So I have officially started my career as an event blogger. Ok, well maybe not career (if only!), but definitely a new hobby that I plan on continuing. And y’all, I had SUCH a good time. I met so many amazing people, made a ton of great connections, and tried a bunch of delicious Kathleen-friendly food (of course). I hope you guys are prepared for a lot of info because I have a LOT to talk about. You should have heard me on the phone right after getting home, I’m pretty sure I talked for 30 minutes straight ha. So bear with me.
First of all, I am so so so grateful to Nikki Everett for coordinating the event and for inviting me to be on the blogger team! This was the first time I’ve been an event blogger, and the second time I’ve been to a food allergy event like this (the first one was FACCWDW back in November) so I wasn’t sure what to expect. There were so many people, and being a spectator was definitely a lot different from working at a booth! I was there for the entire event, so I was able to get to every booth I wanted to see, but man did it get crowded! Full disclaimer: I was super nervous because I’m kind of shy and sometimes its hard for me to open up and talk to new people and “sell myself,” if you will. But that just made the whole thing a really good learning experience for me. And now I know what to expect for the next one of these I go to (hopefully the GFAF Expo in Atlanta next month!).
Also, after writing out the review and having it basically be a novel, I’ve decided to split this up into several posts for your convenience haha. This first one is all about the delicious blogger dinner I attended the night before the event!
Since I was on the blogger team, I was invited to a fancy dinner at The King’s Kitchen the night before. We all met at the hotel and carpooled over to the restaurant. Luckily, my friend Tarah (from Allergic Traveler) was there, so I had one familiar face! Before leaving, I was able to meet Nikki in person (finally!) and a bunch of other bloggers and vendors. Mary from Homemade Gluten Free Meals and I bonded over our mutual shortness and corn allergies – always a plus. Sarah and Missy from Thrive Bites were at their first event too, so it was nice to be in the same boat, and Kristina told me about her experience with the modified autoimmune protocol, which was really interesting to hear because not too many people are aware of the alternative, holistic approaches to healing that are out there. Also, a couple of people came up to me and told me that they’ve heard a lot of great things about me and what I’m doing at NC State – what?!?! That was so surreal – I couldn’t believe it!!
The great thing about people in the food allergy community is that no health topic is ever frowned upon. Like, ever. I’m a biology major, so explicit details regarding digestion and stuff never bothered me, so it was awesome to be around other people like that who didn’t just give me a weird look. My people! It was great. And our dinner conversations had me cracking up (did you know that there’s such a thing as ingesting hookworms to help with food allergy symptoms?!?! Who knew?!) And everyone was pulling out their phones and taking pictures of their food and other people’s food. I was with my own kind. I loved it. We’re all weird. It’s great.
Oh and don’t get me started on the food! Wow was it fantastic. We had our own little corner for the 20 of us, complete with our own special menu that had gluten and dairy free options for 3 courses. We started out with appetizers, which were housemade black bean hummus with vegetables, and pork rilletes. OMG those pork rilletes were life. They were basically just pulled pork on top of a roasted sweet potato coin – two of my favorite foods in one. Love. I had two.
Due to my larger number of allergies (another thing Mary and I bonded over), I had a modified version of one of the meals: blackened salmon, brussels and bacon, and sautéed cabbage. Another delicious meal. I mean, add brussels and bacon to anything and you’ve pretty much got me hooked. For dessert, Mary made these amazing samoa sheet cake brownies that were 100% Kathleen safe, so that was dessert #1. And then,the waiter brought out housemade ice cream and sorbet for the table. I had the raspberry sorbet, which was pretty good, and I tried my friend’s pear sorbet which was SUPER good. All in all, the meal was fantastic and I had a great time getting to know everyone. What a great perk to being part of the team! 🙂
Stay tuned for my next review of some of the vendors from the event!