We were among the 250 bloggers that had the honor of attending the very first Foodbuzz Blogger Festival in SF this past weekend (for free!). It was the ultimate food affair – we got to eat and drink to our hearts desire for 3 straight days, all thanks to the wonderful people at Foodbuzz. Great company, delicious eats, and a suitcase full of freebies and goodies – what more could we ask for?
Our weekend in SF consisted of a Welcome Reception at Hotel Vitale on Friday evening. Later that night, we got a taste of San Francisco's finest street food. Saturday was spent at City View at the Metreon where we got to taste a ton of food, get tipsy on wine and beer, see live demonstrations from our peers, and juggle bags of free swag. The eating didn't stop there! We spent Saturday night at Greenleaf Produce Warehouse for a lovely dinner and awards ceremony (congrats to those who won!). And alas, on Sunday, everyone got to say goodbye over brunch and Bloody Marys at Restaurant Lulu. Whew! Keep reading for the juicy details...
At the Friday night Street Food "Fare", we feasted on tacos from Tacolicious - shown here are the braised short ribs and chorizo potato.
At the Roli Roti booth, they were handing out Mini Rotisserie Porchetta on an Acme Roll with curly cress & onion marmalade. This definitely reminded us of the porchetta sandwich we had in Rome!
When you think it couldn't get any better - it got better! I was beyond ecstatic when I saw an oyster booth! Hot Island Oyster Company was shucking oysters for us and it definitely filled my cravings for oysters. Thank you!!!
Besides pigging out, we also got drinks at the bar. This one in particular was fantastic, but I don't remember the name! Let's just say it was like a mojito except they used basil and less sugar. Cheers!
I'm a huge fan of beets, so this caught my eye as I strolled by the booths - Beet Salad with Point Reyes Blue and Far West Fungi Vol au Vent from Spencer on the Go.
There were more food, sweets, and drinks that we tried at the SF Street Food Fare but I can only show you so much! On to the next day!
Before we went to the Tasting Pavilion at the Metreon, we got to be part of an olive oil tasting seminar. They made us try the olive oil as if it was wine - how very interesting (and weird!). I don't know about you, but I don't like the taste of oil by itself. The best part was that we got to take home 2 bottles of Extra Virgin Olive Oil from California Olive Ranch.
We spent Saturday afternoon at the Taste Pavilion where over 50 producers, brands, wineries and chefs spoiled us with their goodies. Here is the Mezzetta booth and their little martini bar. Cute!
One of our favorite tastings was this refreshing shrimp, scallop and octopus ceviche made by Executive Chef Jesse Perez from Fuego Restaurant in Long Beach. We'll have to visit his restaurant in the near future to feast on some Latin-inspired dishes.
There were cupcakes galore... and yet we didn't even take a bite. (We wanted to save room in our stomachs for the savory stuff - like the little mushroom tartlets with pomegranate on top).
We got to chat with the owner of All Spice Cafe, JD Cowles. He specializes in gourmet hot sauces like Chipotle Garlic Sauce and Cayenne Habanero Sauce - and they are award winning! Notice how his label looks exactly like him? Charming. Hehe.
To make matters worse, we attended a wine seminar on California sparkling wine. If I had finished those 4 glasses of wine, I would've been hammered!
We each got a signed copy of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, written by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois. The book has hundreds of recipes featuring whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and gluten-free ingredients. (Hmm, maybe we'll have a giveaway for one of our books).
We finally got the opportunity to meet our foodie friends, Kim and Hong, from the Ravenous Couple blog. They won a free trip to SF for a recipe they submitted for Nature Pride's contest - Fried Halloumi Cheese Toast. Great job, guys!!
On top of the eating and drinking, there was a photo booth for our picture-taking pleasure. Foodies-4-Lyfe.
With the help of the crew from Outstanding in the Field, Foodbuzz coordinated an extraodinary evening for the bloggers at Greenleaf Produce Warehouse, where we wined and dined in an urban, farm-to-table setting. Our menu consisted of a seasonal and everything-organic menu with a traditional Korean influence.
I thought it was funny that they had seasoned shrimp chips on the tables for us (Asians know what I'm talking about). Our appetizer plate consisted of some kimchi and other pickled vegetables.
Since this was a family-style meal, we shared everything and passed the dishes along to each other. The udon with grilled Monterey calamari and the mushroom risotto was light and pleasant.
The sea trout was baked with dashikombu, fried garlic, and Japanese curry powder. Beside that is the roasted brussels sprouts, ponzu fried garlic, guanciale, and bonito flakes (it was definitely a crowd pleaser!).
We finished off with the soy braised beef chucks and oxtails with baby carrots and potatoes. For dessert, we had Koshihikari rice pudding with cookie crumble and warren pear.
The finale of the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival ended at Restaurant Lulu on Sunday morning, presented by Nature's Pride.
I guess the people at Foodbuzz felt sorry for everyone having to ruin their diets over the weekend, so they gave us salad to eat at the brunch.
On second thought, they weren't done stuffing us with more fat-induced foods, like this Frittata with aged cheddar and wild mushrooms... and French Toast with pear compote and whipped cinnamon butter. Kill me now.
Foodbuzz gave the food bloggers a special weekend to remember – and we are absolutely thrilled we had the chance to be a part of this amazing event. They did a wonderful job accommodating everyone and the events all went smoothly and without any complaints. We couldn’t have asked for a more fulfilling experience with our fellow foodie friends and all we can say is… when is next year’s event? We’re THERE!