Wow, thank you for all of the positive feedback and responses on my last post. I am so appreciative of this community and all of the wonderful people in it. It’s because of you that I am able to better step outside myself and gain perspective. So glad that you’re as excited about the upcoming journey as I am!
I’m excited to share with you a very exciting weekend filled with blogger delight. My business partner Jill and I had the opportunity to visit Madison, Wisconsin on Friday and Saturday to speak at Branded: Make Your Mark, the University of Wisconsin PRSSA Annual Conference. It was a chance for us to talk to college students about ways to utilize social media tools to brand themselves in their industry and reach out to recruiters and companies for job opportunities.
The conference was fabulous, but there was also plenty of foodie fun to be had
On Friday night, we visited Sushi Muramoto. Jill was showing me around town for the evening and said this was the best sushi in Madison. She was right!
We tried the crab croquettes to start and then we split a dragon roll, with tempura shrimp, eel, avocado and masago mayo, as well as another specialty roll whose name escapes me!
Everything was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. We spent the rest of the evening chatting with Jill’s awesome friends and were graciously put up for the night by our fabulous hosts, Mike and Rob. They were so gracious that the next morning, Mike even made us fresh espresso! Helloooo caffeine buzz!
Thanks for the hospitality
On Saturday morning, we ventured to the Capitol for the grand opening of Madison’s famous Farmer’s Market. I was amazed at all of the people who showed up. I can only imagine how fun it must be in the summer, when fresh fruits and veggies are in abundance. I’ve already promised a return trip!
After our quick walk around the market, we headed over to Gotham Bagels for an impromptu tweetup (are we social media nerds or what?) with some great company.
Gotham has the BEST bagels I have ever had. Seriously. They are hand-rolled, generously portioned and oh-so-doughy and delightful. I chose the whole wheat bagel with walnut raisin cream cheese. The shmear was absolutely fabulous – with large chunks of walnuts and raisins in every bite.
I really would like another one of those for breakfast.
These two ladies are absolutely fabulous. But more on that later.
What do we get at pub restaurants?
First, you start with a beer – perhaps a nice Irish Ale.
Then you proceed to live it up to the fullest – it is a bloggie get together, after all – and try a Madison and Wisconsin staple. Cheese curds!
They reminded me a lot of mozzarella sticks. For dinner, I chose the Baja Burger, which came topped with guacamole and salsa. It was everything a burger should be: flavorful, satiating and satisfying.
The girls and I proceeded to talk about topics related to my last post (Julie is planning her May wedding and Kristie is approaching her first anniversary in June!) while enjoying said beer, cheese curds, burger and fries You can read all about some of the key points in Julie’s post, but what it all comes down to is that when I’m out of town or dining with friends for a special event, I approach my dining choices as I would any other activity I do while I’m there. It’s meant to be fun and experiential, not stressful.
It was great to get their perspective and Julie was kind enough to let me stay over. Bloggie sleepover included – what else? – plenty of gabbing and a viewing of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution!
Thanks again, Julie!
So marked the end of my blogger extravaganza weekend in Madison. But wait, you thought we were finished? No, no – not even close! We’re bringing it back to the Chi for some more fun.
On Sunday afternoon, I had the pleasure of meeting up with several of my favorite Chicago bloggers and our guest of honor from New York City – Gena! From left to right in the picture above we have Lin, Me, Gena, Val, Mara, blog reader and awesome person Elese and Maya! Ruby Red Vegan (Robyn) and her friend Hoda also joined us. I have read her blog for a long time and instantly recognized her!
It was absolute bliss! The flavor of the seitan was so real it’s scary. I also had the vegan cheeze, which I had never tried before and was pleasantly surprised by it. On the side were sweet potato fries – yum!
Seriously, have you seen the way this girl frosts cupcakes?! I’ve told her she needs to open a shop but for some reason she keeps shooing away my idea. I’ll convince her eventually **evil laugh**
So delicious! There were also some PB & Co. goodies in her bag, which I will definitely be trying ASAP! Thanks for being such an amazing friend, Mara.
There was so much blog love to be had. But wait, it’s still not over because…
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Gena once again for lunch today!
Our lunchtime selection? None other than the Whole Foods salad bar, of course.
It is such a treat when I am able to visit the Whole Foods salad bar. Pricey? Yes. Worth it? Every time.
Today’s salad was no different. I started with a bed of fresh greens and topped it with a grain salad, marinated mushrooms, grape tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, carrots and fennel, cucumber and kale salad. So fresh and delightful. I also used a mixture of dressings, including lemon juice, flax oil and a new one for me – agave. I had never used agave on a salad before and was surprised by the sweetness it provided. I’m a definite fan and will be using it again in the future.
The food was wonderful but the company was even better. I’ve told her this so many times already that she probably thinks I’m crazy, but Gena is one of the most genuine and intelligent people I have ever met. Perhaps it’s her far reaching vocabulary from being a fabulous book editor, but this girl knows her stuff. She tells it like it is and at the same time has such a warm, approachable demeanor.
You can read her recap of her time in Chicago so far here.
And that – finally – was all she wrote. Are you still with me? Did you think it was possible to cram so much into one weekend? I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
How was your weekend? How has the transition into a new week been so far?