We’re back from the second annual Foodbuzz Blogger Festival in San Francisco and we think it’s safe to say we had another fabulous weekend. Of course, it was filled with the best of the best in San Francisco food, some of our very favorite bloggers, and wine and beer. So, there was nothing not to love!
The first night of the event, Friday, we attended the Street Food Fare. It was held at the Fort Mason Center and featured tons of San Francisco street food for us to sample.
We started by sitting at tables filled with bloggers, chatting, exchanging foodie gifts, and eating beautiful pears, cheese, and crackers from Frog Hollow Farm.
Then we got the chance to wander around the Herbst Pavilion, eating whatever our hearts desired. Which basically means we ate everything.
The tacos from Tacolicious were definitely a standout. The tortillas were warm and the meat tender, making the entire taco melt in your mouth good.
The standout for us was probably the pork loin sandwich from 4505 Meats. We also heard a “rumor” they make the most amazing hotdogs ever…. AND they’re available to buy on the internet. So, you know what that means
Anyway, the pork was brined in jalapeno pickling liquid, which might just be the most genius idea ever. Oh, and the chicarrones were also perfect!
It might seem kind of boring to get pizza at a big food blogger conference, but the pizza from Pizza Politana looked so delicious, we couldn’t resist.
And thank goodness we didn’t. This was amazing.
We probably could have eaten an entire pizza. But there was too much other food for us to have too big of a pizza party.
We spent some time talking to the chef from Diamond Lil who was whipping up a mean batch of paella.
See? We also spent some time discussing what we would do with a wok of that size in our kitchens. Stir fry for days (OK, months)!
Spencer on the Go‘s food truck had lots of mouth-watering choices, but we were starting to get full and both decided to just try the escargot puff lollypops.
They were a little bit oily and doughy, but the flavors were just awesome and the idea so unique!
Somehow we missed the Curry Up Now truck, which was incredibly disappointing (especially when we heard people raving about it later!). Do you think they’d deliver to us?
And we can’t forget the Mission Minis cupcakes! Look how awesome they look spelling out “Foodbuzz.” The Food Network was actually in attendance at Foodbuzz Festival, filming for a show about Mission Minis.
A mini-only cupcake shop is definitely the best idea ever. Mostly because you can eat as many as you want!
And a side of Brown Sugar Banana Ice Cream from Strauss Creamery.
It was a bit overwhelming to start the weekend off with so much good food and so many bloggers, some we knew, some we recognized, and some we hadn’t yet had the honor of discovering.
We didn’t take nearly as many photos of us with other bloggers as we hoped, but we met SO many people the first night.
On Saturday morning, we got started on the breakout sessions. We both learned about food photography from the wonderful Marc of NoRecipes and Laura of The Cooking Photographer. It’s tough to teach a large group of people about food photography in only 45 minutes, but Marc and Laura made the most of the time and shared some fabulous photography secrets with us.
We skipped the second session because we were starving and heard fabulous things about Scala’s Bistro, the restaurant in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel.
The Egg in the Whole… Wheat was fabulous with the generous serving of prosciutto and delectable truffle vinaigrette. Definitely a recommended breakfast dish!
After the morning sessions ended, we headed over to the Metreon for the tasting pavilion.
Immediately upon entering, we were handed wine/beer glasses and we didn’t waste any time trying out Bison Brewery‘s Honey Basil beer. And now we NEED to know where we can find this beer in the Boston area. It was pretty perfect– the flavors were subtle, definitely not too sweet and not overpowering. This would be an ideal summer beer, but we’d definitely drink it year round!
One of our favorite things at the Pavilion was actually a blogger-created recipe! The lovely Julie Ruble of Willow Bird Baking made these blueberry stuffed french toast bowls. They were like big cinnamon toast crunches topped with cream cheese and blueberries. Pretty much heaven. And we’ll definitely be recreating Julie’s recipe in the future!
The poached gulf prawns in chili gazpacho from the Waterfront Hotel also hit the spot. The gazpacho was perfectly spicy and a refreshing departure from the typical gazpacho.
Another one of our very favorites was the Chanterelle Mushroom Soup from the Americano Restaurant and Bar. It was earthy, but sweet and we both could have easily enjoyed a full bowl. We snagged the chef’s business card and will definitely be harassing him until we get the recipe!
