So this weekend I had the pleasure of heading down to SF and attending my first Foodbuzz Blogger Festival. I wish I had some juicy stories of illicit hazing where they made you eat vast amounts of uncured bacon or branded you with a secret Ancient Roman culinary symbol to share but it actually was just a fun-filled weekend of bloggers and lots and lots and LOTS ---did mention lots?---of food.

Although this was the first Foodbuzz Blogger Festival I've ever attended, it's actually the 3rd annual festival that's been held by Federated Media, Foodbuzz' mothership. Anyhow, I arrived at my hotel Friday afternoon and met up with Debby from A Feast For the Eyes, whom I had been blog buddies with for sometime now (and was staying at the same hotel). She turned out to be just as pretty and sweet in person as she is online. My room was cozy but super cute; in fact, my only beef were the über amorous pigeons right outside my window. Although it was a bit funny at first, the pigeon porn went non-stop during my stay; the only thing missing was the bow-chicka-bow-bow soundtrack in the background. I'm telling you, pigeons have stamina!

Anyhow, once I was unpacked Debby and I walked over to the Grand Hyatt so I could get registered. At registration we were given cute name badges and a reusable Foodbuzz Festival bag filled with all kinds of goodies (Godiva coffees, an OXO peeler, gourmet chocolates, a DIY Cocktails Recipe book, a tumbler and lots of other cool SWAG).

While in line I met several bloggers, including the super adorable Josh from Just Eat! who joined us for drinks at the top of the Hyatt. After cocktails, Foodbuzz bussed us over to the Terra Gallery in the SoMa district for a welcome reception, blogger award ceremony and dinner. Rumor was that at last year's festival a lot of bloggers were snooty and cliquey, I found the ones I met to be the complete opposite. Everyone I spoke to, whether it was on the bus, the cocktail party or the dinner was super friendly (but I could see if how if you're not an extroverted person how difficult an event like this could be). What I didn't anticipate was that there were going to be so many kinds of bloggers there- male, female, mom bloggers, single bloggers, vegans, ethnic food bloggers, and lots of bakers! Some people like Julie from Willow Bird Baking came from far away (she had flown in from North Carolina!) and others like Dorothy from Crazy for Crust turned out to live in my hometown. There also seemed to be a good mix of festival "veterans" and newbies.

Photo of me chatting with Josh from Just Eat! (borrowed from A Feast For the Eyes)

Debby from A Feast for the Eyes with Julie from Willow Bird Baking

For the first part we mingled about, ate delicious hors d'oeuvres sponsored by Sabra and enjoyed plenty of wine. Then we moved upstairs for a dinner hosted by Electrolux. Dinner was set up in a buffet manner and there was an open bar (my favorite kind!).

It was a bit crazy with everyone clamoring to take photos but somehow the lines seemed to move forward. My two favorite dishes were from the "small plates action station."

Glazed Marin Sun Farms Pork Belly over Broccoli Puree, Wood Roasted Florets, Pickled Shiitakes and Chile Morita Vinaigrette

Pan-Seared DayBoat Scallops served with Grapes, Capers, Wood Roasted Cauliflower, Baby Parsnip Puree and Verjus

They look yummy, right? Although to be honest everything was tasty...well, everything maybe except for the Tuscan Beef Stew with honey cornbread, I wasn't wild about that dish---and I noticed that I wasn't the only one who left their bowl of stew on the table. It didn't taste like tasted like some sort of weird vegan concoction (no offensive to my vegan friends out there). Once the dinner portion was over, it was dessert time!

Heirloom Pumpkin Tarts with a Gingersnap Shell

We were presented with an incredibly long table of tasty treats, selected by Top Chef Just Dessert Winner Yigit Pura, in an array of colors and shapes--tarts, macaroons, cheesecakes, pâtes de fruits, ...well, you get the idea. I called it the Gauntlet of Sugar; however my ever-expanding hips called it, "Danger! Danger!" I have to admit though the 'Creamy Italian Nougat and Valrhona Chocolate Ganache Bites with Marcona Almonds," was quite divine. Okay, I ate three...and that was me restraining myself. Oh yeah, with all this talk about food you're probably wondering...didn't you say something about awards? While we were dining they did give out a few blog awards, but we were sitting at a table right next to the stage so everything sounded like that teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons (do you know which one I'm talking about? If not click on the link youngster) so I had absolutely no idea what the featured speakers were saying so I just clapped politely whenever everyone else did. I did take a look at the list of nominees and winners later though. At around 9:30, with full bellies and heavy lids, we were bussed back to the Hyatt. It was a fun evening and as I walked back to my hotel, I was excited to start Day 2 of the festival!

More to come...
2 Responses
  1. Aw, great recap! I love this post!! And oh, that Italian nougat -- good for you for having the good sense to get more than one. That thing was insaaaane.

    The beef stew was actually my favorite dish that night, though, so now I'm self-analyzing. haha. I could've bathed in it. I should've eaten yours! ;)

    So great to meet you, Ally!

  2. Ally Says:

    Thanks Julie, I really enjoyed chatting with you too. If you're ever in Sacramento let me know!

    I think I actually traded someone my cheesecake for their nougat because I wasn't sure if my Lactaid would hold up to the cheesecake. It looked pretty decadent. ;)

    That's funny that you loved the beef stew, I would have totally given you mine. I was all about those dayboat scallops! I really had no clue that the stew was meat based until I looked at the menu. In fact I think asked the blogger next to me if it was a chili made from beets for the vegan bloggers. Eeep!

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