Saturday was the last day of the conference. We knew we had to make the most of our final day in Austin, so we woke up a little earlier than usual and headed to the downtown Austin Farmers Market. We were all very hungry, so we actually walked pretty quickly past most of the booths without taking photos until we found breakfast tacos at the Tacodeli stand.
YUM! Super fresh tortillas, rolled with eggs, bacon and cheese. Super YUM! Judah even ate his right up! Then, right after that, Ben and Judah ran over to grab some shaved ice from Jim-Jim’s booth. (This is where they confessed they already had Jim-Jim’s the day before, without me.)
We then walked over to Jo’s Coffee which was a place I had on my “must-try” list before we left for our trip. I love trying different coffee shops when we travel, and this one really ranks up there for me. The coffee was fabulous, but what I loved even more is that it is a full-breakfast place, too! During this visit, I only bought an iced coffee and then a bag of whole beans to take home for my French press. But, we came back the next morning and enjoyed their delicious breakfast before heading home. And, what did we have? What else, but breakfast tacos again! (And coffee, of course.)
It was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for a private luncheon with Dole Foods. I was super excited for this lunch as the invitation said it was being held at a local mansion! Nice! I hurried and cleaned up a little, then ran down to the lobby to meet up with other blogger friends attending the event.
Let’s take this time to say “HI!” to two of my favorite Michigan bloggers, Sheila (middle) and Liz (right)! Aren’t they beautiful!? Can’t wait to see you ladies again this Fall! (On a side note, I really wish I would’ve been better at taking pictures with blogging friends, and new ones, too. But, I think I was so distracted with Simon that it kept slipping my mind! There are some friends I finally met in person and that I totally wish I had a photo with but, alas, I missed my opportunity. Next time!)
Anyway, back to the Dole luncheon. We shuttled off to the mansion where I was grateful to have so many helping hands with Simon and his stroller! And, many friends who were willing to take him off my hands! (Pictured above, left to right, top to bottom: Carrian, Megan, Karly, Liz)
We all gathered on the back porch, overlooking the gorgeous view and infinity pool, while Chef Ben Ford demonstrated a shrimp spring rolls recipe. Susan and Paula were busy in the kitchen preparing our lunch, which was what I always have to say is the highlight of an event, of course! Food…yes please! Delicious food… absolutely! We munched on the shrimp spring rolls, pork sliders, Moroccan-style flatbreads, mandarin orange salad, pineapple upside down cakes, and strawberry shortcake. Then, we washed it down with a tasty White Pineapple Sangria and Pineapple Cranberry Punch.
All of the dishes were made with Dole Packaged Food products! I learned at this luncheon that all of their products are never genetically modified, and they will be adding a GMO-free label to their BPA-free packaging, soon. This excites me because packaged food products can really eliminate a lot of hassle in the kitchen and lessen the amount of time it takes to get dinner on the table and Dole is providing products we can trust!
And, check out the super cool Dole coolers we were given (bottom left), with a few extra surprises inside. I kept telling Ben, even after we got home, how excited I was to have a new cooler. He might have made fun of me a little for that…
I can’t finish talking about the Dole luncheon without mentioning the recipe tasting contest. Each guest was asked to take a taste test and list as many of the ingredients in the recipe that they could uncover. The winner would fly out to Santa Monica, CA to sit next to Chef Ben Ford as a judge for the Dole California Cook-off. And, guess what? My girl, Liz, won!! I snatched a quick photo of her reaction when they announced her as the winner (upper right). How cute is she!?
After the Dole lunch, I attempted to sit in on a conference session, but Simon started acting up so I had to leave. We ended the conference at Stubb’s BBQ for the closing party, hosted by Ree Drummond and Jaden Hair, but again, I didn’t even snatch one photo there! Simon had had enough, so we didn’t stay at the party long before heading back to the hotel. I missed out on the fun photo booth, and meeting The Pioneer Woman, but I think getting my baby proper rest before our long drive home was more important that night!
I already can’t wait for next year’s conference!! Will you be there??