A few weeks ago I joined up with many other flood bloggers in New Orleans for the International Food Blogger Conference. The weekend was chock full of awesome food, great discussion, and wonderful people, and though I was sad to leave such a vibrant, interesting city when the weekend was over, I left feeling so thankful for the experience. And I felt the need to come home and cook some good Cajun and Creole food.
Unlike previous conferences, I went with no plans, and if you know me at all you understand how that is completely unlike me. I felt the need to let the weekend flow as it would, be in the moment and see what would happen. I took time to wander the French Quarter and snap photos of balconies.
I ate a crawfish omelet at Café Fleur de Lis.
And a chocolate croissant at Croissant D’Or.
Nibbled pralines from Evans Creole Candy.
And I promised Michael that I would get beignets and café au lait at Café Du Monde. Promise kept.
But the weekend wasn’t just about the food—even though it was so good I came home feeling compelled to make gumbo with a good dark roux--it was about meeting up with other people who share the same passion for food and blogging and learning from each other. For me the best moments of the conference were catching up with friends made at previous conferences, meeting people whose blogs and/or cookbooks I’ve read and others I’ve followed on Twitter, presenters who were pros in their respective fields, and many folks who were new to blogging.
This conference felt different from previous I’ve attended, and others noticed and mentioned it, too. Absent was the sense of competition to get noticed, to meet the right people, to give off airs of importance. We were just all there to have a good time, enjoy being together, eat some good New Orleans food, laugh at Seattle Food Geek’s hilarious tweets, listen to John Besh and Poppy Tooker and John Folse, and learn things that would make us better contributors to the food blog community. As the conference came to an end on Sunday morning and Barnaby gave his closing remarks, someone joked about having a kumbaya moment as people shared their thoughts about the weekend, and it was true. I’m looking forward to going back to IFBC next year.
Many, many thanks to Foodista and Zephyr Adventures for putting on a great conference, to all the sponsors, The Hotel Monteleone, and the fantastic restaurants and chefs that cooked for us that weekend. If you are ever in New Orleans, make sure you check out these restaurants:
The Grill Room, Sylvain, Ste. Marie, Langenstein's, La Petite Grocery, Sucre, GW Fins, Parkway Bakery, Red Fish Grill, Royal House Oyster Bar, Riverfront Restaurant, Pier 424 Seafood, Pierre Maspero's, and Abita Beer.
And thank you to NOLA for making our stay so much fun!