IFBC 2013 – Day 2

IFBC 2013 – Day 2!  Weather in Seattle remains perfect so I spent the morning walking and wandering the city, looking for thrift stores.   Should’ve thought about Seattle being a city of hills – steep ones.  I made it back to the conference in time to 1) register, 2) grab a bite to eat – chipotle sponsored bowls and 3) hear the keynote speaker, Dorie Greenspan.

I’m sorry I didn’t know of Ms. Greenspan before her speech.   She is self-effacing, modest, a genuine personality with a subtle wite.   Her success is the result of hard work, a passion for baking and also a desire to share great chefs and their recipes.  Her message was clear:  BUILD COMMUNITY.

A great benefit of IFBC in general is a chance to meet other bloggers.  Definitely one of the conference’s best benefits.

Following Dorie and her uplifting message, we had a live blogging session, sponsored by Amazon.com Grocery.  This was similar to last year’s live blogging where small business owners presented their products to each table.  I preferred last year’s format, to be honest.   This session felt as if we were being sold products, not introduced to new exciting products.

And the sugar – Most of the products were overwhelmingly full of sugar.  Does it matter if the sugar is organic or not when there’s too much of it?  Of the 10-15 products, I would buy 3 and yes, made sure to have extra to pack in my luggage.

Sahale Snacks

Sahale Snacks
Sahale Snacka

Manuka Doctor Honey


After the sugar rush, most of us needed naps.  Instead I sat in WordPress session.  Oh my.   Where the heck is my pillow?

On a positive, we each received coupons for a free 3-day cleanse from Suja Juice.  Can’t wait.

As usual, IFBC 2013 had an incredible assortment of items for SWAG.  Old favorites and new exciting products (lagrima vanilla, anyone?) Bob’s Red Mill is always a favorite and I’m thrilled to have a bag of their granola.  Don’t know why I only eat granola in Scandinavia.  Maybe Bob’s Red Mill granola will change that.  🙂

From gift bag to food — some of the best in Seattle!  I cannot lie.  I didn’t experience all the fine restaurants represented but I did find 2-3 favorites and went back repeatedly!  I mean repeatedly!   My personal favorite being huitlacoche tamales!  I lost count at 4.

Stuffed with SWAG and food, off to bed I went. (no there are stories of crazy late night adventures.  I save that for my European trips!)

IFBC 2013 _Day 1

Jetting off to Seattle Washington for IFBC 2013 in Seattle from Sep 19-22, 2013.  Very excited to visit Seattle again and hopeful I’ll get re-energized with my blogging.    Summer has taken a toll on my desire to cook.

The main point of heading to IFBC 2013  early to join an excursion to Chateau Ste Michelle.  I have to go to pay my respects to the winery that gave me my first wine love, its Reisling.   I was barely a drinker of anything alcoholic and when I did imbibe it was rum & pineapple.  At some point after 1991, I tried a Chateau Ste Michelle wine, fell in love and it’s been a fun ride ever since.  I seldom drink Chateau St Michelle now but I can’t forget my first love, who can?

Arrived SEATEC and took the light rail into downtown.  Gosh, love these!  I’m happy that LA finally has a metro to downtown but a train to LAX would be fantastic.   Just enough time to grab a quick lunch before the bus headed out to Chateau St Michelle.

Without much detail, let’s say I had to TELL my server I wasn’t paying for my sushi because of the fruit flies all over it.  Really?  Why would I pay $20 for a roll I’m not eating and you, Miss Server, clearly saw the 4-5 fruit flies flying and landing on it.  Ugh.

Could only get better.

IFBC 2103
Waiting to board

A lively group boarded the bus, heading to the winery.  Chateau Ste Michelle is approximately 15 miles SE of Seattle and the day was perfect!

IFBC 2013
Mount Rainer from the bus


Folks living in Washington warned us visitors that the weather was atypical.  Atypical or not, I see why people fall in love with Seattle, its greenery and its water.

Woodinville, Washington would make a great day trip for wine tasting!  Even with rush hour traffic (3p?), we arrived at the vineyard in less than 35 minutes.

IFBC 2013
Chateau Ste Michelle

Turning into the winery grounds was being transported to a chateau in France.  Such a welcoming feel as we drove down the drive.  The welcome continued with our tour guides graciously offering glasses of Domaine Ste Michelle Brut Rose, a refreshing salmon colored bubbly.   If you’ve ever gone on a wine making tour in France, then you’ll appreciate the similarities.   Wine is wine everywhere in the world!

