Blogger Weekend Extravaganza!

by Jenn (eating bender) on May 19, 2009

This past weekend brought not one, not two, but THREE blogger extravaganzas! It was so much fun to meet up with foodies, some that I had met before and others that I feel like I’ve known forever!

Friday: Blogger Dinner at Cafe Laguardia!

I had such an amazing time with Mara, Michelle, Shannon and another foodie friend on Friday night. You can (and probably have, since I’m 4 days late!) read some of the recaps here and here.

Mara came to pick me up around 4:30 and we made a quick Starbucks run before meeting up with our foodie friend and Michelle to head to the restaurant. Once we got there, we met up with Shannon and spent the next couple of hours doing nonstop gabbing! There was so much to talk about! Everything, from Shannon’s modeling jobs (including shoots with her Mister!) to Mara’s upcoming nuptials to my college connections with Michelle. The time flew by and all of these bloggers are just as sweet and interesting as they appear in their posts. I hope we can all meet up again! Michelle gave me some great info on becoming a food reviewer in the city, which I am looking forward to applying for when I graduate and move downtown :) Yay!

I appreciated all of you who looked over the menu and gave me suggestions. You made my choice easy! I started with the Havana Black Bean Soup (with a fried plantain on the side!).


It was pure black bean and not too salty, which is exactly what I was looking for. As for my main course, I went with the majority and chose the Cuban Veggie Combo. Oh. my. goodness!


(Sorry for the flash pictures – the restaurant was really dark!!)

This was amazing. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the white veggies at the top of the picture are boiled cassava, which is a root vegetable that Mara informed me was also known as yucca. I had never had it before, but it was awesome. It tasted a lot like mashed potatoes in terms of texture, but had it’s own unique flavor. I need to find it at the store!

The blackened food at the top of the picture was fried plantains. Another heavenly treat that I shared with the girls. I think everyone at the table agreed that they were great! And you can’t go wrong with white rice, more black beans and a tomato + lettuce salad. This meal was fabulous. Thanks for picking out such a great restaurant, Mara! You know your way around the city πŸ˜‰

We were too full for dessert, but Mara was kind enough to provide goodies for later!


Thanks again for a good time, ladies! Here we all are (stolen picture from the other ladies’ blogs):


From left to right: Mara, foodie friend, Michelle, a weirdo, and Shannon!

Saturday: Meet-up with Karla!

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting up with a “blog reader” but, more importantly, a very good friend named Karla. I first “met” Karla back in August 2008 when she commented on my blog. We realized we were both journalism majors with a huge passion for health and nutrition. Eventually, our comments back and forth to each other on my blog became more and more massive, so she emailed me instead :) We’ve been writing each other ever since, and I was so excited to finally have the opportunity to meet her, since I feel like we’ve already become great friends!

We were thinking about going to SELF’s Workout in the Park, but in the end decided to do breakfast at Walker Bros. and a tour of the city instead! I had my favorite Mediterranean omelette, which I had them scramble with egg whites.


I also had some toast with strawberry jam. Once we were fueled and ready to go, we headed down to the Green City Market. I had never been but had heard great things about it from Mara, so I was excited. My photojournalism assignment for the week is to take pictures of a fruit or vegetable (I know, right?!), so I tried out my skills. Here were some of my best shots.


Purple asparagus! There was a huge table of it. There was also a stand with a lot of mushrooms.


And here’s me trying to be artsy with some sage :)


I had a great time walking around the market with Karla. I ended up buying a loaf of fresh bread and it was full of whole grains + seeds. My favorite! After the market, we continued our walk down into the city (yes, we did a ton of walking for those of you familiar with the area!). We walked all the way to Michigan Avenue and down to Millenium Park. We took a picture with the tulips and made our way around the Bean into the Grant Park area. Then we came back up toward Michigan Ave. and FINALLY found SELF’s Workout in the Park (my bad). We decided it looked like a lot of fun and made a promise to meet up again for it next year!

On our way back to the car, I stopped in my tracks when we passed Fannie May.


Look familiar? I swear I did not get my header from their site! It was pretty funny and I thought you would all appreciate it, so I had to snap a picture πŸ˜‰

We headed back toward school and then I gave Karla a tour of my campus before we headed over to Red Mango. I got the original flavor with blueberries + coconut, but somehow managed to forget to take a picture. Crazy! It was delicious.

