Last May, over the Memorial Day Weekend, I attended Camp Blogaway for the fourth year and it was as fun, informative, inspiring, stimulating and full of blogging friends as the first time I went. However, this time around I decided to focus my story on the food. I mean, this was a food bloggers conference and there was food 24/7. Not only the meals we ate, but the snacks, the sponsor’s samplings, and little baskets and plates of goodies everywhere. There were demonstrations of products, contests, and cutting and slicing by attendees. The one thing I could count on, as evidenced by my three previous years, was that I would never be hungry and I would not gain an ounce of weight. And that is a good thing to know.
Above is a photo of one of my dinner plates, which includes carrots, asparagus, cous cous, green salad with tomatoes, and chicken with a mornay sauce. I believe there was a budding gourmet chef in the kitchen this year. What is interesting is that there are so many choices of dishes available, between the buffet in the kitchen and the salad bar, that everyone’s plate looked totally different. Also available were vegan and gluten-free dishes, as they try to accommodate everyone’s diet preferences. When you come to Camp Blogaway, prepare to eat a lot!
Here is my second dinner plate with green beans, asparagus, green salad, cous cous, bruchetta with cheese and tomatoes, and French onion soup. I believe this was the best onion soup I have ever had, in fact it impressed me so much, I went in the kitchen and asked the chef for the list of ingredients. She was happy to give it to me: onions, leeks, white wine, vegetable broth, butter, green onions and the secret ingredient: brown sugar. I had to pass the salad bar on the way to my table and there I added some grated cheese and a few croutons to my bowl. Really yummy.
In the morning the salad bar included breakfast fare: fresh fruit, dry cereals, juices and muffins, amongst others. The kitchen provided eggs, pancakes and bacon. Fit for a princess.
The coffee machine, which also dispenses hot water, was in use day and night. Thinking about my first cup in the morning is what got me out of bed. I had some nice hot chocolate later in the afternoon, too.
On Saturday, we had a surprise for lunch… the CravOn truck had driven up the mountain from Los Angeles and set up in the parking lot outside the lodge. They had a table alongside with a bunch of toppings for their baked – not fried – French fries. Their truck can be found somewhere in L.A. all week and you will find the schedule here. Their frozen fries can be found at Albertsons and Bristol Farms and this is their store locator. Check them out.
My dish from the CravOn truck looked like this, with pulled pork, Korean beef, two kinds of slaw, roasted veggies, guacamole and sour cream. Underneath these goodies are their tasty fries. Really. I promise.
On Friday afternoon, we had a presentation by the reps from Duda Farms, an 85 year old company producing fruits and vegetables, notably celery, in Oxnard, CA. They brought along their Red Celery and a new product, Celery Straws, which are hollow. We had a Bloody Mary-making contest, using the Celery Straws and other props provided, including little bottles of vodka. A great way to start off the weekend.
Another event Friday evening, a birthday and cake for Denise Vivaldo of the Denise Vivaldo Group, our food stylist extraordinaire. She would be giving us a presentation, with a lot of jokes and laughter, later that evening.
On Saturday we had a demonstration by the OXO rep and then we got to try out their mandolin to slice up some Idaho potatoes, which would be used for one of our meals. Here you can see Patricia, of Fresh Food In A Flash, hard at work slicing those spuds. And Patricia and Dorothy, of Shockingly Delicious, with their finished bowl of slices. Nice work, guys.
Yes, Camp Blogaway is in the forest, in the mountains, high in the clean air. There are redwood cabins, pine trees and lots of rocks and boulders. Very peaceful and beautiful.
Sunday morning at Camp is a breakfast brunch, and the winners of all contests and drawings are announced. Well, guess what !! I won that huge basket of OXO tools!! I’m the one who never wins anything. In the basket were a Salt & Pepper Grinder Set, Silicone Coasters, a Spice Grater, a Box Grater, a Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer, a Medium Grater, a Course Grater and a Zester. I love OXO tools, especially their non-slip grips. These babies will join the pizza slicer and cherry pitter that I already possess. I am so happy.
Sunday is also the day that the winner of the Golden Pinecone in announced. This award goes to the food blogger that embodies the highest principals of food blogging and Camp Blogaway.
And the winner is (drum-roll) Dorothy, of Shockingly Delicious, here being presented her Golden Pinecone Award by Patti Londre, the fearless leader and creator of Camp Blogaway. Congratulations, Dorothy!
I hope I will see you at Camp Blogaway over Memorial Day Weekend, May 16 –18, 2014. Registration will be starting in January 2014. See you there!