It was the end of the tour that impressed me.  The group was treated to a wine/food pairing session with John Sarich, Culinary Director.  What a charming highly knowledgeable man with a clear passion for Chateau Ste Michelle wines.   I found his approach to pairing food and wine more open than most pairing rules.  One quote “There’s hardly a food that doesn’t go with Riesling.” I’d agree with that!

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Wine Pairing
Wine Pairing


The wines were delicious and perfectly paired with John’s appetizers.  I fell in love with the lamb and hummus appetizer, can’t wait to try that recipe from John’s cookbook.  Oh yeah, the parting gift was a  signed copy of John’s latest cookbook, “Chef in the Vineyard.”

The lively group settled down for naps on the return trip to Seattle.


IFBC 2013
Sunset over the Lake, Seattle

What a start to IFBC 2013, spending an afternoon with my first love and finding it’s still something special.  Thank you Chateau Ste Michelle.


Ah, the cool winds of fall

It’s Friday, Sept 13 and the cool winds of fall are blowing through my living room windows.  I forget how much I love Fall, how much I look forward to the autumnal equinox, and the changing of the leaves.

Autumn Leaves
Autumn Leaves


Being a New Englander, it took many (many) years before I noticed the subtle change of seasons in Los Angeles.  But now that my eyes are trained, I look forward to catching the leaves turn.  A part of me longs for the vibrant explosion of colors in the Northest — Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire or, my home state, Massachusetts.

How do the trees know “now” is the time?  How is it different species turn different colors?  I’m sure there’s a scientific explanation — don’t share it! — I prefer the mystery of Mother Nature.  It’s the same question I ask of unborn baby — how does the baby know ‘now” is the time?

I digress — ok, I rambled — because I was talking about the cool winds of fall, signaling Mother Nature’s forward movement to Fall.  Unconsciously my taste bud have started craving heartier food, heavier wine.  The taste of white or rose wine falls flat to me, yet I sit here enjoying a delicious glass of a cabernet sauvignon — a wine I couldn’t drink a mere 2-3 weeks ago.

My cast iron sits ready for use — braised short ribs, osso buco, stewed veggies, baked breads!  The thought of it all makes me giddy!

Doesn’t make you giddy thinking of all the dishes you’re going to make once the weather cools?  Oh, cool winds of fall! Please keep blowing.



Vintage Cast Iron Collection

Along with my Chanel collection, I collect vintage cast iron.  This past weekend my vintage cast iron collection grew substantially!  I had the pleasure of heading to Illinois for a cast iron auction, mainly vintage cast iron.  Yup, they have auctions specifically for cast iron.  This was the 3rd auction (out of 7) for the lifetime collection of a gentleman.  I went to the same auction last March and it was overwhelming!  1,000 pieces of cast iron waiting to be re-homed.

I adopted quite a few pieces to add to my cast iron collection.  Some are duplicates (maybe even triplicates) so I see Ebay in my future.    My vintage kitchen is the size of a postage stamp (maybe a little larger but not much) with 1920’s storage, meaning there’s not much!  Unlike a lot of folks at the auction with “buildings in the back yard” and 200-1,000 pieces, I only have my kitchen and decaying garage.  My pieces have to be useful.  But it’s so hard.

The unspoken history in each skillet, each pan fascinates me.  My skillets date back to the 30’s, the youngest, to pre-1880, the oldest.  I wonder what meals were cooked in them, what family had them and how did the skillets leave them?

Pray for me that I don’t die with over 7,000 pieces .. .where will I store them?

Where do you store yours?  How many do you have and do you use them all?


Chanel #14 – Chanel GST

ah, another Chanel GST, Grand Shopping Tote, that brightens up my handbag closet.  This Chanel is a mere 5 years old, carried 2 times.  As much as the bag, I seldom carry white bags.  As much as I’d like to be a woman who lunches while carrying her Chanel GST effortlessly on her shoulder,  I’m not.

Chane GST - White
Chanel GST in White Caviar Leather with bright gold hardware

I’m a woman who wears bright colors with jeans (jeans very bad for white leather!) and who casually sets my purse on the floor if there’s no place to set it.  Yes, yes, I know one should never set her purse on the floor but I’m practical — I’m not going to eat with a purse slung over my shoulder or in my lap. I did invest in a purse hook — several, matter-of-fact.  After my Chanel GST fell to the floor a few times, the purse hook went missing.  Still, I seldom carry this bag.  I hate the idea that will get stained blue from rubbing against my jeans or dirty from being placed anywhere. Being a Chanel addict is quite tiring!  Over the next few weeks, I’ll share more of my collection with you, specifically Chanel GST, as we head into fall.  Maybe someone will convince me to “re-home” them?  Do you carry white handbags?

Chanel GST
Chanel GST in White Caviar