Paleof(x) has yet again come to a close. Another weekend of stuffing my face with as much food as possible in the shortest amount of time. The first time I went to Paleof(x), I had absolutely no money and slept on the floor of Abel James guest bedroom which was shared with 2 other people and then spent my days eating samples of Paleo Treats all day long. I had no money and a bloat gut from the amount of sugar I consumed. It was kind of a suck fest. Fast forward to three years later, the event has expanded, the paleo companies have exploded, the amount of people that go has increased, and the number of friends that I have has completely grown. It’s pretty much the most fun thing ever now.
Last year, I did a cooking demo as well as a panel. I loved doing the cooking demo but man, did the panel suck. It was a panel all about desserts and it was the kind of panel that created unneeded tension in the room. You could seriously cut the air with a knife. Not a spoon, though. It was terrible. I got attacked for promoting desserts and felt like I was getting talked down to not only by some of the people on the panel, but by the audience as well. Maybe I was just super uncomfortable because I was sweating through my shirt and thinking about what flavor of ice cream I would get that night at Lick, but either way, I hated every moment of it. I’m telling you all of this just so you understand why I didn’t do anything this year. I signed books, I walked around to probably 3 of the vendors, and then I ate gelato and homemade toffee. I thought I wouldn’t have fun this year because last year was a bit on the edge, but this year was EFFING AMAZING. Let’s explain.
So here’s the thing about my job, I’m a blogger and author who works from home with my dog. I have no one to talk about my job, no one to bounce ideas off of, no one to learn from, no one to commiserate with (I don’t know if that’s the word I was really going for, but you see what I’m getting at?). I’m alone. But most of the time I love it. Jackson and I bond like a mother effa because of it. It also makes me work harder, makes me teach myself stuff, and makes me figure out exactly what it right for myself. BUT, I think I miss out on a lot of businessy ideas because I only have so many myself. This trip to Austin to see all of my blogger friends is a place all of us can talk about our goals, our dreams, our ambitions, our businesses AND get feedback about it. Heading to Austin this year, I didn’t plan to do any of this. I didn’t plan on getting new ideas about marketing or talking about a podcast, but all of that happened and it’s so awesome. I was able to have my once a year business meeting with all of my friends, all while laughing so hard that I cried. Multiple times.
But who cares about me. WHO CARES. Let’s talk about the food. That’s why you’re really here, you hungry bastard. Last year, we went to all these awesome places and I feel like I did almost the same exact thing this year. I really need to learn about more restaurants but all people keep saying is “GO TO GORDOUGH’S!!” Well wtf instagram, I have a gluten allergy and you’re telling me to stuff my face with literally the most gluten-filled food in the world. Way to go, WAY TO GO.
Once we landed in Austin, we meaning I met Vanessa from Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind and Sean and Suzanne of Pastured Kitchen, we all headed straight to 24Diner. This has become a routine 3 years in a row. Because it’s amazeballs. Like, the best ever. Last year, the nicest human ever randomly bought my meal to thank me for sharing all my recipes. So I pretty much love 24Diner because of that human. But the food is also amazing and it’s open all day and all night. Hey you want gin at 7am? Sh*t yeah, they’ll give it to you. So I started my trip off with a bacon cheddar burger that was smothered in some kind of sexy sauce, pretty sure it was hollandaise, but I don’t think it was, and paired it with bacon braised collard greens. F*cking awesome. No joke. Then we loaded up on groceries so we would have food at the house at any point and then headed to our VRBO home. Renting a house is pretty much the best thing ever. This house was freaking huge, with a 2 dining rooms, 2 living rooms, a crap ton of bedrooms, a pool and a huge kitchen. It was awesome. And way cheaper than staying in a gross hotel room. Genius.
While we waited for our other friends to show up to head out for our next meal, I was greeted with something pretty amazing. Stacy (no blog, we like to call her StacyNoBlog, one word- but she’s my lovely assistant you hear from on book reviews), Katrina + Noe of We are Primal Two and Cassy from Fed and Fit showed up and within 2 minutes were singing me happy birthday and walking in with a ginormous box full of Samoa gluten free Sidecar donuts with candles on them. I mean, come on. Stacynoblog planned it all and brought the donuts all the way from California. I died. We shoveled donuts into our face before deciding we should slow the eff down and get done dinner. Since I had seen a picture from Paleo Cupboard with her amazing meal from Sway, I automatically wanted that right away. So we went there.
Have you ever had a real Thai Iced Tea? I hadn’t. I did. They’re awesome. I want a million more. It’s like a tea milkshake. Sway was awesome. Spicy as all hell, but real awesome. We shared the wings and I got the Tiger Cry and it made me cry. It had a real kick. Hanger Steak smothered in spices and sauce that I can’t pronounce. Wonderful. But what I wish I would have ordered is the blue crab fried rice. It was stupid good. And sticky. I love sticky.
Of course, since donuts weren’t enough, we needed dessert. When in Rome. Meaning Austin. So we headed to a last year’s favorite spot, Dolce Neve. I got the lemon curd and the salted caramel. I have to be awesome, the salted caramel was better last year. It’s just real true. But I still loved it and loved how cute the shop is.
Going to bed early was a must that night because Vanessa is a psycho and wanted to get to Franklin BBQ at 6:30am. Last year, she headed to Franklin’s around 8:30am and was greeted with a long line in which she was eventually told that she wouldn’t get any BBQ. This year, she intended on getting her damn meat. So we woke up early, got there in the pouring rain where we were 4th in line, stood in line, grabbed some coffee at Picnik, popped some champagne in which the cork almost hit a man in the face then almost hit a car, played Heads Up, talked about sexually explicit things too loudy, then got in right away to gorge ourselves on brisket, pulled pork and ribs. Here’s some things that I learned that day:
- The owner Aaron Franklin is there almost every day and greets people at the front of the line with autographs and pictures. We are best friends now. Pretty sure he hated me wrapping my arm around him, but it’s totes fine.
