Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes and Don’t Forget the Homos! BlogHer Food 2010 recap

by Irvin on October 16, 2010 · 57 comments

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Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

David Leite was very particular about photos of himself. Photo of David Leite provided by David Leite.

“Don’t forget the HOMOS!” shouted David Leite of Leite’s Culinaria during our first day of BlogHer Food. It’s true that nearly 93.7% of the attendants were women (I’m making that statistic up, but since it has three significant digits, I probably sound like I know what I’m talking about), and 5.6% were gay men (leaving the 0.7% straight men and “other”). We, the homos, were in danger of being overlooked. Gay men HATE being overlooked. Well, okay, I generalize. I hate being overlooked (which probably explains the ridiculous outfits I wore to the conference afterparties). Apparently David Leite does too.

For those not in the know, BlogHer Food is a spinoff conference from the bigger BlogHer conference that is held annually (not unlike how Facts of Life was a spinoff from Diff’rent Strokes). BlogHer, the people throwing the conference, strives to create a community and media company that reaches out to all the women in social media.

By the way, despite the stereotype, I had no desire to be Blair. I wanted to be Tootie.

Which begs the question. What’s a gay guy like myself doing going to this conference? Well the reality is that the conference isn’t not just only about women, but about food blogging. But I didn’t know any of this when I heard about the conference.

I’ve only been food blogging for 7 months, and though it’s been a short time, I can’t imagine a life without this blog. That said, three months ago, I had no idea that there was even such a creature as a food blog conferences. But all that changed when Shauna, of Gluten Free Girl pinged me on twitter and told me a little secret. She had been asked to be one of the keynote speakers at the BlogHer Food Conference in October and was wondering if I was going, as it was in San Francisco.

I looked into it. Was it even something I was allowed to go to? (I mean it is called BlogHER, not BlogHIM or BlogEVERYONE). Were tickets available? How much did it cost and was it really something I wanted to do at all?

Tickets had apparently sold out FAST for the conference. I started to stalk the ticket swap message board, looking for someone who wanted to sell their ticket. I was on a mission.

In the meanwhile I lamented the fact that I didn’t have at ticket and told pretty much everyone that I knew I was looking for one. Finally the fabulous Michael Procopio, of the charmingly brilliant blog Food for the Thoughtless came to my rescue. Michael, who can tell a story like no other, was to be on the panel “Storytelling”; I could think of no one better to be on a panel with that title. Because of this though, his admission to the conference was comped, leaving his ticket available to sell to me!

I profusely thanked Michael for his ticket and then promised I would bake him a pie inspired by his childhood crush Scott Baio. I’m think a Chachi Cheddar and Apple Pie, but if anyone has any better ideas, please let me know.

In the meanwhile, I was quitting my job. I thought I would have plenty of time to prepare for the conference, figure out what I wanted to get out of it, and figure out a game plan for what to do there. Instead, I ended up taking on two freelance projects whose projects deadlines were BOTH right before the conference. I was screwed.

Fast forward to the week of the conference. Four hours a sleep a night, two major design projects deadlines quickly coming up, I received an email from a fellow blogger Sean Timberlake (of Punk Domestics and Hedonia). It was about a “chocolate adventure” evening at Elizabeth Falkner’s Orson restaurant, co-hosted by TuttiFoodie and Scharffenberger Chocolate. I quickly emailed TuttiFoodie to see if I could sneak in, and low and behold she quickly replied back I was on the list!

For those who haven’t heard, the Chocolate Adventure is an amazing contest being co-sponsored by Sharffenberger Chocolate. In it’s third year, the contest challenges people to create a cupcake that combine “adventure” ingredients ranging from saffron, bee pollen and adzuki beans to more accessible (though still adventurous) ingredients like buttermilk, molasses or sweetened condensed milk. The winner gets $250 worth of Scharffen Berger Chocolate, a chance to fly to New York City to distribute the cupcake on one of the Sweet Trucks, and the recipe featured on multiple websites (chocolateadventurecontest.com, ScharffenBerger.com and TuttiFoodie.com) and the Food Network Magazine. Oh yeah, and a sweet $10,000.

Get it? Sweet $10,000! Ha!

Having gotten my projects done in the nick of time (due Thursday at Noon, I emailed the PDF at 11:45am!), I napped most of the afternoon and then ran over to Orson to hobnob with the chocolate intelligentsia. It was the first event of what was going to be a VERY packed weekend of food events.

The Orson bartenders are HOT! (Heh. Sorry, couldn’t resist)

Orson was hopping, with industry and media people everywhere, chocolate tastings, ingredient tastings, smelling contests and tasty nibbly things and amazing drinks that were being setting on fire. I wasn’t in full hob-nob mode yet, but still managed to meet a few of the foodinistas, including Marcia of Tablehopper, Anita Chu of Desserts First, Penny De Los Santos, Matt Armendariz of MattBites, Adam C. Pearson, Broderick of Savory Exposure, Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks and, of course, Sean Timberlak e who originally got me into the event in the first place.

Elizabeth Falkner is pretty confident that she could guess all the ingredients.

Friday was Day One of BlogHer Food. I arrived with my laptop and AJ’s Canon 20D camera (big mistake, I never took the DSLR out all the entire day). I arrived for breakfast and took one step into the large conference room with my plate of fresh fruit (fruit for this here fruit I guess) and was immediately transported back to junior high, where I didn’t know anyone and everyone was already sitting together and talking to each other as if they were old pals.

I immediately looked around and got extremely nervous and tried to find someone ANYONE that looked even vaguely familiar. And somehow, through some random turn of events that I can’t seem to remember (keep I mind I hadn’t had my coffee yet, so I wasn’t quite awake), I ended up sitting next to Dorie Greenspan.

Dorie Greenspan with Garrett McCord of Vanilla Garlic

Yes. THAT Dorie Greenspan! The one that wrote Baking with Julie and Baking: From My Home to Yours, and has a new amazing cookbook out called Around My French Table that everyone should go and get! OMG. I think I would have hyperventilated except I was barely awake. She was extremely gracious to me, but I think she must have thought I was a scientologist or something because I had that completely blank look in my eyes when I met her (I swear I just needed my coffee!). At one point a fellow food blogger friend Annelies came over to chat with me and I told her I would totally switch tables and sit with her. She looked at me as if I were crazy and said “Um. Hello. You have Dorie Greenspan at your table. Why would you want to switch?!?”

