BlogHer Food Austin 2016

Top 10 Lessons from BlogHer Food 2016

BlogHer Food Austin 2016

I was invited to attend the BlogHerFood16 conference this year, as it happened to be in Austin… and I’m so glad I did! There were many, very obvious reasons why the event appealed to me – networking with awesome food bloggers from around the country, delicious meals and samples from sponsors, tons of hot tips on social media strategy and photography, and possibly most importantly… inspiration!

So many keynotes, demonstrations, and sessions I went to were chalk full of insights from some of the food blogging community’s top bloggers, plus celebrity chefs, experienced content creators, authors, and more. Every person who spoke imparted wonderful nuggets of wisdom, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites here! Some of these pointers are things I’ve never thought about before, and others reinforced my confidence in writing and beliefs in creativity and staying true to yourself. Gotta love it!

Just look at this room packed with amazing female writers… and look at these pumpkin spice latte cheesecake cupcakes:


Blogher cupcakes


SO! Here are the top ten pieces of advice I loved the most from my two days at BlogHerFood16:


  1. Almost anyone can become your new audience. You can connect with a reader as a person, even if they’re not particularly obsessed with food. Speak from the heart and tell a story, good content is good content and people will respond to it.
  2. Don’t be afraid to experiment with narrative format!
  3. Share your weirdness! Write about offbeat trends, novelty items, experimenting with new flavors, original experiences that many people haven’t tried.
  4. We’re all unique and we all have our own history. You don’t have to struggle to be “creative” to come up with a crazy idea from nothing. Use yourself and your own experiences and build upon them to make something new.
  5. To find inspiration, start thinking more creatively about STUFF. Follow more stuff that isn’t food, drinks, restaurants. Get outside your own world.
  6. There is plenty of room on the internet for niche expertise and advice. Once you stake your claim as a blogger and put it out there online for everyone to see (“I know everything about chocolate cupcakes!”), it pushes you harder. Take advantage of external and internal pressure to make your writing great.
  7. Everything you say should be true, but you don’t need to say EVERYthing that’s true. aka: don’t write something purely to offend, shock, hurt, or annoy. Even if it’s truly how you feel.
  8. Blogging and content creating is a practice. Some days you might have to “fake it til you make it” and start writing even if you don’t feel like it. You never know what that rough draft can turn into.
  9. And, something we all probably know by now, but important to keep in mind if you want to make money off this ol’ food blogging thing: bloggers who have highest reach and most appeal to outside businesses treat their blog like a full time job. And it’s okay if you just want to keep writing or blogging as a hobby! But if you want to make serious money or get serious recognition, you need to take it as seriously as any other job.
  10. That being said: approach your food blogging authentically, not just with a goal of getting a ton of traffic. Find your true voice and share your story to connect with the audience who says “I like this person and their story speaks to me.” They’re out there!


Interested in more? Check out the “News” section of the BlogHer conference site for recaps and links to specific tips and tools. BlogHerFood17 is going to take place in sunny Orlando, Florida… so if you’re interested in immersing yourself in a weekend of inspiration, tips, advice, awesome networking opportunities, and lots & lots of FOOD… mark your calendars now.

Green Belt Cocktail

Cocktail O’ Clock: The Green Belt

Green Belt CocktailIf there’s one thing Austin likes to do in the summertime, it’s DRINK. When you’re dealing with hot-ass 100 degree sun on a daily basis, what else can you do?! Luckily alcohol brands realize our dire need for a cold cocktail, and there’s lots of fun, booze-focused festivities here on a pretty regular basis.

Take New Amsterdam Vodka, for example. They’re hosting the It’s Your Town party this Saturday, focusing on street art plus vodka (two things I can totally get behind). New Amsterdam Vodka says, “we’ve partnered with local street artist Bradford Maxfield to create seven original pieces of work for It’s Your Town, including a larger-than-life mural inspired by the nightlife and music scene of the city.”

I’m into it!

New Amsterdam Vodka was nice enough to share one of their Austin-focused signature cocktails with us. If you don’t live in the Austin area or can’t find Juiceland or Topo Chico near you… feel free to substitute with your favorite cold-pressed green juice blend and favorite sparkling water (La Croix, anyone?). It won’t be quite as Austin-y, but I guarantee it will still be delicious.

The Green Belt

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artists lament from the townsend

Cocktail O’ Clock: The Artist’s Lament

artists lament from the townsend

Every Spring, Austin hosts the  Moontower Comedy & Oddity Fest, a festival all about – you guessed it – comedy. This year, Moontower features comedians like Martin Short, David Cross, Leslie Jones, Maya Rudolph, Janeane Garofolo, and more… and it’s happening this very weekend! In honor of the event, Justin Elliott, the Director of Hospitality and Bar Program Creator at popular downtown cocktail bar The Townsend has created a special drink, only available Thursday (4/21) through Saturday (4/23). It’s called the Artist’s Lament ($8) and it’s available at the bar, which is hosting a number of Moontower shows.

This drink is only on the menu during Moontower, and The Townsend will be a popular spot during the festival for comedy shows and, of course, drinks. If you’re not in Austin for the fest this weekend, no worries! We got the secret recipe to make this complex and bitter cocktail at home.

