Monday, May 23, 2011

Eat. Write. Retreat. (post-report)

What. A. Weekend.

This past weekend, I attended my first food bloggers event here in DC. From Friday to Sunday, we ate and drank like kings and laughed and learned like kids. I met some amazing new people and discovered a confidence I didn't know I had.

In a session on writing, the prolific Monica Bhide shared her story inspired me to work as hard at my craft as a pianist or triathlete. She stressed the importance of using all of the five senses to describe food, and to not neglect the story. Monica also talked about finding and writing with your own voice.

I started out scared to put my name, let alone my photo on this blog. My need for anonymity was really fear that if people saw me, if they knew who I was, they would have no interest in what I had to say. Well this weekend I met people who said, "Oh, Girl Born Hungry? I've been reading your blog!". And get this... they were happy to meet me! ALSO, if the story is just as important as the food, then sharing my story will only help people get me and why I love food so dang much!

In a panel discussion on going beyond the blog, the ever inspiring Shauna James Ahern asked us all why we keep a blog. For some it was about their love of food, others wanted a book deal; In that moment I realized that for me, blogging about food is the beginning of a new life. A life in which I do what I love and not just what will pay the rent. A life where I am a writer. That realization almost knocked me on the floor! I am a writer!

I want to offer my sincerest thanks to the event organizers Robyn Webb and Casey Benedict. This retreat was life changing for me and it lit a fire under me to give my all to this work. Thank you both so much.

Here are some photos that I took along the way... I know they won't qualify for any awards, but they'll give you taste of what I was tasting!

Clean plate club

I couldn't get my camera out fast enough!

My top 3 from "Cocktails and Confections":

Deconstructed "Banana Split"

Super tangy "Hibiscus Margarita". The smoked lime salt was a crunchy surprise.

" Don't mess with my tutu" Deliciously tart cherry mousse with super sweet cotton candy.

'tis art!

My group's attempt at food styling (shot by Renee Comet!)

Lunch at McCormicks & Schmicks

1st course: Anchovy and roasted beets

2nd Course: Wild Alaskan Halibut with Maitake, Enoki and Cremini mushrooms, swiss chard, baby bok choy, and a miso sauce. Wow.

3rd Course: Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake

Cooking Course at CulinAerie

The ingredients

The Chef (with Lara and Dan busy in the background)

Capitol Hill Food Tour

1st stop: Anglo-Indian
Some of the best naan I've ever had...

2nd Stop: SOUL FOOD. This is from Levi's Port Cafe on 8th St, SE. I made sure to get the name because I WILL be back for more. That mac n'cheese is worth going under the bridge to the "other side of the tracks". Expect a full review to come...

3rd stop: comida Salvadoreno. I was entirely too full to enjoy this, but it looked good.


  1. Aww, this sounded like a super filling and fun weekend. No doubt, people learned many things, which is a nice trade-off to the full belly that also accompanies these food festivals, retreats and conferences. Love the variety of food you guys had along the way.

  2. I am so happy that what I said resonated with you. Of course you're a writer! If you write, and work hard at it, and keep writing, you're a writer.

  3. Love that shot of the Don't Mess With My Tutu dessert. My only regret from this past weekend was being too full to eat more than a bite of that gorgeous dish! :)
    I have to admit that I didn't know your blog before we met this weekend, but if you are even half as entertaining in writing as you are in person, you've got yourself a lifelong fan. Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  4. I can't thank you enough for giving us a look at your city and for just being as cool as you are. I also thank you for the few moments of silence on the way home from the food tour the other night. So nice to find someone else who treasures those as much as I do! Please stay in touch!

  5. I need to go back to Levi's too! I'm glad you got the full name, I will be saving that for our next trip to D.C.


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