Annelies, by the way, is getting married this coming weekend, one weekend after BlogHer Food. The sheer insanity of a going to a conference the weekend before your wedding eludes even me! Annelies is awesome sauce, and during the conference acted as my agent, introducing me to various people who she thought I could create mutually beneficial relationships with. I love her. LOVE. HER.

Apparently Annelies and I felt we needed to have our teeth inspected during the Closing Party. Perhaps it is because Annelies wanted to make sure she looked her best for upcoming wedding.

BlogHer Day One was amazing, with the sheer number of bloggers who I met in person that I had only tweeted with, or read their blogs. I was surprised at the number of people who came up to me and proclaimed to me “YOU! YOU’RE HILARIOUS!!!!” (ok, fine, it was really just one blogger, Jen Yu of Use Real Butter who did that, but she’s an awesome amazing wonderful person whose photos and blog I have admired from afar so to have her come up to me and tell ME that she thought I was hilarious was rather hilarious in and of itself).

Broderick of Savory Exposure. This is pretty much how we saw him most of the conference.

I did meet Lauren of CeliacTeen who was an unexpected supermodel tall person of sweetness. I met Andrew of Eating Rules, who’s organized October: Unprocessed, who’s gotten over 300 people to commit to eat unprocessed food for the month of October (I’ll be writing a guest post on his blog later this month so keep an eye out for that). Ben of You Fed a Baby Chili came up to me and introduced himself as a local food blogger that I have tweeted with in the past (he’s one of the 0.7% straight men there, so he really stood out; that and he’s a 7ft tall Asian man). Todd and Diane of White on Rice totally introduced themselves to me, and in turn I totally conned them into agreeing to photograph my wedding (I better consult with AJ about us getting married shouldn’t I?).

Jenny of Purple House Dirt said hi to me and I completely didn’t recognize her at all, as she didn’t have any shimmery eyeshadow or glossy racing car red lipstick on (check out her twitter avatar picture). Maggy of Three Many Cooks came over and said hello to me as well which is amazing as Three Many Cooks are just amazing (I was super excited to find their Perfect One-Dish Dinners cookbook in a party swag bag!). Shelly, Executive Editor of Food News Journal actually walked up to me and said she wanted to introduce herself. FOOD NEWS JOURNAL. And she wanted to say hi to me?!?! How do these people know me?!? (Well, actually I had contact FNJ couple of weeks ago, but really I didn’t expect them to remember who I was). Shelly actually said she liked my blog – and as much as I would like to dismiss that (you must say that to all the boys!) she approached me, not the other way around, so there must be a grain of truth to it!

Sometimes I forget that people actually read my tweets. Which has my picture on it. Or that people read my blog for that matter. Much as I used to tell AJ that we had no social life and only had four friends, and AJ used to reply back that we have WAY more friend, I finally realized that this was the explanation as to why we never seem to have a free weekend (currently we’re booked all the way through the first weekend of December). I forget that there are actual readers of this here bloggity blog (hi readers!).

The breakout sessions for BlogHer Food were actually pretty darn educational. I learned that you have to be deliberate when you take a photograph of food and think of light as living beautiful thing that wraps around the food. I learned how to build up your personal brand by realizing that everything you do is part of your brand and how I need to distill my brand down to a few succinct simple words. And I learned that if I wanted my own television show, it will be a lot of HARD work and I have to script it before taping anything.

There had been much pre-conference banter between some of the gay men attendees of BlogHer Food, knowing that the conference would be made up of mostly women. We had talked ahead of time of having a “Mean Girls” lunch table on Friday and then a meetup on Saturday for lunch again. This confab of gay food bloggers seemed so historic that SFoodie even wrote a little blurb about it, which, hilariously enough featured a pic of me, below Matt Armendariz (what the heck? How did my pic get in there? Whose brilliant idea was it to put a picture of famous amazing food photographer, blogger and friend of Martha Stewart, Mr. Armandariz and nobody me? *sigh*).

It was at the gay men’s mean girl lunch table where I sat down with Sean, Michael, Jun Belen (we been circling around each other forever here in SF, but had never met until the conference), Broderick, Andrew, Garrett and, of course, David Leite who yelled that line “Don’t forget the homos!” during another woman empowerment speech. I’m guessing the attendees probably didn’t after that.

I was warned by a friend who goes to many similar conferences that the sessions tended to be throwaway, while the meat of the conference is really socializing with the attendees. Though I loved the sessions, she was right as the most important thing for me was meeting amazing bloggers that were willing to give back to us newbies. I met people that I had only met virtually before. Hugs were in abundance and I don’t know how many times I was referred to as “Jack” or “Jackhonky” because of my twitter handle. No worries. I’m used it.

Friday night’s party, entitled “Le Petite Soiree” was super fun. The space was gorgeous (AJ and I drooled over the photo studio that the party was being held in) and the food supplied by cart vendors around San Francisco was way tasty (way better than the official BlogHer Conference food) and generous in portions. Helen of Tartlette, Kristen of Dine and Dish, Jane of This Week for Dinner, and Stefania of CityMama did an amazing job of hosting the party. I stumbled home on a total (natural) high, having met WAY too many people and in general being totally overstimulated with everything the day had to offer.

Anita with her husband Mike.

That night I dreamed of introducing myself over and over again to an endless stream of white women that all vaguely look the same. “Hi, my name is Irvin. My blog is Eat the Love. People seem to know me by my twitter name: ‘Jackhonky’. Yep. That’s me. What’s yours? Do you want to swap business cards? Great thanks!”

I woke up groggy but ready for BlogHer Food Day Two, which also happened to be my birthday. I had actually tweeted a couple of weeks prior to BlogHer Food that it was my birthday and that I expected to be showered with presents – and unwanted swag did not count. Anita Chu ran up to me excited to see me. “Happy Birthday! I have a present for you!” So sweet! I love my food blogger friends!

Anita is currently working with William Werner on his Tell Tale Preserve Company. It’s a long, and rather convoluted story on how she landed there, but needless to say, she was able to sneak out a jar of something fabulous for me (I can’t remember what it is, other than it has caramel in it) and I couldn’t have been more pleased – definitely NOT unwanted swag! I can’t wait for Tell Tale Preserve Company to open up on Maiden Lane this fall!

