Monday, October 29, 2012

Food and FNCE in Philly: A dietitian's guide.

In the beginning of October I was fortunate enough to attend FNCE, which is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo.  FNCE happens once per year, is a great opportunity to gain continuing education units or CEUs (75 CEU per 5 years to keep your RD).  There are a variety of sessions available for dietitians to attend, such as those on medical nutrition therapy, diabetes, culinary demonstrations and social media workshops.  Seeing as I am currently focusing more on nutrition communications, I opted to attend mainly these workshops.  Some of the workshops I attended were: 

One of my favorite sessions that I attended was one on food photography called Bringing Food into Focus: A Bloggers' Guide to Food Photography and Styling with Commercial and Editorial Food Photography Melina Hammer.  Melina is based out of NYC and taught us the good, the bad and the ugly of food photography.  Of course I was interested as I would love to improve the quality of the photos on this blog (hopefully you will see a change in the photography soon!)  I was also introduced to a Healthy Food Photography website called Healthy Aperture.  See below for some photos that I took at the workshop.

Milena helping set up our "set."

Beautiful fall basket

Gorgeous "rustic" colors.
While the conference is great for continuing education credits, it is also largely about networking with old friends/colleagues and meeting some new!   I was able to meet up with some old friends from MUSC and Syracuse as well as new friends from the South Carolina Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  We made it a point to discover Philadelphia in a culinary way :-)  Keep reading for some awesome restaurants and recommendations!

The first night in town, Meaghan (MUSC RD friend) and I took a cab to the UPenn area to eat at Alice Water's restaurant, White Dog Cafe.  Alice Water's was one of the first founders of the Slow Food Movement and 95% of the food from only 50 miles away from the restaurant in Philadelphia.      

We shared an order of the Prosciuto Wrapped Dates and Meagahan ordered the Pan Seared Barnegat Bay Scallops Kennett Square Lobster Mushrooms, Bear Mountain Gala Apples,
Cauliflower, Kauffman Fruit Farms Spiced Apple Butter and I had the Lancaster County Chicken Pan Roasted Boneless Half Chicken, Bacon Mac & Cheese, Pickled Farm Peppers,
 Braised Greens, Lemon-Garlic Jus.  It was a wonderful start to our FNCE week!

The next morning, I was heading to the Food Photography workshop but we decided to find a unique and local restaurant to have breakfast at.  We came across Bonte Waffelrie and Cafe.  Bonte featured Belgian style "sugar waffles."  These waffles are prepared with ingredients of your choice (chocolate, walnuts, banana etc) and then rolled in coarse Belgian sugar granules and placed on a waffle iron.  They were so perfectly sweet, we didn't even need syrup!  Must find the recipe and bring back to South Carolina!

Strawberry and chocolate sugar waffle

After the food photography workshop and FNCE opening session with Dean Karnazes, we met up with some South Carolina friends for a fun filled dinner at Garce's Tradining Company.  Garce's is not only a wonderful restaurant, but a BYOB restaurant complete with a wine shop, flavored olive oil tastings and tastings of my favorite food in the world...cheese! 

Grace's Olive Oil Bottle

Something we didn't realize about being in Philadelphia in the beginning of October, was all of the restaurants featuring restaurant week!  Garce's had a restaurant week menu deal of 4 courses for $40 that Meaghan and I split.  

Our first course was cauliflower with black garlic pesto, spring onion, tarragon
Our Second Course the Margarita Pizza
Our Third course the Pan Roasted Scallops with cauliflower purée, chanterelles, aged sherry glaze
And we topped it off with the Velour Rouge which was a red velvet cake, coffee mocha mousse, cream cheese parfait

The next morning, after waking up from that fantastic meal, we decided to conquer *the expo*.  Now the "expo" part of FNCE includes a very large show room of food vendors such as Nabisco, California grapes, Chobani and nutrition companies such as Abbott.  The expo is so large, you basically could spend your whole FNCE experience there (if you were sponsored to by a company or if you didn't need the credits).  It's a great way to see some new products and meet the corporate RDs with their respected companies.  

Meaghan and I with the Laughing Cow of Laughing Cow Cheese!
Hass Avacado Guacamole contest - the winner won a year supply of avocados!   
MUSC 2011 Graduates at FNCE
The biggest surprise of the expo was that Food Network Star Paula Dean joined the dietitians for a food demonstration of a healthy jambalaya recipe!  Paula has recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and she has been working with a dietitian and Novonordisk to help control it.  She shared her story of diabetes with us, stating that when she left the doctor's office she had no clue what foods to eat.  She then stated that with the help of a dietitian she has gained control of her blood sugar and said "We need dietitians, we need y'all!"  

Paula Dean at FNCE

Heather (SyracuseU RD friend) and I tasting Paula's jambalaya!
As if we were really hungry after eating our way through the expo (which many people do), we decided to head across the street to the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia for lunch.

The market has any kind of food you could imagine, from french and local produce to meats to fresh bakeries to restaurants.  

On this particular rainy and cold day in Philadelphia, we opted for the shrimp and chicken noodle soup from Golden Bowl.  It hit the spot and was a great alternative to "expo food" which seem to be more nutrition bars and tastings of products.  It is also something that would be hard to find in South Carolina!  

The following day we also enjoyed a Mediterranean lunch from Mezze.  I would highly recommend either of these restaurants when at the Reading Terminal Market!

After the conference was over, we decided to do a little shopping around the Chestnut/Walnut area of Philadelphia....and if anyone knows me, they know I am a BIG fan of happy hours.  It was hard though, because it was a Sunday.  That is until we came across Tria Wine Bar Sunday School.  Tria is a wine, cheese and beer cafe and on Sundays, they offer a menu of a beer, wine and cheese all for half off!  They have a variety of bruchetta's at Tria and when I'm in Philly again I will definitely be making a trip back to try some more!

Pistachio Herbed Ricotta with Lavender Honey

On Tuesday, the conference came to an end.  Our days of meeting food mascots, "eating our way through the expo," networking and nutrition education was over.  BUT there was still one more place that we had not been.  SHAKE SHACK!  Now, I have never been to shake shack, but I am a fan of the movie "Something Borrowed," in which Shake Shack is brought from NYC to I figured it had to be something special.  Oh it was!  

Keep in mind that this Shake Shack adventure with Greenville RD friends came directly after the Paula Dean food demo.  It seemed to confuse Trevor a bit....

And that my friends, is the end of the dietitian trip to Philadelphia.  Had a blast, learned a lot, tried new food and got to catch up with the some of best dietitians I have ever met.  Can't wait to see you all again in Houston October 19-22 2013!

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