International Food Bloggers Conference 2012…dying with a smile on my face

International Food Bloggers Conference IFBCIt’s day three of the International Food Bloggers Conference here in Portland, Oregon, and, if this thing kills me, let it be known that this was how I wanted to go.

Friday and Saturday were wonderful, but very long, days of eating; a bacchanalian onslaught of food and drink, interspersed with intense sessions of  talking about food and drink, with the occasional coffee and snack break tossed in, to tweet about food and drink.

It has been an epic 36 hours that has not just brought me to the wall, but has left in it a permanent impression of my bloated carcass, several inches deep.

Don’t get me wrong, the food has been amazing, the services and classes impeccable and outstanding, and several of the offerings have been among the best things I’ve ever eaten. Course after course, sample after sample, a gastronomic wonderland of non-stop delights…but, like a 60 year old porn star on his 5th honeymoon…I may just be finally losing interest…

No fear, I shall press on…trying to muster excitement for the B.Y.O.B. “all vegan breakfast” this morning. B.Y.O.B = “bring your own bacon”…these instructions are not actually in the convention program, but it just seems like common sense…

Anyway, the highlights of the weekend so far:

International Food Bloggers Conference IFBCFriday afternoon and evening alone were a whirlwind, with a light lunch, a “speed blogging” session (think “speed dating” but with course after course of  delicious, decadent, single-bite offerings instead of desperate 40-year-old virgins. (Okay, there may have been some desperate 40-year-old virgins there, as well, but that wasn’t the point of the session!)

International Food Bloggers Conference IFBCLater came a VERY happy hour of wine tastings, all of which were stellar and without a plastic spout or screw-cap to be seen. I’m not too much of a wine-guy myself, being something of a pour-chug-find-some-more kinda fella, and, though a light-hearted and fun atmosphere, there was a lot of sniffing and swirling going on…I’m pretty sure that any mention of Mad Dog or Boones Farm would have gotten one humanely butchered, roasted, and served as a canape (on a local, artisan bread, of course.)

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From there we were herded into an arena-size room, ringed with individual food stations handing out everything from elk jerky to fresh sashimi to bbq pork sliders (and about 97 other dishes.)

There was a pig being dissembled, before a hushed and reverent crowd of believers, in one corner (I didn’t stay long enough to see the outcome of that one, they may have just lit candles and eaten the thing raw).

Down the center of the room, to my Western materialistic delight, stood a 100 foot-long table, heaped and groaning with all-imaginable kinds of complimentary foodie swag.

I tore into it like the last pizza at fat-camp.

Later, waddling out into the night, bowed under the weight of my bag of loot, I may have been taken for an inebreated Santa Clause…I’m pretty sure that everything was “shaking like a bowl full of jelly” at least.

A momentarily serious side note – the organizers of this event have treated us attendees like gods. The sheer volume and quality of the gifts we’ve been  given, from beautiful wooden cutting boards, to state-of-the-art slow-cookers, is staggering. The classes and speakers they’ve provided have been of the highest caliber, as well. Whatever our hosts are getting paid…it’s not enough!

Now it’s (very early) Sunday morning…

My eyes are sandy from a serious lack of sleep and the lingering after-effects of trading drinks with a cantina full of overly imaginative foodies (Everclear and chocolate milk, with a splash of Thai fish-sauce? A round for the house, my good man!)

My gastrointestinal system gave up, hours ago, any pretense of functioning correctly, and at 3am I lay staring at the ceiling in a pool of bacon sweat, pouring maalox shooters and creating improvisational whale-song.

These, btw (for those uninitiated) are the conditions under which we food-bloggers typically “find our muse”.

But don’t cry for me Pepto-Bismol, this is the life I have chosen, and neither gas, nor reflux, nor lack of clean stretchy-pants, will keep me from my appointed rounds.  For you, my readers, I do it all for you!

Speaking of which, if you’ll please excuse me, I need to hurry if I’m going to get to breakfast on time…I still haven’t packed my bacon.