Portland's food blogosphere is mercifully small. In bigger cities, thousands of self-proclaimed "foodies" wield an unhealthy amount of power over the culinary economy, tending to cutely titled blogs full of sponsored posts, gushy rants and Instagram photos. Thankfully, in Portland such things are left in the hands of professionals—people who paid their dues writing about how to snap someone's arm, passing a Torts exam, typing the Tulane-Southern Miss volleyball score for The Oregonian's sports section and drawing cartoons for The Mercury.
Except this week, when the city will be festering with food bloggers as Portland plays host to the International Food Bloggers Conference. Hundreds will descend to listen to inspiring talks like "How Bloggers, PR Pros and Brands Can Best Work Together" and "It's Not Selling Out, It's Getting Paid," and practice the storied art of taking grainy pictures on a smartphone and uploading them to Tumblr.
In fact, one could be sitting at a communal table next to you right now. Here's a field guide to spotting some of the more common species in the wild.
Backpacking; tripe; brains; bugs; blood; bones; authenticity.
P.F. Chang's; the way you make tacos.
Mi Mero Mole; Pok Pok; Ha & VL.
"Well actually, I've been to Bhutan, and over there it's made with yak blood."
The PR Whore
Freebies; giveaways; junkets; press passes; tweetups.
You questioning their ethics.
"I would endorse Any'tizers Honey BBQ Boneless Chicken Bites anyway, so I don't really see the problem in writing 500 words on them in exchange for a few free boxes."
Vegan products made on non-vegan equipment; when you ask them "How do you get enough protein?"
Blossoming Lotus; the Bye and Bye; Natural Selection.
the vegan cheez in this vegan 'cheese and bacon burger' is actually vegan? Can I see an ingredient list?"
The Amateur Scientist
Figuring out restaurants' recipes down to the last spice; conducting exhaustive taste tests; NSF certification; USDA-approved kitchen scales; liquid nitrogen.
Eating for fun or pleasure.
Castagna; Teardrop Lounge.
"Is your oven set to 400 Fahrenheit? Because this really tastes more like 380."
The Food Pornographer
Butter dripping slowly down hot cobs of corn; oozing, melting cheese; bacon on everything; macro lenses.
Screen Door; Beast; Kenny & Zuke's.
"WAIT! Don't touch that pork chop! I haven't taken a picture with the EF 50mm f/1.2L yet!"
GO: The International Food Bloggers Conference is at the DoubleTree Hotel, 1000 NE Multnomah St., Aug. 24-26. $350. Visit foodista.com/ifbc2012 for more info.