The highlight of IFBC two weeks ago was meeting my old social media buddies IRL and making new friends. Dorie Greenspan's keynote speech was super inspiring. Andrew Scrivani's photography sessions were very helpful. I have watched him online before, but it was nice to get the reinforcement in a real, not a virtual, room. Present. What brought this conference full circle for me, oddly enough, was the last session. As the conference was wrapping up on Sunday, I scurried back for Kim O'Donnel's session from a cappuccino, pastry and photographing at Pike Market. It's appalling to think that I almost missed the session. Pike Market was winking at me to linger just a moment longer. What left me in awe was the enormity of the talent these very friends I made over the weekend possess. You had to hear some of the exquisite writings. I also left encouraged to write even when un-inspired and when I have ten minutes at the doctor's office, waiting.
As promised in my Pike Market, Seattle post, I am sharing some more Seattle food highlights. On the last day of the conference, a rainy Sunday, my friend Carol, who lives in Seattle, picked me up at Pike Market after checkout from the W Hotel. My heart was set on lunch at The Whale Wins (2 photos above). Thanks Ken for the recommendation. I came in with high expectation that were met if not surpassed. It doesn't happen often I might add. I had for the first time ever celery soda, who would have thought I would like it?! It was made by a small batch Seattle based Co. Every dish we ordered was fantastic, true to The Whale Wins' commitment to local, organic and artisanal ingredients. If you go, make sure not to skip the local cheese, I think it was Chèvre, drizzled with local honey. Probably the best honey I've ever tasted. Also, the chicken liver mousse was phenomenal.
Carol and I continued to Melrose Market on our mini food crawl to have a couple bites at Sitka and Spruce, but they were closed. We ran into Max, above left, at The Calf and Kid. Max is a neighborhood institution of sorts. She knew everything about the Seattle food scene and dislikes the word 'foodie'. She was having some seasonal French cheese and let us have a tasting. It reminded me of the Italian Taleggio. Love these chance encounters. Carol and I peeked into Mamnoon, they were not yet open for dinner but let us roam around, bottom left photo. Gave us some baklava and mint lemonade to taste. We also tasted their zaa'tar. It was super authentic.
Later on, little I had known we were meeting up with Jenifer when Mary and Jill (bottom left pic above) and I headed up to Delancey for dinner. That was quite the pleasant surprise. We sat for a drink and a nibble at its sister restaurant/bar Essex, next door, while waiting for a table. I had ginger beer, again a first for me, and probably the best tomatoes I had in a while on a tomato with anchovy aioli crostini. The crimini pizza at Delancey was the best I had in years, up there with my all time favorite San Francisco's Delfina's. The tomato goodness carried over from Essex to Delancey with the tomato salad. I could probably devour it all by myself. Next time when I visit Seattle.
I can't write about a food conference and ignore the fact that IFBC was a constant food fest. The bites that stood out for me off the bat was Chipotle's tofu sofrita, delicious, and I am not even a huge tofu fan. I would probably order it in my neighborhood Chipotle for a quick bite on the run.
The photographs in this post were shot with my iPhone.