Ohmygoodness. Words cannot describe the incredible time that I had last week at my first out of state food bloggers conference. It was the first (of hopefully many) Indulge Food Bloggers Conference. I’m still reeling from all of the amazingness the weekend had to offer, and I probably will be for quite some time. Over a series of four blog posts I’m going to be sharing with you my experience in the city and at the conference. There’s just too much awesomeness to lump in to one post. I’ve got lots of photos and fun insight in to my trip, so get comfy and grab some popcorn. You’ll want to settle in for this. I’ll be making my version of some of my favorite food I ate starting with The Whole Bowl.
Have you ever had a meal or dessert that one bite in you knew your life was changed forever? Portland has some pretty awesome food carts that have apparently been in the city for close to 15 years. And when I say some, I really mean over 500 of them. From our hotel (more on that later) we walked up the street a few blocks to one of Portland’s many food cart pods on SW 10th Ave. We took one trip around the block just to scope out the goods to determine what we wanted. The second, and I mean second I laid eyes on The Whole Bowl I knew it was where I wanted to eat.
The Whole Bowl Copycat
- 1/2 c. brown rice
- 1/4 c. red & black beans
- 2 tbsp. salsa
- 1 tbsp. black olives
- 2 avocado slices
- 2 tbsp. Tlilamook Sharp Cheddar
- 2 tbsp. Tali sauce
- t tbsp. sour cream
- 1 pinch cilantro
- ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 c. water
- ¼ c. slivered plain almonds
- ¼ c. nutritional yeast
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 garlic cloves
- ¼ c. garbanzo beans
- ½ tsp. ground mustard
- ¼ tsp each of: cumin, curry powder, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper, salt, garlic salt, onion powder
- In a blender, blend all ingredients until silky smooth. To reach desired consistency, add additional water, a tablespoon at a time.
- In the bottom of a bowl place brown rice and beans, layer remaning ingredients in the following order: salsa, Tali Sauce, cheddar, olives, sour cream, and avocado slices. Garnish with cilantro.
- The sauce makes enough for 8-10 bowls, so store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week if not using all immediately.
So back to that first bite. When you order they simply ask ‘do you want everything on it?’ To which I excitedly answered YES! I wasn’t quite sure what Tali Sauce was but I just knew it was going to be good. There are two sizes to choose from. A bambino bowl and big bowl. I went with the smaller (to save room for the ice cream that was coming up next). Big mistake. It was so dang delicious I could have eaten three or four more bowls of it. Ever have one of those meals that you get to the last bite and want to cry because it’s over? Yea. That’s about where I was. Thankfully I had distractions – and more food to come – to keep my mind off of wanting seconds. And thirds. Fresh. Light. Packed with flavor. Healthy. Amazing. They say that they ‘serve love in a bowl’ and I would 100% wholeheartedly agree.
My traveling companions and hotel roomies happen to be some of my dearest blogging friends and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend the weekend eating, exploring the city, learning, and laughing with anyone else! We all worked so well together and had the best time! Alli, Jesseca, Holly and I were basically connected at the hips all weekend long. We flew out of Salt Lake together, roomed together, toured together, and flew back home together. It’s crazy how the blogging world can bring some of the most special people in your life that ‘get’ the madness and exhilaration that blogging can be.
After lunch, we walked for what felt like an eternity to Salt & Straw 838 NW 23rd Ave. Portland, OR. I had originally read about it on my friend Aimee’s blog and knew that I MUST visit while we were in Portland. Thankfully, everyone else was on board. As we neared the shop the smell of fresh made waffle cones wafted up our noses and drew us in even more. Surprisingly when we arrived there were only a small handful of people. We were immediately greeted by the friendliest gal who went right to work gathering samples for us. You can try any ice cream flavor on the menu and they even encourage it. We never felt rushed or a nuisance with our cameras snapping photos every which way (we are flood bloggers you know) and seemingly never-ending sample request.
What I quickly learned about Portland is their love and appreciation for good, high quality food. At Salt & Straw their ‘ice cream is handmade in small batches using all natural dairy with the best local, organic and sustainable ingredients Oregon has to offer as well is imported flavors from small hand-picked farms from around the world.’ What?! Are you kidding me? This spoke to my all-natural-organic-local-lovin’ heart. Of all of the unique flavor combinations I ended up settling with a ‘split scoop’ of Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache and Double Fold Vanilla. Man, was it tasty. We found our way back once more on Sunday evening where I just got a kids scoop of the double fold vanilla. As tasty as all of the unique combinations were, just the plain ‘ole vanilla stole my heart.
Between lunch and dessert we had gone back to the hotel to freshen up a bit. That walk was a bit of a beast and the heat about gave us a run for our money. Once cleaned up we headed down to registration to check in for the conference and meet other blogging buddies and attendees. There is an incredible online community of bloggers and every once in a while it’s nice to actually move from behind the computer and actually get to meet face to face. The hotel lobby quickly filled and the soft chatter turned in to a social butterfly’s dream. I chatted, mingled, and excitedly awaited the fun weekend ahead.
Around 6:00 we headed to the Portland City Grill on the 30th Floor 111 SW 5th Ave. 30th Floor Portland, OR for a welcome reception. If you follow me on Instagram (search #indulgeconpdx for all the great photos from everyone) you probably saw a plate of the yummy hors d’oeuvres that I gobbled up. We did some eating, some more mingling, and some oogling at the incredible view. There were so many glimpses throughout the course of this trip that reminded me of my first trip to New York. I have decided that I love ‘walking’ cities. And cities with yummy food. And gorgeous views. And skyscrapers. I was finally able to meet Lauren, the host of the conference. She’s just as sweet as I imagined her to be. I couldn’t thank her enough for organizing such an amazing event that I was so happy to be a part of.
All throughout the conference we were spoiled with the most fun little surprises. Already we had seen that Tillamook stocked our fridge with yummy yogurt, cheese sticks, and Tillamoos! When we got back to the room from the reception greeted by a box of assorted Voodoo Doughnuts 22 SW 3rd Avenue Portland OR! I was beyond excited to try them after all the great things I have heard about them. Our box had Diablos Rex, Lemon Chifon Crueller, Neapolitan, Double Chocolate, Chocolate Coconut, Toasted Coconut, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Raspberry Romeo, Cinnamon Sugar, and Chocolate Cake.
There were six of us total that needed to try them, the five roommates and our blogging buddy Deseree. What better way to really get to experience VooDoo than by hacking the life out of each doughnut and splitting them six ways? It was genius and an awesome way to get to try them all. If I’m being 100% honest, I didn’t really think they were anything that super special. I love a good doughnut, believe me. I certainly didn’t care for the Mexican Hot Chocolate – I am not a fan of that spicy chocolate flavor. If I had to chose the best of them all I would say probably, maybe the double chocolate? Or the cinnamon sugar? I’m so glad I got to taste them, but you’ll soon find out which doughnut shop REALLY took the cake. Or the doughnut. Whatever. Stay tuned for part 2 of my trip!