“Do what you love…we all have something to offer…just be”
– Shauna aka Gluten Free Girl
Last Wednesday morning I packed my suitcases, threw them in the back of the car and headed to work like any day during the week. That day is a blur since my mind was on my anticipated trip to Washington DC. An apology to all our patients if I mislabeled your urine samples! A four hour drive to Vancouver, a 4 AM cab ride to the airport, 4 airports, 3 days on the East coast, and I am back home in the Okanagan Valley. My sleep depraved mind has been attempting to make sense of this overwhelming, once in a lifetime opportunity.
More Than Burnt Toast has been silent for a week now as I wrap my brain around all that I have learned, sift through all the swag, photos, e-mails and detox from an action packed weekend. I apologize if you're one of the 1,000's of e-mails in my Hotmail account I just deleted. There are people to thank for the 3 days I spent at Eat, Write, Retreat. I took away so much valuable information, met many talented people, learned to say endive (ahn-deev), was a "new food trier" and came away richer and energized in more ways than one.It was a non-stop feeding and learning frenzy!!!!
Over the years blogging has afforded me the opportunity to attend several food and wine events from being a panelist at BlogHer Food in San Francisco, an attendee at Foodbuzz two years in a row in the same amazing city, as well as a weekend workshop right here in the valley. All of these events have allowed me to try and break my "wallflower" mold and immerse myself in the foodie culture and become the best that I can be. My excitement hit fever pitch when I was invited and sponsored by Canadian Beef to attend Eat,Write, Retreat in Washington DC last weekend. First and foremost I would like to thank Canadian Beef for sponsoring 5 Canadians whose energy and collective talents are contagious. The conference in Washington DC promised to be an intimate 3-day event like no other where we had rooms full of talented writers, photographers and sponsors all mingling together for three nonstop days of hands-on writing, cooking, food styling and photography workshops.
Washington is a place that excites, relaxes, inspires and leaves you wanting more!!!! Attending the three day extravaganza allowed us to experience the vibrant and eclectic food scene and the never ending sights and sounds of an event that met all of my expectations. Beyond the engaging and entertaining panelists we were able to attend an interactive session on food photography and food styling where we were gifted with the chance to play with our food, styling sandwiches and salads in teams and then viewing them up on the big screen. The critique from the experts was invaluable, as was the hands on approach. Yes that is a squirt bottle being used to prevent our sandwich from looking dried out. As Monica Bhide said, "The devil is in the details."
Our sandwich being "improved"
We also enjoyed a fantastic private three course luncheon with three luscious wines from Mirassou Winery at McCormick and Schmick’s in downtown DC from executive chef Fernando Giacomini. An Anchovy and Roasted Chioggia Beet Salad, Wild Alaskan Halibut in miso broth with a myriad of exotic mushrooms and a tempura spring onion, followed by Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake were enjoyed by all.
Directly after lunch we had the opportunity to attend a cooking demonstration and hand-on class at CulinAerie, a cooking school in the heart of downtown DC. Founder Susan Holt created three delicious and easy recipes using one of our sponsors products endive (ahn-deev) and other fresh local ingredients.
The weekend did not disappoint! What I loved most about this particular conference is that there was no need to pick and choose and otherwise miss out on any of the panel discussions, guest speakers, restaurant tastings or historical/food tours. We were able to see and experience it all!!!!
I met so many amazing food bloggers, each with a different reason for blogging and their own voice. A huge shout out to all of my fellow attendees from Eat, Write, Retreat this past weekend, the amazing organizers Robyn Webb and Casey Benedict, the friendly and always helpful volunteers, the inspirational panelists that expanded our minds and allowed us to grow, and sponsors like Oxo, Calphalon, Goo Goo Clusters, Lindsay Olives, Jarlsberg Cheese and Woolwich Dairy , Dogfish Head Brewers, Barboursville Wine and My Spice Sage and many more too numerous to mention who were right there with us throughout. Visit the Eat,Write, Retreat site for a full list. Many thanks to all for the inspiration and for the lavish swag which made our suitcases burst at the seams on the way home and cause officials to scratch their heads at airport customs!!!!
Birch and Barley
Thank you Canadian Beef for allowing me this opportunity!!! What do we Canadians have to say....
Photo Adapted from Olga Berman Photography
Dan, Mike, Val (moi), Isabelle and Ethan
And now for A SPECIAL OFFER from one of our generous sponsors: CALPHALON is offering readers an exclusive 10% off on online purchases at www.calphalon.com from now till June 6. Use promo code C95926.
*Note: Clearance items and gift certificates do not qualify for the 10% discount. Excludes John Boos and Co. Cannot be combined with other special offers or applied to previous purchases. Terms subject to change. Valid through June 6, 2011.
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