I had such a fun time with Karla! Both of our birthdays are in May, and she brought me some goodies.


I can’t wait to try the Bender Ball (I love the name, haha!), and I’ve already broken into the beauty kit and the absolutely GLORIOUS ginger snaps she baked for me and Bobby.


Bobby and I both agree that these are amazing! Thanks so much, Karla! The funniest part was that we both got each other the exact same birthday card from Target. We are two-of-a-kind!

Whew! Still with me?

Sunday: Blogger Brunch at Pita Pete’s!

Last but not least, I had the pleasure of meeting Lora and another foodie friend on Sunday morning for brunch. They were both kind enough to come to my campus area to eat. We were originally going to go to a brunch place, but decided to forgo the long line and hit up something less “breakfast-like” instead. After walking around, we ended up at Pita Pete’s, one of my favorites!!

Unfortunately, my camera died, so I didn’t get a picture of the group :( But I had an AMAZING “naked pita” with falafel, fresh veggies, chipotle hummus and chickpeas. Seriously, best salad I’ve ever had! I got the pita on the side, too, which made it extra good!


It was really great to chat with Lora and our foodie friend. They are both sweet people!! Lora and I have plans to do some fun races and events in Chicago. If I haven’t said it before…I am SO excited for graduation! I can’t wait to be an urbanite!


Wow, recaps take a long time to write! There goes the morning πŸ˜‰ I better get my butt in gear for the long day ahead! I hope that you all have had an enjoyable week so far!


{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bec May 19, 2009 at 9:39 am

looks like you girls had fun together!


2 Marisa (trim the fat) May 19, 2009 at 9:42 am

What fun you’ve been having, Jenn!

I just came across purple asparagus in Trader Joe’s this morn; I thought it was so cool!

Love that salad from Pita Pete’s – YUM!


3 brandi May 19, 2009 at 9:44 am

what a fun weekend! and how do you become a food reviewer?!? any tips? I would love to do that here, but I don’t if our “city” – if you want to call it that – is big enough.


4 Courtney (The Hungry Yogini) May 19, 2009 at 9:45 am

Wow what a fun and DELICIOUS weekend you had! Gotta love spending time with other bloggers. It always amazes me how much everyone has in common! The conversations are endless!


5 Rose May 19, 2009 at 9:50 am

Talk about a busy weekend making all sorts of new friends :) Looks like a lovely time with all – and I love the Bender Ball!


6 Jenny May 19, 2009 at 9:54 am

awesome weekend, girl! and you totes didn’t steal that strawberry from their website – they stole it from you in my book ;)!


7 verbalriot May 19, 2009 at 9:55 am

I LOVE the asparagus photograph! :) Supposedly, Western Massachusetts is known for its amazing asparagus so I’m going to pick some up at the Farmer’s Market next weekend. See what all the fuss is about.

Love the weekend recap, isn’t it so fun to intersect your “blog” life with your other life?! Ah, the power of technology!


8 coco May 19, 2009 at 9:57 am

You’re having so much fun girl!!! πŸ˜€ everything looks delicious and pretty!


9 Sara May 19, 2009 at 9:58 am

Looks like a great weekend and fun meet-ups!


10 healthy ashley May 19, 2009 at 10:05 am

I love the blogger meet-up! And how appropriate is that bender ball!?


11 Heather (be well & take care) May 19, 2009 at 10:09 am

This post made me miss Chicago so much!!! I always wanted to make it up to Pita Pete’s in Evanston but never got up there. That salad looks great.


12 Anne K. May 19, 2009 at 10:18 am

It looks like you had a great time! That’s a great pic of the purple asparagus, and I like the artsy basil shot πŸ˜€
And YUM, that naked pita looks amazing!!


13 Emily May 19, 2009 at 10:31 am

Looks like such a fun weekend! I really love and miss Chicago a lot. I think there’s a lot of opportunities there, and I wouldn’t mind trying to get a dietetics-related job there when I’m done with my internship. :-)

The naked pita from Pita Pete’s looks so gorgeous and colorful!


14 Krista May 19, 2009 at 10:35 am

What a fantastic weekend!

I love that purple asparagus! Beautiful!

And look at the HUGE bender berry! They must’ve known you would be passing by. πŸ˜‰


15 snackface May 19, 2009 at 10:45 am

It looks as though you had a fabulous weekend! I can’t wait to meet fellow bloggers someday… :) You have taken some beautiful pics, darling! I love the artsy basil one.

