…Stays at BlogHer Food.
Jokes, jokes. I’ll share the gossip now that I’ve settled down. I moved out of Portland last week, a two-day drive that felt a little bit like I was playing a live version of the Oregon Trail computer game in reverse. I half-hoped my GPS would narrate the trip for me (“You have crossed Lake Shasta! Weather: Hot. Health: Fair.”) but she wasn’t up for it.
I could have used a bit more of her navigational input on my drive up to Seattle for the conference. I got a late start, and a few hours later found myself zipping down the wrong exit ramp for no reason whatsoever and winding through a Washington suburb trying to find the freeway. But if you’re acquainted with my infamously flawed sense of direction, you know it wouldn’t have been a real trip if I didn’t take at least one unnecessary turn.
Detour aside, I made it to my friend’s home in Kirkland in time for an insane snack before we rounded up the rest of the Leite’s Culinaria posse, who hail from Anchorage to Austin to NYC. Our dinner at Delancey was a highlight, since I had been trying to visit for years and had never had the time or means to make it up there. Over pizza and prosecco (which, uh, had a starring role all weekend), we checked the conference schedule and snapped glamor shots of the food with our phones. All the better to tweet them with, my dears.
Right, so, the tweeting. I was in school for the past eighteen years, where gratuitous use of phones, laptops and otherwise tech-y gizmos was verboten. Not so at BHF, where every table looked like an Apple expo, and I felt like a Luddite with just my phone and ancient laptop. Hell, my phone doesn’t even have Siri. But for the purposes of occasional live-tweeting (not only was this not considered rude, it was useful for keeping track of the various panels and connecting with folks) and sharing photos, it got the job done.
I discovered some important secrets about food bloggers that weekend. First of all, this crowd is cheerful and clique-y–if you haven’t been tweeting, producing content, and commenting on other blogs for a long time, don’t expect to roll with the bigwigs. I saw introductions and smiles fly all weekend, though, and while there are certainly some weird politics deep within the blogging world, people are friendly and eager to meet one another. I did happily take advantage of being part of the E-Leite team (this is funny if you know about my job–oh, come on, it is), but it meant that I spent a lot of time shaking hands and silently reminding myself to “be cool be cool be cool don’t scare the bloggers!”
Second, writers are writers and not public speakers for a reason. I scribbled some amusing notes during the panels I attended, but I got more out of the discussions from conversations I had afterwards. That is not to say that the panels were unsuccessful, but it is clear that discussing the simultaneously personal and public act of blogging, in front of a live audience no less, is tricky no matter what approach you take.
Third, when it comes to food and drink, these people can put it away. It was a pleasure to eat with friends who know Seattle well; our crew made certain that the word “hungry” was not in our vocabulary. We had uproarious meals, all appropriately fueled by plenty of beverages, and mornings found us comparing hangover cures. This is the way I like to live, always tumbling towards the next meal, but by Sunday evening my stomach had announced, “Excuse me–you are not to consume any more charcuterie, cheese, or chocolate milkshakes until I say so.” (We have since reconciled.)
I stayed an extra night in Seattle, in part because I was already feeling sentimental for the Pacific Northwest, but mostly because we had established such a pleasant lifestyle for ourselves in such a short time: Eat, Drink, Tweet, Repeat. I can’t think of a better way to have ended my time in the PNW–I’m starting Phase Two with new blogs to read, new friends to @tweet, and some new writing tools under my belt. Along with a few Top Pot Doughnuts, obviously.