I recently returned from the 2022 International Food Bloggers Conference in El Paso, Texas with the Elite Sponsor – Visit El Paso. What a fabulous time with lots of variety and lots of food. The IFBC is my favorite food blogging conference. Not only do they move it to a new location every year but they have the best food! And they do pre and post excursions! Not only did we get to visit El Paso but also Juárez, Mexico and Las Cruces, New Mexico. Huge shout out to the wonderful people at Zephyr Conference and Visit El Paso who worked hard to make this all happen. In particular – Sarah Wohlner, Victoria Castro, Emi Diaz, and Trinity Smith. I had the pleasure of spending time with all of them.
So what do food bloggers do when at a food blogging conference? Well we eat great food of course and take pictures of food before we eat it. This scene cracked me up when we were at La Posta – everyone taking pictures of their food. I said to myself, “These are my people!”
Actually we do other things besides eat and take pictures – learn about new products such as Cooking Pal and Cooksy for our readers, learn about new technology such as Ecamm Live and best practices for food blogging.
Ecamm Live – You’ll be seeing me on Facebook lives more often with their sophisticated and streamlined service as soon as I learn how to do it!
Multo by Cooking Pal is an intelligent cooking system. I had a chance to meet with Anna Khomenko – the head of marketing for their company. You’ll hear more about her great product in posts to come.
This year I finally decided to get back into the game and did a small presentation on the value of self publishing. It’s been a super long time since I presented. The stroke from an accident I had in 2014, caused me to lose confidence when doing public speaking – as my words get jumbled when I’m nervous and I say the exact opposite of what I mean. This conference gave me the perfect opportunity to test things out and I’m back and ready to speak again!
I stayed at the Hotel Paso del Norte . It’s such a grand hotel – built in 1912. Such history and such splendor. From the stained glass windows to the elegant dome over the bar and piano. During the 1914 Mexican Revolution, it was popular to watch firefights between the revolutionaries and the Mexican Army from the terraces on the roof of the hotel.
The staff at the hotel is so friendly and accomodating. I’ll definitely stay here again. Their 1700° Steakhouse is fabulous too. And the price for one night’s stay is phenomenal for a hotel of this stature.
I visited Dannah Lane – a boutique shop inside the hotel. It’s loaded with treasures and unique items including their dressing room which is a teepee in the middle of the shop. Alicia the manager is very friendly and accommodating. We had such a nice time chatting. She’s such a kind person. I bought some of their designer mules and she gave her commision to one of her coworkers in need. What a sweet woman! There is kindness everywhere. Especially in Texas!
Visit El Paso created a very unique experience for us on our first night. We took street cars to the border, then crossed over to Ciudad Juárez and did a walking tour.
El Paso and Juárez are separated by the Rio Grande. Many people cross over the bridge and across the border each day to work, visit family, eat at restaurants, and shop. This is a mural in El Segundo Barrio, a historic neighborhood in El Paso titled “Sister Cities/Ciudades Hermanas”. It exemplifies the relationship between the two cities by depicting two women back to back with their hair braided together.
On our walking tour we visited the world famous Kentucky Club and Grill. During prohibition in 1920, a Kentucky distillery opened up their own club in Juárez (as close to home as they legally could) which was two blocks south of the U.S./Mexico border, a short walk from El Paso. The ornate wooden back bar came from France.
The Kentucky Club and Grill claims fame to the birthplace of the original margarita. Lorenzo Hernandez created the drink for his girl friend – Margarita.
On Friday night, once again the fabulous folks at Visit El Paso put on a wonderful food extravaganza called the Taste of El Paso. There were so many great dishes and drinks to try. I didn’t even get to try half of them! Some of the restaurants that participated were: Birria Culiacan, Craze, Lick It Up, Old Sheepdog Brewery, Toltec Tiki Room, Wine Attitude, Tacos Chinampa, Juicery Plus, Ke’ Flauta, So El Paso, Three Missions Brewery and Big Boy Concessions. Pictured are my fellow bloggers: Elizabeth Smith, Mike Vrobel and Deanna Kang.
On Saturday night we were offered a choice to visit one of a few special restaurants in the area. I chose Flor de Nago in Juarez, Mexico. The food was to die for! Chef Oscar planned a special 6 course meal for us and even joined us for a bit. I was honored to be with Veronica Castro from Destination El Paso and famous Tiktokers and food bloggers for the night. Thanks for all of your tips everyone!
@ice.karimcooks @victoriatschoppp, @chilipepercooks
@patrickzeinali and Mike Vrobel from Dad Cooks Dinner
On Monday we did a post tour excursion to Las Cruces, New Mexico. This salad – Avocado Chile-Lime Quinoa Bowl from Farmesilla was one of my favorite dishes on the trip. I’ll be recreating it soon for you!
Mexican for breakfast! My favorite!!! Huevos rancheros at Hotel Paso del Norte in El Paso . I had it 3 days in a row. Yes, it’s that good! Of course I couldn’t even eat it all, just a small portion. My weight loss coach, Cookie Rosenblum would be proud of me.
I ended my fabulous trip with a special lunch at 1700° restaurant inside the Hotel Paso del Norte with the ladies from Visit El Paso – Emi Diaz and Trinity Smith. I just had to try the famous steak. It was highly recommended and it was great. I wanted to treat the girls for all they did for the IFBC bloggers but they treated me! I’ll be back to El Paso soon. It really is a destination, so much to do and see, especially with the combination of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Next time I’m driving so I can spend more time. But I have to get back to healthy eating for a while, otherwise I’ll have to change the name of my blog to Gourmet Done Chunky!