Finally! About time! I know, I know....Part 2 of the Foodbuzz Festival :

The second day of the Foodbuzz Festival started early (well, early for me--I'm not a morning person). I met up with Debby from A Feast for Your Eyes and we cabbed it over to the Federated Media Headquarters for some blog workshops. The first one I had signed up for was a featured panel discussion by five bloggers. Oddly enough, even though I write a food blog I don't follow a lot of what I would call the "popular" food blogs, so I had only heard of one of the five panelists.
The topic for the discussion was "Taking Your Blog to the Next Level," and the panelists talked about how to make your blog unique, the importance of good photography and connecting with your readers. It was informative. Several of the panelists also talked about book deals and selling their photography but that part didn't really interest me since I just do blogging as a hobby. Afterwards we divided into smaller groups and I attended two sessions 1) The DSLR-Free Zone led by Greg Henry (Sippity Sup), Angi Chau (Rice and Wheat) and Chuck Lai (Foodgawker).
They talked about how you can use point & shoot and cell phone cameras to get great shots instead of lugging around your DSLR. They also talked about working with natural lighting, ways to work around not using a flash and different post processing apps. I picked up some cool tips from Chuck of Foodgawker that I'm going to try out soon. 2) Introduction to Adobe Lightroom: How to Make Good Photos Great led by Marc Matsumoto (No Recipes).
From there we were bussed over to the Metreon for the Tasting Pavillion. This was my favorite part of the weekend. It was so much fun (and this year they allowed you to bring someone so my friend Jenny who lives in the city was able to join me). In a nutshell, they set up this giant room with all sorts of gourmet food and beverage vendors (and a couple of big name sponsors) and all you do is walk around and taste samples and network with the reps for 3 hours. We had a blast. Some of the vendors even gave us full size products to take home, like this Vanilla Bean Syrup by Sonoma Syrup Co.. I can't wait to try it out in some of my holiday baking, it's so delicious!
The other product that I fell head over heels for was the Black Truffle and White Cheddar Popcorn by 479's gluten-free and kind of like popcorn crack...super addicting. While were wandering around tasting red onion confit, sampling goat camembert and sipping gin and tonics; Tyler Florence slipped in  and signed a few autographs and posed for some photos.
Now I think I mentioned earlier how I don't really follow a lot of food blogs, well I do follow one popular food blog based out of SF...The Tomato Tart. Anyhow, I ran into Sabrina of The Tomato Tart randomly at the tasting and she's just as sassy and nice as she is in her blog (and was kind enough to take a photo). I was pretty stoked about that!
Some of us were so pooped afterwards that we went and sat outside and enjoyed the view for awhile. The Metreon had this cool wall of succulents on their balcony that I loved. Maybe I could get Mr. S. to build me one?
Here's a few more shots of some of the stuff we sipped and tasted that I liked.
cute edible printed gnome icing sheets by ticings
Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer by 21st Amendment Brewery

Bellwether Farms (a-mazing cheeses!)
Gourmet Cupcakes from Mission Minis
Stuffed to the gills, I waddled back to the hotel and took a nap to prepare for what else...dinner! I'm not kidding, Foodbuzz had a cocktail reception, a cooking demo with Tyler Florence and a gala dinner on the evening's lineup. Jeebus! Since Alexia Foods was the sponsor of the gala dinner, the cocktail party was stocked with fries from their "Reinvent a Classic" Challenge....a contest where several bloggers had to come up with a new flavor. My favorite flavor was the dill flavored ones. Funny I only hit the fry line once (the fries were kind of lukewarm) but the Alexia photographer somehow photographed me and I found this photo of me online:  
  (photo by Ryan Anson/AP Images for Alexia Foods)

Our dinner time entertainment was watching Tyler Florence...or as I will forever call him now, Ty-Flo, cook up some fat Flintstone-looking pork chops, braised red cabbage and herb spaetzle with a mustard and crème fraîche sauce while we munched on hors d'oeuvres. I've always liked Ty Flo's recipes prior to this demo but had never been much of a fan of the chef himself but after watching and listening to him at the dinner, I have to admit his frat boy/dad personality kind of grew on me. The guy's likable.  
  Ty-Flo letting us know, "Color = Flavor"
Once he was done, it was dinner time. Dinner was...meh. Being that it was a dinner for food bloggers I was thinking the food would be more...well, tasty...especially after all the amazing eats we had at the Tasting Pavillion but quite honestly, the food we had kind of reminded me of hotel food and it very well could have been as the event was being held at the Grand Hyatt. We started with a Bibb Lettuce Salad with Honey Roasted Pears, Glazed Pecans and Bleu Cheese Vinaigrette. (There was way too much dressing on my salad, so much so that when I was done there appeared to be a pool of it on my plate with bits of pecan doing the backstroke in it.) The main course was a Brandt Beef Farms Filet Mignon and Meyer Lemon Roasted Prawns served with Heirloom Carrots, Celery Root Puree and Peppercorn Demi-Glace. Sounds fab, right? The prawns were really overcooked and neither the meat nor the shrimp had a lot of flavor. Pretty disappointing. In fact, I kind of wanted to chase after Tyler and grab that dish of herb spaetzle out of his hand and have THAT for dinner. Mmmm!

Dessert was a "San Francisco Trio" of Sourdough Bread Pudding, Cowgirl Creamery Cheesecake and Scharffen Berger Chocolate Mousse. I thought it should have been called the "frio trio" because mine tasted like they might have still been frozen. All three were really hard. I pushed my hockey pucks around the plate for awhile and decided to pass. Luckily I was still full from the giant feast I had indulged in at the Metreon earlier in the day.
Although there was a farewell lunch scheduled for the next morning, I decided to pass and meet up with a friend in the city and do a little shopping before heading back to Sac. Overall, I enjoyed myself at FBF'11...great food, friendly people---a fantastic time. Next year though I'll know to start exercising a few months prior in preparation for the calorie-fest. ;)
3 Responses
  1. Fun post! I was so happy to see Sabrina, too -- she's just as awesome in person, isn't she?

    And, yes, <3 that truffle popcorn!

  2. Ally Says:

    She is totally adorable! It's nice to put a real person with a blog too.

    Ooooh that truffle popcorn,it's my waistline's new nemesis! ;)

  3. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up!

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