We’re so close to being finished! And to answer your Q, I am beyond pumped for SanFran. I’ll be there in a short 2 weeks!!! Unfortunately, I have to finish 4 weeks’ worth of school into 2 weeks, but it’s worth it!

Hope you have a lovely day!


16 Erica May 19, 2009 at 11:08 am

What an awesome weekend! All of the food looks fabulous- especially the black bean soup (one of my favorite dishes). Very cool that you got to meet/have met so many foodies. I am loving the picture of you with your blog header- that is hilarious


17 Tanya May 19, 2009 at 11:14 am

Now that looks like a fun weekend. I love chatting with other bloggers because they inspire me so much.


18 Pearl May 19, 2009 at 11:24 am

such a fun weekend!


19 Betsy May 19, 2009 at 11:45 am

Do you ever slow down?? :) What a great weekend, and I’m loving the veggie pics, but your “basil” looks more like sage!


20 shelby May 19, 2009 at 11:48 am

Those PB pretzels must taste AMAZING!!! I love that combination.

Purple Asparagus? Isn’t food much more fun to eat when it’s a pretty color?! =)

I’m pretty sure Fannie May stole your header…

Now I’m craving falafel, mmm.

I hope to meet my bloggers some day, it looks like so much fun!!!


21 Sarah May 19, 2009 at 12:14 pm

FUN weekend! Those pictures are gorgeous! We need some serious catch-up time soon—I have to vent my little heart out to you, haha. And we need to pick a weekend for me to visit! Hope your week is off to a great start, mine is full of unpacking, and sleeping (but mostly sleeping).Love you!


22 Nicole May 19, 2009 at 12:22 pm

It looks like such a fun weekend!!!


23 FitFoodie May 19, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Yum! Fried Plantains & Falafel…2 of my favorite things :)


24 Sharon May 19, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Oh my gosh, what a fun weekend! And that is so awesome with the meetup!


25 Karla May 19, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Jenn you would be an AWESOME food reviewer! And I had a great, great time as well. It was soo fun to hang out Saturday and I’m so glad that I found your blog nine months ago!!

You sure had a busy weekend full of excitement. I hope your schoolwork is going well. You’re almost to the finish line!


26 Shannon (The Daily Balance) May 19, 2009 at 1:40 pm

SO much fun — you must tell me when you are visiting Cleveland πŸ˜‰


27 Alison May 19, 2009 at 1:45 pm

What a fun weekend! All the food looks great! Cassava sounds very interesting. Glad you had a good time.


28 Anna May 19, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Aw what fun! I’d like one of those falafel salads right now please :)


29 Melissa S. May 19, 2009 at 2:40 pm

what a blogger filled weekend! i’m super jealous! though i bet if i made a better effort i could meet more bloggers in FL…field work makes everything so hard!

but i love the picture of the sign! they stole it from you! mehhehehe!!!


30 Melissa S. May 19, 2009 at 2:41 pm

oh yeah…totally jealous of those pb pretzels…the ones you sent me last time were gone in a flash and i can’t find them at any of the wf near me…bollucks. think i might be able to order them from somewhere???? πŸ˜€


31 Sarah May 19, 2009 at 4:09 pm

What great dates with your foodie friends!

I love all of your shots, but especially the mushroom one.

I saw my header in a store window about a month ago…and you thought that was my tummy in the photo. My nails are NOT that nice. πŸ˜‰


32 eatingbirdfood May 19, 2009 at 6:42 pm

It looks like you had so much fun this weekend- blogger meet ups are a blast.

I love the bender ball- how perfect.

And your food photos are gorgeous – so awesome that those were an assignment!!


33 homegirlcaneat May 19, 2009 at 7:05 pm

FUN weekend!! I would love to meet up and have a blogger date with any bloggers because we all share the best passion in the world..FOOD, of course! :)

I love your photography..the asparagus is my fav!


34 ttfn300 May 19, 2009 at 7:32 pm

too much fun πŸ˜‰ and now i want some purple asparagus!!


