This past weekend, I headed south for my very first blog conference – Food Blog South. As I headed into Birmingham, Alabama, I found the road taking me right past this landmark. I had to stop and get a pic. I big naked dude – aka Vulcan. (I took all of the photos in this post with my iphone, as I tried to “travel light” during the conference.)
Once I arrived at my destination, I checked into my hotel room at the Aloft Birmingham Soho Square Let me say, I was very impressed with this hotel.
I loved this retro looking clock!
JCD had a great spread with pimento cheese toasts, chicken & waffles, homemade pickles, pork sliders, shrimp & grits, mac & cheese and much more. Everything was delicious!
Including my chocolate martini.
Sponsors and others had great tables set out with goodies for us to sample and and information to share, such as Roland Foods.
This Four Roses Bourbon looked very inviting. Even though I am not a bourbon drinker (I cook with it a lot) I kicked myself for not sampling it!
Look at these beautiful loaves from Lionel Vatinet. I think his (A Passion for Bread: Lessons from a Master Baker) may be the next cookbook that comes to live at my house.
After a lovely breakfast, Virginia Willis launched the festivities. I just wanted to mention how momentarily star-struck I was when I first saw her the evening before. I’ve loved seeing her on Food Network, on shows like “Chopped.” She always seemed to have such a down to earth and endearing personality. And after meeting her in person and shaking her hand, I have the same impression. I did restrain myself from giddily asking for a “selfie” with her – barely. Ha!
I attended a few different sessions, but my favorite was this one – Food Photography and Styling with Helene Dujardin (Tartelette) and Tami Hardeman (Running with Tweezers.) These ladies were two of my favorites before I went to the conference, and I was truly thrilled to see them work and learn some tricks and tips from them.
Look at this set up. Amazing photos from a cardboard box, a plank of wood, pretty props and good light.
Lunch was amazing! A gorgeous spread by the Dixie Fish Co… Triggerfish, shrimp & grits and Oh. My. Goodness. – the best Bread Pudding EVER!.
And then there was this lady. I met Nancy Hughes the evening before at the pre-party. I adore her. She has such a fantastic personality, and had us all busting a gut!
At the end of the day, we had a great presentation Molly Wizenberg, (Orangette) and a very informative session by Ted Breaux on the history of absinthe – I was disappointed that there weren’t samples!
It was followed by antipasti, sushi and wine from The Fresh Market.
I decided to forgo the after party as I had a long drive home. After getting home, I explored all of the conference “swag.”
I love this little pin from the Alabama Tourism Department.
What a great experience! I do believe I’ll go again next year!