An IPNC Interlude — please pause for wine

Grand Dames Dinner IPNC 2014

Iberico de Bellota pork cheeks, served with polenta, thyme and blackberries. Chef Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita. IPNC 2014. Grand Dames Dinner.

If it’s seemed a little quiet over here recently, there’s good reason. I spent Friday night at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon for the International Pinot Noir Conference. Yes, I stayed on campus — in the dorms even — with three co-workers.

It always seems like one night shouldn’t be so exhausting, but somehow, every year, IPNC knocks me out of commission for a while.

Maybe it’s due to eating super rich food all day (foie gras, Iberico pork, veal sausage and more foie gras) or because we drink wine from 3pm till 3am 8am. (Yes, we partied like true college freshmen this year. I saw the sun rise and everything.)

Here are a few pictures from this year’s Grand Dames Dinner, which is set in the middle of the Linfield College campus. Four chefs (all women this year which I thought was awesome) put out an amazing dinner for around 500 people. There’s a reason this is one of my favorite events to “work.”

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IPNC: My favorite midnight snack is a foie gras torchon

Wine, glorious wine, at IPNC 2013

Wine, glorious wine! IPNC 2013

As a college student, my to-go snack after a night out was always a super crisp apple and extra sharp cheddar cheese. Years later, I still eat my fair share of fruit and cheese, but at post-work afterparties my co-workers and I snack in style.

First, a little background:

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IPNC 2013: A luscious crab salad makes me happy!

Crab Salad, brioche, cucumbers, pickled cherry tomatoes and tarragon aioli, courtesy of Renee Erickson

Dungeness crab, toasted brioche, cucumbers, pickled cherry tomatoes and tarragon aioli, courtesy of Chef Renee Erickson of Seattle, WA.

I’ve mentioned before that my job as a meat distributor has some serious benefits, but in case you doubted me, here’s proof. I was lucky enough to spend Friday afternoon and evening at the International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville, OR. My company had a tasting table set up during the day event and we sampled out specialties like a boudin blanc & foie gras sausage and Oregon water buffalo sirloin. And, to show some love to the foie-deprived attendees visiting from California, we also sampled out almost three pounds of foie torchon. We’re people pleasers like that!

In a word - yum!

In a word – yum!

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