Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ode to BlogHer Food 2011

Commercial break: BlogHer Food 2011 was amazing!

I'm still on a high.

High on foodie enthusiasm, inspiration, aspiration, new friends, and most of all, possibilities.

One of the first sessions I attended was on branding (led by Eat the Love and The Tomato Tart) yourself and your blog. I came away so excited to  dive deep into the discovery process of finding the essence of FunGirlCooks. Not only my voice, but also the visual representation of this blog. (Hint: watch for enhancements in the months to come!)

This being my first blogger conference, I was certain that I had just hit the jackpot and experienced the climax of the two-days in my first session. Boy, was I wrong.

Day 1 included sessions on food travel writing with the likes of Donna Pierce of Skillet Diaries to mobile platforms for your blog with Epicurious, Gourmet Live and Scripps Network excutives.

Day 2 included a session with David Leite of Leite's Culinaria and Diane Jacob, author of Will Write for Food, discussing copyright, credit and etiquette in the food blogger arena. I capped off the day with a fantastic session on food blogging for change discussing world hunger, personal health, and engaging in the food community in your local town.

Perhaps the highlight of the day: Sweet Auburn Curb Market.

Come. To. Mama.

Grindhouse burger with vidalia onion rings.

Sweet potato cheesecake a la Sweet Auburn Bakery.

Roasted peach lemonade from Cafe Campesino.

Need I say more?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Headed to the Borough

I just got back from a trip across The Pond. Yep, that's right. I had the opportunity to take two weeks and visit my dear friend, Dr. Nellie, while she was finishing up a bit of studying in London.

My next several posts will be about my adventures with Dr. Nellie...beginning with our trip to London's famed and beloved Borough Market.

I first became aware of this wonderland of food when I saw it on Ina Garten's London special during the holidays last year. Knowing I was headed there in the spring, I have pretty much been obsessed ever since.

The market is made up of of hundreds of vendors selling everything from piping hot Hunstman Pie...

to giant, steaming pots of paella...

to sweet and savory homemade marmalades...

to pastries that will make you want to cry...

and everything in between.

Walking around the market with a zillion of your closest friends takes some patience, but it's hard to really lose your cool when you realize that you are milling through this foodie mecca with your own people.

I mean, how can you fault someone for stopping in the middle of the isle because they just tasted the creamiest, richest cheese of their life? Or for taking 20 minutes in line ahead of you to decide which of the homemade truffles - dark, white, milk, cayenne, chai, strawberry... - is "the" one? I just don't think you can.

If I were an athlete, experiencing Borough Market would definitely be like winning the Superbowl or the World Series.

Dr. Nellie and I roamed and roamed, ogling at all the delights...then, suddenly, there it was: The Flour Station. This is the very vendor where the Barefoot Contessa herself purchased an unbelievably gooey, glistening sweet roll on her trip to Borough Market. I must have one.

I had stood where Ina had been. Happy, happy girl.

After a couple hours of exploring all the cracks and crevices of the market, we picked up some sandwiches and a glass of cold cider to wash them down (I literally watched them pour my cider straight from the cask!) and sat down to rest our feetsies for a bit before heading back to the flat.

Words cannot even begin to describe the swelling in my heart that Saturday morning.  Sheer and utter thrill, complete amazement, crazy wonderment. I felt as if I had come home walking through the market bustling with people, smelling the aromas of the bounties of this earth (and some from grandma's kitchen) and truly savoring every moment.