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FBC2014 Food and Swag

One of the best things about the food blogging conference I went to was the food. So many yummy meals, and no one judging you for taking pictures of your plate, haha.

The first dinner was put on by the Dairy Farmers of Canada.

First course, four cheese truffled macaroni with a lentil crumble. Deliciously cheesy with an earthy flavour. The lentils were crunchy, but with an odd texture between your teeth.

Main course, roasted salmon with lentil & bacon vinaigrette, ricotta gnocchi, caramelized cauliflower. Loved the (sustainable as per Ned Bell) salmon and the gnocchi.

Dessert, red wine pear & hazelnut financier, salted caramel sauce, toasted wild rice ice cream. This was SUPER YUMMY. The little cake was moist and sweet, with slightly sour cherries (wait did they switch the pear for cherries? not sure) and salty caramel to balance. And the ice cream was totally smooth and creamy and sweet with a hint of rice flavour. Nom nom nom.

Whole Foods breakfast. A Japanese breakfast burrito that had smoked trout, eggs, mushrooms, sticky rice, nori, kale seaweed salad, red curry mayo all in a tortilla. Fruit salad that was sweet and SPICY. I loved the burrito! I have never eaten a breakfast wrap like it before. I heard from other people that they didn’t really like this breakfast, but I thought it was super unique and good.

Morning snack break with treats from Butter. After 4 weeks of not eating any sugar, this tasted incredible. The brownie was super rich and the “Oreo” was awesome. I got a copy of the Butter cookbook in my swag bag and when I’m back on sugar I am totally trying these recipes first. So decadent.

We had a make-your-own-sandwich bar for lunch but nothing too crazy so I’ll skip it.

Dinner on the second night from Mushrooms Canada and Ontario Beef.

First course was a beef cheek & portabella ravioli in a Samuel Adams beer consommé. I always giggle when they make single ravioli dishes on Masterchef so I was pretty amused to finally get to eat one in real life. And they always go on and on and on about consommé being perfectly clear on TV too, haha. Anyway it was nice. I am not a beer drinker, and I could taste it in the soup, but it was still lovely. And perfectly clear.

Main course, the star of the entire conference imo, roasted beef with shortrib & mushroom gratin, lentils, caramelized celery roots & hearts. I knew the beef was going to be good when I realized there were no sharp knives on the table. This beef was so tender you could pull it apart with your fork. So nice. The gratin was also rich and savoury and crispy and soft. Everything else was fine, but I definitely gave the beef and gratin priority.

Dessert, coffee chocolate float with a marshmallow top, preserved cherries, lentil cookie. A lot of people loved this, but I can’t drink coffee so I only tasted bits and pieces. I did like the cherries I dug out of the jar, and the cookie.

Next morning we had an omelette bar for breakfast from the Burnbrae Farms but I forgot to take a picture.

Morning snack, mini doughnuts from Cartems Donuterie. Everyone was losing their head over how cute they were. They looked good but I found them overly oily.

The last day we got to order food from Foodee for lunch. I had a Tacofino chicken karaage burrito, with chicken karaage (duh), rice, cabbage, avocado, and more. Loved it. It had tons of chicken in it and lots of flavour.

So much swag! They sent us home with tons of things from all the sponsors including two full cookbooks, glass containers, egg cooking thingies, a portable cell phone charger, granola, and lots more all in a sweet insulated cooler bag. I was very impressed with the swag bag!! Plus I think there are still a few more things on the way.

Other great things about the conference:

  • really useful seminars about the ethics of blogging, finding your niche, increasing traffic, etc etc.
  • meeting tons of other food bloggers from here in Vancouver and all over Canada
  • copious amounts of wine

So glad I decided (last minute) to go.

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Fraser Valley Food Show 2014

Last last weekend I headed out to Abbotsford with a bunch of other food bloggers to check out the Fraser Valley Food Show. Just like last year there were lots of samples and things to look at. FVFS is a lot less busy then Eat Vancouver so you get many more opportunities to chat with the vendors and learn about their products.

Again they had a sausage competition where you could try about 15 different types of sausages for $2 and then vote for your favourite. I liked the crunchy chewy sausage sticks from Dressed To Grill the most. The silky smooth smoked liver pâté was also really nice.

I also attended TWO cheese tasting sessions with Reg from The Dairy Farmers of Canada. Thirteen types of cheese, OH YEAH. I loved the spoonfuls of mascarpone with honey and cranberry.