Day Two proved to be just a fantastic as Day One, especially as I had already met people that I could hang out with – though this didn’t stop me from meeting new people. I was able to introduce myself to Michael Ruhlman, whose hair is every bit amazing as you would expect it to be. I had actually had a chance to introduce Ruhlman up with my food stylist friend Krista Ruane who had directed and produced the Mario Batali iPhone app (go get it, it’s amazing) prior to the conference so I hope that goes somewhere. I love hooking amazing people up with amazing people.

It’s funny how there are “celebrities” in the food blogging community but each “famous” person came across as a real genuine individual, excited to be at the conference, meeting people and learning as much as they could to learn. And each of these people would NEVER EVER consider themselves famous or a celebrity. I love that. Molly of Orangette is just as down to earth and intelligent as her writing, Aida Mollenkamp seemed to create quite a stir at BlogHer with her arms (Matt Armendariz threatened to cybersquat on the URL “AidasArms.com” and sell it for millions). Jaden of Steamy Kitchen had more energy than any single person I’ve met, ever. Ree of The Pioneer Woman is exactly what you expected her to be like self-deprecating and a total sweetheart. Elise from Simply Recipes was totally grounded and straightforward. Shauna of Gluten Free Girl is simply just as wonderful as her blog is. And I believe there will soon be a not so small cult forming around the entity that is known as Penny de los Santos.

If writing a cookbook is like raising an adorable child like this, I’m totally writing one immediately.

On day two, I learned you can get super cheap food props from Home Depot, and that the best way to make your beef stew look beautiful is to marry a great photographer. The cookbooks session taught me that writing a cookbook is like having child, it’s exhausting and completely time consuming and you have food all over your clothes constantly but in the end you wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I also learned that according to Anupy of Indian as Apple Pie, I don’t look like a precision baker who would use a scale to bake. I took it as a compliment, as no one wants to look like a geek scientist nerd (well except for my boyfriend who revels in that sort of thing).

I did get to hang out for a little bit with the gay food blogger mafia at lunch for a short while, before I ran off to pick up some leaf lard for the post-BlogHer potluck on Sunday. Amy of Cooking With Amy couldn’t make it to BlogHer Food as she was off on a cheese tasting tour of Wisconsin, but was coming back Saturday night and so had decided to organize a potluck for local food bloggers and any BlogHer people who had stuck around the day after the conference. Concurrent to that, Shauna of Gluten Free Girl had organized a similar gluten free potluck and so they decided to combine the two together.

I had tweeted Shauna a couple days before the conference and told her that I was definitely going to the potluck, but I wasn’t sure if I could bring anything because I’d be busy with the conference. She told me that my presence would be enough, but DURING the conference she cornered me and asked me “So…am I going to be getting any baked goods at the potluck?” with an inquisitive cocked eyebrow. My response was “Maaaybbeeeee…” and I immediately started plotting in my head what I could bake in the limited time frame that I had. If I played my cards right, I could whip something decent up. It better be decent. This was Gluten Free Girl and the rest of her gluten free entourage. I better deliver.

So I ran off to pick up some leaf lard at lunch for the gluten free pies and tarts that I planned on making for the potluck. I asked Prather’s Ranch to wrap the container in aluminum foil, and just hoped it didn’t go bad by the time I got back home.

The closing keynote panel was amazing. Molly Wizenberg of Orangette, Michael Ruhlman and Shauna Ahern James of Gluten Free Girl all came up on stage and the power and emotional story from each them resonated through the conference room. I think there were a few tears in the crowd as everyone packed up their things and started to board the shuttle bus for the Closing Party hosted by Jaden, Ree and Elise.

Jaden of Steamy Kitchen, Elise of Simply Recipes and Ree of The Pioneer Woman are AMAZING party hosts! Thank you! I have the best boyfriend in the world.

Instead of boarding the bus, I rushed home to put the lard in the fridge and clean up. Waiting at home for me was AJ, some flowers and some chocolate brownie cupcakes that he had baked for my birthday. AJ HATES baking. He loathes it. So I knew that him making the cupcakes for me meant all the more. I admit that I got a little emotional after seeing them, having been the through the wringer of the past two days.

However I kept it together, quickly cleaned up by jumping in the shower and changed into party clothes. We zipped over to the Le Cordon Bleu for the party, and as AJ and I walked down the street after parking, I was tackled by a fellow gay blogger Michael Procopio! “Happy Birthday!” he exclaimed as I nearly soiled my burnt orange pants I was wearing by his surprise.

AJ had seen him coming as he had run around him to get to me, and though the neighborhood wasn’t totally great, he noticed that the man about to tackle me was wearing a snappy vest and dapper bow tie. AJ figured he was safe.

The party was insanely fun. We watched Michael Ruhlman do his bacon demo and got a chance to snag some of his meaty bacon fresh from the skillet, waited in endless lines to get drinks, ate great food and talked to some wonderful people. The live band was awesome, the photo booth was a brilliant idea that everyone took full advantage of (all those black and white photos on this post? From the photo booth. I was too overloaded with information to have the wit about me to take photos), and as the evening wound down, they started pulling out entry forms and announcing the door prizes.

And yes, they pulled out my name. I am now the proud owner of a brand new cinnamon red KitchenAid mixer. Whoo hoo! Happy birthday to me! Now THAT’s swag that I can use! Even more awesome was my friend Stephanie of Desserts for Breakfast who is a poor linguistics grad student at Stanford. She won the 21 piece Le Crueset Set. If anyone deserves that it’s a poor linguistic grad student!

Me with AJ, the best boyfriend in the world.

We closed down the party. It was awesome. Le Cordon Bleu was breaking down tables as a super excited “steamy” food blogger confessed to me that she had a crush on me. Ha! I think she was just dazzled by my orange ensemble that I wore to the party. Michael Procopio, of course, totally tried to let her down easy by informing her that I was gay. She got indignant, but “steamy” food blogger, let me just tell you, if I were to switch for anyone, you’d be on the top of the list! Woot!

I went home physically exhausted but mentally wired by the last three days. The weekend wasn’t over though. I whipped up a batch of gluten free chocolate cupcakes after the party and made some gluten free pie dough to rest overnight. And then I collapsed in bed.

