Tag Archives: delancy

Foodista

Back in May, I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle, Washington. It was the first ever conference just for food bloggers, and was organized by the founders of Foodista, Barnaby Dorfman and Sheri Wetherell.

Foodista Blog of the Day, MyLastBite.comFoodista is described as “a collaborative project to build the world’s largest, highest quality cooking encyclopedia”. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s like “wikipedia for foodies”, and since I’m such a hard core “info junkie” AND food lover, Foodista is definitely one of my favorite online resources.

As a food writer working alone at home most days, Foodista is also an important part of my personal (although virtual) community. I get most of my Foodista updates via Twitter now, where I usually “retweet” and share (recipes or food stories) with my own Twitter followers. Learn more about Foodista (and Twitter) via links below.

When I first read about the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) on Foodista.com, the main thing that caught my eye, was the fact that Gourmet Magazine’s Ruth Reichl was the celebrity guest speaker. Like most food lovers, I’ve read all her books, and was eagerly awaiting (her then) soon-to-be released memoir “Not Becoming My Mother”.

Hmmm… a chance to meet Ruth in real life? Without looking like a stalker? The airfare and hotel costs would probably be worth it, just for this opportunity alone!

The book I was reading at the time was Molly Wizenberg’s “A Homemade Life” (she’s also the author of Orangette.com), so when I saw her name on the weekend roster as well, I thought, “that’s it… I have to attend IFBC!”

But here’s the thing… I HATE conferences. I make fun of conferences. I make fun of people that go to conferences. I especially hated when I was forced to go to them for work. The only thing I probably dislike more than a conference, is a committee. One of my favorite quotes being, “as useless as a committee”. I would think to myself, “why would I want to sit in a room full of women (or men) talking about one subject? Why not just google?”.

Okay, you get it… I’m just not a “conference” type of gal. Or at least I used to NOT be. Foodista’s IFBC changed it all for me. It wasn’t a stuffy, “all women only” (also not for me), large venue type of event. The organizers (Sheri and Barnaby) really put on a thoughtful, relaxing and FUN weekend in Seattle.

IFBC 2009, MyLastBite.comThe actual conference was held at the beautiful “Sanctuary at Admiral”, a restored historical building (from 1929), located in West Seattle. It was two stellar days filled with food writers, photographers, technology pros and, of course, lots of FOOD (and wine!). 

A few IFBC topics (that I was most excited about) were: “Food Porn – Food Photography & Styling”, “Blogging As A Career” and “Blog to Book – Getting Your Writing On Paper”. The latter in which Molly Wizenberg was on panel. She was so warm, informative and refreshingly humble. I was already a fan BEFORE meeting her, but I probably elevated myself to “Molly Groupie” afterwards.

One of the sessions that I thought would be boring, “Passionate Purveyors & Producers”, was far from it! I was especially captivated by Karl Kupers of Shepherd’s Grain, when he spoke about the “Find the Farmer” project. It’s a website that traces flour from farm to table. Cool, right?

The IFBC nights were fantastic as well. Friday evening’s welcome party was held in a funky, old building near Safeco Field, home to the Mariners. Lots of wine, food (oh, the fresh oysters!) and more wine!

On Saturday evening, it was all about Ruth Reichl. We all gathered at the Pan Pacific Hotel to hear the legendary writer read from her new book. It was just a wonderful, inspirational gathering, and the highlight of the weekend for me!

My good friend Afaf was my traveling companion for the trip, and we were both so happy to finally meet Charles Thompson, another L.A. based food blogger. It turns out that Charles knew my husband Peter from years back (they both work in movies), so the three of us (Afaf, myself and Charles) quickly bonded during the weekend in Seattle. We had two fabulous dinners out (that I’ll post soon), and we even squeezed in a sneaky, quick getaway to the Seattle Cheese Festival on Sunday morning.

There were so many nice folks at the conference (I can say that “c” word without grimacing now!), and it’s been fantastic keeping in touch with several on a regular basis. Here’s a shout out to a few of my daily Twitter pals that I met at IFBC: @Inuyaki, @PlumpestPeach and Washington’s own @PassionForEating … who just so happened to visit me for a wild night (with her family) in L.A. recently! 

I know for sure I’ll be going to IFBC again, and hopefully we’ll have a large L.A. group attending the next one. It was a treat to get out of my “virtual” community (internet & twitter) and actually spend time with my fellow food lovers in person. It just took a special type of conference, like Foodista, to make me appreciate it!

As you can tell, Foodista isn’t just the “wikipedia of food” for me. They’ve also been a solid support for the growth of my blog. If you’re lucky enough to be named Foodista’s “Blog of the Day”, just sit back, smile and watch your page hits skyrocket!

WOW. MyLastBite in the New York TimesA couple of week’s ago, Foodista co-founder Barnaby Dorfman emailed me and asked if I’d like to be photographed for the New York Times. The article would feature Foodista as well as other web-based recipe sites. Soon after, New York Times reporter Kim Severson called and she interviewed me via the phone. Two days after that, photographer Axel Koester was in my kitchen, taking countless pictures of me making bacon-wrapped breadsticks. 

