a great way to spend a morning while passing time in Seattle.

Today the conference starts. I am up and ready to go. I am really looking forward to spending time with other food bloggers from all over the world.

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