IACP in Denver, Round II

Officially, Thursday marks the opening of the conference. IACP presents about 60 panels on varying subjects each year. This year, I had pitched and organized about nine of them. One focused on digital food photography, squarely aimed at bloggers. Fellow IACP member and photographer Steve Adams took that and ran with it for a great session.

Two of them included hands-on blogging sessions led by me and Maggie. The turned out to be true teaching sessions that made me realize that we are offering panels regarding online marketing, yet a few members aren’t sure how to put a URL in an address bar. Each started a blog, then added text, a photo and links. When one woman hit publish, she tested her link and then put her hands up in victory, shouting “I made a link! I can blog!” It was one of those great, light bulb moments. I can do it. It reminded me of the first time that I successfully made puff pastry…

Last night, we somehow got tagged into following local restaurateur Jesse Morreale on a tour of his businesses. The first one, Sketch, is a chic, understated wine bar with perfectly aged cheeses, thin-sliced salumi and a delicate, yet decadent foie gras platter. It’s the kind of place that I might open up someday.

The second, Mezcal, is a homey Mexican joint that specializes in the hard-core Mexican liquor mezcal and dazzling tacos. At some point, the evening devolved. I think it was around the point when the owner Jesse Morreale insisted that we try the house margaritas and straight mezcal at the same time. We finished off the evening in a dark, dank dive bar, replete with beer in cans and drunks loudly trashing karaoke standards such as “Love Shack.” We stumbled home around 1:30 a.m.
Cue my headache this morning. I dragged my sad, mezcal-laden self out of bed, dressed up and headed back to the Sheraton for another round of sessions in the morning. Two of mine were up head-to-head. The first was “Pitch-o-rama” led by Joe Yonan, the food editor at The Washington Post (and my new crush), Nancy Hopkins from Better Homes & Gardens, Kristine Kidd from Bon Appetit and Martha Holmberg of The Oregonian. The other was “From Blog to Business,” an awesome panel featuring Heidi Swanson from 101 Cookbooks, Jory des Jardin from Blogher.com and my pal Julie Brosterman from Women & Wine.

By the afternoon’s Cookbook Expo, I was ready to sign books. Curiously, the Expo isn’t a big public event. In theory, the public can buy tickets to the Culinary Showcase, a sort of mini trade show for IACP sponsors, and thus gain entry to the Expo, but that doesn’t really happen much. As a result, the traffic at the Expo was disappointing, even if I did get to hang out with Virginia Willis, author of the beautiful Bon Appetit Y’all, one of my favorite new books. I’ve decided that we have to overhaul this whole thing to make it a better experience for the authors next year in Portland. I’m going to propose that we craft it after Tom Douglas’ hugely popular “Cookbook Socials” that he holds each Christmas, and open it up to the public, as well as IACP members. Any thoughts, let me know.
Cut to evening. Dragging as we left the Sheraton, Maggie, Lisa and I opted to head back to the apartment we’re sharing. None of us was hungry, all of us were exhausted. Maggie sneaked off to get a bottle of champagne to celebrate Lisa’s birthday. So we put on jammies, toasted her with bubbles, munched on great olives and watched “Catch Me If You Can” on cable. Not glamorous, but still a great Friday night.

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Filed under books, cool food events, Denver, food writing, iacp, restaurants

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