35 ttfn300 May 19, 2009 at 7:33 pm

too much fun πŸ˜‰ and now i want some purple asparagus!! ps- yuca is my next one of katie’s new food challenge, it’ll be up within the week…


36 glidingcalm May 19, 2009 at 7:42 pm

wowie!! that weekend was JAM PACKED!!

what amazing eats too!!
highlight pics of this post for me were……
-the strawberry picture!! HILARIOUS
-Bender ball!
-the asparagus picture
-and black beans with fried plantains!

sounds like you had a blassssssssty!

mucho love!


37 gina (fitnessista) May 19, 2009 at 8:47 pm

ahhh i LOVE plantains… when they have the garlic roasted ones at wf’s i always get a few (and the roasted yucca)
the blog meet ups sound like they were so much fun!
i love the farmer’s market pics πŸ˜€
have a great night!


38 Kristie May 19, 2009 at 8:49 pm

WOW what a weekend! That’s so much fun! So many great things to eat and so much great company. Sounds like you had a blast. I totally wish I lived near all of you!

I also can’t get over the fact that you found your header image. That’s hilarious! You should just put that picture of you and the strawberry in your header instead hehe


39 carolinebee May 19, 2009 at 8:50 pm

ha i love the touristy-ness of the weekend!! That sounds like SUCH a fun weekend, ah being a food reviewer in Boston will be the bessst!!


40 Hil May 19, 2009 at 10:06 pm

I love the herb shot! (Although I think that’s sage and not basil)


41 Bobbi May 19, 2009 at 10:15 pm

love all the pics girl, looks like you had a wonderful time!!!


42 broccolihut May 19, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Seriously, Jenn–you are making me so jealous that you live near all these fabulous food bloggers!
Everything looks great in this post, but I think I like the purple asparagus and the falafel salad the best. SO YUMMY.


43 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) May 20, 2009 at 12:29 am

What a fun weekend!


44 Lara (Thinspired) May 20, 2009 at 3:36 am

Hehe–how crazy (but fun) to spot your header image. And all the blogger meet-ups! Ahh! I’m jealous but glad you had such a great time :)


45 Diana (Soap & Chocolate) May 20, 2009 at 10:04 am

That Bender Ball totally cracked me up! I think it gives you permission to call whatever you do “the Bender method” and it’ll be automatically legit. Such fun blogger meetups! Always a good time. I am having a non-blogger meetup in an hour and I might have to steer us towards falafel now…


46 Hangry Pants May 20, 2009 at 10:18 am

I wish I lived in Chicago so I could be part of the fun!

I love the picture of the strawberry and the gingersnaps look perfect!!!


47 Heather Eats Almond Butter May 20, 2009 at 10:21 am

What a fun and amazing weekend. Looks like you have met so many cool people through blogging. I love that. I can’t wait for you to be an urbanite either and learn about all that downtown Chicago has to offer. Then you can show me when I come for a visit. So looking forward to it!

Oh my gosh, I would totally frame that picture of purple asparagus. I love it!

Hope you’re having a wonderful day, and enjoying a ginger snap or two. :)

P.S. That falafel salad looks amazing. I want that ice-cream scoop of hummus.


48 Priyanka May 20, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Your weekend sounds so much fun! I have never seen purple asparagus before. The salad from Pita Pete looks YuMM!


49 Jessica (jesslikesithot) May 20, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Jenn! Looks like you had such a fun weekend! The “naked” pita looks sooo delicious, everything about that meal is a foodie’s dream….pita bread, hummus, salad…. :)

PS that asparagus shot is amazing, you’re quite the talent miss bender! :)


50 eatlivelovedream May 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Looks like you had so much fun!! I’m jealous! you always crack me up when I read your posts:)


51 Danielle May 20, 2009 at 7:18 pm

You are one VERY lucky social butterfly :)


52 elise May 20, 2009 at 10:58 pm

yea!! falafel AND blogger meet up. super fun!


53 Erin May 21, 2009 at 7:15 pm

WHOA what a wknd! Love the crazy coincidences with you and Karla! Twins perhaps?
Mara is such a Jewish mother. :) Love her!


54 Marianne May 25, 2009 at 12:31 am

Sounds like you were busy last weekend with all sorts of food blogger fun! Fried plantains are awesome, aren’t they? πŸ˜€


55 vincent June 1, 2009 at 11:29 am


We bumped into your blog and we really liked it – great recipes YUM YUM.
We would like to add it to the

We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
enjoy your recipes.

Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
and benefit from their exposure on

To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use or just go to and click on “Add your site”

Best regards,



Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 4 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: