Foodbuzz Festival – Food Bloggers Meet in San Francisco to Eat, Meet and Tweet, Part 1

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The food blog world is abuzz with excitement and possible memories of food comas and hangovers from the first Food Buzz Festival held in San Francisco two weeks ago.

You might not know what Foodbuzz is, as I certainly didn’t a year ago, but I’m so glad I teamed up with them to become one of their publishers. You’ll notice their ads in the upper right hand corner, and you can see that they present the classiest ads, because they are one classy company.

First of all, Food Buzz is hard to explain. It’s for food bloggers, and this world (if you are not a food blogger) requires a little explaining. I sat at my computer in December of 07, googling a recipe and feeling blue. My mood was changed the moment a click took me to La Tartine Gourmand. I inhaled Bea’s site the way a junk food addict inhales theirs super-sized meal. I made a decision right on the spot to become one of the bloggers, because I already was one. I had just never put my life to words. I eat and dream, food, food ingredients, kitchen gadgets, new recipes, cook books, restaurant innovations and traditional techniques with an updated twist. In restaurants, I would pop out a camera so I could “remember” the dish and I would make mental notes of the ingredients I was tasting so I could duplicate it. I was always a food blogger in the making.

So imagine an opportunity to get together with over 200 other such types in what I consider the food city of American (revolutionary in fresh, local and uncompromised food) which is me all over the place. (Not that I don’t also include New York City and New Orleans in the bests). I do. It’s just that when I think San Francisco, I think beyond restaurants and I think ingredient shopping and farmer’s market inside the city. It’s the best of both worlds, captured in a beautiful city.

So who is Foodbuzz?
It’s a savvy on-line foodie social networking community of tens of thousands of bloggers around the world, who share recipes, photos, friendship from around the world, which includes nearly 3000 on-line publishers (like myself) that have partnered up to feature advertising. Last week, 250 of these food buzz publishers were treated to the most amazing food adventure, not just because the food was outstanding, but because it was a rare moment for food bloggers to drink Sky vodka cocktails and all the best food, wine, and beer that San Francisco has to offer at the expense of Food Buzz, and we got to DO IT TOGETHER, with audible conversation, and real live hugs (which were just as plentiful as the food).

Bloggers are by nature quite comfortable spending hours and hours alone at the computer. But unlike other blogger types, we also crave the company of others because food just does not taste as good eaten alone. We must share it, or at least share what we ate and how we either found the ingredients, chose the restaurant, or prepared the dish. And we tell our story in words and in pictures. Lots of pictures.

I couldn’t wait to meet some of the bloggers I had connected with on-line. It was awesome to discover that the people you are drawn to on-line are the same people you are drawn to in person.

It was a real joy to meet a blogger couple that everyone knows because they smoked it winning the Bertolli contest (doing a demo and having all expenses paid). Most folks know The Duo DIshes, also of LA. Esi of Dishing Up Delights was another person I couldn’t wait to meet.

How the Weekend Began
As soon as I checked into my hotel I got to meet Jen of Leftover Queen. She is just as adorable and engaging as she is running the Royal Foodie Joust. She has a great sense of humor and I had quite a few good laughs with her, discovering some things we have in common.

Checking in with Foodbuzz I was delightfully gifted with goodie bags that included brie cheese and salty caramels that never saw Nashville. The rest I had to ship back with my own bounty of things purchased at the Ferry Building.

Our Goodie Foodie Bag
How generous foodbuzz was to us. Our goodie bags included two crystal beer glasses, a garlic slicer, a knork (a fork that cuts like a knife), a cool whisk, olive oil, pesto, cook books, various kitchen gadgets, and (my favorite) Napa Valley blackberry balsamic vinegar with pear. Two food pavilion vendors were kind enough to give me items not intended for give away and I am so grateful to Mendocino Sea Salt and Seasoning for the Nori Sea Salt and Frog Hollow Farm for the Apricot conserves and they can look forward to seeing them in a new recipe.


Friday Night

Friday Night was divided into two parts, the cocktail party and the street fare food. It was like two nights in one with a third night of after street fare cocktails in the bar. Can you imagine? I would have been happy with just this, but there was just so much more to come.

Friday Night Cocktails
I now understand the term “food buzz.” The buzz of over 200 bloggers standing with Skyy cocktails (courtesy again of Food Buzz and Sky) overlooking San Francisco from a 8th floor terrace was perfection and opened up the door to many happy exchanges.


Friday Night Street Fare
After two hours (think buzz) we headed to the Ferry Building to sample some of the best of San Francisco’s street food. Still, my favorite of the weekend had to be the steak and gruyere meat pie. How anyone could get a humble little pie to taste that good speaks to dedication and the love of food. Convenience does not have to be junk food. All the food was great and I would be happy eating any of it anytime (like the tacos or the cupcakes) but the porchetta sandwich goes into the food memory bank for life.

