So last week was the 2015 Saveur Blog Awards. And I didn’t win. Womp. But I’m not as sad as I anticipated being, because the events and panels were so much fun, and the people I met made me thrilled to even be in the same room with them. I’m not inherently competitive, but one would assume that a large group of people put together in a room who are all stacked against one another, hoping to win, would make for a somewhat uncomfortable situation. This, perhaps surprisingly, was not at all the case. I was initially dreading the welcome party and cocktail hour on Day One, but I walked in and was immediately greeted by big smiles and hugs. I, not really being the touchy feely type, was sort of taken aback by the way in which I was welcomed so quickly. A lot of the time, you go to these things and people are silent, making awkward chit-chat and having a hard time connecting, especially at online meet-ups, of which I am not too proud to admit that I have been to many (see: many, many, many). But not this time. I think we were all just stoked to be there, drinking and eating together, joking about how insane it is that we are all just a bunch of nerds who like to take pictures but are being honored in a way that makes us so incredibly happy. It sounds like I’m making it into this big, huge thing, but it kind of is! When anyone congratulates you on the hard work that you’ve put into something, it’s both humbling and exciting, and that feeling is only exacerbated when every which way you look, there’s another blogger or photographer whose work you admire. So, yeah, I lost, but I had a phenomenal time and met so many awesome people. Plus, this just means I get to [hopefully] go again next year, and you can look forward to my begging for you to vote for me in 2016. On top of all of the festivities, the week ended with a Breakfast Sandwich + Pie Crawl, hosted by the incomparable Donny Tsang, where bloggers from all over the country got together to eat sandwiches from Defonte’s and Court Street Grocers, pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds and more. All of that good food and drink helped to soften the blow (and my belly), so at least there’s that!
After eating all of that food, it’s time for some vegetables. I love a good broccoli salad, especially when the broccoli is slightly blackened. I discovered charred broccoli not too long ago, but it’s my favorite way to make every child’s least favorite veggie. You won’t find a steamed floret in my apartment. Crank that oven up to 500, rub your broccoli in some oil and seasonings, and burn, baby, burn. I mean, it’s not really burned, but it’s close. Just close enough to be delicious. Even better, you can make this ahead of time and serve it room temperature or chilled for a tasty summer side at a picnic or as a quick workday lunch that you can pair with anything from chicken breast, salmon or even a few hard boiled eggs, if you’re trying to offset a heavy week (like me). Add some chili flakes or maybe some paprika, finish with lemon instead of lime, but whatever you do, keep the radishes – they add a refreshing, peppery bite to compliment the deep flavors of the charred broccoli. Plus, check out those colors! Green and pink were meant to be together on a plate. Kramer and I happily ate this salad, cold and straight from our lunch containers, for three days straight, and if I can get Kramer to actually utter the words, “We should eat more broccoli,” then you know it’s got to be good.