I woke up early the next morning and met up with a Seattle twitter pal Jenifer. She was in town for a different conference and Sunday morning was the only time that I could meet up with her. So we agreed to meet up at 9:30am at Tartine. Broderick met us as well, and we all enjoyed the Sunday morning with some lovely baked goods and gossiped about the Seattle food blogging scene.

Jenifer and me hanging out at Bi Rite Creamery. Photo courtesy of Savory Exposure.

Afterwards I dragged Broderick and Jenifer over to Bi Rite Ice Cream (it took a lot of arm twisting, let me tell you) and I made her eat ice cream. I believe Jenifer had their signature salted caramel, but it was the roasted banana that she fell in love with.

I bid Broderick and Jenifer adieu and went home to bake a gluten free apple pie and a fig and raspberry tart. While they baked, I frosted the cupcakes with a whipped cream cheese frosting. I was ready for the potluck.

The Sunday potluck was fantastic. It was gorgeous, sunny and warm, and everyone there seemed to enjoy the food that everyone else brought. It was amazing that people were able to bring anything at, having been to the conference all weekend (I don’t count myself as I’m just crazy. I don’t expect other people to be crazy like me).

Justin Schwartz senior editor at John Wiley & Sons and editor of Shauna’s most recent cookbook Gluten Free Girl and the Chef (go buy it now, it’s beautiful!) was there and was ready to take off as I arrived. But he took one look at my desserts and stuck around for at least a serving. I gave him a slice of the tart. After he ate it, I asked him if he could tell if it was gluten free. His reply was “Who cares if it’s gluten free? It’s amazing!”

A tart inspired by David Lebovitz (who sadly did not go to BlogHer Food this year). You can find the recipe for it in my previous post for my dessert party.

I replied back, in a fit of ambitious giddiness and bravado that I was sending him my book proposal once it was done! He looked at me funny and then slowly backed away scared. I think the adrenalin and lack of sleep from the weekend was affecting my judgment. I quickly turned around and proceeded to shovel some (gluten free) butternut squash into my mouth mortified.

Otherwise the potluck was a wonderful way to decompress from the weekend. I was able to hang out lazily and actually talk to Shauna, as well as Penny de los Santos who is an absolutely wonderful individual, warm, funny, sincere and incredibly sexy. I finally met Tea of Tea and Cookies (who only attended the first day of the conference. I had met the woman who she sold her ticket to, Rachel Boller of MilkGlass Baking at lunch on Saturday) and I even met some local San Francisco bloggers that didn’t make it to the conference like Jeters of FoodBat who I have tweeted with in the past but haven’t had a chance to meet.

Much like every other person at BlogHer Food, I adore this woman Penny de los Santos.

Shauna cornered me early on in the potluck and Penny was caught in the crossfire as she made Penny sing along with her Happy Birthday to me. I think the memory of having these two people who I admire and respect serenade me with a happy birthday song will forever be burned in my brain.

My baked goods seemed to be a hit. Danny Ahern, Gluten Free Chef seemed to like them, later tweeting to me “Okay those cupcakes, that pie, and that tart…. SHUT UP!!!!!!” which I just assume translates to “I think your baked good are tasty and enjoyable.” This is the man who just finished writing a cookbook with his wife the Gluten Free Girl, who had just serenaded me with a happy birthday. The same man who used to cook at Gramercy Tavern and who recently ate there again with the authors of The Flavor Bible. My brain was pretty much ready to explode.

Penny de los Santos enjoys an amazing gluten free creampuff from Zest Bakery.

Allison Day of Sushi Day turned to me after taking one bite of a the cupcake and asked “I just need to know. Do you do wedding cakes?” This, of course, made her boyfriend sitting next her, slightly uncomfortable. She tried to assuage his fears by telling me “well, you know, just for future knowledge… because someday it’ll happen…but not right away, not anytime soon.”

I am SO glad I am not in her boyfriend’s shoes right now. ;)

Either way, the afternoon pleasantly wore on, as people came and went and I had chance to talk with people that I hadn’t had a chance to talk to during the chaos of BlogHer Food. AJ spent a long time talking with Penny de los Santos, and apparently he told her all the big keystone stories of his life, in one afternoon. I guess Penny has that effect on people.

Top, my gluten free chocolate cupcakes, middle gluten free apple pie with coconut crumb topping, bottom (peeking in) are Alison Day’s amazing mochi cake.

Elise from Simply Recipes showed up late in the afternoon and hugged me telling me happy birthday. She hung out with everyone just relaxing along with us, letting the excitement and the frenetic energy of the weekend seep away.

The chance to hang out in the sun, calm and peaceful made me reflect and realize that I had a really good birthday weekend. A great birthday weekend.

I’ve never been to a food blogging conference before. And though people had their complaints about BlogHer Food – whether it was the blatant corporate sponsorship, the mediocre food, the odd social climbing (oh yes, people social climb in the food blogging world) or the emphasis on everyone trying to leverage their blog into a larger marketing tool for a book deal or a television show, I believe you get what you want out of a conference like this. Some people were dazzled by the bloggerati and wanted to be meet the big name bloggers. Some people were content to connect with other bloggers big or small. Some of the best conversations I had were with people that I had never met before, that weren’t part of my gay food blogger group or who’s blog I wasn’t even aware of prior to this conference.

This is one of my absolute favorite photos from the weekend. The unadulterated happiness of just hanging out with friends.

I was constantly surprised by the number of people who would introduce themselves, tell me a little bit about their blog and the automatic connection that was established just because of it. No matter what our ulterior motive, or how popular our blog, writing is a solitary thing. We all stare at that computer screen, and push it up on our blog for strangers to read. But for this one weekend, the act of blogging wasn’t as lonely.

Shauna and I were talking at the potluck about writing and blogging. I lamented the fact that I had only been blogging for 7 months and I often wrote these massive MASSIVE long posts (this one being one being a perfect example). I can’t help it. I have a lot to say. And if anyone ANYONE has ever met me, they know I can be quite verbose (it’s been an interesting experience trying to keep my own voice while tweeting – using those 140 characters). I told her I should probably edit down my posts. She told me not to cut a word. People will read what they want to read it. They’ll come. It’s a slow and steady ride. But don’t cut a word. I’m heeding her advice with this post.