What Justin says about this drink: “Loosely based on the classic ‘Artist’s Special’ I present – in honor of the miserable lot that we all know comedians to be – the ‘Artist’s Lament.’ Basically it has a lot of the tasting notes of an Artist’s Special but it’s way more bitter and it’s definitely smoking about a pack a day.”

Sounds good to us! Bottoms up to the weekend, let’s laugh and lament.


The Artist’s Lament

1 oz Dolin Vermouth Dry
1 oz Bigallet Amer China-China
.5 oz (1:1) Simple Syrup
.75 oz Lemon Juice
.25 oz Port Charlotte Islay Scotch Whisky

Swizzle together with crushed ice and garnish with a mint sprig.

Blenders and Bowls Pitaya Bowl

Photo of the Day: Neon Pink Pitaya Happiness

Blenders and Bowls Pitaya Bowl

Neon colors aren’t often found in natural foods, but get a load of this bowl! I’ve recently become enamored with pitaya (aka dragon fruit), the sweet, tropical cactus fruit with a bright pinky-red flesh. Its creamy pulp is becoming a popular addition to smoothies and bowls these days, and I encountered an especially tasty version at Blenders and Bowls here in Austin.

This is the funfetti bowl (so obviously I had to try it, since anything funfetti is heaven in my book). It has pitaya, pineapple, banana, vanilla protein powder and vanilla almond milk. Then it’s topped with hemp granola, banana, goji berries, bee pollen, local honey, & edible flowers. It was incredibly flavorful and full of texture – cold, creamy, chewy, crunchy. I wouldn’t say it tastes exactly like funfetti cake, but still delicious (and, come on, way more nutritious). Literally one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever eaten. And let’s talk about how people are putting smoothies in bowls now… it doesn’t completely make sense to me, but it does make for more opportunities to create a gorgeous presentation.

Anyway, you guys, this is why I’ve given up on making smoothies at home. Kind of lazy of me, but let’s be real. When I can spend like $8 at a specialty cafe and get this glorious bowl, why would I try to source my own exotic superfoods and edible flowers to make this myself? Some things are better left to the pros, and I think this neon tropical bowl is one of them.

Guinness IPA

Guinness Makes an IPA! We Approve.

Guinness IPA

About a month ago, I received a very intriguing email from my friends at Guinness. They invited me to a beer dinner at the ultra-delicious Fixe here in Austin… a beer dinner featuring their brand new boozy offering, an IPA. Yes, an IPA from Guinness! And I promise this isn’t a joke, unlike our Guinness Crystal April Fools post of yore.

Obviously I accepted this beer dinner invite, and I’m happy to report that I was able to try lots (…and lots…) of the new Guinness IPA during that feast. Guinness IPA retains a bit of the hoppy nose and a tinge of that pleasantly bitter flavor you’d expect from an IPA, but also boasts the signature smoothness that Guinness is known and loved for – thanks to the nitro. Mmm, nitro.

But seriously, this beer is good for people who enjoy an IPA and also people who complain that they don’t like IPA. It’s an equal-opportunity beer that is almost dangerously easy to sip. Perfect for pairing with your fall cooking. And probably the only IPA I would ever call “creamy.” If you’re a total hop-head you might not be in love, but for everyone else, it’s a welcome addition to the Guinness line.

Right now, Guinness IPA is only availably in the USA, not Ireland (where Guinness is made, duh). So if you’re in the American beer market, you’re in luck! You might start seeing it in stores soon, keep your eyes peeled.

Oh, and one more pro tip courtesy of Fixe… turns out Guinness IPA pairs wonderfully with southern biscuits, steak, and seafood potpie. You learn something new every day.

Guinness IPA and Seafood Pie at Fixe

Guinness IPA and Steak at Fixe

Eureka Austin Nachos

Food Porn Champion: Nacho Mountain Part 2

Now I’ve written about Nacho Mountains before, but when lightning strikes twice, you must take note.

Eureka Austin Nachos

This pile of pleasure is from Eureka! in Austin – although they have locations in Washington and California as well, so if you are in any of those three states, you can summit this peak of chips and cheese for yourself. (And weirdly those are the three places I’ve lived, so I guess the relationship between these nachos and me is really meant to be).

These babies are comprised of hand-pulled, smoked chicken, black beans, guacamole, tomato, cilantro, Monterey Jack, sliced jalapeños, chipotle sauce, and sour cream. The chicken and the rich, smoky-sweet chipotle sauce are what really makes them. Oh, and the sheer size of them, of course. If there’s one thing Texas bars love, it’s serving me an irrationally large amount of nachos. Bless you, Texas.

Eureka Nachos Happy Hour Austin

Bangers Biscuits and Gravy Austin

Food Porn Champion: The Most Bangin’ Biscuits and Gravy

Bangers Biscuits and Gravy Austin

Rise and shine, ESers! Feast your eyes on this: an insanely epic biscuits & gravy dish I discovered during Sunday brunch at Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden in Austin.

The menu describes it as a “house-made biscuit, milk gravy & your choice of housemade bacon or housemade breakfast sausage” but let’s be real, that bacon is clearly just two huge slabs of pork belly. And just look at that river of gravy. These people are NOT messing around with their breakfasts and next time you’re hungover in Central Texas, you now know where to go.

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