VIP Blogger Luncheon: An Up Close Look (and Giveaway!)

Working in media offers nice little perks along the way, like swag to sample, celebrity interview opportunities, and VIP luncheons where you meet face-to-face with company representatives and network with others in media. On top of all that, these events typically serve pretty good food, especially in my field of work.

A few weeks ago I attended and represented my client California Raisins at BlogHer Conference. California Raisins hosted a VIP luncheon for some of the biggest and brightest in the female blogging world. These events benefit companies by keeping them fresh in the minds of bloggers as they write story and recipe content, and also give them opportunities to share news and offer ideas on ways to use their products.

Here is an inside look. Note: I did not receive compensation to include California Raisins in this post.

A raisin luncheon wouldn’t be complete without getting your photo taken with the dancing raisin.

Sponsored luncheons include recipes featuring the company’s product. The quality of food at media events ranges from the level of excellent restaurant quality down to mediocre. Fortunately, as the special guest, I was asked to select the menu, a request that needn’t be asked more than once. I can be a bit of a control freak when it comes to menu planning. The Marriott Marquis beautifully executed the recipes we provided, as my full and then empty plate proved.

I said a few words to the attendees before sitting down to lunch, where I ate almost one of everything on the buffet.

I’ve made this curried chicken salad recipe before and couldn’t wait to eat it again.

This vegan quinoa salad was tossed with chickpeas, red bell pepper, raisins, apricot chutney, and fresh herbs. And it instilled hope in me that going vegan could actually be enjoyable.

I spotted this salad made of jicama, roasted corn and queso fresco on the hotel’s catering menu, and I asked them to sprinkle raisins on top. Muah! Bellisima. The attendees devoured it too.

I don’t know Jane, but I know that I loved eating Jane’s Orzo Salad with spinach, basil, orzo, feta cheese, pine nuts, raisins, and lemon vinaigrette.

I never say no to a good dinner roll with a smudge of butter.

These cookies with chocolate chips, pecans, and raisins folded in were simply “the bomb.”

These rich brownies sat in a silky little pool of chocolate raisin sauce. I ate just over half of them.

Upon departing any VIP event, don’t forget to take a lovely swag bag if it’s been offered to you, like this canvas beach bag filled with a California Raisins plush toy, snack recipe, and other goodies.


California Raisins was so impressed by your raisin comments last time that they gave me an extra swag bag to give away to one lucky reader. So tell me, which of these recipes caught your fancy the most and why? Comments as entries will be accepted until the end of August 30, 2011. You may comment here or on Michelle’s Facebook page.

Estimated Calories: 947

The photos were taken by a very talented photographer, Melissa.

You may also like:

Mango Smoothie Recipe

TV Host Giuliana Rancic Dishes on Her Slim Secrets

Nutritionist On The Road Again at BlogHer


  1. Ashley H. says:

    The cookies look delicious.

    1. Ashley, oh, they were. They were. The hotel made enough to feed an army. I was tempted to shove some into my purse, but I decided no, I need to save that sort of thing for when I turn 60, like my in-laws do.

  2. Allison says:

    The vegan quinoa salad looks good. i am always looking for ways to use quinoa. I know it is healthy but I usually automatically would go to rice. And the cookies, of course, I love oatmeal raisin cookies.

    1. Allison,
      The chutney, fresh herbs, and raisins in the quinoa make that dish sing. I’ve been playing around more with quinoa lately and love it.

  3. Kellie says:

    Everything looks really good but especially the salad and the brownies. Yummm!!

    1. Kellie,
      I know, I could almost live on salad and brownies (or cookies). That’s probably why I love eating at Paradise Bakery so much!

  4. Suzanne says:

    I like raisins but don’t always like them mixed into my food (I’m weird). But I do LOVE trail mix with raisins and that brownie with the chocolate raisin sauce looked delightful!!

    1. Suzanne,
      Nothing wrong with going for the chocolate first!

  5. Fiona says:

    The jicama salad! I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate jicama into my diet!

    1. Fiona,
      Well there you go! The most unique way I’ve ever seen jicama used was at The Bizarre restaurant at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. They used it as a wrap!

  6. Rebecca says:

    I am excited to start making pumpkin raisin muffins this Fall! 🙂

    1. Rebecca,
      Please do share the recipe if you can!

  7. Rebecca says:

    Love chocolate & raisins – The brownie sauce looked divine!

    1. Rebecca,
      Yes, chocolate and raisins is a match made in heaven.

  8. Carlene says:

    My first thing I would add to my plate would be the vegan salad with chickpeas! Chickpeas always add a wonderful savory flavor to any dish, but to add it to fluffy quinoa with a fruity finish of chutney and raisins? Delicious.

    Side note: Love, love, love the dress!

    1. Carlene,
      Yes, I loved the chickpeas in it, which really makes it a meal in itself. And thanks for the kind words on my dress.

  9. Mariseli says:

    The curried chicken salad recipe…yummy! I have been looking for a good & unique chicken salad recipe…I think I’ve found it. Raisins are such a great ingredient. I might have to try the cookies as well (for my husband). Thank you for your wonderful posts 🙂

    1. Thanks Mariseli. Yes, I think you’ve found the right recipe too. I LOVE it. Let us know what you think after you try it!

  10. Nina McHale says:

    I’m tossed between the quinoa salad and the jicama salad. I don’t eat a lot of meat and both of those dishes have a universal appeal to both carnivores and vegetarians. I could see serving them at a party as well as a casual meal at home.

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