I haven’t done a wrap-up post of #IndulgeConPDX yet because I spent the remainder of the week in California at #TASTE15 and when I’m experiencing such incredible things like I was at TASTE, I try to spend as little time on the computer as possible and really experience what we are doing. But I gave you a recap of #ChoppedCon14 so it’s only fair to give you a recap of #IndulgeConPDX too don’t you think?
First of all, I had never been to Portland. I jumped at the opportunity to go to this conference, despite knowing that some of the content covered at Indulge would be very similar to the content covered at Chopped. I convinced my blogging BFF Phi to come too (it wasn’t too hard to convince her to come!) and we roomed together at the absolutely lovely Hotel Monaco, where the conference took place.
The first day, Phi and I met up at the airport at about noon and waited for Gerry from Foodness Gracious, as we were all sharing a cab to the conference/hotel. When we arrived and checked in to the hotel, we were absolutely famished, so we walked the couple of blocks to the food trucks, which remain one of my absolute favorite parts of Portland. We split a Whole Bowl and a polish sausage, which were both to die for, and we felt like locals in the know because the following day, both of those trucks were closed! Phi and I then walked around a bit and ended up at Saint Cupcake. These cupcakes were so fabulous because they were MINI. So we could try three different kinds (or six, since Phi and I each got different ones) instead of just having one big cupcake. So delicious.
The first evening, there was a welcome reception at Portland City Grill, which was delightful as I was able to see some bloggers that I had met previously at Chopped, like Bev and Kristen (and Krista and Ali and Lauren), as well as meet some new people, like Melanie (who I adore) and Taylor and a list full of people that I could spend this whole post talking about!
After the reception, a few of us went to Bacchus Bar, which is connected to Pazzo Restaurant and another hotel. I ordered the Raspberry Spritz and it was fantastic!
That night, Phi and I returned to our room to find Voodoo Doughnuts delivered. This was a fun surprise, as they are all different varieties of creative flavors. I was so overwhelmed (in a good way) because we had already been gifted a mini-fridge full of cheese and yogurt from Tillamook. Lucky ladies!
For breakfast the first morning, Phi and I found a local coffee shop called The Fresh Pot, and enjoyed a delicious breakfast complete with lattes, bagels, raspberry muffins and iced coffee.
Then the conference officially started. We had a full schedule of talks, starting with Blogging Beyond the Stats, then moving into topics like working with virtual assistants, ad networks, and brands. There were fun activities, like the guacamole challenge, and there were delicious breaks, like the OXO cold brew coffee break. At lunch time, Phi and I walked back up to the food trucks and got this fantastic Mexican dish that is almost too hard to describe but I’ll try. It was a layered salad with rice, chicken, beans, arugula, corn, avocado, and salsa. We couldn’t even finish it, it was so big, and such a great price!
We decided to try one more thing, so we stopped by the Indian food truck for two vegetable samosas and they were the best samosas I’ve ever had. A cab driver even opened his window to ask us what they were because he wanted to get that next time! So good!
The afternoon session was filled with helpful tips and tricks from a social media panel and a panel on improving our food photography and editing. I wish the photography session had been longer because it was so useful, but Heidi, Ali and Amy really gave us some great information!
Saturday night we were divided into groups to go to different dinners. Our group went to Pazzo, a delightful Italian restaurant with fabulous food and delicious wines. I’m not sure where to start with this one, the food or the company, as both were fantastic. It was an intimate group of eight, including Phi from Sweet Phi Blog, Erin of Platings and Pairings, Sandra from The Foodie Affair, Kendra from Simply Darrling, Sarah from Will Run for Pasta, Sarah from The Magical Slow Cooker, and Megan from Kroger.
Erin pointed us in the right direction for wine pairings (of course), and we enjoyed some incredible calamari, fonduta, and beef tartare for an appetizer, followed by some of the best pasta I’ve ever tasted. Pazzo lets you do half orders of pasta, so both Phi and I did a half of two different pastas, then shared it all. Our table was very friendly as well, so we all let everyone get a bite of everything, if they wanted. I ordered the linguine with clams as well as the tagliatelle with a delectable ragu (this will go down as one of the best pasta dishes I have ever tasted!) Phi got the gnocchi with beef short rib ragu (yes, it was as good as it sounds) and the shrimp asparagus risotto. The bread served with the meal was soft and crusty, exactly what you want in a bread. The desserts were phenomenal. I chose the traditional tiramisu and was not let down. They do a fantastic job with this classic. Phi got the pistachio semifreddo and it was superb. We paired our desserts with a rose moscato, upon suggestion from Erin, and it was a perfect selection.
This meal was the perfect way to top off Indulge Conference. The next morning we checked out and went on a fantastic excursion sponsored by OXO and Travel Oregon, but since I’ve already written and novel here, I will save that excursion for another post.
I highly suggest anyone considering visiting Portland does so. It’s such a funky town and is filled with fabulous food, from the food trucks to the fancy restaurants. On our last night in Portland, Phi and I went to Andina, a Peruvian place recommended by my coworker Jennifer. I got a habanero cocktail that nearly gave me heartburn (but also gave me great happiness!) and we enjoyed several tapas as well as teeny desserts. I highly recommend this restaurant if you are ever in Portland (it’s in the Pearl District). I was so impressed with Portland as a whole, and love how walkable the city is. I would love to go back and experience more of the city with more time. It’s truly a city with character. So go see it!