One of our favorite foodie shopping sites, Foodzie.com was at the pavilion, too, along with tons of their featured products.
Including p.o.p candy. The thyme, walnut, and cherry toffee was a definite favorite!
Pick-a-Peck Pickles was a new company to us… And one we immediately fell for.
They sell jars of pickled… everything. From green beans to beets to carrots, all the Pick-A-Peck samples we tried had the perfect kick!
Oh, another favorite! The Mendocino Salt and Seasoning Company sea salts were a huge hit and we sampled many, many tomatoes that had been marinated in them. We especially loved the Sea Smoke, which tasted like a cross between smoked salmon and bacon.
Cas Cal’s fermented all-natural sodas were awesome, too! They’re handcrafted at a micro-brewery and have a totally unique, tart taste to them. Cas Cal would be quite excellent in some sangria.
We were introduced to Magnolia Brewery last year and were happy to see them back. We tried and enjoyed their Long Break Bitter.
21st Amendment was also at the pavilion once again and though we’re quite familiar with their Hell or High Watermelon beer, it was fun to try the Back in Black.
Ticings was another company that was totally new to us. They make edible icing appliques for cupcakes, making decorating super easy and fun! You can customize the appliques to be whatever you want.
They also make delicious and pretty sprinkles.
Why are Ticings sprinkles better than the ones you find in a grocery store? Well, they’re not coated with confectioner’s glaze like most sprinkles… which can be seen below. We smelled it and it was pretty gross. It’s also made from some sort of bug (eek!) which will probably make people think twice about their next sprinkle purchase! Sorry
More Mission Minis were had at the pavilion!
And Alaska Seafood fish tacos!
There was a whole taco bar that allowed us to create our own fish tacos, utilizing any toppings we wanted. The line was insanely long so we knew they must have been worth the wait!
Another favorite from last year 479 Popcorn was present and we stopped by on our way out, sampling flavors like ginger, sesame caramel and madras curry, coconut and cashew.
On our way back to the hotel from the taste pavilion, we had to stop at CB2. We don’t have CB2 stores in the Boston-area yet and were both dying to spend some time in one. We may have sat on a couch in CB2 for an hour, taking everything in.
That evening, we headed to the Ferry Building for the big gala dinner.
We started with a cocktail hour where we enjoyed some passed hors’devours (the herb polenta cups were addicting!) and Bonny Doon muscat. Lots of it.
(Sues with Elina and Tina)
The dinner was sponsored by the Cooking Channel, which meant it was a dream come true for all food lovers.
The bloggers were all dressed to the nines and the Ferry Building was looking absolutely stunning.
There were about 100 wine glasses on each table, so we immediately knew wine would play a large part in this meal.
The roasted golden beet tart was not only beautiful, it was absolutely succulent. It was served with crimson beet, feta, currants, wild arugula, and basil puree. What a wonderful way to start the meal!
But it just got better from there. Next, we were served seared scallops with champagne beurre blanc, with braised fennel and fried fennel fonds. The scallops were served in a generous portion and were amazingly tender; perfectly cooked!
The main course was rosemary and garlic infused loin of lamb with local wild mushrooms, pinot noir sauce, and butternut squash puree. Wow! The meat was tender and fill of flavor and the butternut squash puree was honestly amazing. In fact, they probably should have served the butternut squash in a huge bowl, so we could keep going back for more and more.
Dessert was a buttery almond cake with oranges, figs, and Spanish sherry. Isn’t it absolutely beautiful!
Each course was paired with a Bonny Doon wine. The food kept coming, the wine kept flowing, and we ate and drank all of it. The food was all provided by Paula LeDuc Fine Catering, who does the catering for events at the Ferry Building, and will now be highly recommended by every single Foodbuzz Festival attendee.
It was so nice to meet many of the bloggers we’ve been reading forever and putting blogs to actual real-life faces. Though we were kind of sad by the end of the weekend when we realized there were so many bloggers we didn’t get to meet. It’s hard to be around so many awesome people and get to meet every one of them!
(us with local Boston blogger and new friend Elizabeth and the ahhhhhmazing Ben of You Fed a Baby Chili?)
Thank you so much to Foodbuzz and all the sponsors for another wonderful festival for all of us to enjoy!
[Sues and Chels]