Byte of Texas Conference

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I attended my first ever food blogging conference last month and loved it.

The Venue

We met in the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. I’ve had this museum on my bucket list for years. I’ve also taken many photos of the iconic star out front. Here’s one more.

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The lobby floor is beautiful.

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I also had the opportunity to spend a few minutes in the exhibits at the beginning of the second conference day, which gave me renewed motivation to come back sometime and cross this museum off of my bucket list.

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The Presentations

Here are some snapshots of just a few of the excellent presentations I checked out.

A Conversation with Lisa Fain, moderated by Addie Broyles

I wish I’d known of The Homesick Texan when we lived in Washington, D.C. While Texas food availability on the East Coast has certainly improved since Lisa moved to NYC, I identified with her experiences of seeking out food that reminded her of home.

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The Business of Blogging, from Rachelle King

Rachelle’s practical advice, while focused on bloggers, was versatile. I found myself relating her tips back to my art business and thinking through some business aspects I’d like to tweak moving forward.

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Branding Through Photography, from Jeanine Donofrio

Jeanine’s blog photography is beautiful. Just beautiful. And she gave excellent, minimal, digestible, and ultimately doable advice on figuring out what you want your own brand to be and how to make your photography tie into that.

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Mousetrap: Pairing Texas Beers with Cheese and Preserves, from Tiffany Cunningham, Stephanie McClenny, and Michele Haram

My mouth waters just thinking of this tasting. Especially the cheese. And the preserves. I’ve always thought to pair wine with cheese, but never beer before now. They went together wonderfully, and often the preserves brought out flavors in both the cheese and the beer (the latter being the other surprise here: preserves and beer!).

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Essential WordPress Plugins, from Margaret Dornbusch

Margaret shared tips on WordPress plugins for recipe templates, site security, site backups, and more. She also shared some excellent fudge.

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Among others, I also listened to a panel on publishing your book, learned tips on using manual mode for food photography, and learned a bit about resources available when writing about Texas food culture. Thanks to all of this year’s presenters!

The Food

And what is a food blogging conference without some food to blog about? Thank you to all of the local businesses who provided and crafted the food for this conference. Amazing.

Breakfasts

Zhi Tea provided teas and mix-ins (delicious idea to mix in almond milk; I’ve used soy milk in tea before but not almond milk), and Chameleon Cold-Brew provided iced coffee (I loved the mocha flavor; very refreshing and not too sweet).

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Easy Tiger provided pastries. I’ve had their bread in sandwiches at local businesses but still hadn’t made it by to try their pastries, so this was a delicious surprise. The chocolate croissant was awesome, flaky and moist and just the right amount of chocolate and pastry density.

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Sunday brunch included mimosas from Greenling and breakfast tacos crafted by Chef Crusco (you might remember him from my post about the happy hour at Austin Winery) with beef provided by the Texas Beef Council. I tried the TBC Coulotte and Chef Crusco Short Rib tacos with salsa verde and roasted tomato pico de gallo. Both were delicious. I especially loved the short rib tacos.

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Snacks

And of course, Byte of Texas made sure we never went hungry with snack breaks and goodie bags filled with fun food items. These lovely meringue cookies (also by Chef Crusco) sprinkled the tables on the second day of the conference.

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Skull and Cakebones provided a mini cupcake break in the afternoon. The flavors included Gin and Juice, Pecan Jack, Mutha Fudga, Ginger Brew, and Bing Bong.

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My favorites were the Ginger Brew (top favorite), Pecan Jack, and Bing Bong. I just can’t get enough of Skull and Cakebones’ cupcakes!

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Saturday Lunch

Whole Foods catered with delicious tarragon chicken salad sandwiches and cupcakes from Skull and Cakebones.

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I tried the chai cupcake. Awesome.

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Whole Foods also provides some Paqui tortilla chips and Kosmic Kombucha.

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And finally, I really liked the pretty yellow flowers on their catering table. Nice touch.

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Saturday Dinner

The Salty Sow provided an excellent dinner on Saturday. As with many foods this weekend, I’d wanted to check this place out for a while and enjoyed finally making it here.

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I loved the decor details like little pig figurines on a shelf near the bar…

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… And the chandeliers made of forks and spoons…

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… And the succulents out front. So many nice details!

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As for food, I loved the truffled deviled eggs.

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They had a nice selection of cheese and charcuterie, and I loved the bread. With great bread, I don’t even need to put anything on it (have I mentioned I love bread?), and that’s exactly how this bread was. It had the perfect flavor and level of density and moisture.

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We also enjoyed several dishes of salads: brussels sprout Caesar salad, roasted beets, boudan fritters, and farro salad.

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And finally, we had some amazing pork tacos from a whole pig roast outside. Yum.

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As for drinks, Treaty Oak Distilling Co. provided the Hog Wash, a watermelon and lime-based drink…

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… And the Flying Pig, a lemon and tarragon-based drink. Both were excellent. I especially liked the Hog Wash.

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And now I can’t wait for next year’s conference!

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