“Stretchy Pants Required.”
After a wonderful welcome from the city of Vancouver while at FBC 2014, my morning had an early start with breakfast sponsored by Whole Foods. I heard whispers around that apparently breakfast was “different” and being from a room of foodies, that couldn’t be good. Breakfast consisted of a Japanese inspired breakfast burrito with egg cooked Tamago style and sticky rice mixed with seaweed, trout and some other stuff. It also came with a fruit salad that had hot chili peppers in it. I love Whole Foods and everything about their stores, but that was a bit too creative for me. Definitely lacking flavour in the burrito itself and the peppers are not very welcome in that fruit salad.
After that rocky start to the morning, the day was packed with speaker sessions covering the topics from blogging ethics all the way to getting published. My personal favourite would have to be the one paying homage to bloggers having to wear many hats for themselves. A lot of people don’t realize how much work goes into running a food blog, and the work seems to quadruple once you start getting some traffic and requests. Juggling between recipe development, photography, writing, family, and a seemingly endless list of marketing things; I honestly don’t know how some of those giants in the food blogging world do it, but they have my utmost respect.
Canadian Living did a giveaway for a number of gift bags at the conference and lo and behold I won! There were a number of kitchen utensils (one of the ladles broke in my luggage L) and cookbooks, kitchen gadgets and more. My favourite item out of the whole set was this cute strawberry silicone tea infuser. I don’t drink tea much nowadays since I took out caffeine from my daily diet (I wonder myself how I survive) but when I do, I prefer loose leaf and it’s nice to be able to brew single cup instead of a pot every time. If you want to pick one up for yourself, they are just $1.50 from Amazon.
And Random House sponsored the snacks with Butter baked goods. Mmmmmm. So many delicious things, I couldn’t finish them all. My favourite is a tie between the peanut butter marshmallow or the homemade oreos.
Lunch on Day 2 consisted of squash soup, a bunch of breads and wraps for some roast beef or turkey slices. Nothing overly fancy, but did the job of keeping me full. Their dessert table was much more interesting with these miniature pavlovas. Cute and Simple. Me likey very much.
Day 2 was my favourite for one thing, FREE TIME! I felt like a 6 year old child when the last speaker session ended as a few of the other bloggers were planning to explore the markets in Granville Island. I love visiting farmers’ markets and the like to see what is fresh and local; and seeing what produce and meats they had in the West Coast of Canada was definitely a priority. Here’s some of the different things that caught my ever-curious eye.
Not picture above (probably because I was getting hungry) was the giant slabs of cold cured salmon we found in the market. They were delicious, smokey and melted in your mouth. Sadly, with no more luggage space I couldn’t fit another pound of that. 🙁
Dinner was upon our return to the hotel with another dinner catered by Chef Ned Bell and the staff from Yew.
The keynote speakers from Thug Kitchen graced the stage telling us how they blew up in the food blogging world with a mention from Gwyneth Paltrow and her blog Goop. Really goes to show that you never know who is reading your blog and to keep going with it. Side note, I got them to sign my book, very cool.
Day 3 was the bittersweet end with just a couple more sessions talking about the business of food photography and how to find your niche in food blogging. They definitely saved the best ones for last as they really had me thinking about what I want this food blog to be about. I have to share with you the miniature Cartem’s Donuts that were served as snack that day. Snacks this small hardly count as calories right? The Mexican mole which had a lovely and complex sweet and savoury flavour caught my attention and it definitely hit the spot.
A photo posted by The Piquey Eater (Katherine C) (@piqueyeater) on
After the last session, the final goodbyes and the announcement that FBC 2015 will be happening in Montreal, packing was my last obstacle. You see, before I came to this conference, I was told that I should leave space in my luggage for swag. I figured, how much swag could they give me? So I left half of a small luggage empty for any goodies to take home.
Yea, I was wrong.
Not only did I not have enough space, my luggage weighed a ton after I fit what I could.
Here are some tips if you’re trying to fit a bunch of things in your suitcase.
TIPS ON PACKING
- Save the smaller items that can be slotted into nooks and crannies last
- If you have gadgets with boxes or thick packaging, remove them. Saves a ton of space.
- If you have heavy items, make sure they are the bottom of your luggage.
- Pad any of your delicate items with your clothes
- Sometimes turning an item can help it fit better. Tetris trained me well.
- When somebody warns you to bring extra luggage space, don’t take that warning lightly. Like I did.
I decided to take the red-eye flight back to Toronto so I could have the evening in Vancouver. One of my good university friends spent the afternoon and evening with me showing me around the city. We went over to the Grouse area to take a look at the area, unfortunately I was not dressed for the occasion to go for the Grouse Grind, but I vow to complete that at some point of my life. Curious as to how many of my readers have actually done it.
We also took a short hike and got to see a little of what the lush forests of B.C. has to offer. I couldn’t spot any salmon swimming upstream but I can imagine this would be an amazing view.
I later headed to Richmond to pick up some Chinese pastries made with wintermelon. The ones from Kam Do Bakery are apparently famous among the Chinese community and my mom insisted that I get several dozen. Hahaha… yea could hardly fit one dozen in what little space I had left. They had a very efficient operation going there, with the wife cakes which they know are the most popular, they were already prepackaged into half and full dozens ready to pass out to their customers.
I picked up a dozen of those and 6 other specialties ones, one of which had a pineapple filling with a salted duck yolk. Mmmm delicious.
After that, my friend took me to the fisherman’s wharf in Richmond and though we missed the fresh fish that they usually sell there, we did catch the sunset. A great farewell from B.C.
I never thought I could have so much fun in one weekend and meet so many amazing people. The food blogging community is definitely a special one and I’m glad I’m a part of it.
Until we dine again,
-The Piquey Eater