* Okay, fine, totally a groaner. But I have an excuse: I’m jet-lagged!
Today’s blog post marks a first for DDD: it is being written from somewhere other than my home office north of Toronto! Where’s
Waldo Ricki, you ask? Well, perhaps this will give you a hint:
No? Then how about THIS:
Ah, now we’re getting warmer! Literally.
As I mentioned yesterday, I’m in the breathtakingly picturesque town of Monterey, California (a state I haven’t visited since 1977–the year Elvis died*), and it’s all courtesy of the lovely people at Dole. That’s right: the company that produces more fruits and vegetables than anyone else in the world (I know!! I wasn’t aware of that, either!). Despite my intense dislike** of airline travel (I think the HH’s thigh may require surgery after the permanent nail marks I implanted in it during our flight to Chicago a couple of weeks ago); despite the 4:45 AM wakeup call; despite my airport limo being a no-show at 5:30 in the morning (the HH stepped in to save the day yet again–love you, HH!); despite all that, followed by a 6-hour flight and subsequent 2-hour limo ride (rendered enjoyable by the great company of Amie and Kevin!), I made it and am raring to go for the three-day extravaganza known as theDole Salad Summit– jet lag be damned!
We’re staying at the InterContinental Clement Monterey, tucked into the shops along Cannery Row and just across from Monterey Bay. Here’s my plush hotel room:
[That's a furry "sea otter and pup" on the bed-the Monterey Aquarium just down the street.]
The fireplace (!!) and desk:
All this, and a bathroom that’s bigger than my first apartment. I think I may just sleep in the tub tonight.
Pretty nifty, huh? Sorry, HH, wish you could have hopped out of the car this morning and come along, too. (“Mum, forget about Dad! We wish WE could have come along! We are thinking that maybe at the hotel, we’d finally get the chance to sleep on the bed. . . It’s a king size, after all, so there’d be plenty of room for all three of us. . . ” .
Despite the three-hour time change and a brain that’s quickly turning to mush, I decided to forgo a nap and took a quick walk along Cannery Row before dinner. I mean, how could you resist views like this?
Even the flowers look better in California:
And of course, some things are the same, no matter where you are:
Our activities began in earnest at dinnertime, when we met in the hotel’s library lounge for a cocktail party. It was great to finally meet the other bloggers at the Summit! Stephanie (Recipe Renovator), Dana (Dana Treat), Sharon Palmer and I discovered the similarities in our diets; Gina (Skinny Taste) and I reminisced about the SHAPE magazine awards, for which we were both nominated (and which she won!); after a few enthusiastic twitter conversations, Irvin (Eat the Love) and I finally hugged in person; and I cooed over tiny baby feet when I met Maria and Josh, who brought their adorable Caleb with them. We were all also introduced to the Dole team: Amanda, Bob, Chris, Michelle, Kelley, Gil and Shannon.
Over dinner at The Sardine Factory, the gabfest continued: Nancy (A Communal Table) and I chatted about everything from kids to catering to the dearth of classic restaurants; Bree shared her experiences living in Nova Scotia for a time, as well as many other places; Paula (Bella’allimento), Susan (Doughmesstic) and Brandi (Bran Appetit) were curious about the anti-candida diet (ACD); Shannalee and Tim (Food Loves Writing), Barbara and I waved across the table; and throughout, Bob, the Dole representative seated beside me, engaged us with talk of everything from NPR radio shows, to the differences between LA and other areas of California, to interesting tidbits about the company.
Unfortunately, by the time I remembered to snap a photo of our meal, the light had faded too much to do it justice. The staff at the restaurant were incredibly solicitous about serving something I could enjoy that was in keeping with the ACD. In the end, they whipped up a lovely, huge bowl of broth-braised mixed veggies alongside a serving of smoky, white bean and sundried tomato spread. Given that mealtime fell at about 10:30 PM Toronto time, that was more than enough food for my normally-asleep metabolism, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
[Between courses, an ice swan housing a palate cleanser of orange sherbet was served to each of us.]
I managed to say hello to almost everyone last night and am now looking forward to our jam- packed itinerary tomorrow with stops at the farmers’ fields, the Dole processing plant, and for tastings of new salad products at our “Lettuce 101″ course. I promise to include pics of the salad and meals next time, too–I mean, this IS a food blog, after all.
Here’s a list of all the bloggers in attendance:
- Amie from The Healthy Apple
- Barbara Ruhs, Registered Dietician for Bashas supermarket
- Brandi from Bran Appetit
- Bree from Baked Bree
- Dana from Dana Treat
- Gina from Skinny Taste
- Irvin from Eat the Love
- Kevin from Closet Cooking (a fellow Canadian! Whoo hoo!)
- Maria and Josh from Two Peas and Their Pod
- Nancy from A Communal Table
- Paula from Bella’alimento
- Rachel from Coconut and Lime
- Shannalee and Tim from Food Loves Writing
- Sharon Palmer, RD, author of the upcoming The Plant-Powered Diet
- Stef from Haute Apple Pie
- Stephanie from Recipe Renovator
- Susan from She’s Becoming Doughmesstic (how cute is that blog name??)
See y’all next time with a wrap-up of food, lettuce fields, and more! In the meantime, don’t forget to tune in to Wellness Weekend at 8:00 PM EST tonight!
*for those of you young’uns who weren’t actually born yet when I last visited, Elvis was. . . well, let’s just say he was basically the Adam Lambert of my parents’ generation.
** actually a euphemism for “paralyzing dread fear.” But sometimes, you just have to feel the fear and do it anyway.
Other Dole Summit Posts:
- Salad Squared at the Dole Summit: Salad Samplings, Salad Ballet and Salad Recipe
- Grilled Romaine with Sweet and Smoky Dressing–and Sayonara, Summit!
[Disclosure: Dole paid for my travel, accommodations and food during my stay. They did not ask that I write a positive review of them, or a blog post about them at all.]
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© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs