I loved seeing all of your smiling faces, answering your gluten-free baking questions and having the chance to meet you all!
Now, on to how it went!
I planned this weekend for months- anxiously texting my dear friends Kyra (owner of Crave Bakeshop outside of Portland) and Brandy (Mrs. Northwest 2013) to coordinate flights & hotel rooms. Trade secret: we all come to these events together so we have an excuse to gather from far corners of the country. And to collect more awesome friends.
To get ready for this trip, I stalked the French Laundry on Open Table for a reservation. I read up on companies visiting the expo so I could make sure that I would have time to see what products we are missing in the Midwest. (And so that I could figure out whose employees might be the most fun to hang with). I gathered a crowd that included Brandy, Kyra, Alison – the sassy blogger behind A Girl Defloured, Charissa from Zest Bakery and Andrew from Taste Guru for a day of feasting.
I’m a food blogger, so of course this trip was all about the food.
So we started our first day like any responsible party that was about to spend $300/person on lunch. We went to our friend’s bakery and ate from the tasting menu. (In other words, we ordered some of every item in the case and stood there and tried them all). I was in gastronomic heaven, and it wasn’t even 10am.
After breakfast, The French Laundry had a pretty high bar it had to clear. And it did. I may never be able to look at vegetables the same way again (and I am ok with that). 10 courses of gluten-free vegetables, a root beer float and a peanut butter & jelly chocolate and a sinful chocolate something or other and I am set for life. I am working on a post just about that meal, but for now, you’ll have to take my word that it was perfect.
Friday night was also the part that, for me, is the best part of the expo – meeting the smiling faces behind blogs, twitter handles and companies. There were two people I was on a mission to meet- Sabrina from the Tomato Tart (who got away without enough time chatting!) and Erica from Celiac and the Beast. They are as epically awesome in person as they are on their blogs. Funny, kind and gluten-free. There might have been some impressive bear hugs and squeals of delight when we all finally met.
And the there were the bloggers that I didn’t know were going to be there, or I hadn’t come across before – and they are pretty dang awesome too. You should totes check out GF Traveller, East Bay Celiac, The GFree Foodie and Sarah Bakes gluten-free. Because they are totes cool too.
The weekend wasn’t all play – Kyra, Brandy & I all gave talks and shared our passions with the crowds. Erica sold me a pretty dang awesome hoodie.
But I know all you really care about are the goods. So I singled out a few of my favorites.
Top row: Crave Cake Mixes // Freedom Cereal Tropic Os // Red Apple Lipstick
Middle row: Kind Plus Bars // The Good Bean Chili Lime Chickpeas // Taste Guru (box of the month club with awesome stuff inside!)
Bottom row: Schar Lemon Wafers // Blackbird Bakery Bread Blend //