Day 3 of NaBloPoMo- Today I woke up at the crack of dawn to head down to Philadelphia to attend a launch party for next year’s Eat, Write, Retreat conference. EWR is one of the best food blogging conferences I’ve attended. It’s small(ish) and much more intimate than the larger ones. The panels are very informative and the speakers are all top notch. Because it’s on the smaller side you have an opportunity to meet so many more people that you share a common bond with and you really get to spend quality time getting to know them. Not only is this a great way to build your community, it’s also an excellent way to mingle with the sponsor brands, as they are also “taking the conference” and are participating as guests the entire time as well. This gives you the chance to meet with brands you wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to develop a relationship with. Building your community and improving your relationships is a large part of what blogging is all about.
So, as much as I wanted to sleep in today, I wanted to head to Philly to see some of the friends I made last year, even more!
Thankfully, even with today being Marathon Sunday in NYC and leaving an hour late (I did not want to get up!), I made it there in just two hours and I didn’t miss a thing! I was sure I was going to miss half of it! So glad I didn’t!
The event was held at Williams Sonoma, a very dangerous place for me- I could always find several items that I need, have to have want to buy. It was good we had the event to distract me- even though I did pick up a catalog devoted to Thanksgiving…my favorite food holiday! (My menu is already planned and I’ve earmarked pages of products!) And I did discover an OXO hand mandoline that I would like to own.
The store itself is one of many right inside the lovely Bellevue Hotel on South Broad Street in the heart of what I’d call Midtown. (Can you tell I am from NY?). It’s really an interesting neighborhood- a mix of historical and modern eclectic buildings just South of City Hall. I’d love to have some more time to explore there and hope to go back when the weather gets warmer again.
Once we were registered we watched a cooking demo given by Linda from Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps for some tasty toppings for Pretzel Crisps. We also got a sneak peek at two new flavors- Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper and Honey Mustard & Onion.
The owners of Philly’s grilled cheese truck, Say Cheese, served up some gooey, delicious Jarlsberg grilled cheese sandwiches. There was also a flatbread pizza demo and choices of Nespresso with a dessert table from South Avenue Sweets. Needless to say, we ate pretty well!
Sadly it was a quick two hours and was over before I knew it! It was really a lot of fun and great to catch up in person with everyone- and meet some new faces. I am already looking forward to the conference next year.
While I was at the event, Ari and the kids went to Independence Hall and took in some history. They had a good time, but were cold and hungry by the time we met back up. I had been given some really interesting ideas for lunch spots, but no sooner did we drive half a block when Max Brenner’s was spotted. So, putting those recommendations aside for another time, we stopped in for chocolate filled lunch extravaganza.
What a place! I know there is one here in NY, but we have never been. The only taste of Max Brenner we have ever had was at their ice cream store in Jerusalem, Israel. It was so good there we knew this would be too.
Little did we know! This was so much better! If you are a chocolate lover, this place would be like walking into heaven. So many chocolate themed dishes and desserts! The strong scent of chocolate permeates the air and all around you are examples of the sweetness. It was a purely decadent experience!
See for yourself-
Hot Chocolate in a Hug Mug! Love this hand warming, dark chocolate drink!
Black & Tan Beer-Battered Vidalia Onion Rings with dark chocolate ranch dressing- so unique and good!
Plus a serving of Spicy White Corn Coquettes.
A Philly Cheesesteak on a Savory Waffle- Might be better than the real thing!
“Melting Marshmallow Crepe with gummy bears from the Sweet Forest, milk chocolate canyon chunks,a mountain of vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate falls” Wow, colorful and fun!
“The Melting Chocolate Truﬄe Heart Cake & Shake-milk & white chocolate heart cake served with creamy vanilla ice cream, red berries and an iced milk chocolate shot”
And the best-
“The First Chocolate Burger in the whole universe with strawberry ketchup and vanilla cream mustard”
This was such a brilliant idea!
And a chocolate chunk cookie… a cookie presentation. Amazing!
All in all it was a really fun day. The best part? Everyone is snoring away at 9pm. Except me of course. I may just creep down to the fridge to have a fork full of leftovers.