Anyway, since my husband and I love road trips, we drove to Paleo f(x) from our home in Gainesville, FL, stopping both ways in our beloved former-home-that-will-always-feel-like-home New Orleans (which is conveniently halfway between Gainesville and Austin). I'll be doing a post just about New Orleans soon - I am shocked at how paleo friendly and gluten-free friendly the city is now. I hadn't visited since 2010, and back then it was a nightmare just to avoid gluten. Now, there are paleo bakeries and restaurants that print right on the menu which options are paleo!
The whole trip was incredible and exhilarating. It was also exhausting in that I-just-can't-get-enough-this-is-so-much-fun-OMG kind of way. I got to hang out with old friends Marla and Jeff of Paleo Porn, Rachel from South Beach Primal, and Jennifer from Predominantly Paleo. I also got to finally meet SO many other bloggers that I've interacted with online for the last two-and-a-half years, too, which was so neat!
I'm so glad that I FINALLY went this year - I don't want to miss another one again! I'm already looking forward to Memorial Day next year (yeah - mark your calendars now - they shifted it a month later than it has normally been).
I finally had the guts to apply to do a cooking demo this year, and lucky me, they accepted me! Otherwise, I probably would've missed out again and been kicking myself right now. Check me out on the stage:
If you missed the live stream of my demo, don't worry - I will be publishing the recipe I cooked on the blog. I made the best ever paleo, non-nightshade hashbrowns from the beautiful tropical root malanga.
Alright, so why is Paleo f(x) so amazing and why should you go next year? Here's why:
#1: The Expo Floor
You may think I am crazy for not saying that the best thing about PFX is the presentations......but, y'all, the expo floor is something to behold and SO MUCH FUN to peruse. When you first walk into the Palmer Events Center after checking in you enter the massive expo floor. I was amazed at how many paleo brands were there this year - I heard they doubled in size since 2014.
Dude. You can totally skip lunch and just graze off of all the delicious food samples. I did that all 3 days and was satisfied each and every day. This year, there was a crazy diverse array of vendors, everything from meat bars and sticks, granola (grain-free, of course), kombucha, the best paleo flour ever (I <3 you Otto's Cassava Flour!), ghee, spices, teas, and - get this - ready made PIZZA. Yes, pizza. I couldn't believe it either.
I'll be doing a follow up post to this one detailing my favorite new brands that I discovered at PFX....it's way too much info to try to put here! I seriously had to stuff all my goodies into an extra duffle bag. I was so glad I didn't fly and have to pay for an extra piece of luggage!
Being on the expo floor and talking to the vendors is like having your finger on the pulse of the paleo movement - the best, brightest, and most creative entrepreneurs in the paleo world are there with the absolute best they have to offer to help make your paleo experience easier, more fun, and more delicious.
This leads me to my next point.....
#2: The chance to meet amazing people
Not only do you get a chance to meet your favorite bloggers, but you'll also get to meet regular guys and gals who are cool and interesting and just as enthusiastic about the lifestyle as you are.
You know that feeling when your friends and family just don't "get it" and have a hard time getting excited about the same stuff as you? Yeah, that doesn't happen at PFX. Everyone you talk to will share in your glee. You will have so many wonderful conversations and learn so many great new things.....your head might just spin (mine did).
A major highlight for me was getting to say "thank you" to Mark Sisson in person. He's the reason I am on this lifestyle and why I have the success story that I do (check it out on his site right here). I found his site in 2010 and that September dove in head first with a Primal Blueprint Challenge. One year later, I had lost 80 lbs, reversed a ton of chronic health problems, and gotten off all medications. I've been continuously improving since then, but that first year the results were the most striking and profound, both internally and externally. After enduring a radical life change like that, it made me all warm and fuzzy inside to get to shake his hand and tell him thanks from the bottom of my heart.
In between all the networking, munching, and awesome conversation there are the presentations, of course. Be sure to arrive early to the ones you really want to see because they can quickly become standing-room only!
#3: Paleo Dining in Austin, TX
Part of why Paleo f(x) is so awesome is that it is held in Austin, TX, giving you the opportunity to dine at some world-class restaurants.
I did not get to eat at nearly enough places during our stay, but the few places I went were way right.
It's not a paleo trip to Austin without a stop at the funky, 100% paleo joint: Picnik Austin. It's funky because it's made out of a shipping container! I love unconventional structures like this.
The best thing of theirs I had was the buttered bone broth. Absolute heaven!
They also hosted a special happy hour event for Paleo f(x) where I got to have locally made paleo tortillas filled with.....warmed Epic bars???! It sounded gross to me but as soon as I took a bite I wished I had grabbed 4 of them instead of just 1. The new pulled pork pineapple flavor is off the chain. So amazingly good! And, shockingly, tastes like taco meat when it's served hot in a tortilla with slaw and pico de gallo. Who knew!
Also at the happy hour event I got to try a new product made from cricket flour: Crickers! They're cricket crackers....isn't that brand name just about the most adorable thing ever?
And it was so amazing to finally get to meet the lovely ladies behind Picnik - here I am with Randi, who is an absolute sweetheart! I love supporting people who are so genuine and warm.
The other highly notable paleo-friendly place we dined at that I didn't hear anybody else talking about is Dai Due. It is a small place, so be sure to make a reservation.
This meal was epic. And shockingly affordable! It came out to around $40 per person including the tip, which considering the high quality of the food is a steal.
We split a bunch of appetizers for the table (I was dining with Marla & Jeff from Paleo Porn, Rachel from South Beach Primal, Vanessa from Plaid & Paleo, Dave from Spyr Media, and Alison from alisonverhalen.com). I regrettably didn't snap a photo of the menu (which changes often), but their site does list the descriptions of some of the things we ate: top middle you see Venison Ceviche with Yucca Blossoms, Citrus, Carrot, Charred Cactus, Cilantro Flowers, Potato Chips & Dried Jalapeño and Beef Tartare with Egg, Parsley, Fireman’s #4 Mustard, Pickled Bulblets, Wild Onion Flowers. The top right was the Cold Meat Board with Smokehouse Beef Sausage, Sommerwurst, Pork City Ham, Venison Rillettes & Chicken Liver Mousse with Pickled Beets, & Bavarian Sweet Mustard. From left to right on the bottom row: venison skewers with what I think was a pesto, pork confit with bone broth, and a ridiculously large pork neck chop (it was like 2 inches thick and as big as my face, I swear.
Everything is raised right, sourced locally when possible, and cooked with care. They also have a butcher shop, which I would've loved to shop at if we had been staying in town longer.
Aaaaaand finally, to satisfy your sweet tooth, there's Lick. Can you tell I'm just a teensy bit excited to eat there?
Lick offers both dairy-free paleo ice cream (made from coconut milk) and real ice cream made from local milk from grass-fed cows, if you can include dairy in your diet. I tried a flavor with dairy (dark chocolate with olive oil and sea salt, OMG), and two without (avocado curd and chocolate peanut butter swirl). Everything was incredible and was worth the 30 min wait - yeah, that's just how long it takes to get this nectar of the gods, the place is always packed!