I thought about doing multiple posts for this. However, given that most people who read my blog probably won't care for three straight posts of foodie stuff, I decided to slam everything into one post. So give this page a little extra time to load, and I spare you two more entries... deal? ;)
This weekend, I had the privilege of attending the third annual Foodbuzz Blogger Festival in San Francisco, CA. I was unsure if I should attend for several reasons, the number-one being that I don't feel that I am a "true" food blogger. I know there is a lot I need to do to fall into that category, but time/life restraints and my resistance to change the voice of this blog has kept me away from that.
Still, I am glad I attended. It was only my second time in San Francisco, and "The Ukrainian" was nice enough to drive me there, all 5.5 hours.
Here he is showing me his love for Jarlsberg cheese, alongside the "swag bag" (I hate that term -- for more detail on what was inside, you can click HERE).
The last time I was up there, I was in such a rush due to a half-marathon I was running. Since we were near the Chinatown area, I just had to take a look this time, bust out my pseudo-Cantonese, and buy a mooncake for home.
Then, it was off to the Welcome Dinner. It got pretty cold (by CA standards) in the days before the festival, so I had no idea what to wear.
The reception was hosted by Sabra (hummus). Those roasted chickpeas were my favorite!
Here are a few shots of dinner... it was buffet-style little bites, a lot of the recipes created by bloggers. I didn't try everything due to things containing meat or excessive dairy, but I honestly was a little underwhelmed by most of the food. My uncultured taste buds cry foul when things "try too hard" to be tasty. In fact, my favorite thing was that lentil salad on the left.
You know something is wrong when your massive sweet tooth only likes one out of an entire plate of desserts. That star-shaped chocolate on the middle right was the only thing I enjoyed.
I didn't end up attending the learning sessions the next morning, frankly because I didn't want to commit to anything before I showed up. Instead, I headed to the Ferry Building/Farmer's Market/Embarcadero. People were "Occupy"ing SF.
We HAD to get an open-faced lox sandwich.
And a salted caramel vegan donut.
AND a Blue Bottle coffee (didn't see why it's so hyped).
We attended the Foodbuzz Tasting Pavilion that afternoon and literally spent 2 hours eating/drinking from the many, many wonderful vendors. This was, by far, the highlight of the festival. As you know, I love discovering new products!
The special guest at the event was Chef Tyler Florence, from The Great Food Truck Race (not like I have cable, so I had to take people's word for it!).
Of course, there were these. But by the time I reached them, my stomach had trouble creating a vacancy for them...
We made out like bandits.
After a food-induced nap, it was outing time again... the Gala Dinner.
(I really need more festive clothing... I had trouble finding appropriate attire.)
I had no idea there was going to be a mingling hour, yet there we were, sampling Alexia fries.
Toasting with my sister. My alcohol tolerance is fairly low, but I drank at pretty much every part of the festival that I attended. Yikes.
The Gala Dinner didn't officially commence until Tyler completed his cooking demo... that meant smelling pork chops and dumplings while hoping for food to come... It was like watching a cooking show on smell-o-vision. Please, technology, catch up and make this a normal thing!
The view from the jumbo-tron:
Finally the dinner started. The main course (for meat-eaters) is below. Is it me, or is filet mignon supposed to be round? How the heck would I know?
My dish. It didn't taste vegan, but I hear it was. Something about this barley was too creamy and flavorful to pass as vegan, ha ha! The grilled fennel (leek?) was too tough to eat, and those greens at the bottom right were not tasty. However, really good barley.
The dessert trio. I liked the flavor of the bread pudding (center), but it was too dry. The chocolate mousse (top) was good, and the cheesecake at the bottom was pretty plain. A step up from the previous night's desserts, though!
Overall, I appreciated the opportunity to try so many new foods this past weekend. My inexperienced palate definitely got a kick in the pants from all the flavor combinations -- some good, some not-so-good. I was DEFINITELY inspired to put more thought into my cooking (and blogging), particularly by the vendors at the Tasting Pavilion, whose samples really blew me away.
As for what it was like to be among so many bloggers, I must say that I was a bit surprised at how shy everyone was. I consider myself fairly average in terms of outgoingness, but I witnessed a lot of very insecure people doing things that insecure people would do/not do. Perhaps it's the veil of anonymity being removed that caused this feeling of awkwardness to first-time attendees like me, but yeah, it was really weird.
Finally, I did meet quite a few new people that I hope will become part of my regular blog-reading rotation. As a primarily running/fitness blogger, I haven't been reading too many full-on food blogs, but perhaps there is no time like the present.