- I don’t really care that much about BBQ.
- The brisket really is delicious.
- People who eat lean brisket are weirdos.
- There are people who you can hire to hold your spot in line and order you food. We met one. He was the man who was almost struck in the face with a champagne cork.
- I’m terrible at Heads Up. Or really any game.
- I don’t need a pound of brisket AND a pound of ribs. It will never get finished.
- I wanted way more of the pulled pork on someone else’s plate.
But that’s really all I learned from that experience. I would do it again. Hanging in line with your girlfriends who make you laugh until you pee are the best.
After spending half of a day in front of a smoker and smelling like beef tacos, we headed home to shower and look presentable. No makeup is just real scary for JuJu over here. THEN WE SHOPPED. If you weren’t sure based on my website, I.love.to.shop. I love finding stuff that you wouldn’t think would be cute and then trying to make it cute. Sometimes I fail miserably, but in my head, I’m always awesome. So we shopped, I may have gone over my shopping budget (Treat Yo Self), then we grabbed cocktails and appetizers before heading to the Paleof(x) happy hour on the Picnik lawn. The cocktails and appetizers were crazy amaze at La Condesa. After hanging out at the Paleof(x) happy hour, we headed home to play games. We played this game called Smart Ass. It’s just a random trivia. Turns out, I’m terrible at knowing any information. ANY. I sucked so bad at that game.
On Friday AM, I had a book signing and Cassy had a cooking demo at Paleof(x), so we all woke up early to have breakfast together before heading to the event center. Sean and Suzanne from Pastured Kitchen made all of us a breakfast hash filled with sweet potatoes, apples, italian sausage with a fried egg and a gluten free southern biscuit that Suz brought from Alabama. After grubbing on breakfast, we headed to the event center where I signed books and met a crap ton of amazing people. I’ve found that the people who eat paleo while still enjoying dessert are the friendliest kinds of people. And those are usually the people who read this blog. I love those people.
After chatting with all kinds of lovely humans, we pulled ourselves out of the event center to hit up The Salty Sow early since it’s usually a 2 hour wait there. Turns out, if you get there for the early bird special, you can actually get a table for 10 people. I got almost the exact same thing as the year before: a cocktail, truffle deviled eggs, duck fat fries with a 120 minute egg, and then I got the slow cooked beef shoulder. That place is freaking awesome. I want to eat those fries every day for the rest of my life.
Then we went to Lick ice cream because it’s the best ever and I got the salted caramel with the texas sheet cake. OMG, it was darn stinkin’ good. Can you see the Texas rubbing off on me?
Sunday morning, we had a slow start. Which meant a late brunch at….YOU GUESSED IT! Ok, you probably didn’t. We had brunch at 24Diner. You know, because it’s the best place ever. I wish they could cater my wedding. I chowed down on some sweet potato hash with a side of hollandaise. Stop judging me.
I honestly don’t know what we did the rest of the day. We pranced around town. I laughed a sh*t ton, I drank A LOT of Topo Chico (why the hell can’t I find that here in CO?) and then we ended up at Torchy’s Tacos at night. I wasn’t sure if it would be very good, I just wasn’t sure ok??? But it was awesome. I would totally go back there.
Are you getting bored? I am. Let’s talk about controversy. Controversy is everyone’s favorite. That’s why people are going cuckoo over the Bruce Jenner special on 20/20. My controversy is no where near as controversial, I personally think it’s funny. So get this, me, Stacy and Cassy are all engaged at the moment. Vanessa is not but has been with her boyfriend the longest. When I told her I was engaged, she sent me this picture of 3 girls showing off their rings and 1 girl drinking champagne. It was a funny, inside joke. Vanessa is very happy in her relationship, she’s not pissed about not being engaged. It’s a joke. So we recreated that picture when we were all together to post on social media. People didn’t think it was quite as funny. I think I lost a lot of followers. And someone called us bitches and said that it was the rudest thing she had ever seen. As we have all seen on social media, people are not funny. Nor do they know funny. I KNOW FUNNY, I WATCH SITCOMS, and that was just hilarious. Cool down, people. Be funny.
Yes, Vanessa’s boyfriend is aware of this picture. It’s ok. COOL THE EFF DOWN.
Ok, last but not least. Are you bored? I’m getting bored. I have food to make for you! Here are some of the other things that happened:
- Vanessa made her paleo toffee from her upcoming cookbook, Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind. Preorder it. You’re gonna be blown away!
- Tessemae’s has a Chesapeake Mayo. Whaaaaa?!? Never knew.
- Granilla Bar has a new flavor: Sunbutter Brownie. And it’s nut free!!
- Kristen from The Paleo Attorney is freaking awesome, hilarious and the smartest person ever.
- I could talk fashion, girl talk, and business allllll day with Cassy and Vanessa.
- I am SO excited about my next cookbook. I’m finishing up the edits right now and working with the design team. Have you ordered your copy yet? I promise you, it’s going to be my best work yet!
Ok, that’s all I got for you this year. I hear Paleof(x) is going to be over Memorial Day weekend next year. Which blows because then I’m totally not going. Shame. I love Austin, I love my friends there, and I love renting a house I could never afford to own. So much damn fun. Did you go to PFX this year? What’d you do? What’d you eat? Tell me everything.