Imagine a pork loin wrapped in pork belly, cooked to crispy perfection, chopped up together (to make sure you get some good crispy fat) and piled high on ciabatta bread. All I have to say is shame on the person who decided to breed out the fat of pork in the last 20 years of low-fat food. Bring back the fat, and watch waistlines shrink. Ironic.

All of the food tasted better because I was hanging with my two newest bloggers friends (also from LA) who hang out together, Christina of Hot Pink Manolos, and Natassia of Let Me Eat Cake are too adorable. They have some good pictures as does Esi of Dishing Up Delights. Visit their sites for more pictures.

Together the three of us hit the street fair, and ate as much as we could. I couldn’t fit in the cupcakes, cheesecakes, pizza and oysters. My personal favorite was the steak gruyere meat pie from The Pie Truck.

It was here that I ran into all the folks I had been hoping to meet and the night ended perfectly with a cocktail at my cute hotel bar with Greg of Sippity Sup watching him drink his signature retro manhattan. At 2 in the morning I was wondering how I was going to do this all over again the next day. But, when morning came, I couldn’t wait to get to the Ferry Building and Farmer’s Market. I had been there before and I knew what greatness lay ahead in food and food ingredients.

Saturday

Saturday morning with Christina and Natassia.

On Saturdays it becomes a farmer’s market. Aside from fresh produce, there is cheese, olive oil, herbs, artisan salts, and just about everything that would make a food blogger wish she lived there to shop every week. I think it’s one of the nicest open markets in the world because it draws the goods of some the best local food artisans, dedicated to quality. After looking at all the food choices, they settled on pastry and I settled on Acme bread with Cowgirl Creamery’s signature Mt Tam, a triple cream, made with organic milk from the Strauss Family Dairy.

Skipping the food buzz breakfast, I once again met up with Christina and Nastasia at the Ferry Building Market Place, a place I visited all four days of my trip, and believe it or not we were hungry and needed something to eat before we headed to the olive oil tasting. What a treat to just walk around and see all the wonderful things the market offers. It’s open every day and has an array of shops that include the legendary Acme Bread company, Stonehouse California Olive Oil, Blue Bottle Coffee, and Sur La Table.

Ferry Plaza Marketplace

Cowgirl Creamery

Artisan salt and fresh leeks. A great combo.

Acme Organic Bread

On Saturdays it becomes a farmer’s market. Aside from fresh produce, there is cheese, olive oil, herbs, artisan salts, and just about everything that would make a food blogger wish she lived there to shop every week. I think it’s one of the nicest open markets in the world because it draws the goods of some the best local food artisans, dedicated to quality.

After looking at all the food choices, they settled on pastry and I settled on Acme bread with Cowgirl Creamery’s signature Mt Tam, a triple cream, made with organic milk from the Strauss Family Dairy. There is no better breakfast.

An example of a Saturday food vendor. My favorites are the lox and beets.

The Olive Oil Tasting
Foodbuzz arranged various seminars focus to attend. My first was the olive oil tasting. We learned how to properly “taste” olive oil, by sucking in a little air and then, like wine come up with descriptive words like grassy, buttery, nutty, apples, wheat grass. etc. They gave us a bottle of California Olio Nuevo, which my husband said tasted like lima beans. He’s right. And we did a blind taste test when I got home, which I will post about in the future. This bottle was rated #2, and you may be surprised at what we both picked as number one.


The Foodbuzz Food Pavilion (A festival inside a festival)
This is eating proof that the Foodbuzz staff rocks. How they put this together is just remarkable.
I never paid much attention to the Saturday activities and completely underestimated the food pavilion. Had it not been for the second seminar on a sparkling wine tasting, I would have skipped going to the fabulous Metreon Building with amazing views to taste what seemed liked hundreds of artisan foods. I simple couldn’t take it all in, or taste everything.

This was our view during the sparkling wine tasting. Of course I chose the most expensive as my favorite at only $85 a bottle. But they were all quite drinkable.

Below is just a tiny example of the food along with plenty of wine and beer and this does not even include the demos and tastings of Bertolli and Nature’s Pride Bread. And, we still had the award’s dinner to go to experience.

Stay tuned for Part 2, the Farm to Table Awards Dinner, the Shopping and Zuni Cafe after Thanksgiving. Fellow nominees, Sippity Sup, Foodwolfe, Local Lemons and I held our breath as they announced the awards.

December 1 is World AIDS Day – please join me in COOKING RED TO REMEMBER
using red as the ingredient, and post on December 1st. I will post a round up
on December 8th. This is personal to me, and I share my story
here. You are invited
to write about what it may mean for you or just cook red to remember.


Key Words:  Foodbuzz

Spinach Tiger Entry 129 Angela Roberts – Food Bloggers Meet In San Francisco to Eat, Meet and Tweet, Part 1

All original content (outside of adapted recipe) copyright © 2009 Angela Roberts, All Rights Reserved

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