At the end of my first post about BlogHer Food '12 I ended it with a teaser about my fabulous invitations. Once I had signed up and confirmed that I would be heading to Seattle on June 8th and 9th, I started to receive email invitations from various companies asking me to attend their events while I was at BlogHer.
Who knew? This newbie had no idea but after chatting with some fellow attendees, it would seem that for some lucky bloggers a large part of BlogHer is spent away from the conference attending dinners, classes or whatever you had been invited to. The brands that help to sponsor BlogHer also like to have events of their own outside of conference hours, hosting bloggers of their choice in events that they put on especially for BlogHer.
The first that I chose to attend was a dinner invite to Canlis restaurant in Seattle. The Greek Yogurt Company Chobani had asked the executive chef there to create a meal for using their product. Already I was intrigued because as everyone knows, Greek yogurt and I have had a long, passionate love affair for quite a while now. Check out my Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt and the most amazing pancakes you will ever eat. EVER.
I digress. I went far into the realm of Greek yogurt love. I'm back now.
The minute I received that invitation my fingers started pounding away at the keyboard, quickly searching out the restaurant ratings and history. The website for Canlis is beautiful, if you click you can take a tour.
While perusing the site I managed to dig up the bio for the chef who really, in most cases, IS the restaurant. No matter who owns it, without a talented chef it's simply a building. His name is Chef Jason Franey and the following excerpt caught my eye:
Having helped transform Eleven Madison Park, placing it on the forefront of Manhattan's dining scene, Franey set a new course: keep Canlis, then 58 years old, relevant, and at the forefront of fine dining in Seattle. After only two years at Canlis, Jason was named one of Food and Wine Magazine's Best New Chefs 2011 and The People's Best New Chef Northwest by Food & Wine.
You had me at one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs 2011.
Friday night we all gathered in the lobby of the Fairmont Olympic hotel to await our chariot, in the form of a small bus to take 15 of us to our fabulous dinner evening.
Set on the water's edge, it is a dreamy,ethereal place to be at night. My pictures simply do not do it justice. The web reviews simply do not do it justice. This might be because as much as I love the River Valley here in Edmonton, there is nothing here that came close to this view of Lake Union from the executive room at Canlis. Once the sun set, all you saw was glimmering lights in the distance over shiny waves of dark water.
The menu had us drooling, thinking of the treats in store!
We all sat around the table chatting, indulging in fabulous amuse bouche that were presented to us. One was a delightful forest mushroom Quiche and the other a beautiful spiced lamb on a bed of Greek yogurt so delicate it melted in your mouth the instant you bit into it.
The smoked salmon was exquisite and had I been among people I knew better, I would have avidly been foraging for seconds via tidbits from other people's plates. Alas, not really knowing anyone for longer than an hour, I thought perhaps I should keep my weird quirks to myself.
I dream about this salmon on a regular basis. Think Chef Franey would ship some to Canada?
The filet mignon atop a bed of pureed carrots was simply spectacular, as a proper filet mignon should be. Of course, being an Alberta girl raised on Alberta beef and my family being avid seafood haters, my favorite dish of the night was the salmon, what a treat for me it was!
What I wait for at every meal.
Nothing wins my love like an amazing dessert.
The pistachio genoise was spectacular and the classic pairing of pistachio with cherry was bang on.
I couldn't even ask for seconds from other people as this one was quickly enjoyed by all, with many sighs of appreciation. Our fabulous chef came out to a rousing round of applause and accolades from us all.
I of course, being the cheeky monkey that I am, had to ask him how it felt to cook for a room of food bloggers from ALL over the continent, just knowing we were all sitting out here waiting for his creations. He admitted that it did put a little pressure on the kitchen team but of course, they had to put that aside and cook a great meal.
At the end of the meal we posed for the requisite group shot of all us! In attendance were (but not all pictured as one left early) in no particular order:
Kathy Strahs of Cooking On The Side, Erina of Shut Up & Cook, , Alice Currah from Savoury Sweet Life, Amie from The Healthy Apple, , Sally and Kent from A Foodcentric Life, Emmy from Emmy Cooks, Sara from Go Gingham, Coryanne from Housewife Bliss, Megan from Country Cleaver, Betsy from Tasty Kitchen, Keren from Frantic Foodie, Pam from The Family Foodie and Emily,Jackie and Lindsey from Chobani.
A word about those Chobani girls: they love their jobs! How refreshing to meet with people who adore the product from their company and so obviously happy in their jobs! It was so lovely to spend time with them.
We were chauffeured back again in our chariot to the Fairmont, in a blissful daze, our appetites sated with delectable culinary delights. Thanks again to Chobani for asking me to dinner, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to experience Canlis this trip if they hadn't.
The Still Dreaming About That Smoked Salmon Magpie0