The article was published yesterday… online and in print, and my husband was so excited he got up early and bought twenty copies for family and friends. I’m framing a copy for the kitchen of course, and am just so grateful to Foodista for even thinking of me! For all your support, kindness, guidance and generosity… THANK YOU!

More Photos from IFBC:

IFBC 2009, MyLastBite.com
The Sanctuary at Admiral

IFBC 2009, MyLastBite.com
A few of the many wonderful speakers at IFBC!
Top left: Kristy Melville, Molly Wizenberg, Jaden Hair
Top right: Molly Wizenberg, Jaden Hair
Bottom right: Rebekah Denn, Kathleen Flinn, Julie Brosterman 
Bottom left: Kristy Melville, Molly Wizenberg

IFBC 2009, MyLastBite.com
Inside the conference

IFBC 2009, MyLastBite.com
Welcome cocktail party

IFBC 2009, MyLastBite.com
Meeting Ruth 
Reichl

IFBC 2009, MyLastBite.com
The most amazing goodie bag EVER. Thanks Sur la Table & Foodista!

About Foodista

IFBC details

IFBC 2009 Agenda

Foodista (and me!) in the New York Times

Mentioned Above:

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

Not Becoming My Mother by Ruth Reichl

Orangette

About Twitter

About Wikipedia

Gourmet Magazine

Steamy Kitchen by Jaden Hair

Eat All About It by Rebekah Denn

Shepherd’s Grain

FindTheFarmer.com

Simply Heaven Food by Afaf

100Miles by Charles

Bacon Wrapped Breadsticks!

Kim Severson, New York Times

Photographer, Axel Koester

All my IFBC photos on Flickr

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Filed under Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.)

Melisse Restaurant

A Not So Special Occasion 

I’m embarrassed… simply embarrassed. This was my first visit to Melisse Restaurant and it’s just shameful that I hadn’t been before. With all the press and chatter about French eats in Los Angeles…. from Comme Ca to Anissette… why hadn’t I dined at Melisse before? It took two recent food festivals to open my eyes to this gem… a gem that’s been open for almost TEN YEARS!

My first taste of Chef Josiah Citrin’s cooking was at the James Beard “Chefs and Champagne” event in May. Melisse served a Spring Veal with Anson Mills Polenta, Morel Essence and Red Wine Jus. I went back several times for more bites.

My second encounter with Chef Citrin was at Taste of the Nation. Melisse’s Liberty duck breast… tender, juicy and like no other duck I’d had before. This time, I sent my husband back for seconds and thirds.

After making our restaurant dinner reservation (for 4), I hopped online to read reviews about Melisse. The majority were fantastic, positive reviews but the thing that made me pause, was that it seemed to be more of an “event” restaurant… a place to celebrate anniversaries & birthdays. After reading this… I sort of panicked. The reservation date wasn’t near my birthday or my husbands. Our anniversary was 6 months away. Almost every review I read started with “I took my wife here for our 10th anniversary” or “I surprised my husband for his birthday”.

What if the server asked what we were celebrating? What if we had nothing to celebrate? NOTHING TO CELEBRATE? I wanted to smack myself in the head. How about just being grateful that we can even GO to Melisse without it being a “special occasion”. Duh. Life is good. Life is TASTY.

So in Celebration of Loving Food…. Here is just SOME of what we ate!
Note: There were four of us dining together and we shared the 12+ dishes!

Bacon bread. Yup. Bacon in Bread.
Peeled half grapes rolled in goat cheese & crushed pistachios.
Shot glass with a orange cashew foam, with a spoon of Ahi tartar on the side.
Egg Caviar, Poached Egg, Lemon Chive Creme Fraiche and American Osetra Caviar.
Monterey Bay Abalone, Leeks, Arbequina Olive Oil Jus.
Sweet White Corn Ravioli… this was so good we ordered a second plate.
Maine Lobster Thermidor.
Sonoma Spring Lamb, Courgettes, Sweet Garlic, Nicoise Olive Lamb Jus.
Lobster Bolognese with Cappelini, Basil, Brown Butter & Truffles.
Veal Loin, Spare Rib and Cannelloni of Shank, Morel Mushrooms, Asparagus, Polenta.

The Cheese Course to DIE for! Livarot, Epoisses and Golden Wreath from Normandie.

Dinner was fantastic. Our server, Douglas Delancy, was attentive, fun and a great help going over the menu. He really made the evening special… even though we were the only folks there not “celebrating” anything in particular!

A cute side note… I loved that my handbag had it’s own seat. Why don’t restaurants do this more often? When we sat at the table, a server swooped in with a vintage stool. Even my little handbag felt special at Melisse!

We will be back to Melisse soon, to celebrate absolutely nothing in particular… except the amazing food!

Melisse Restaurant

Melisse Restaurant

Melisse Restaurant

Melisse Restaurant


Melisse Restaurant

Melisse Restaurant

Doug Delancy Melisse Restaurant

Doug Delancy Melisse Restaurant


The gorgeous & attentive Doug

DougDelancyMelisse

Chef Josiah Citrin, Melisse Restaurant
With owner & chef Josiah Citrin

Melisse Handbag Stool

Dining Date: 7.5.08

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Filed under Eating Out