5 Things: BlogHer Food in Miami, FL
Just one shore week ago I was in Miami for the annual BlogHer Food Conference. I have to admit that I wasn’t really all that excited about Miami. Nothing against Florida, but Miami has just never been at the top of my “to-visit” list.
However, Miami sort of knocked my socks off. We had plenty of fun running around in Miami so I’ll share a little with you: 10 things I loved about Miami.
1. My friends.
First of all, I have some amazing friends in this business we call blogging. I never ever imagined that I would meet such amazing women (and men!) and develop such great friendships. Erin & I roomed together and we ran around with Megan, Meagan, Katie, Lauren, Annalise, Heidi, Liz, Sheila, Nikki, Amanda, and Katrina and others, of course. I can say, without a doubt, that the conference experience would not be the same at all without sharing it with these ladies.
In addition to old friends whom I completely adore, I met some new friends like Deborah, Aggie, Mary, Meseidy, Erin, Liz, Shaina, and MANY more. I feel so bad even listing a few because I know I am missing so many. All of this to say that I think my favorite thing about going to a conference is getting to meet (and hug) people whom I’ve talked with over social media for years. Nothing better that a few minutes of face-to-face after a few years of knowing someone only from behind a screen!
2. The beach. (Is this a no-brainer?)
So we didn’t get to spend as much time at the beach as I had hoped. The weather was actually touch-and-go and somewhat rainy for the first couple of days so that hindered our beach-going but it was one of the first things we did after having an amazing breakfast on Thursday. We got to get our toes in the sand and let the waves rush up on to our feet and it was SO refreshing. Just staring out into the ocean makes you realize just how small you are!
3. The food. (Again, probably a no-brainer.)
Ok, this one could get lengthy. Let me just say that the food was outstanding. A few places which I absolutely loved:
The Front Porch – the hotel concierge recommended this place to us on Thursday morning so we grabbed a cab and headed to South Beach and it did not disappoint. The concierge told us this was his favorite breakfast location and I’m pretty sure each of us would go back – migas, breakfast tacos, green eggs, crab cakes eggs benedict and good coffee. What else do you need to kick off your time in Miami?
Yardbird – On Friday we decided to sneak away from the conference hotel and head out for a lunch of our own. So we headed to YardBird. It’s essentially been voted best-everything in Miami and the first cocktail listed is a Bourbon Blackberry Lemonade so why would you NOT go there? Their style is southern so you see mac & cheese, fried chicken, waffles and biscuits on the menu. The BEST biscuits. Like, melt in your mouth!
I had chicken & waffles. The chicken was so tender and the breading was really flavorful, but not too thick, served with pepper jelly that was just sweet enough, and homemade pickles which I could have made a meal of. And don’t let me get started on the lemonade. I’ll be recreating it, for sure. Just look at that amazing color!
Havana 1957 – An adorable culture-filled Cuban cafe. All open-air and in the middle one of the coolest streets on Miami Beach – Espanola Way. People were ALL over. We sat down and they brought a bucket of crispy and salty fried plantain chips. You guys – I’m totally sold on plantains now!
I ate Lechon Asado which was slow-roasted pork, Cuban style. It was served with some of the best rice I’ve ever eaten, along with yuca which I adored! I also had the Ultimate Mojito which was served full of mint along with sugar cane. It was incredible!
Truth be told, we came across this place totally & completely by accident. We were looking for a snack and a glass of wine after the conference closing party and we were able to walk to this restaurant from the hotel so we gave it a shot. It was evident pretty quickly that we made a good choice. The chef & server were the-real-deal Italian…talked with their hands and everything. It was the best!
They brought us a huge antipasto tray with meats, cheeses, peppers, olives, flatbread, etc. I would love another one of those right now. We share some wine and some pizza and they graciously offered us dessert, which of course, we could not pass up. So we devoured a slice of homemade tiramisu that honestly could not be beat. I want to go back to Miami just for another slice!
I just loved these guys!
4. The views & culture.
All.Over.Town. The views are to-die-for. Amanda & Jenny hosted a couple of gatherings in their 51-st floor condo overlooking Miami. Holy cow…the view made my feet thingle!
The culture of Miami totally surprised me. Miami surprised me in general but the culture definitely stuck out. The architecture, the art and the little things that caught my eye.
It was a great people-watching city and totally fun to just walk around and take it all in, especially on South Beach!
Erin & I took a couple of long morning walks and I loved the views we got to catch! Even from our hotel room, on cloudy days, the view was incredible.
Networking with other bloggers and with brands is always a plus. Networking is really never a waste of time, right? I met up with a few brands that I really loved. Wisconsin Cheese stuck out to me as a top-notch sponsor. They hosted a wine & cheese pairing on Friday night that was so incredible. The location provided outstanding views; the food they served was outstanding; the pairing was not only delicious (both the wine & cheese) but it was relaxed and actually informative without being pushy.
I also enjoyed meeting the folks from Visit South Walton, Stonyfield, Kerrygold, Applegate Farms, and Aldi. And again, I’m sure I’m missing a few here.
Bonus! 90’s Elevator Dance Parties. Because I can’t help but share this one.
I mentioned last week that when I decided to go to BHF, every time I thought about Miami, I started singing Will Smith’s song from the 90’s. That prompted me to make a, if I do say so myself, pretty stellar 90’s playlist which sort-of became our ongoing anthem for the whole weekend. Now there are several of my favorite 90’s tunes that, when I hear them, I’ll forever be reminded of my laughs in Miami.
I should mention that we didn’t just listen to the playlist, we had a few dance parties, a few of which occurred in the hotel elevators. This could possibly be my favorite memory from the trip. Thinking back I can’t remember why we started dancing in the elevator. All I know is that we did and I will never ever regret it.
I know that reading this, it’s going to sound like all we did was party and eat and drink. We did our fair share, but we also learned some things too.
I attended a lightening session on monetization, a keynote about Pinterest, panel discussions on “next steps in a food career”, and a couple of kitchen demos, one particularly on the Flavors of Miami which I loved. I love experiencing local culture and flavors and it was so great to get to watch and taste some local flavors.
Thanks again to Kernel Season’s for sponsoring my trip to BlogHer Food this year. And thank you for supporting the brands who support Bake Your Day!