Right before the chaos of BlogHer Food I received a phone call from a dear friend of mine, Steven Reigns (poet and activist, go check out his most recent poetry book, Inheritance. Super powerful.) I was explaining to him the conference and what it was and how I was corresponding with all these gay food bloggers beforehand. “Gay Food Bloggers?!?!” Steven exclaimed. “OMG. Irvin, you’ve FOUND your tribe!” I laughed but having gone to BlogHer Food, I realize that it’s not just the gay food bloggers that are my tribe, it’s all the food bloggers out there.

It’s the Canadian blogger Grace of Grace’s Sweet Life who blogs about desserts up in London, Canada and didn’t know even know she was coming to BlogHer Food until a few days before and arrived without business cards or knowing a single person. It’s the food stylist Tami of Running with Tweezers who AJ and I gave a ride back to the hotel after the Friday night party when she was utterly exhausted and couldn’t hail a cab. Or Alice from Savory Sweet Life who initially asked AJ and I for a ride herself and then gave up her seat to Tami because she knew Tami had to talk on a panel early in the morning. It was overhearing Cheryl Sternman Rule explain to someone the reason why she called her blog “5 Second Rule” for what I am sure is the 100th+ time. It’s the myriad of people I didn’t list or didn’t get a chance to meet, but are all part of this crazy food blogger scene. I couldn’t be happier to have found my tribe this past weekend. Thank you everyone at BlogHer Food for a memorable birthday.

If this post wasn’t enough, check out these other posts about BlogHer Food. Some praising the conference, others not so much but all of them with an amazingly different perspective of the event. If you want me to add yours, just email or tweet me a link. I’d love to make it as comprehensive a list as possible.

Food for the Thoughtless: BlogHer Food, Thank You
Running With Tweezers: To San Francisco, With Love.
Hey What’s for Dinner Mom: My BlogHer Food Recap
Dessert First: A Food Weekend in Three Acts
Everyday Alice (of SavorySweetLife): BlogHer Food 10 – My Blog Conference Take Away
Everyday Alice (of SavorySweetLife): A Follow Up
What’s Gaby Cooking: BlogHer Food and San Francisco
Celiac Teen: BlogHer Food and Irish Soda Buns
White on Rice Couple: Appreciation, Speaking at BlogHer Food 2010
Use Real Butter: Something about best intentions + BlogHer Food 2010 recap
Steamy Kitchen: Oinker
Food Blogga: Nine Things I Learned at the BlogHer Food ’10 Conference
The Urban Baker: New Friends, Good Food + Dorie Greenspan
Fab Frugal Food: 10.10.10, Top 10 Highlights from BlogHer Food ’10
Fab Frugal Food: And our Number 1 Highlight from BlogHer Food: The Revelation
Picky Palate: BlogHer Food Extravaganza!
OMG Yummy: OMG! BlogHer Food
OMG Yummy: How did Bubbe Bake It – The Prequel
Dine and Dish: Defining Success
Fed Up with Lunch: Revelations
Two Peas and their Pod: White Bean and Artichoke Dip and BlogHer Food Recap
Panini Happy: Memorable Moments from BlogHer Food ’10
5 Second Rule: How Not to Behave at a Food Blogging Conference
Will Write for Food: BlogHer Food The Love Fest
Food Woolf: How to Go to a Food Conference
Charlie Bakes: BlogHer Food Report
Celiacs in the House: BlogHer Food 2010
The Italian Dish: BlogHer Food 2010 in San Francisco
Bay Area Bites: BlogHer Food Conference Day 1
Bay Area Bites: BlogHer Food Conference Day 2
SmithBites: Suddenly I see BlogHer Food 10
Wenderly: BlogHer Food 2010 – Spoken Through Pictures
Flavorstitch: Food on the Mind
Flavorstitch: Foodspotting Savory Scavenger Hunt – BlogHer Food
ChefDruck Musings: 9 Cheap Props Every Budding Food Blogger Needs
Strawberry Cake: my trip to SAN FRANCISCO
Reluctant Entertainer: Blog Her Food: The People, The Friendships
Multiply Delicious: BlogHer Food 2010 in San Francisco
Family Fresh Cooking: BlogHer Food 2010 – Feel the LOVE
Devour the World: BlogHer Food 2010 – The Final Event, An Event Planner’s Point of View
Deliciously Organic: Creamy Eggplant Soup and a BlogHer Food Recap
Megan’s Cookin’: San Francisco and BlogHer Food!
Barbara Bakes: Tartine Bakery Deluxe Double Chocolate Cookies
One Haute Plate: Homecoming
Mele Cotte: Autumn Spiced Oatmeal
The Mom Food Project: BlogHer Food, Wild Rice Salad, and tossing things together
Whats Gaby Cooking: BlogHerFood & San Fran
Wendolonia: BlogHer Food ’10-Overview
Virgo Blue: BlogHer Food and I come Full Circle
Ezra Poundcake: My Big Bad BlogHer Food Post! (Plus, Light Loaded Potato Soup)
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Chestnut Orange Crisps
Justcook NYC: A new blog and a gluten-free gathering
Bowl Licker: Food-gaism and Alfajores (pronounced al-fa-hor-es)
Thermador: BlogHer Food Recap: Two Days of Culinary Capers
Savoring Silicon Valley: My First Blogging Conference
Mom Cooks Gluten Free: Dinner on Gluten Free Culinary Adventure in San Francisco, Day 1
Mom Cooks Gluten Free: Day 2 Finale on Gluten Free Culinary Adventure in San Francisco
Art and Lemons: San Francisco and Fennel Pear Compote
Piece of Cake: Dorie’s Apple Bundt Cake
Desserts for Breakfast: Cognac-Caramel, Pecan, and Pear Pudding Cake, oh–and Parties
Attune Food Daily Digest: How Food Bloggers Roll

565 Digital Photograph Album from the BlogHer Food Closing Gala Party

Side note: There were literally hundreds of people that I met at BlogHer Food. I’m still sorting through all the business cards I got. If we met at BlogHer Food and you didn’t give me a card or we didn’t have a chance to meet, please leave a comment, email me or tweet me. I’d love to continue the conversation that we started at the conference or start a new one!

The gluten free Chocolate Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting. Note that AJ and I have started to take photos looking directly down on the desserts. This is totally because of Penny de los Santos influence. We told her as much.
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Connect with Irvin via Social Media

You can connect with Irvin on a more direct level via his twitter page, his facebook fan page or his page. Just be forewarned that he tweets a heck of a lot.