I haven’t eaten any sugar in one month (!!) in an attempt to stabilize my blood sugar and break my addiction to candy. Anyway because of this I was kind of limited to what samples I could try. I did manage to find some awesome balsamic salad dressing that didn’t have sugar, and some unsweetened almond milk for Scott to use in his coffee (he’s off sugar as well). And a bunch of gluten free crackers for Lesley. So… a successful day!

PS I’m off to the Food Bloggers of Canada annual conference this weekend. A whole weekend of learning how to be a better blogger, I can’t wait! All food is provided… so it’s going to be a cheat weekend…. can’t lie, I’m pumped.

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Crafty WIP 3

Harry Potter alphabet is done! This one took me ages. About 2 hours per person!!! I love how it turned out. My favourite characters are Dobby, Umbridge and Ron Weasley. I also love that James Potter looks exactly the same as Harry, except monochrome dead colours.

Still plugging along on my blanket. It’s so big I can’t even lay it out and take a picture very easily! I didn’t work on it that much over the summer because it was too hot, but now that it’s cooling down it’s really nice to drape over my feet while working on it (and watching tv). I think I’m going to keep going until it is square.

Jessie gave me this cute Canada pattern for my birthday. I didn’t work very much this week so I’ve been working on it a lot lately. I don’t think it will take me too much longer to finish. The fabric has bigger squares than the Harry Potter alphabet so it’s been easier.

Lastly, something different. My mini version of the mutato print that I love so much. These were heirloom tomatoes that I got at the Vancouver farmers market. I made the prettiest and tastiest bruschetta ever with it. I still can’t get over how cheap and amazing the tomatoes were this summer.

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Wut Up

And it’s fall.

We did squeeze in another games day on the patio before the summer was over. Scott and I taught them Agricola. Agricola is quite complicated, but it’s my all time favourite game. Even though it makes me really stressed.

I have never been so excited about a used pair of shoes. And check out my new speedsuit!! My skeleton friends Jane and Madi were so nice to send a pair of spikes and a suit my way from Calgary. It can be so hard (and expensive) to get gear for skeleton so getting anything, even used stuff, is extremely appreciated. Up till now I had been using track spikes for skeleton, but my goal for the year is to start from the top of Whistler and the track crew will not let me do that with them. Now I am fully equipped! I am so so so excited for the season to start, especially now!

I have been working a lot lately, lots of full weeks of shifts, which is fantastic. I am also supposed to get trained at our remote site out at UBC too, but there hasn’t been any time yet where I haven’t been already working! I keep expecting my amount of work to drop off drastically, but so far it hasn’t happened. Fingers crossed it keeps going the way it is!

Ooo also in exciting news… Scott got notification of his citizenship test!! This happened about 1.5 YEARS ahead of what we thought!!! Everything we read told us the application would take about 2 years, but now his test is in a couple weeks and the ceremonies tend to be about a month later! We are totally having a Canadiana party.

And lastly, I spent like two whole evenings reading through the old emails Rosemarie and I used to send each other back in 2003-2004, when I was off in Halifax and Holland, and she was in middle school/high school. They are amazing. My sister is the best. She used to send me all sorts of hilarious pictures. And now I have determined that it’s been too long since this one was last seen….

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The Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl Winery

Fancy lunch at the restaurant at Burrowing Owl Winery. We got there a little early so we could look around and taste some wines in the tasting room. I guess they also have a hotel there too? It definitely had a beautiful view.

We ordered the breads and spreads appetizer which ended up being this enormous platter with roasted carrot hummus, shrimp salad, and olive tapenade, with three different types of bread. The mini herb loaf was delicious and the soft baguette was so good. I really loved the shrimp salad and the salty olive tapenade. The carrot hummus was ok too, nice and sweet. We must have tried every combination of bread and spread several times. This platter is definitely big enough for several people to share!

I ordered the duck leg confit, which comes with basil gnocchi, a random piece of chorizo, with some vegetables and aioli. It was all very nice, the duck was nice and tender and the vegetables and sauce were prepared nicely. I didn’t understand the inclusion of chorizo at all, I actually thought they had put it on the plate by accident.

Scott ordered the lamb sausage sandwich which ended up being like a fancy hotdog. Which is funny because Scott doesn’t like hotdogs. It had aioli and cheese on it and came with a nice salad. I think he enjoyed it alright, but it wasn’t as nice as my duck.

All in all, a nice meal. Be sure to make a reservation ahead of time as we saw people without being turned away.

The Sonora Room on Urbanspoon

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