Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to spend 4 glorious fun and foodie days in Atlanta by myself for the BlogHer Food Conference. Yep, I said by MYSELF! No laundry, no cleaning, no taking the kids to school, no running errands, and the list goes on and on! Just me and Atlanta! This solo trip thing doesn’t happen very often, but I’m thinking I need to do this all again soon because I had an incredible time!! I’ve had a lot of people ask about my trip and the conference so thought I’d do a quick write-up.
Before the conference and related activities started I got to spend some time with a very sweet non-foodie friend in Atlanta. Although I offered to post his picture and bio, he politely declined so he will remain nameless to protect his identity. :) It’s quite a miracle he’s still talking to me after putting up with me and my crazy foodiness (not to mention my sarcasm and bad sense of humor) last week. I don’t remember him complaining once, not even when we got a little lost searching for the ice cream I HAD to have! Poor guy just wanted to go to the Coca Cola museum which we didn’t get a chance to go to (next time, I promise!!!).
We eventually found THE ice cream; Jake’s Ice Cream to be exact. I remembered seeing it on the Food Network, or maybe it was a magazine, or who knows where, and it sounded so good! Unfortunately, it turned out they only had one location left and although it was a cute little place, the limited ice cream flavor choices was disappointing. My friend got Slap-Yo-Mama-something-or-other which had lots of chocolate and it was probably the flavor I SHOULD have gotten. I think my friend saw me eyeing it and decided to get it (You know who you are, and don’t even TRY to deny it!), so I got the Red Velvet instead. My friend definitely got the better flavor, and lucky for me he was sweet enough to share. Or maybe he was just sick of my whining? Hmmmm, not sure. The Red Velvet was SO sweet that it’s a miracle I didn’t go into some kind of sugar-induced-coma. There was no one else there when we went, so it might have just been a bad time to go. It’s probably a great place to go any other time. I forgot to take some pictures (I’m VERY horrible at remembering to take pictures!) but I did get a cute picture of this random squirrel on the side of the road before the ice cream adventure to distract you from me forgetting to take pictures of the ice cream….
Ok so the squirrel is not food related whatsoever, but cute nonetheless, don’t you think? Makes me think of all my Alpha Gam sisters and my sweet friend who didn’t laugh at me for stopping in my tracks to take a bunch of pictures of it! Ok, maybe he laughed a LITTLE! Next time, I definitely need to get my picture WITH the squirrel. I need to work on taking more pictures.
We also went to the Dekalb Farmers Market which I have to say is a must-do for any foodie in the area. It’s an indoor market-grocery store of sorts. The building itself is HUGE, no windows, and a little scary at first glance. There is also a large sign as you enter that forbids taking any pictures or videos. Of course it was one of the few times I was actually READY with my camera, but didn’t want to get my friend in trouble for my crazy foodiness and knew I would NEVER hear the end of it if we got kicked out, so no pictures. Darn! If you’re curious to see the market there are some pictures on their website. Even if you’re not a foodie it’s an interesting place. My friend would never admit it, but I KNOW he liked it too! Right??? :) The market had more than you could possibly imagine and much more than what you would think of a farmers market including meat/seafood, fruits, vegetables, alcohol, bakery, dairy, and even a restaurant. And it was packed with people in the middle of a weekday afternoon!
After the market we went to Farm Burger for some incredible burgers, fries, and a root beer float. Oh wait, scratch the root beer float, my friend drank the whole darn thing without sharing!! Meanie! But since he was so nice the rest of the time, I’ll let it slide and trust that the float was good. It was good, right???? Guess I’ll have to get one NEXT time!
The restaurant is known for their burgers being made from grassfed beef. There were a lot of people when we got there, the line was moving fast, and the menu up on a board was very confusing. I was a little overwhelmed and I was really tired (thanks to nonstop sirens all night at the hotel) and a bit of a zombie that day, so maybe it was just me. Thankfully, someone was walking around handing out paper menus which seemed to make more sense. If you go, I’d look at the menu online first so you’re prepared. Wouldn’t want anyone to have regrets about not getting the burger they wanted! :) According to their website it sounds like they may be expanding or changing so check out their website for more info if you’re planning on visiting.