{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

maggy@threemanycooks October 16, 2010 at 9:47 pm

What an impressive recap of such a fun weekend! So great to meet you, even if just briefly. I hope our paths will cross again :) But for now, just happy to be in your tribe.

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Jen Yu October 16, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Jack!! I mean, Mr. Honky!! – errr. I mean Irvin ;) So great to meet you IRL and see your astute fashion sense working the stripes and plaids, you tiger, you. What an extensive and fun-filled post! You met a lot of my favorite people. And yeah, Penny has that effect on folks, doesn't she? I look forward to the next time I get to meet up with you – you are THAT much fun. Oh, and you spelled my last name wrong (a lot of folks do), but I suppose it's only fair since I kept calling you Mr. Honky. xoxo

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Engineer Baker October 16, 2010 at 10:08 pm

I must meet you. From this recap alone, I MUST meet you. You are funny, genuine, and worth listening to – like Shauna said, don't cut a word. I read every one.

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Mr. Jackhonky October 17, 2010 at 4:07 am

@Maggy. It was wonderful to meet you too, even it was so very brief. I felt like BlogHer Food was like a giant party with passed hors d'oeuvres. Wonderfully tasty to sample everyone, but not very filling or satisfying. I wanted to meet people and dive into them like a hearty meal.

Perhaps next time. But I agree. I am MOST happy you are part of my tribe!

@Jen. I can't believe I typed your name wrong! I totally know you and your name! RIDICULOUS on my part. Well I have properly edited in my post, but you may continue to call me Mr. Honky for as long as you like! And I look forward to meeting up with YOU again.

@Engineer Baker. And thank you for reading it. I feel like my posts are so exceedingly long that no one bothers to read them. It means a lot that you did. AND it goes without saying that I'd love to meet YOU! One of these days. One. Of. These.Days…

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Laura October 17, 2010 at 4:14 am

great recap–crazy long wonderful recap-thanks for the advice on thrift stores after the picnic on Sunday!
I'm making those cupcakes for our Waldorf School festival next week, we always try to have allergy awareness in our treats table, so I'm set!

peace-laura

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Brie: Le Grand Fromage October 17, 2010 at 4:22 am

my God. you have officially made me tired and ready for bed after reading this epic post. i'm going to have to return and reread it about a dozen times to comprehend the awesomeness it contains of so many important food bloggers. as soon as i can, i'm going to make it out to the West Coast for these conferences – and to buy your shirt!

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Elise October 17, 2010 at 4:42 am

OMG Irvin, this is the best recap EVER! Epic is right. You've brought all the happy happy joy joy of the weekend back to life for us. Thank you! So great to meet you and hang out with you a bit at the conference and picnic. XOXOXOXO

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Lauren October 17, 2010 at 4:45 am

Irvin, you are such a delight. It was absolutely wonderful to meet you – I only wish we'd had more time :). I love the way you write and how many details you give. Definitely keep doing what you're doing! And completely agree with Jen – you're hilarious! Hope our paths cross again soon.

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michaelprocopio October 17, 2010 at 4:54 am

I am just stating for the record that I was never actually into Scott Baio. I remember us talking about him, but it wasn't coming from a place of love and admiration.

I could never love a man who wore bandanas on his write the way Chachi did. Ever.

That said, you still owe me a pie, gf <– that's girlfriend, not gluten-free.

xoM

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FJK October 17, 2010 at 4:57 am

If this was facebook, I'd been hitting that LIKE button pretty hard. Great post.

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Ben October 17, 2010 at 5:15 am

I really have to make sure I don't have any blog contest homework next time we have one of these, so I can go to all the fun stuff after. Love it. The recap, the pants, the welcome mat at the gay guy table (you guys were definitely more fun than the straight guy table I sat at the next day), but definitely the orange pants.

So sweet of you to mention me in your post. BTW, my listed height is 7'6". And my wife wants to put you in her pocket and eat you for lunch.

Foodbuzz fest?

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Ruth Ann October 17, 2010 at 5:48 am

I love, love, love your recap on BlogHer Food. I met you only briefly but you are a total crack up and I love your style.
I too read your entire blog post and I agree that you shouldn't shorten it. Each delicious morsel of your post is amazing- almost as amazing as those gf goodies that you made for the post-BHF picnic.
I'm glad that you won a golden ticket for BlogHer Food as you and I battled it out by cyber arm wrestling for the gold but in the end we both got to go to this awesome conference.
Keep on posting as you are so Honkylicious.
Ruth Ann (aka @CatchTheBaby, mama to the pre-teen food blogger Charlie from Charlie Bakes)

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Allison Day October 17, 2010 at 6:42 am

Hehe! I'm blushing bright red now. But the question still stands and I'll be watching your blog for the answer… and I'm ridiculously excited that you posted the recipe for those amazing cupcakes, because they were SO good. :D

And as Shauna said, don't cut a word! You have a fantastic style of writing, and I LOVE your recap of the BlogHer Food weekend. :)

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Anna @londonfoodieny October 17, 2010 at 1:42 pm

you crack me up. It's true I would rarely read a post this long all the way to the end but yours are always so thoroughly entertaining, I always do! Wish I could have been there to meet you….next year!

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Kathy - Panini Happy October 17, 2010 at 2:48 pm

What an enjoyable recap! I'm glad I had a chance to say hello to you, if only briefly at a session table. I love your writing and photography (and, oh, those cupcakes!) so I will look forward to following your blog.

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Justin October 17, 2010 at 4:54 pm

this recap is pretty awesome, more of the way i want to remember the conference than some of what else i've read. did i really "back away"? and i'm double-checking that math about straight guys, and i think it was at least 1.6%!

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Maria October 17, 2010 at 6:41 pm

It was nice meeting you. Great recap!

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Serene October 17, 2010 at 6:46 pm

This is a wonderful post, and I concur: Don't change a word.

I had a great time at BlogHer Food, even thought it was kind of overwhelming to be among so many strangers. I was happy to be among the women and the queers, being both things myself. And I think you and your fellow gay mafia members added a lot of panache to the weekend. Thanks!

(My post about the conference, in which I carefully do not mention the official conference food, is at http://www.momfoodproject.com/2010/10/12/blogher-food-wild-rice-salad-and-tossing-things-together/ )

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kickpleat October 17, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Wow, what an amazing time! I've always been not interested in attending a food conference because of all those fears you listed, but your recap has made me think twice. Maybe I'll attend one of these things one day!

