There once was a woman with a food blog. She blogged and blogged and blogged, and then a week went by when she didn’t blog. And then a month. And then she started to wonder, “Am I still a blogger?”
I think I am. If you’ve been exclusively waiting for me to post here, I’m going to gently guide you by the hand over to my Instagram, so you can get caught up. Someone called it “micro-blogging,” and for some reason that has sounded a lot more manageable than blogging here. There’s a lot going on in my world these days. Three jobs, volunteer committments, all that jazz. Long-form blogging has sort of floated to the bottom of the pile for now. I’m also trying to figure out exactly what I want this blog to be. I think I’m close to figuring it out, but one step at a time.
The International Food Blogger Conference starts in just a few days, and I’ll be headed off to New Orleans for a little learning, a little eating, and hopefully, a chance to just walk around and see the city. I’ll circle back here to do a wrap-up post when I get home, but again, I’ll tenderly push you from behind to go follow me on Instagram to see the food and fun as it happens. Of course, I’m 100% on board to learn, and this year’s conference is jam packed with expert speakers and fun activities, but as with past years, there are definitely things that have really peaked my anticipation.
This year, IFBC is celebrating its 10th birthday, and to be doing it in such an iconic food city like New Orleans means the traditional “Taste of…” event on Friday night will boast some tasty bites from some of the Crescent City’s hundreds of restaurants and food producers, including Arnaud’s, Emeril’s, and Salt & Light Pastry Co. I’m SO ready to get my grub on, and maybe snag a few recipes from the local chefs.
On Saturday night, we’ll get to have some fun in what IFBC is calling a “Live Food & Drink Social.” Over 20 local food producers will each have five minutes to “pitch” their product while we, the intrepid food bloggers, try to share as much as we can in real time on our chosen blog/social media platforms. We did this last year and it was super hectic, but we all had a blast. It’s also a great exercise in how to prioritize. Do I spend my five minutes trying to get a great picture and letting my fellow bloggers ask all the questions, or do I put the presenter through their paces and just pray I get the shot?
One of the highlights of this year’s IFBC will be, for me, hearing from our Keynote speaker, African American-Jewish culinary historian and James Beard Award winning author Michael Twitty. Go check out his blog, Afroculinaria, and get totally sucked into his unique style of storytelling.
Obviously, there’s a whole list of places I want to visit, and restaurants I’d like to try, but, I’m a girl on a budget. August just happens to be “COOLinary” month in New Orleans. If you’re familiar with the concept of Restaurant Week, it’s like that, only all month long. Perfect timing to get to try one of the city’s upscale restaurants for a fraction of the cost. I haven’t decided where I’m headed yet, but of course, there will be pictures and a full recap when I finally sit down to
stuff my face eat a beautiful dinner like the classy lady that I am. I’ll also be utilizing a few other tried and true tips to get a taste of what the city has to offer without burning a hole in my wallet:
* Check out the bar menu. Small plates and bar snacks are a great way to try a little of what a restaurant has to offer without all the fuss of a full, sit down dinner. If you can catch a happy hour, even better, because you might find one of the restaurant’s signature cocktails on the menu for a discount.
* Ask a concierge. IFBC is being held at the Royal Sonesta on Bourbon Street. You best believe I’ll be quizzing their concierge staff about where to get some great, local eats that won’t break the bank. A knowledgable concierge will know their city’s restaurant scene like the back of their hand– not just the fine dining places, but also the hidden gems you might miss if you’re relying on your average travel guide.
* Ask a local. If you’re looking to step out of the tourist stream and experience the city like you live there, be brave and ask a local. For every IFBC I’ve attended, I’ve utilized the Couchsurfing app to find a local host, rather than staying in a pricey hotel. One of the most obvious benefits is all the great advice you can get from your host on where to eat, which attractions are worth the cost of admission, and the activities that really should not be missed. I’ve not been steered wrong, yet.
* Hit the grocery store before you leave. I know, it’s tempting, especially in a city known for its food culture, to want to eat out for ALL the things. There are so many places to try! But, you’ll find yourself blowing through your food budget pretty quickly that way. Obviously, I’ll be hitting Cafe du Monde for those iconic beignets and chicory coffee at least one morning, but I’ll also bring some snacks and breakfasty stuff with me from home, to fill in the meal gaps. When your dining dollar has to really stretch, let the grocery store do some pinch hitting.
I am, not surprisingly, not packed, or even close to packed yet, but my excitement for this little working getaway is set to 11. See you in New Orleans!