A little over a week ago I got off a plane and walked into an aging terminal filled with $0.25 slot machines. I was one foot into Las Vegas and was already getting a sense of the place.
I was there to attend Saveur Magazine’s Best Food Blog Awards since, by some miracle, I won reader’s choice in the ‘Best New Food Blog’ category. As I studied the other winner’s blogs, I couldn’t believe I was included in such a top-notch group. But there I was, against all odds, to meet and mingle with the food blog elite. Not knowing what to expect of the next couple days, I took a deep breath and made my way down the airport escalators.
When I got to the bottom, I saw a driver holding up a sign with my name on it. Saveur Magazine spared no expense: not only did I get a driver to pick me up, I also got a fountain-view room in one of the classiest hotels on the strip, a welcome basket that included a bottle of 12-year-old single malt scotch, and an itinerary packed full of events.
Admittedly I was a little nervous about the welcome reception that evening; I was about to meet bloggers who had reached celebrity status in the so-called ‘blogosphere’. But after a few glasses of wine the initial awkwardness of the event was replaced by increasingly energetic conversation, and by night's end everyone seemed like old friends.
So started what felt like food blogger summer camp - Saveur style - with tons of incredible food and even more drink. We toured the Bellagio’s underground chocolate factory - a place where chocolate sculptures are born and liquid chocolate constantly flows. We were invited into the dim sum kitchen of the Cantonese restaurant, Jasmine, where we watched chefs expertly wrap wontons into edible bunnies. But my favorite event was the Highland Park scotch tasting where we sampled 12, 14, and 18-year-old single malt scotch then made meatballs in the hotel’s demo-kitchen. The day culminated with the award dinner at Sensi where we were served a 10-course meal and were presented with the coolest trophy ever – a Le Creuset stainless steel skillet with an inscription engraved into the handle.
Just like camp, when it was all over we hugged and promised to keep in touch. It was an incredible few days, and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to attend.
In the spirit of awards, I’ll dish out a few.
Best smile and all around cutest - Molly
Most hilarious - Josh
Bloggers I was MOST excited to meet - Phil, Kim, and Terri
Best blogger in the universe, according to both me and Saveur (also most humble) – Stephanie
Best conversationalists - Cynthia and Andy
Best award-dinner dress – Jackie
Best energy – Lilian