Saturday, August 23, 2008

Food Blogger Partaaay

Right now I'm stoked on Vietnamese coffee, phenomenal food and new friends. I just came back from a food blogger party thrown by Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple. I didn't bring a camera. Hey! They said there'd be plenty to drink, so why bother? In my world, alcohol and photography don't really go together - everything just gets blurry. But I DID bring my appetite, as instructed. Good thing, too, because the food was awesome! Do you think I can remember everything I ate? HAH! I can hardly remember what I had for breakfast this morning, and that was before the champagne and wine.

Good thing they served Vietnamese coffee!!

There were spring rolls - lots and lots of spring rolls, which we wrapped in lettuce with mint and basil and dipped in a variety of sauces. I think I could have stopped there. Except for the fact that I didn't. No WAY was I going to miss out on the creamy cucumber salad, the corn salad, the pear salad, the Vietnamese pork sliders, grilled prawns with "secret" sauce, or the build-your-own "flat breads". (Diane, honey, I think those are called mini pizzas. Just not a la Dominoes!)

And then after stuffing ourselves silly, they brought out the grilled fish! She wasn't kidding when she said to bring an appetite! I should have brought a couple of friends, too!!!

But please don't think that Todd and Diane were so uncivilized as to not serve us dessert! Puh-leez! Have you ever eaten jack fruit? I've only seen it growing in Vietnam, but hadn't tasted it fresh before. You have to oil your hands first, because the inside has some very sticky white resin in it. You plow through that, pop out the big seeds and then dig in with your hands, extracting the fruit. Diane told us it wasn't completely ripe, but you could have fooled me. Apparently, if it's riper it pairs well with blue cheese. I can see that it would, but I hardly felt deprived. After all, she DID serve us a cheese plate with fresh lychees and fresh longan fruit.

Now, all of this was phenomenal in and of itself, but it leaves out the other crucial elements of this party. One was the setting, and the other was the people. Todd and Diane's garden is the kind you just want to hang out in. Like, forever. And there are comfy chairs strategically placed in various areas to allow just that. And while you're hanging out, you'll notice that you're surrounded by a garden designed to feed your senses, as well as your appetite. Somewhere on their site they have a video they made of their garden. Check it out. You'll love it!

So then we get to the best part: the people. First of all, Diane told us that her friends told her that she was nuts having a group of total strangers come to her house. Well, she obviously knows a thing or two about how to screen people. We may never have met before, but the mix of people worked beautifully. It's such a treat to meet people who you feel you sort of know because you've been reading their blogs. And there were people I had never heard of before, but enjoyed them so much I'll be adding their names to my blogroll soon. This was a group dedicated to enjoying themselves - with food and drink and laughter.

So if you're looking for some cool food blogs to check out, here's a list. Some you may have heard of, some might be new to you. I hope I haven't left anyone out. If I have, blame it on the champagne....


Brooke said...

It was incredible meeting you, picking rosemary and enjoying the bounty! What an incredible night.

I look forward to more blogger reunions!

Brooke at Food Woolf

Thistlemoon said...

That sounds like an absolute BLAST! I am glad you had such a great night hangin with food bloggers! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh I'm so jealous! So many people I would love to meet! I'm so glad you had fun and to hear that so many of the folk I love to read are great in person too :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Toni,

It was so great meeting you and getting to roll out dough with you;)

I hope you enjoy the wine.

Anonymous said...

It was great to meet you on Saturday, Toni! I'm looking forward to reading more about your travels.

Toni said...

Brooke - Yes, it definitely left me wanting more blogging get togethers!

Jenn - It was amazing! I knew the food blogging community was great, but now I know it in person.

Ann - Wish you could have been there. You would have gone nuts in her garden!

Marvin - I'm looking forward to enjoying the wine!

Leah - Likewise! And I look forward to reading more about all the great eats in the LA area!

Anonymous said...

That was such a fabulous evening all around. Some might even call it an "unexpected miracle". ;) Thank you so much for the Goji berries and the charm. I'm looking forward to many more blogger events in the future.

Anonymous said...

Danika and I had a blast, it was so great to meet you and all the other bloggers there!

Hats off the Tod and Diane, Flawless party, with flawless food.

Cynthia said...

Makes me wish I was there!

Toni said...

Julie - You are so welcome! I meant to tell you that in Chinese medicine, these berries are considered to be a blood tonic, and they benefit the liver. (Perfect thing after a nite of champagne, wine and cocktails!!)

Matt - I loved meeting you and Danika! I've got friends in Seattle who have been bugging me for years to come visit......hmmmm.....;-)

Cynthia - I WISH you had been there!! Someday, you and I WILL meet!

Anonymous said...

Hey Hey Toni!
The party would not have been the same with out you, your worldly spirit and perspective! I think everyone at the party was enthralled with your travel stories and wisdom.

Thank you so much for making the far drive and we feel so much more enriched to have met you. I wish we have met long before, but there is still a lifetime to get together again.

Can't wait to see you again and share a meal together. You are a beautiful spirit. If only more bloggers could be as lucky as us to have met you.

Big hugs to you from us both,
diane & todd

Toni said...

Diane & Todd - You've brought tears to my eyes. But trust me, it's ALWAYS about the combination - be it between 2 people or more. And you guys obviously attract some amazing people. AND, you're good at sorting people out. I have to agree with Matt - flawless party!