The Saveur Best Food Blog Awards

The atrium at the Bellagio.

Before I launch into details, let me just say this: not in my wildest dreams, even the ones where I’m hired as a full-time professional baked goods eater, could I have imagined we'd win a Saveur blogging award.  When we met lovely Aimee in Montreal, winner of a 2013 Saveur Award for Simple Bites, we stared at the plaque on her wall with jaws agape.  'What an extraordinary accomplishment,' I thought, 'how very well deserved.'  I never even bothered with thinking 'Maybe it could happen for us....?'  Not ever.  Ever.  Ever.   

So, when we checked into the famous Bellagio Hotel,

stayed in this room,

with this view,

this swag,

and prepared to mingle with some of the world’s best bloggers… was surreal.  But as nonsensical as it felt, we embraced the moment and cracked open our new bottle of Highland Park. 

The first night we all got to know each other over wine paired with art (yes, art!) from the Bellagio’s current collection, Painting Women: Works from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The second day, we were treated to a behind-the-scenes culinary tour of the Bellagio.

We toured the chocolate kitchen (yes, the chocolate kitchen),

and the kitchen at Jasmine Restaurant, where they hand-make thousands of dim sum items each week.

Later in the afternoon, we participated in an event unofficially dubbed “Drunken Meatball Making,” which involved a tasting of Highland Park whisky followed by a group cooking session. 

We tasted 12 year, 15 year, and 18 year scotch, drank cocktails, made meatballs, then prepared and drank more cocktails while the (perfectly sober) Bellagio chefs fried and baked our meatballs for us.  Then we ate!

That evening we feasted, family style, on ten beautiful dishes prepared by Chef Royden Ellamar at the Bellagio’s Sensi Restaurant

We were also presented with our Le Creuset pans (yes, they make stainless steel cookware now!) and smooshed ourselves together for a poorly-lit and happy group photo. 

A note to everyone there: in case we didn’t have a chance to extend the invite to you directly, know that you are welcome in Vancouver anytime.  We will show you the best of the best!  And speaking of the best, a huge congratulations to Stephanie Le of “I Am a Food Blog” (and Vancouver) for winning Blog of the Year!  If you’ve never checked out her site, you should.  And all the other finalists and winners too, because they’re all spectacular.  As spectacular as the hotel's fountain set to the soundtrack from Chicago.  Which played through our TV.  And to which I chair-danced the entire way through

A huge thanks to the Saveur team, the Bellagio, Highland Park, Le Creuset, and everyone else who worked so hard to make us feel like millionaire celebrity types.  Years from now, we’ll still be looking back on these photos and saying “DID THAT REALLY HAPPEN?”

It did.  We have the ever-so-slight sunburns to prove it.