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RecipeGirl October 17, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Well, hot damn now I'm pissed that I didn't get to meet you :( Next time, as they say. Loved your recap and observations!

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Dana from One Haute Plate October 17, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Rock it, Boy. Awesome story of a great wknd. I'm sorry I didn't have a chance to meet you and could only drool on myself as I watched you drop the dessert bomb at Sunday's picnic as I was packing up to leave. Well, next time. And I want one of those cupcakes. (Thx for including my link to my Cliffs Notes version of this post.)

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mcs3000 October 17, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Loved, loved this piece!

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Merri October 17, 2010 at 8:57 pm

why is your twitter name jack honky anyway? i love the photos they are so cute. that is a great recap of the conference (which i obv wasnt at). sounds like you had a fun wkend. i would be so 'eek' arriving at a place like that where i knew no one. oh and i like your long blogs. i sometimes tend to write long things myself.

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Mr. Jackhonky October 17, 2010 at 9:50 pm

ACK! This is EXACTLY why I wish Blogger had threaded comments!

@Laura. I'm so glad you found stuff at the thrift store! Tell me how those cupcakes turn out for you!

@Brie. I'm not sure where the next BlogHer Food is going to be, but hopefully I'll be there and maybe meet you! As for my shirt, I got it at Threadless.com but I think it's sold out. Perhaps they'll reprint it.

@Elise. Thank you! I'm so glad to have met you too! I really wrote this post so I would have a way of remember the joy of the weekend! I'm glad you and others could relate.

@Lauren. SO wonderful meeting you! Our paths will cross again. I know they will.

@Michael. I apologize for the mistake, but now that it's in my blog, I'm afraid it's permanent. It's not like I can go back and change my blog or anything after I've hit the publish button.

And yes I owe you a pie.

@FJK. You're wonderful! I love that you're local. We must hang out more.

@Ben. Ah the pitfalls of being so talented that you keep on advancing to the next round! Tell your wife that she can put me in her pocket, but she probably should refrain from eating me for lunch. I'm liable to give her indigestion.

And I'm not worthy to go to Foodbuzz fest (ie. I'm not a ft publisher, nor do I have the money to go). That said, I hope to see some of the people who come into town for post fbf events (that or I'm totally going to sneak in by photocopying a pass – oh wait. Did I say that outloud?).

@RuthAnn. I'm so glad you and Charlie were able to get tickets! Charlie is pretty darn amazing, as is her mom! SO glad to meet you guys!

@Allison. HA! I have a habit of embarrassing people by publicly telling stories of things that they probably prefer if I didn't. You are hereby warned next time you hang out with me.

@Anna. Next year! Definitely! Thank you for plowing through my post!

@Kathy. It was wonderful meeting you, even if it was so briefly! Thank you!

@Justin. I dunno if you did back away or not, but I think I was so distraught that I actually blurted that out (I SO don't do that sort of thing. REALLY.) that I imagined you backing away. Either way, I'm pretty sure I did detect a glimmer of fear in your eyes.

As for the straight guy contingency, it's very possible that it 1.6%. Despite being Asian, math and science are not my strong suit.

@Maria. And it was wonderful meeting you! Thank you!

@Serene. Thank you! I sometimes struggle with posting these long posts, what with everyone telling me that people who read blogs have the attention span of gnats. It's nice to know that people ARE reading it though!

And I've added your post to the list above!

@kickpleat. YOU must! I want to meet you! There are a million fears, but the reality is, you get what you want out of the conference. Definitely some people had not as great experiences as I did, and perhaps because it was my first time, I was viewing it through rose colored glasses, but I had a wonderful time, both in the sessions AND in meeting people.

@RecipeGirl Next Time! There were SO many people there it was pretty much impossible to meet everyone. And thank you for reading the insanely long post!

@Dana. Again Next time! And stay longer! The picnic was awesome. It was just so nice to meet and talk to people in a calm open environment. Not a hallway full of people carrying swag bags and laptops! Next time we meet, I'll totally give you a cupcake.

@mcs300. Thank you!

@Merri. Ah. We should get drinks some time and I'll tell you where jackhonky comes from – though it's not as exciting as it sounds. As for the weekend, it was amazing. I thought I would be "eek" as well going to a conference where I didn't know anyone, but I was lucky that I knew a few people AND everyone I met was super warm and personable.

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make my day October 17, 2010 at 11:27 pm

Oh…Irvin…i'm sitting here reading.. and then reading more and you simply transported me. cheers! it sounds like you had a blast and got exactly the right amount of attention you deserve. I'm sure meeting all those amazingly talented people was inspiring…but I bet they thought the same of you! cheers kari

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Garrett October 18, 2010 at 1:05 am

Wow, what a write-up! Excellent job, Irvin! It was so great to finally meet you!

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Jun Belen October 18, 2010 at 1:11 am

Lovely post!! It was great to finally meet you, Irvin!!

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Kristen October 18, 2010 at 1:18 am

This has to be the most comprehensive, amazing conference wrap up ever. Wow!
It was great meeting you. Sorry I kept calling you Jack!

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wenderly October 18, 2010 at 1:19 am

WOW. I'm speechless, which doesn't happen often. Such a great recap! So disappointed that I didn't meet you in real life. Hope to next time!

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Mr. Jackhonky October 18, 2010 at 6:07 am

@make my day. Yay! I kinda wondered if people who HADN'T actually attended the conference would get anything out of this post, but I'm glad you enjoyed it. And you're right, meeting all these incredibly talented people was just super inspiring!

@Garrett. It was great meeting you too! Next time I'm in Sacramento, I'll holla and you can show AJ and I the sites! All three of them!

@Jun. It was great to finally meet you too! I'm sure I'll be bumping into you more now that we've met. It's what happens here in SF…

@Kristen. Thank you! It was so wonderful meeting you too! And no worries about calling me Jack. People do it all the time.

@Wenderly. LOL! I love that I rendered you speechless. I'm sorry we didn't meet in real life, but next time!

@Gaby. OMG! Thank you! It was AWESOME to meet you too!!!!