Then I said goodbye to my dear sweet friend! We had a great time, but the food conference and activities were starting and I was meeting up with some of my foodie friends. No one quite understands my crazy foodiness better than my crazy foodie friends! :)
First night was a party at the HardRock with lots of yummy appetizers and desserts, as well as food sponsors and take home samples. There was a concert too but I was so exhausted from staying up late the night before that I crashed long before the concert. The next morning the conference sessions started. I won’t go into all the details, but I definitely learned a lot! Probably not as much as I thought I would, but definitely picked up a few tips and definitely realized I have a long way to go!
Some of the sessions were definitely better than others and some of the speakers at the sessions definitely spent more time preparing compared to others which was very evident. Some of the speakers were great, and others clearly did not want to be there. There were also lots of “sponsors” handing out samples and all sorts of stuff during breaks. I came home with a huge suitcase full of stuff. Thank goodness I brought an extra suitcase!! More about some of the samples in upcoming posts. That night I went out with a few friends for a quick dinner at The Vortex Bar & Grill in Midtown. After taking a glance at their website, some may be a little frightened to go there, but it was fine, I swear! Although on second thought, we were there kind of early so maybe I’m not the best person to ask. Not sure what I was thinking, but I decided to get the “Elvis Burger”. Yep, it had peanut butter, bacon, and fried bananas. Check out the peanut butter oozing down the side! (Picture courtesy of my friend Angela) Like I said, I don’t know WHAT I was thinking. It was definitely worth a try and I’m so glad I tried it, but I will pass on anything that involves “Elvis” and “Burger” together for the rest of my life. REST OF MY LIFE! Yeah, who am I kidding? I’m a sucker. But my friends and I all shared our burgers (I think they took pity on me!) and the burgers were definitely good!
After dinner we went to a cocktail party back at the Westin hotel and where I fell in love with these cute little chocolate tarts from Scharffen Berger. Ohhhh how I love their chocolate and can’t wait to bake something with all the chocolate samples I got. Then it was off to a party at the Ritz Carlton for more cute little desserts and time with the friends! A day full of burgers and sugar, does it get much better than that?
Last day in Atlanta was more conference sessions and a fabulous and trip for lunch to the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. First up, was a sample of fried pickle popcorn at Miss D’s. I KNOW it sounds crazy! Really, I know!!! And if some of my friends hadn’t talked me into trying it, I probably wouldn’t have tried it. But glad I did, because it really was amazing and addictive!! Lots of other flavors of popcorn and also pralines. The market is kind of small but a few retailers, restaurants, groceries, etc. Definitely worth a trip if you’re in the area!
While at the market I stopped at Grindhouse Killer Burgers for another burger for lunch. They’re known for grinding their own meat. Yep, I have a burger obsession and yes, I will take donations for therapy. Unfortunately, we had to wait a REALLY long time in line and then wait for our food so I didn’t get a lot of time to really look around the market. I don’t think the restaurant was expecting quite so many people that day so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that the wait isn’t usually so long. Just as I was about to get my food they told me they were out of their homemade sweet potato chips. Quite a letdown, but the burger was really good! This is Atlanta, aren’t there sweet potatoes everywhere???
Another party that night at the Tabernacle with yet more appetizers, desserts, sponsor samples, and cocktails. Lots of fun eating, dancing, and chatting with my friends!! Note to self…just because a drink is served in a cute little POM pomegranate bottle does not necessarily mean it’s mostly juice and does not mean I should drink the whole bottle! I think it was 99% alcohol and 1% juice! But it was soooo good!
Next day it was back to the airport for my trip back to REALITY! Big BUMMER! I was SO sad to leave all my friends and can’t wait to get back to Atlanta! I had lots of inspiration from the strangest of places and conversations for upcoming recipes and can’t wait to try them! I definitely need to go back to Atlanta because there were a few more burger places, restaurants, and other foodie places I missed, darn!! And not to mention all the non-foodie tourist stuff I didn’t have a chance to get to! If you have any food, restaurant suggestions, or must sees or dos for Atlanta let me know so I can be better prepared for next time!
Another picture of some of my friends! Wish I had more pictures of all the cool people I hung out with over the 4 days I was in Atlanta. Yet another reason that I need to take more pictures!!! In this picture (from left to right)…Liz (site no longer exists), Christine from Cook the Story, Anna from Cookie Madness, Angela, Robin from A Little Greener Every Day, and Lisa from Jersey Girl Cooks.
Farewell Atlanta! Hugs and kisses to all my foodie friends and my sweet non-foodie friend! It was a very fun 4 days and loved hanging out with all of you! Hope to see Atlanta and you all again soon! Next time, let’s just get a one-way ticket…