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Gaby @ What's Gaby Cooking October 18, 2010 at 3:19 am

OMG SERIOUSLY. BEST RECAP EVER!!!!! I don't think anyone will ever be able to top such a fabulous blogherfood post! So so so great to meet you last weekend :)

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The Diva on a Diet October 18, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Best. Recap. Ever! So sorry I didn't have the chance to meet you at BHF, but I'm eternally grateful for your wonderful list of recap links. Wow, comprehensive! Here's hoping we'll meet next year.

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Annie October 18, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Geezum. Way long post, but so fun. I'm so sad I wasn't able to be at the conference, but it's great to read about it second hand here. Thanks!

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omgyummy October 18, 2010 at 6:23 pm

This is a great recap – so full of personality and interesting perspectives on the conference. We met, I think through Anneliesz (hope her wedding went well on Saturday) but only briefly. I love the "about" section on your blog explaining why you named it "Eat the Love". I wrote a second post-conference piece about my epiphany at the conference of why my mom and her sisters/brothers didn't learn to cook my bubbe's fabulous food – especially her baked goods. I think my grandma would have loved you! Hope we get a chance to get to know each other better at the next gathering.

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Rachel October 18, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Makes me even more sad that I couldn't attend! :-(

LOVE that pic of Matt.

your pictures are fabulous and the picture of you and AJ, <3 LOVE

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Alison St. Sure October 19, 2010 at 5:34 am

Irvin,
This was so fun to read… I met you with Annelies. You are very charming, indeed, and wow — the desserts you make look amazing! Hope to see you around the Bay Area one of these days!

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shauna October 19, 2010 at 5:49 am

yep. pretty much I'm in love with you.

And Danny (who was one of the 1.6% of straight men there) understands.

Who couldn't love you?

And those desserts. Damn, man. You are amazing.

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Mr. Jackhonky October 19, 2010 at 9:34 am

@The Diva on a Diet. First I LOVE your name. Second. Thank you! Third. I really tried to make a comprehensive list. It took awhile, but it's just so fascinating to see other people's perspectives on the conference. Most people loved it, but a few really didn't and it's so interesting to get their perspective (which I totally get, I think because it was my first one and I'm a relative newbie, I saw everything through rose colored glasses).

@Annie. Yeah. I know SUPER LONG. I tried to edit it down, but every time I ended up adding three more sentences. So I just gave up.

@omgyummy. I think we DID meet briefly, and I was totally going to go to the dinner at Zare on Thursday night, but ended up last minute going to the Chocolate adventure instead. And reading your wonderful post about your grandma, I think I would have loved her too. I hope to hang out more with you as well!

@Rachel. Next time! I'd love to meet you! Yes, that photo of Matt is awesome isn't it? I ADORE IT! But then I adore Matt. And yes, AJ is super cute in the picture isn't he?

@Alison. Thank you so much! I hope to see you as well! I've only just started to meet and hang out with other food bloggers here in SF. I'd love to get together more….

@shauna. Words cannot express how much I LOVE you! (and Danny too! And Lucy! Adorable sweet LU! I love you all). I'm, so glad we FINALLY met in person. Thank you so much for just being you! And reading my super long posts and generally being incredible. I'll bake for you anytime.

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Lael Hazan October 19, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Your post creates the exact breathless feeling I had at the whirlwind that was BlogHer Food! What an amazing weekend, you put it in the perfect perspective and I'm glad I'll have a chance to try the cupcakes!
I'm looking forward to reading a future blog on the pie you get to make.
Great fun with great people.
BTW, didn't the spin off last longer than the original?

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Mr. Jackhonky October 20, 2010 at 6:41 am

@Lael. I'm so glad that through happenstance I accidentally tweeted you…which in turn, meant I got to meet you a BlogHer Food! Yay!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and reading my rambling and trying the cupcake! The weekend was amazing.

And yes, The Facts of Life lasted one more season than Diff'rent Strokes…PLUS it had a number of "reunion" shows. It'skinda sad that I know that.

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Megan Gordon October 23, 2010 at 4:46 am

Dear god. I think it just took me a good half an hour to read your fabulous post :) And I loved it–feel just like I was there in person now. Sure does sound like a fabulous weekend. Love the picture of Elise + Penny cracking up at the bottom. Very sweet.

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Melissa @ The Fresh 20 October 24, 2010 at 3:49 am

Like ships passing in the night, you were the last person I "met" at the conference. Right after winning my Le Creuset and before my trip to SFO. Your post has me smiling! Tweet me up when you come to LA. We can eat our way thru desserts! Can I call you Mr. Honky? I've always wanted to know someone with that name…

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Mr. Jackhonky October 26, 2010 at 4:11 pm

@Megan. We'll I'm glad you read the whole thing. It's a long one! And it was FABULOUS to finally meet you in person! Yay! And yes, that photo of Penny, Elise and Shauna is one of my favorites from the weekend!

@Melissa. I KNOW! I love that I was meeting new people all the way up to the very end of the conference! Yay! Congrats on the Le Creuset win! I will definitely let you know if I'm down in LA and have a spare moment. I would LOVE to eat our way through desserts! That sounds excellent. And yes, you can call me Mr. Honky!

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Dianasaur Dishes October 28, 2010 at 3:59 am

I'm so glad you heeded Shauna's advice, I too read the whole post, it was a great recap! It was wonderful to meet you although I'm so bummed we didn't really get to talk. I was a little confused when me met cause I was thinking "I thought his name was Jack." But I've explored your blog and LOVE it! Congrats on finding your tribe and look forward to keeping in touch.

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Mr. Jackhonky October 29, 2010 at 12:44 am

@Dianasaur Dishes. Thank you! I'm totally bummed we didn't talk that much either, but at least we got to meet. The whole weekend was a blur of meeting person after person! I'm STILL going through all my business cards and checking out everyone' blogs. And, yes, everyone thinks my name is Jack, no big deal. But I'm glad you like my blog! I look forward to keeping in touch too!

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marla February 8, 2011 at 6:15 am

We did not get to meet back in October – are you heading out to Atlanta in May? I’ll be there ;) Would love to connect….

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Irvin February 8, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Oh, I’m sorry we didn’t have a chance to meet!

I’m hoping that I can make it to Atlanta, but not quite sure if I can. Still trying to figure out my schedule (and my finances) for it. I hope so though! Had a great time at the last one (as this blog post shows).

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Sarah January 8, 2013 at 11:09 am

You’ve really captured the energy of Blogherfood. It was awhile ago, but it’s still great reading! Great shots too.

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